As a best friend, Sultan Ali covers up for me in the areas, of life in and outside the gym, I lack in and/or tend to overlook despite their vital importance. One of those areas has been the Strength & Conditioning aspect of Team Fight Fortress. We have been working alongside for years now and his understanding of the fight game is far deeper than mine. Due to his ‘active participation’ in and outside the ring, he has built what I call ‘the common sense of fighting’. During competitions, it is usually him that tells the boys, in between rounds, what needs to be done to win. His ways are simple and highly effective; just what combat sports are about.
He created a strength and conditioning program for the team which has helped our fighters expand their skills exponentially. Reason being; they’re not as tired as they used to be, a few months ago. The program is a forty five minute routine that basically pushes your mind, body and spirit to the limits by making you use each and every major muscle group in your body. It consists of explosive, aerobic, and strength exercises; basically simulating a fight situation where the pace of the fight keeps changing, and one has to use his strength more often. The other day, Kami and Haider beat each other to a pulp for forty eight straight minutes, in Muay Thai class. Now these were the guys with a stamina problem. And it is not just the stamina but the fighting spirit of the team that has evolved after training under the tutelage of Sultan. He pushes them harder than ever, makes sure nobody misses a single rep or a second of the workout, and keeps the energy level of the class high at all times. It is thanks to his contribution that during sparring sessions I now see more and more guys battling to defend a choke that is deeply sunk or a joint lock that is about to be executed, guys that used to tap out of fear. This is all because they’re being pushed to their limits more times during the conditioning routine, usually more than the fight itself. They blackout, they throw up, and then they get back to the class to start where they had left it. Also, Sultan now gets to use my Kali stick, that was lying around in my room, on the boys who try to cheat or skip a rep during the workout.
At the end of the day, we’re making hard working, honest and dedicated men outta our boys (cause there ain’t many of those left, and the Oldie upstairs continues to shock us with His ‘genetic engineering’).
Just so you have an idea (and to hone my cinematography skills), I shot a glimpse of one of the training sessions.