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7/10/08 1:05 AM
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Keoni
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First of all FRAT in advance.
7/10/08 1:06 AM
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Keoni
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I have been involved indirectly or directly with MMA for quite some time. Remembering when I firsted watched UFC 1 and 2, and my entire martial arts reality was shattered seems now after 86 events, like an eternity ago. I remember back in the submissionfighting.com days when a thread on the UG could actually spurn a fight in the UFC, and the only thing keeping it and its combatants afloat was "the underground" following that TUF newbs (sorry to use the term recent mma fans) just could not relate too.

In the last 7 to 8 years, I have progressively became more serious in my involvement. I went from training on grass and gravel, sparring in kitchens and grappling on carpet, to outfitting my basement with tatami style mats to take it a little easier on my knees. Even at that time in the "dark ages" of MMA, it was a hobby and a way to relate to a sport I loved to watch. A way to feel a connection to a type of person I wanted to become. I got better and better and better. I spent thousands of hours on the mat. I had no instruction. I learned through tutorials, and trial and error, but it was fun because there was nothing on my shoulders. No reason to stress. If I wanted to train I would, if I didnt I wouldnt. Surprisingly I did want to........allot. About 2 hours a day and 7 days a week.

I developed a core group of guys, about five. Each one of these guys was good in their own way. By this time I had a good understanding of the ground, and the standup. And other people I welcomed in filled the holes. Then it got more serious. People wanted to compete professionally. I had doubts about it that I never shared. "How can we compete professionally when we have no real gym?" My answer was to train as hard as possible. So sometimes I would put in after a ten hour day, 2 and a half hours in the basement only to have another guy show up looking to go another hour and a half. I never turned a trainee down. And everyone knew that if they showed up, they would get to work.

We all got better, and with the sheer volume of training we where doing, we got better pretty quickly. Then I saw a couple of our people fight for the first time. Then I realized we undervalued our talent. And that it wasnt how many bananna bags you had, or how much mat space you had, but how bad you wanted it. How hard you pushed and where allowed to be pushed back. The training sessions where brutal, I liked to pretend that I wasnt tired, but I had given everything to push my guys. If they lost a fight, I would have to take all the blame for not putting them through hell first.

The team flourished, we soon realized we where allot better than we thought, better than other people thought as well. Our professional record against legitimate tough competition was over 90% and although we where not at a reckognizable level as other MMA teams near and far, we where getting attention and building steam. People took us seriously, and rightfully so.

Fast forward a few years. One of my fellow trainees and close friends told me he had intentions to go to another team, a close abeit rival team. I told him of the pros and cons. He realized them, and made a decision to leave. The only stinger about this decision was that he was right on the verge of getting big big exposure. And changing camps would entail our camp, a growing team who started literally from the ground up, would get absolutely no national recognition when it came time to fight. He would be billed as this other teams fighter, and people would say "That makes sense" Never having any legitamacy brought to the people who bled, and sweat with him. This was disheartening, but he was his own man and thought his opportunity to improve was better, so he went. He was very good about giving recognition to his camp, and for that he deserves all the credit in the world. He did more than he had to to make sure our hard work was paid off. But in the end, he wont be remembered to most as a guy who started here.

I kept on trucking. This happens in MMA I realize. Its a part of the game. Go train with Camp B since they have a guy your style. The only issue with our camp was we had a bunch of good guys, but nobody readily seen on a national recognizable level. We needed people to fight or accomplish big things, that would get them seen and bring legitamacy to our group. We kept winning. Just recently we brought home two more titles for two more of our fighters. We are starting to get recognized. One of our fighters beats someone in less than a minute with legitamite international exposure and championship experience. Another grinds out a tough opponent who has went the distance with winning and current UFC veterans. We are doing well, and people are starting to realize we are to be taken very seriously.

A few months ago I began contimplating taking a big financial risk, throwing caution to the wind and starting a gym here in Cedar Rapids Ia. We have a phenominal strength and conditioning coach who is all in. A wealth of amateure boxers that can actually teach you how to throw down. Our established fighters with winning and undefeated ammy and pro records to boast. Locally they are all very well known and recognized. Nationally, not yet, but thats the level I wanted to take them too. Then I find out that one of our biggest stars, and someone I never would expect it from, is planning on making the same move my other friend did some months ago. To our competition. The reasoning is more opportunity and its right on the mark, there is more opportunity for bigger fights, for the coach of this fights has a proven track record and a pipeline to the big show. This coach has also made many promises that make the eyes of this fighter big. This coach also wants to manage this fighter, who has taken out two of his very own fighters.

So here I am at a crossroads. All my best people when they win a belt and any local notariety jump ship and go where bigger opportunity is easier and a less rocky road. This leaves me with less people to teach, less people to train with, and more importantly less credibility when another camp gets all the credit for training a fighter when we in fact did all the work and they scouped up a finders fee. I am dishearted and tired that all the work and hours I have sacrificed for people is a big waste of my time, when after I build them up, instead of staying and trying to make the thing work, they want to jump ship. I dont want to start a gym with a team full of guys that sais "If two of our best guys left us, I must be training with the wrong people"

I am a little old school, and I know cross training happens. But I am no MFS, Quest, ATT or anything else if all my talent goes elsewhere before I even put our place on the map. I feel like I am spinning my wheels, wasting my time and at a crossroads of if I am even going to be involved in this sport going forward at all. Since I have been on the UG since way back, I thought I would post, and see what people had to say about it.
7/10/08 1:08 AM
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GladiatorGannon
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good luck whatever you choose.
7/10/08 1:13 AM
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Macedawgg
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 Do what you do Keoni, and take solace in your integrity.  I have to believe, it pays off, eventually.  At worst, you will be extremely proud of what you did (even if the masses don't realize it).  If your heart is in it, listen, and ignore the head.
7/10/08 1:18 AM
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Keoni
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Wow thanks Mace, that is exactly what I was needing to hear man. Appreciate that feedback very much.
7/10/08 1:32 AM
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BZLJJ
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 Keoni,

I had a long drawn out response, but deleted it. Basically, what I will say is that I have always respected your training and admire what you have done with the group of guys that you have trained. I understand your frustration, but if you are really doing it for the "love" of it, then keep doing what you are doing. I think people will look back and realize that you gave "more" than what they are getting when they go other places. I have only heard positive things about you from everyone that I have ever talked to about you. It is hard when you don't have the "stars" that lure them to other places.

As for my other response, I deleted it, but would like to chat with you if you can email me and let me know the best time to call you?

Good luck ,and don't give up (you will eventually be drawn back in, and will have just lost that time! lol)!
7/10/08 1:33 AM
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orbit
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you started on a carpet, like most of us who watched the first UFC, doing wretched armbars on friends and loving every new thing you learned.
Yeah you may never have a national champion, you may never get any recognition but would the guy who started out sparring in kitchens and in basements give a fuck?
I totally understand the frustration you must feel, guys jumping ship and what not but that doesn't change what got them the skills to be able to jump ship.
If you are a good trainer and you are getting guys to that level, I say invest in yourself, if you keep producing quality fighters, it's time to take the next step, evolve with your goals.
7/10/08 1:34 AM
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SMACDADDY
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Man, I can't tell you what to do, but I definitely sympathize with you. The whole "jumping ship" thing has always bothered me. Especially when the ship's not sinking, but only because the other one is "better known".

There's not the same amount of devotion and staying power that there use to be back in the day. For instance, back in the TMA days, that's something you'd never do, even if some of it was "blind faith".

Unfortunately the sport breeds that sort of behavior. All you see in the big show is ATT, AKA, MFS, Extreme Couture, & Jackson's. It's not their fault though. They're great at what they do. I just wish more guys would stick to their roots. The whole, "I gotta do what's best for me mentality" is definitely the way to go if you're not concerned about others I guess. That might not be the wrong attitude, but it definitely conflicts with that of a coach who has to have "everyone's" best interest in mind.

The world just ain't what it use to be. Either way, best of luck to you man, and no matter what, keep on doing your thing.
7/10/08 1:38 AM
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Keoni
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"I gotta do what's best for me mentality" is definitely the way to go if you're not concerned about others I guess. That might not be the wrong attitude, but it definitely conflicts with that of a coach who has to have "everyone's" best interest in mind.

The world just ain't what it use to be. Either way, best of luck to you man, and no matter what, keep on doing your thing. "

Man, you just have no idea how much weight that carries right now. Once again thanks for the feedback.

Ron, call me tomorrow after 8PM if your still awake. I dont work Friday so I will be up late.
7/10/08 1:44 AM
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Hemlock
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You aren't done.

This is life showing you yet again that there is meaning in this for you.

It's like a version of reincarnation my friend - one that says "If you do not learn what the universe wants you to learn you will return to attempt that same lesson again"

You train to fight. It has meaning for you. I'll bet you feel that it helps you as a person to do this. Then fucking fight man. Do it!
7/10/08 1:46 AM
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BZLJJ
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 Keoni,

Will do!

But, don't freakin' give up man! You are obviously VERY good at what you do!  :)
7/10/08 2:05 AM
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JimmersonzGlove
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 Cool thread....good read. TTT
7/10/08 2:10 AM
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phoenixmma
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 Holy bat Frat-man.

ttt for mythreads for later.
7/10/08 5:55 AM
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CindyO
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 rrr
7/10/08 10:01 AM
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The Sultan
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 Is their a way for you to get some contacts in the industry?  Basically, I'm saying, if the other guys are leaving because "the road to the top" is easier at another location, then maybe you can keep working on getting your guys fights in bigger shows.

Some of the best teams I've ever witnessed had good connections and good opportunities.

You also may want to consider doing active recruitment....Find a HS or a college near you and see if any of the guys want to be fighters, etc, etc......I know a team who recruited like 5 -10 local wrestlers and taught them to be incredibly potent fighters.

Just a couple of ideas.....
7/10/08 10:23 AM
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YVES JOCKSTRAP
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I seriously think the Avellan bros would be good guys to discuss this with
7/10/08 10:27 AM
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BarkLikeADog
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Edited: 07/10/08 10:37 AM
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Recognition/"credit" is overrated. You have an emotional attachment to a something that doesn't & shouldn't exist.

Think of it this way:

Would your 1st grade teacher be upset that you went on to second grade?
7/10/08 10:37 AM
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YVES JOCKSTRAP
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Bark-

There is a huge difference between the two, and you know it.

A 1st grader is supposed to go on to second grade, the 1st grade teacher is paid to make sure you go on to the next grade and it is her goal to see you advance enough to move forward.

Cesar Gracie doesn't train Nick Diaz in the hopes that he will one day join ATT.
7/10/08 10:46 AM
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BJ > DORKUS
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 Do what you want to do because you want to do it. It's just like anything else; you can't do it because you want/need it to get to a certain point. At the risk of sounding cheesy, you have to do it because you love the journey, not because of the destination.


7/10/08 10:55 AM
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JrAsparagus
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Sadly, there are VERY few people who will not abandon a friend if the price is right. I wish I could tell ya that will change but it never will.
7/10/08 11:19 AM
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DJLastCall
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Edited: 07/10/08 11:19 AM
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Keoni - As it pertains to 'jumping ship' to the big gym: If you are not the guy that can get them where they want to be (big show, world champ, whatever) then can you blame them without being a bit selfish? It is their path to walk, brother.

Take heart in the fact that they are only being considered by that big gym BECAUSE of where you got them. If you trained douchebags, that guy with the connections wouldn't be interested in them. Would he?

Keep your chin up and be the foundation upon which great fighters are built, because rooftops can need work any time the wind blows too hard.
7/10/08 11:27 AM
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youloseftw
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 quit, imo

In the words of Charlie Murphy  "Yo, Why you gotta work so hard!?..."
7/10/08 11:38 AM
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DannyOcean
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Keoni,

I don't know you, I've never met you and never will. I don't know your first name, where you live or the first thing about you. But I do know that when one door closes, another one opens. Life is the decision to either keep banging in frustration on the closed door or to step into the unknown of a new door.

Good luck
7/10/08 11:42 AM
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SMACDADDY
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"Keoni - As it pertains to 'jumping ship' to the big gym: If you are not the guy that can get them where they want to be (big show, world champ, whatever) then can you blame them without being a bit selfish? It is their path to walk, brother"

He can get them where they want to be. That's not the issue. However, the path will be different, and not as "convenient". That's not a good enough reason to jump ship in my opinion. To me, it's actually more noble and admirable to do it the "hard" way. You truly get there on your own merits then. Not the combination of your skills and a hype machine. I'm not hating on the "hype machines" however, but bigger isn't always better.
7/10/08 11:50 AM
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SMACDADDY
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BarkLikeADog - Recognition/"credit" is overrated. You have an emotional attachment to a something that doesn't & shouldn't exist.

Think of it this way:

Would your 1st grade teacher be upset that you went on to second grade?



You get my vote for the "Ignorant Quote of the Year" award. That type of selfish attitude is what's making the world a crappier place day by day. Son, you actually learn more from grade to grade. Horrible analogy. That's not even the scenario here. They aren't necessarily learning more in this scenario, but just getting "connections".

In my opinion this is more like a woman that's married to a good, attractive, providing husband, who divorces him to marry a publicist/manager because he could help her career to become an actress. Skank.

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