The Traveling Song of EKS

In this blog, Ehtashim Karim Shaheen aka EKS, PAK MMA Secretary of North Zone and head coach at Team Fight Fortress describes his MMA journey

I’ve been around the world, in the pouring rain
Feeling out of place, really feeling strange

My Martial Arts journey started with practicing kicks I’d watch in action movies. I looked across the country for an academy I’d call home but none of the places I visited satisfied me (I did not go to EVERY Martial Arts academy in Pakistan, just for the record), because none of them had to offer what I was looking for; a training system where I could train and fight with minimal rules [I hate too many rules, besides, I knew about MMA but knew for a fact that there was no place, in Pakistan, that trained in it]. As a result, I decided to start studying it myself.

I’m a fish out of water, lion out of the jungle

Untitled-1 copySomewhere along the road, Sultan trained me, informally, in Taekwondo and then convinced me to train formally. I complied by starting training under Master Wan [Nowsherwan], followed by short training in Kyokushin, under Master Nasir. A couple of years later I was on my own, again. But the formal training had changed my perception a LOT, it had also added to my knowledge and broadened my horizons. I had a solid foundation of kicking, punching, kneeing and elbowing. So I made tweaks, applied my own spins, and manifested my imaginative creations in my body language during training [8-9 hours a day]. Next stop was Wrestling, I started with the Shoot, drilled it day and night and made crazy progress. What I did to achieve that was pretty simple; I’d do Shoot after Shoot, hundreds of reps [keeping strict form]. I then worked, thoroughly, on the other offensive and defensive aspects of Clinch Fighting [Striking, Take-downs, Throws, Reversals, Level Changes, Dirty Boxing, and Submissions], and made it versatile by adding elements of various arts that specialized in fighting in the Clinch. Ground was the biggest problem because I failed to spot and get a hold of an edge so I could untangle the subject, through a proper pattern. But I was consistent; never gave up, kept looking for more and more answers; appropriate answers. Gradually, it started to come to me, and boy did it get on the fast track in no time. I hacked away at the unessential [anything that looked even remotely impractical]. The arts I dabbled, seriously, with were Muay Thai [both Traditional Thai Style and Dutch Style], Savate, Capoeira, Boxing, Greco Roman, Freestyle Wrestling, Catch As Catch Can, Judo, Sambo, Brazilian Jiujitsu (No Gi), Maphilindo and Madjapahit Silat, Shotokan, Sanshou [Sanda], Krav Maga, Wing Chun, Choy Lee Fut, Daido Juku, Pekiti Tersia, and 52 Blocks. The major chunk of my time was spent understanding the basics and major principles of the arts, from there on it was leap after leap. The next major stop was the subject of Combat Fitness. I was never a fan of rep ranges or sets; an example of that is my combat conditioning routine below:

Exercise Days Per Week: 4 [Mon and Tue = Training, Wed = Off, Thu and Fri = Training, Sat and Sun = Off ]
Exercise Sessions Per Day: 1 or 2 [2 hrs/session]
Squats Per Session: 750 [in a go] in one session, and in the second; 100×6, 1×150 [I obviously worked my way up for the ‘750 in a go’]
Knuckle Push Ups Per Session: 400 [2×200 in one session, and 4×100 in the other]

Note: Technique Training was a separate four to five hours. I’d add Pull Ups, Chin Ups, Supported Handstand Push Ups, Isometrics & Plyometrics, Explosive Training and Core Training to the mix by replacing one, or both, exercise(s) with the other(s), depending upon the rest I had given to a particular muscle group. I followed this routine for six months [Six years later, with a light maintenance, I am still more chiseled than most of the people who train regularly]

10277136_10152063071310069_4164338123702026287_n copyAfter a while, I fell in love with Yoga, Power Lifting, Olympic Lifting, Kettle-bell Training, and Bodyweight Training at first sight. The love only bloomed after I read & tested more. Needless to mention, I added, whatever I deduced to be more relevant to my needs as a Mixed Martial Artist, to my fighting system. Since I am a self learned man, and I am bound to commit the most stupid mistakes, I only recently got serious about the study of Nutrition. Not that I wasn’t conscious about my diet, I just did not take it as a subject because my mind was preoccupied with the technical aspect of the fight game. I consider myself a preschooler in the field [and I shall continue to study].

Over the period of years, I have come to believe there are two types of techniques that stay with a person [something he/she calls his/her knowledge]; one that he/she likes when he/she sees it, and one that he/she might not like but would still remember [may be you drilled it more, may be you felt well doing it; any random reason]. So out of all the stuff I went through, I kept some and threw some away, compiled, what I had kept, in an order, and based upon that I created some more. My students were my ‘lab rats’ [P.S: I love them so much], and their fights a test of authenticity of my methods. We racked in way more wins than losses, but I [and my boys] learnt the most from our losses [individual and collective]. That also boosted and sped up the pace of progress. I have no learning lineage and/or formal grades in most of the arts I have practiced over the period of years, and neither am I interested in getting any. But my methods have worked in the cage and in the streets, and I am surrounded with living proofs and walking-talking success stories [which basically is ‘job well done’ for me]. Furthermore, just like a complete Martial Art, my system delivered the mental/psychological and spiritual results of the training as well. People with bullying issues, suffering from being bullied, anger management issues, issues related to confidence, self esteem, ego, and people with stress related issues etc started to benefit, and make progress listening to, following and implementing what I taught them.

See I’ve been traveling, been traveling forever
But now that I’ve found a home,
Feels like I’m in HEAVEN…

Taken from EKS’s blog



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