10 Principles to Prepare for Battle

by Erik Paulson

How often do you get to see a victorious coach’s training plan?

On November 8th 2008, Erik Paulson was at the UFC (again) to coach and corner Brock Lesnar he squared off against the legendary Randy Couture.  At 3:07 of the first round Brock was pulled off Randy, declared the winner by TKO, and crowned the new UFC heavyweight champion. 

Almost exactly one week later I spent a day training with Erik.  Just as I was getting ready to head off, Erik showed me a checklist he’d written, summarizing his approach to MMA competition preparation.

I told him that my readers HAD to see this material, and I got his permission to share them with you.  Yes, they’re rough.  Yes, they’re unedited.  That doesn’t make them any less valuable or interesting!

Below are photos of Erik’s checklist.  Originally I wanted just display the notes themselves, but it turns out that penciled writing on marbled blue paper was really hard to read on a computer monitor, so I typed the content out for you below.

Stephan Kesting

Please Note: You can download this entire document as a PDF file by right clicking below. For a PC select “Save As” (for a Macintosh, Control-click and select “Save Link As…”).

10 principles for battle

Erik Paulson writes:

This is a general outline that you can apply to make sure all your bases are covered.  There can be more, or less, and the order can be changed due to your own urgency of importance.

The key is to prepare properly and have your guidelines to make sure that all your bases are covered.  Train, spar, drill, research, and develop strategies and tactics, visualize success, follow your game plan, rejoice in victory, pat yourself on the back and say, “job well done.” Now get back to the gym.  Win, lose or draw, chalk it up as experience and learning.

Remember – the will to prepare is important but the will to win is vital.  If you fail to prepare, prepare to fail.  Conditioning is the mother of all technique – when you are in shape you operate at a higher awareness; you are at your body’s best.  Gas in the tank means that you can do everything that you want to do.  A poisoned body is a poisoned mind.  Testicular fortitude and a smart, clear mind are a must.  So focus and win!


1: Basic Conditioning

  1. Cardio-aerobic
  2. Anaerobic-sprints, swimming
  3. Strength conditioning
  4. Core-strength conditioning
  5. Flexibility, stretching


2: Drilling the Basics

  1. Kickboxing/boxing – timing
  2. Wrestling-takedowns, tackles, clinching
  3. Ground: transitions, escapes, attacks
  4. Footwork, running, skipping rope


3: Work Ethics

  1. Time, schedule
  2. Consistency: 5 days on, 2 days off
  3. Training routine: days or nights?
  4. Coach and partners for striking, grappling, lifting, running, swimming


4: Game Development

  1. Drilling, attacks, defenses, reversals
  2. Sparring: standing, clinching, ground
  3. Utilizing only high percentage tricks
  4. Pushing yourself to failure and beyond


5: Attacking Your Weaknesss

  1. Standing: striking, boxing, kickboxing (attack and defense)
  2. Clinching, takedowns, throws
  3. Ground: positions, submissions, striking


6: Pressure Test (Sparring)

  1. Boxing, kickboxing clinch
  2. Shootbox (striking with takedowns and throws)
  3. Takedowns (wrestling)
  4. Ground: submissions, ground and pound
  5. Cage and Ring: awareness and control
  6. Meat grinder: new person every 2 minutes

7: Developing a Game Plan

  1. Creating your strategy
  2. Acknowledging your opponent
  3. Applying your plan to win
  4. Problem solving, creating a back-up plan, conditioning (getting through a hard workout)


8: Controlling Your Performance

  1. Building, peaking, drilling, conditioning, cutting weight
  2. Balancing home and social obligations


9: Proper Rest, Recuperation, Nutrition

  1. Massage, Jacuzzi, sleep and eat
  2. Down time
  3. Vitamins and minerals, protein intake, carbohydrate intake


10: Meditation, Prayer, Visualization

  1. Mental preparation
  2. Game plan: mental visualization, walk through a fight start to finish, visualizing victory
  3. Pray for God’s assistance
  4. Support: peers, family, training team

For more information please visit www.erikpaulson.com

Once Again: You can download this entire document as a PDF file by right clicking below. For a PC select “Save As” (for a Macintosh, Control-click and select “Save Link As…”).

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