EXCLUSIVE (Part 1) | Sidelined With Injury Brandon Vera Focuses On Teaching / Seminar At Alliance MMA | Fist-Ta-Cuff Radio
While currently sidelined with an injured hand, UFC heavyweight fighter Brandon Vera has continued his involvement with MMA through coaching. Vera talked with BJPenn.com’s Fist-Ta-Cuff Radio about his approach to coaching at Alliance MMA.
By Christopher Murphy @MurphMMA
Brandon Vera, long-time UFC fighter, has been out with a broken hand. The injury has forced Vera from training, something he is eager to recommence, but in the meantime he has busily engaged in one of his other passions: teaching.
Vera spoke with BJPenn.com’s Fist-Ta-Cuff Radio about teaching in San Diego, California at Alliance MMA and about participating at the gym’s impressive upcoming seminar.
“When I get to the gym and watch the guys train,” Vera said of his students and training partners at Alliance, “the pace that they’re putting down and the beating that they’re putting on each other, I’m kind of jealous. So I am looking forward to the seminar. I’m looking forward to taking the seminar, even with a cast on I’m probably going to be in there learning stuff and taking notes anyways. It’s like the who’s who and the what’s what of MMA, man!”
This seminar, which is put on by Bad Boy clothing company, will feature UFC fighters Alexander Gustafsson, Demian Maia, Erick Silva, Wilson Reis and Stipe Miocic in addition to Brandon Vera.
“The whole team over there at Bad Boy Clothing, they just, they do it, man,” Vera said. “They get it, and they understand what the sport wants, what the sport needs, what the fans desire; and [they] try to make everybody’s dreams come true. Having a seminar put together like this, not on short notice, but for this level of talent I guess you could say it was short notice, you know? Some of the guys, Erick Silva just finished fighting. Gus[tafsson] just finished fighting. It’s an amazing thing to be put together, and I’m really glad that the whole Bad Boy team got to put it together. And it’s at Alliance, are you kidding me?! It’s one of the best, the craziest seminars that has ever been offered in the world, and it’s at our gym!”
Of course, the opportunity to teach is something at which Vera will jump almost as quickly as he does a fight.
“Teaching the seminar, teaching is something I love, man. I love teaching, I enjoy it. When people understand, or when the light goes on and people understand the technique, the timing or the combination that I’m talking about – it’s a beautiful thing to see, and I take my time, and I make sure that everybody understands what I’m teaching…”
As far the logistical side of teaching, Vera says that he plans ahead as much as he can – but much like a fight, he adapts his plan according to his students.
“So I already have a game plan in my head of what I want to go over and things I want to accomplish for the day. But that list becomes shortened and chopped up depending on who’s at the seminar. And the way I see who’s at the seminar [is] I show up, introduce myself, shake hands, talk to everybody for a minute. We always start off with shadow boxing, and I watch shadow boxing: I watch people move, I watch their footwork, I watch their technique, and then I can start breaking people down into groups, and then I start breaking them down in techniques. Then I can break them down into the level of teaching that they need and the level of combinations or skill-sets that we can use while we’re showing stuff. So it doesn’t seem like a lot, but it is a lot, if that makes sense?”
His approach is tried and true, not only from the perspective of the coach, but from the years of being a student and learning from coaches both good and bad.
“There’s a lot of differences between good seminars and bad seminars. And everybody on that list teaches a good seminar, so if you want to have a good time and you want to see what a seminar is supposed to be like, come to Alliance that day. The only reason why we teach so well is because all of us – all of the guys in that group on that day – have taken seminars themselves from many different instructors around the world from many different styles of training. And we understand we’ve had good coaches and bad coaches, so we’ve all taken the good stuff and we try to pass that on along as well as we were taught.”
If the workshops with six top UFC fighters were not enough of a draw, the Bad Boy seminar also allows participants to join the fighters for a UFC viewing party, something Vera says will be an eye-opener.
“You get to go see how the professional fighters actually go and watch fights, how excited we get, how big of a dork or fan we are. You get to see that side of us as well. You get to see us barking and being us inside the gym, but then when it’s time to relax and kick back, they get to see that too.”
Of course, for Brandon Vera, all of this is an opportunity to give back to the community and reach out to his fans – things he has come to appreciate very much.
“It’s not something I can really describe in words or put into perspective for anybody to understand. It would be like me explaining to you how it would feel to walk on the moon or to see the earth looking back from being in a space shuttle, because I’ve never done it before, you know? Unless you’re an astronaut, you’ve never done it before. It’s hard to explain, man. When somebody tells you that, or when somebody talks to you, or when somebody looks up to you that much, it’s a different kind of feeling, man… It makes you feel a lot of pride.”
The Bad Boy/Alliance seminar will take place in San Diego, CA this Saturday, October 19, for anyone interested. More information can be found at Alliancegym.com.
Also, be sure to catch the second part of Brandon Vera’s interview where he talks about his haters! You can listen to the entire interview below.