Author: www.raphruiz.com

The Devil & Success is in the Details


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If engagement levels dictate carry-over success, then conventional wisdom should always be challenged, driving a shift in our mental approach is imperative.  We must deal with the positive & negative reactions of everything that we do.

Tyler & Ryan

“Conventional wisdom is often times more convention and less wisdom” For many reasons, the application of the T-Spine Lat Pull Over not only rivals but exceeds the Vertical Pull Up as a foundation for amphibious athletic development. Barring personal orthopedic considerations, there is absolutely nothing wrong with the implementation of either into comprehensive and systematic training systems. But to dig deeper, just like all exercises, higher levels of engagement lead to greater cross-education benefits into accelerating specific skill acquisition.

In order for athletes to increase in both volume and/or intensity, there is great temptation to EXCESSIVELY shorten levers in vertical pulling, which is completely contradictory to amphibious success. These include but are not limited to again EXCESSSIVE lordotic (low back) curvature, femoral rotation & abduction, shoulder girdle protraction/anterior tilt/elevation, upper thoracic spinal flexion and cervical extension to reach the chin over the bar. Some of these apply to V-Pulls as well T-Spine Pull Overs, but the temptation is real and it is overwhelmingly great.

The algebraic self-check for efficacy dictates that we always ask ourselves: In the heat of the moment of each and every rep, am i dynamically displaying strength while maintaining the essential posture & positioning that my skill and sport require for me to be successful?  We always have to put our athletes in positions to be successful in the weight room that connect to success in the arenas. Streamlining can’t be thought of only as an in-water skill, but an emulsifier for all program design/application, a complete philosophical shift and way of life.

Long Axis V-Pull

Long Axis V-Pull

sDb T-Spine Lat Pull Over.png

sDb T-Spine Lat Pull Over

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Stealing Glory


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Agony of Defeat & Bitter Vindication

Alysia Montano losing to 2 doper at the London Olys

“Years Later, Bittersweet Victory for Alysia Montaño”

New York Times article by Christopher Clary

800M Womens’ Final at the 2012 London Olympics.  Three years later, 1st finisher Ekaterina Poistogova & 3rd finisher Mariya Savinova have been stripped of their medals.  They are part of a national ban from the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) after the World Anti-Doping Agency’s Independent Commission published allegations of systemic and state sponsored doping within Russian athletics.  The implications are far reaching and the extent may never be fully grasped for decades.  Russian world champion Lovchev is among 17 new doping cases from last year’s 2015 World Weightlifting Championships.

‘Inside the Games’ article  IWF (Doping)

Maria Sharapova recently admitted to taking a performance enhancing substance (Meldonium, an endurance enhancer) for the last 10 years.  To what advantage will be debated till the end of time as her list of defeated opponents will always question the final results and ask themselves “if only”.

Maria Sharapova (Meldonium) Les Carpenter’s article ‘The Guardian’

These are a few recent moments in sports history of the PED guilty and their unspoken victims.  It goes without saying that the ones who chose to play by the rules, who are committed to participate with a commitment to integrity are the biggest losers.  In this day and age of high tech “performance enhancing substances and gene doping” the limits of cheaters’ potential has become limitless.  I’ve had many, many open conversations with athletes that are committed to participating with integrity.  There is always hope that those who are choosing to turn their back to true spirit of competition will be caught and proven guilty.  But there are two things that must be evolved in order to continue fighting the good fight.  Firstly, there must be an understanding that cheaters are not after the medal; they want to steal the glory.  Even if they are proven guilty after the fact, the brief moment with their faces in the sun can never be given to its rightful owner.  Being handed the well-deserved medal 3 or 4 or 10 years after the fact is a bitter pill to swallow, which is often internally rejected.  Along with this glory comes the fame, the fortune through endorsement deals, the incentives and the perpetual springboards for future successes outside of sports that escapes everyone else.

Secondly, every integrity-driven athlete should push to the fore front of their motivational mind and assume that they will be competing against performance enhancing substances.  This will lead to the acceptance that competitors who may not be contenders are now major players and the gifted will now perform super human feats.  This means that your successes will be in the minute details.  Every single variable that can be improved upon must be tinkered with and sharpened.  In training we know those guys that leave the line or wall early.  It drives us nuts and we go after them to catch them and to show them that “cheaters never win”.  This turns out to be a great training tool as it develops our sense of psychomotor urgency and the development of increased speed that comes with it.  In the context of this paper, PED users proverbially get off of the line earlier in terms of years.  In maintain a competitive field, greater efficiency as much as greater power must be called upon to not only catch up, but to surpass them.  There won’t be any greater feeling in the world knowing that you are the best in class, beating others’ attempt at all costs.

Cross every “t” and dot every “i”

Train Smarter…Train Harder.

S3
The Sword & Soul is born & bred. You inherit a weapon, the expression of your kinetic creativity. Yet only through blood, sweat & tears can your warrior’s soul be refined, a psychomotor wisdom that drives your very actions. When a sharp sword is wielded by hands of a wise soul, then limitless freedom abounds to shape their own destiny.

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“Train Heroically”

Political Correctness helps to…


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Suppress Potential

PC Leads to you sucking!

Link to article by Jessica Stillman (Contributor, Inc.com)

My blatant insensitivity to perceived irrelevance has just been proven by science to be a great tool at avoiding the pitfalls of political correctness, which suppresses potential.  In many regards, my lack of sympathy often gets me labeled as a jerk.  i have never been one to stand on a base of negativity that i’ve personally built.  Yet many hard chargers like myself will admit that the incessant complaining of others only fuels our fires, spring-boarding our performances above their perceived despair.  “The more that they complain and the worse that they look, the stronger that I get.” Dr. Seth Gasser often war cried as he pushed feats of performances left only for the imagination of the average man.  Complaining has always seemed poor utilization of efforts as i’ve always flashed an askanced look when told that i should vent to release built-up emotional tension because i’ve forever felt that it is a complete waste of psycho-motor ammunition used to destroy barriers.

Askanced

[a·skance (ə-skăns′, a·skant, ə-skănt′) adv. 1. With disapproval, suspicion or distrust]

“…complaining is bad for your mood and the mood of your friends and colleagues, but that’s not all that’s wrong with frequent negativity.  Apparently, it’s also bad for your brain and your health.” states Jessica Stillman in her recent article about being negative and the trap of venting in order to make you feel better.

In summation, click here to watch the famous “Jackwagon!” Geico commercial featuring:

Psychotherapist R. Lee Ermey

Jackwagon

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S3 Askanced (Black on White)

Balance for the High Speed


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Great read by Vincent Vargas for

Special Operations, LEO and…

any & all who are obsessively pursuing their dreams.

Vincent Vargas

“The pitch black room was fitting for my state of mind. This was my reward for being meant for something greater than me; it was my prize for being good at a job many couldn’t do or even wanted to do. You find out after a while that filling every breath you have with this lifestyle, and giving all of yourself to it, will draw the ironic cruelty of life leaving you with seemingly nothing.”

“Special Operations and Law Enforcement: The Importance of Balance”

by Vincent Vargas

“I had friends who tried to warn me, who had seen this coming, as I put this job above everything else. But it was simpler for me, I was the right size peg for this hole. Why else would God put this in my heart? He must have a plan for me. Whatever that plan may be, I wasn’t willing change myself. I had tried. They say the path of the warrior is a solitary one. You work so hard to climb the ladder, to accomplish impossible achievements, but in the end there is nobody to share it with.”

Raider Project

Click here to visit the Raider Project to find out more.

“When I returned home to the real world, I found myself standing on level ground with people who had taken a completely different path with their time on this Earth. I looked at the guy next door and wished my life was that easy, while he looked at me and wished his could’ve been this exciting.”

Vincent Vargas (COO Article 15 Clothing)

All quotes by Vincent Vargas.

Please visit his clothing line: Article 15 Clothing

For me to get better…


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Honesty, Humility & Pre-Mortem

Holly Holm

Click to see UFC Champion Holly Holm’s interview (MMAWeekly.com)

weighs Ronda Rousey’s “I am still undefeated”statement

Holm Lands High Kick

“For me, when I’ve been there: I lost that fight.  Why did I lose that fight?  I lost focus.  I didn’t perform well.  I didn’t do what I was supposed to do.  And for me, I had to be honest with myself in order to get better…(without that) i wouldn’t have changed things.”

– UFC Champion Holly Holm

And NEW

“…and the NEW!  UFC Champion of the world…”

The power of the human mind can elevate athletes’ potential further than what can be imagined.  We are quick to forget just how jagged of a pill that defeat can be.  Genetically gifted talents, iron will and star-studded bravado all work to build the confidence that we need to be successful.  But let’s sharpen our EQ (Emotional Quotient), go against the grain and develop an uncommon practice of Pre-mortem.  More often seen in successful military and business strategic campaigns in which leadership imagines that a project or organization has failed.  Then the team works to reverse engineer in determining what potentially could lead to the failure of the project or organization.  These vulnerability self-evaluations should be likened to 2002 Steven Spielberg’s “Minority Report”, where Chief Tom Anderton (Tom Cruise) utilizes a team of “Pre-Cogs” to look into the future to prevent crimes.

Minority Report

Take this practice into 2 distinct yet intertwined levels.  Superficially, pre-mortem is a great motivator during difficult moments in training.  Feelings of physical discomfort such as hyper-elevated heart & respiratory rates, highly acidic muscles, the pain of stretching and the total mind-screw of not having the ability to strictly perform movements all create very uncomfortable environments.  These are teaching opportunities that should be used to drive understanding that our weaker links will eventually lead to disappointing performances at best, catastrophic failures at worst.  Utilize athletes’ internal drive to attack weaknesses, thus decreasing their contribution to ineffectiveness in the arenas.  The deeper level entails constantly bettering battlefield positions.  For instance, successful racing is about playing within two variations of hyper-velocity, Speed Reserve & Speed Endurance.  Being so fast that you can cruise through prelims is a great example of reserve, having more horse power than the athlete needs.  Speed Endurance is not only having the metabolic effectiveness to sustain desired pace, but more importantly having the efficiency and a high level of injury resistance that doesn’t force the aforementioned prelims and racing to be extremely taxing.  Non-top tier athletes are forced to lay it all on the line just to get into the next round, much less the Finals.  Whereas those through nature & nurture who have significant Speed Reserve & Speed Endurance can conserve going into the last dance, ready to put on a show.  But, bad prelims often lead to bad lane assignments. Fight sciences have taught us that cruising into the weigh-in, not having to cut dramatic amounts of weight will make all of the difference in the world when they’re standing in the center of the ring.

Its the norm of our optimistic, human nature to celebrate what we’re good at and to outwardly shine the sexiness of our strengths.  Those with experience know that every fight gym is filled with athletes that can strike hard, every basketball court lines up athletes that can dunk and we’re all amazed at just how good the quarterback is.  But as true as the sun rises each and every day:

Defense wins championships!  We never bet on it and more often against it.  But, it is a reality that has stood the test of time.  Pre-mortem practice is one of the best proactive, defensive tools that we can use to elevate potential.  This in turn drives what we all should strive to achieve, sustainability & reliability.  Because, we all want to stay there once we’ve had that sweet taste of success.  In order for us to be in position to develop these, it will require the honesty that comes with maturity, a check-your-ego-at-the-door humility and a commitment to constantly improving.

Slick'd (White No BG)

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To Be a Monster…


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Tenacious & Relentless & Preparedness

Mark Ruffalo Incredible Hulk“I was rejected about 600 times without booking a role…most smart people would have quit when it takes that long.  A key part of being an actor is managing rejection. It’s all about being professional, not taking the rejection personally, and moving on quickly to prepare for your next opportunity.”

– Mark Ruffalo (Dr. Bruce Banner & The Incredible Hulk ‘Avengers’)

S3 Askanced (White on Black)

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Being Weird


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Psychosis

Its much more important than we think

“The more weird you are is a reflection on how committed you are to focusing on your shit.  Molding and shaping and developing your ideas and your craft so that when its time for you to make your rounds, you are going to fly.  The life that i live, i deserve this life because i worked my ass off to get it.”

“Focus” (motivational video featuring Tyrese Gibson)

At each and every single step of the way, preparing athletes for the pressures of successes must be built up over time.  A higher level of weirdness must not only be habitual, but practiced being acceptable.  There are myriad of moments where we throw motivational speeches at athletes that Capt. Obvious proclaim the need to push the envelope of discomfort, to train with an insatiable type of insanity and rightly encourage a psychotic level of self-sacrifice.

“Don’t have a plan B…Don’t Quit…I’m a champion…Don’t save anything for the swim back…Train heroically…To be a monster, you’ve got to train like a beast, Rawwwwwwwr!”

But whether we choose to accept it or not, a reality exists that forces itself on each and every one of us when we look into the mirror.  At these moments we can lower our shoulders, put our heads down and keep charging forward.  Or, we can fall into a trap of despair.  As true professionals we proclaim to do more to look past the shallow development of the physical athlete.  We all commercialize that we are here to shape and mold what is inside just as much as what can be seen and accomplished within the arenas.  We preach to those who have entrusted us to be strong in the face of social and personal pressures as a prerequisite in our pursuit of excellence.  In order to accomplish what we scream from the mountain top, we must effectively prepare them by addressing 2 very important questions that are vital for their big picture longevity & sustainability.

Firstly, have we prepared to positively deal with failures every step of the way?  It is the use of these coping mechanisms that will be the fundamental building blocks of our skill sets when life’s proverbial hurdles trip us up.  We must develop emotional fluidity, a high level of mental agility that allows us to put into action comprehensive solutions that help to solve life problems.  Secondly, we must deal with constantly driving athletes to define themselves by what they accomplish.  Whether we directly contribute to this mindset or not, we are often a major part of the problem if we do not address this reality.  In the community of human movement sciences, we are constantly motivated by the mental capacities of hard-charging, accomplished & gifted athletes.  Whether nature or nurture, their wiring is driven to succeed in the arenas.  But rarely is the hard-charging, fire-breathing, breaking-through all barriers and letting nothing stand in the way of our dreams athlete prepared for the moments when those goals are accomplished.  We have defined ourselves for the better parts of our lives in the pursuit and by the pursuit.  Many often forget about the moments when the spotlight turns off and you are left there with only memories.  A higher level of integrity must drive us to consider our work to build monsters that we turn loose in the arenas because we have a societal tendency to use up all resources till they run dry.  There will come a time when the monster isn’t needed anymore.  What does it look like at the end of a life of high speed, low drag?

Ampersand

There is layered meaning to all that we accomplish, superficial & deep and butterfly-effect near & far.  The ampersand symbol also resembles a broken infinity, constantly reminding us that nothing lasts forever but there is always an AND.

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Effort & Efficiency


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“When its needed the most, we’re normally at our worst.”

Missed the Mark

Understanding the difference between training at a high level versus high level training can be accomplished by recognizing the normal end result of all of our efforts.

Take a moment to reflect on our all of our life’s experiences.  When we are most frustrated, the best action for positive effect would have been the opposite of what we displayed.  When maintaining composure was the best course of action, but instead we wigged-out and lost it.  When movement and action would have increased the probability of success, but instead we froze with inaction.  These are not meant to be insults, just the standard of human interaction with this day and age in the environments that we now live in.  In order to rise above this norm, it requires the development of our basic physiological adaptations like getting stronger, more powerful, faster and such.  But the key to utilizing this potential for greatness requires a very special key.  That key is the sharpening of our skills in using the mental & emotional drivers that we acquire through systematic training.  These are force multipliers when it comes to displaying our athleticism.  Every training session is riddled with situations that are uncomfortable enough that it force us to recognize our emotional responses to failure, to pain and reaches that line where every athlete will compromise integrity of posture, positioning and temporarily quitting.  Do we get angry or frustrated?  What kind of face are we wearing?  Then, we have to recognize how much does this effect our coordination.  What is the result of all of our output?  But not measured in effort rather in efficiency, because often times hard charging athletes forget the difference between success in training and successes in the arenas.  Yes the development of specific high-level skills requires commensurate high-level efforts.  But the development of our psychomotor drive is the spring of our springboard that launches performances.  Training at a high level is a basic foundation for success, but it is only the ground floor.  Efforts that push high-level training will drive high-level performance efficiencies.  Any proverbial big, dumb animal will continually try to shove the even more proverbial square peg into the round hole for a thousand frustrating reps, get a bit of soreness and call it a good workout.

images

It will be in your effortless, ease of movements within the arenas that that will let you know just how much your smarter added to your already existing harder that has made your training more effective, equating to greater efficiency.

S3 Askanced (W&B No BG)

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Psychomotor Drive


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Screen Shot (Final Pursuit)“The Last of the Mohicans” (The Final Pursuit) We train tirelessly to increase our Kinetic Quotient (KQ) which is our movement quality which is summated by our efficiency, connectivity and stability. Digging deeper, we view stability as our controlled display of strength and power through dynamic ranges of motion. As athletes we also study our craft, the ins and outs within our arenas that pushes our Intelligence Quotient (IQ). Increasing our comprehension, situational awareness and the understanding of the complexities of the moment gives athletes distinct advantages because it reduces the amount of mistakes made. Athleticism is great, but if we are always making incorrect decisions and moving in the wrong direction, the the aforementioned athleticism is null & void. Lastly, the development of our Emotional Quotient (EQ) is our emulsifying psychomotor drive, the sharpening our ability to do what we have to do at the exact moment when it needs to be done. Maintaining composure, being in position to take advantage of situations when they present themselves, critical thinking under duress are all vital skills that teeter an athlete on failure and success. Train Heroically with Sword & Soul Solutions: [https://marketplace.trainheroic.com/#/team/Ruiz-Team-1441051043]

Learn What NOT to Do


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Sometimes on the way to the dream you get lost and find a better oneSmall & grand, failures are waypoint evaluations, learning experiences. En route to our ‘dream’ we are always striving to learn what to do. On these journeys we get lost and are then faced with much frustration, insurmountable annoyances and brewing anger. But, these strong feeling mask the opportunities to learn what NOT to do which is more often more important as learning what to do. In this day and age we push to define ourselves with mantras and mission statements. Periodically we should stop to check the big picture map to define and redefine who we are not. This keeps us centered on our skill sets and lets our passion drive us through adversities. Train Heroically with Sword & Soul Solutions: [https://marketplace.trainheroic.com/#/team/Ruiz-Team-1441051043]