Training for a competition with Dai Master Rafael Nieto is a full-time job for our Senseis here at Xen-Do. Master Raf’s famous saying is “Kill, Smash and Destroy”. Just by that statement you can feel the pain that these fighters are in each and every training session. Not only is it the physical pain of working out until their lungs are burning and legs want to give out, it’s the psychological warfare they go through dieting, preparing and conditioning themselves for Barcelona.
Each of the Sensei’s reaction to the competition training has a different spin, depending on their physical and mental starting points for training. All of this hard work is working towards this one day of fighting and will all be worth it.
From Sensei Kasheme’s point of view, the hardest part is consistency.
“You have to give it your all every time you walk into the dojo. You cannot have an “off day” when you are training at this intensity.”
Sensei Paul thinks along the same line as Sensei Kasheme, that you must put everything you have into your training.
“This is a whole different type of training.” Sensei Paul says, “You must be perfect with every kick, punch, sweep and move you make or you risk all of the hard work you put in striving to win. We train all year round, allowing us to pick up bad habits when it comes to perfection. Within the walls of Xen-Do if your techniques are not perfect, fellow Senseis will look after you, correcting every wrong move. Once in the ring, however, if your techniques are not perfect, your opponent will take advantage of that and bring you to the ground.”
Sensei Judah has had to focus his energy on losing weight for this competition. 2 weeks out from the trip to Barcelona and he has already lost over 13 kilos to get into his prime weight category. He says, “I like to eat. So, dieting is hard.” Focusing on diet hasn’t taken away any of his focus on training though, as he works hard every single day to perfect his form and prepare his body for his full contact fight on the 3rd June.
Sensei Nicolas says that the hardest part of competition training was the beginning.
“It took me a bit to get my stamina back after not training at this intensity for a while,” Sensei Nicolas says, “but now that I have my stamina, the rest is falling into place and I am ready for Barcelona”.
Sensei Anthony, son of Master Raf, has been through competition training with his father many times. In his opinion the hardest part is turning up. He says, “when your body is on its last legs, when you don’t want to move from bed…you still have to turn up and perform at your best”.
These Senseis work day in and day out to teach Xen-Do students how to develop their Martial Arts skills all the while eating what they must eat to reach their weight division goals and train with the legend, Dai Master Rafael Nieto.
See you in Barcelona!