Archive for June, 2008

Today is my anniversary :-)

Auto Date Monday, June 30th, 2008

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Introduction
==============

Around 1:00am this morning, my wife announced, “It’s been 6 years.”

And I popped up and sat up in the bed and said in a defensive tone, “Six years for what?!?!” I was thinking that she was going to get on me about something that I hadn’t done, or something that I lost that she just thought about at this hour, or about something that I did 6 years ago, that I don’t even remember that I did.

But she said, “Honey, we’ve been married for six years. It’s been six years since we got married.”

To which I replied, “Oh, yeah, that’s right” and then I laid back down and went to sleep.

Man, I was just dozing off and my wife woke me up, had my heart racing, damn near gave me a heart attack and then announced the good news that we have been married for 6 years.

Well, I’m here to say that I am excited and happy to be married to a wonderful lady for 6 years, unfortunately, I couldn’t be as excited as I am now at 1am :-)

Since today is Monday, my wife and I celebrated our anniversary this past weekend along with our son Rufus. We took Rufus to some place called Fun World or Fun Spot or something like that in Orlando and watched him play until his eyeballs damn near fell out because he got so tired and then we took him home and had a nice romantic evening and dinner.

So that was my weekend in a nutshell.

Today I’m going to take Rufus to the zoo and work on my dissertation.

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On The Coaching
Side
================

One of my former clients called me this weekend to tell me that she qualified for the Olympic Trials in Track and Field. I was shocked to hear from her.

She literally found out that she had qualified for the Olympic Trials in the 400 meters 1 day before her event. She flew out to Eugene, Oregon, picked up her credentials and was running the next day.

As soon as she arrived she called me and said, “I was thinking about who I could call to calm me down and help me not be so nervous and the first and only person that I know who could help me is you.”

–> http://www.rhadi.com/beyondtherings/btr.html

I was honored and flattered. I gave her the best advice that I could muster and also called 2000 Olympian Cara Heads and got her on the phone too, since she and I used to mentor and coach this young lady. Cara gave some sound advice and even went to “preaching” a little bit on the phone. I was impressed. At one point on the call I said, “Go ‘head Bishop Heads!” To which we all laughed about. This is what Beyond The Rings is all about. There is not piece of track advice that she needed, what she needed had to come from beyond the track.

–> http://www.rhadi.com/beyondtherings/btr.html

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Who Was This Young
Lady?
===================

The young lady’s name in this story is Lauryn McNary. She is a student from Howard University and a 400 meter athlete. The reason why I’m mentioning this story to you is because, and I’ll say it again, as coaches sometimes we get so caught up in “coaching” that we forget that we ARE NOT coaching the sport. WE ARE COACHING THE ATHLETE to perform an activity and to become a better individual.

And if that DOES NOT COME through in your coaching then you are doing a less than stellar job as a coach. As a coach, your job is to mentor, lead, direct, teach and motivate. And unfortunately we are judged, as coaches, by the records of our athletes and teams or worse yet, by our own personal sporting achievements (which is nonsensical to say the least), but not by the benefits that we provide our athletes.

I’m a stickler for saying that “Winning is everything” and that you should “Win at all costs” the unfortunate thing is that some people who hear me say that have minds which are so small, that they compartmentalize and reduce what I am saying to a sport, when what I am talking about is life.

This weekend Lauryn did a heck of a job. She finished last in her heat and didn’t make it to the next round, but she did make it to the Olympic Trials and I’m proud of her.

She dropped out of school for a year to pursue her dream of being an Olympian and went from a nobody to one of the top 30 400meter runners in the country. That is a huge accomplishment. She will resume school in the fall and we both agreed that hopefully our professional paths will cross in the future.

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Closing
================

If there was ever a DVD that I would recommend that you get it is “Beyond The Rings.” As we are preparing for the Olympic Games and watching the Trials for many sports on television, there is just no better DVD out there that can really capture what it is like to prepare for the Olympics – NONE, except for Beyond The Rings. At $14.95, not only is it a good investment, it is an intelligent one. Please get your copy today. Think of it as an anniversary present for me :-) –> http://www.rhadi.com/beyondtherings/btr.html

Finding Your Balance

Auto Date Friday, June 27th, 2008

As a martial artist and more specifically a Judo player I have come to respect the power of balance. In the sport of judo two competitors are constantly trying to break their opponents balance while the competitors are constantly fighting to “keep their balance”.

In almost every judo fight that I’ve had, someone has broken my balance at one time or another and I had to quickly “find it” again and regain it.

In life we MUST find a way to maintain our balance – financial balance, relationship balance, health balance, enrichment balance, emotional balance food intake balance, etc.,.

And when the waves of life rocks our boat a bit, we must find a way to also regain our balance.

One of the keys to coaching high level athletes is the understanding that even the best and most world class, elite level athletes have a hard time maintaining balance.

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Here’s a Question
For You
=================

Could you imagine what life would be like if the ground underneath you would constantly move up and down and to the right and left?

You would find it impossible to shoot a free throw

You would find it impossible to hit a golf ball off of a tee

You would find it very difficult to hit a 90 mile per hour fast ball

And you would definitely find it hard to throw a clean punch and hit someone

Well, that is precisely my point.

Although such physical imbalances aren’t occurring in our lives, there are some imbalances and some unbalancing that does occur and this effects us just the same.

The key to life and the key to sport is being able to “keep your balance” and then “regain your balance”.

This was the chief undertone and overtone of the DVD project that I did with 2008 Olympian Taraje Williams-Murray recently. In our project, Beyond The Rings ( http://www.rhadi.com/beyondtherings/btr.html ) we address all of the matters, issues, individuals and circumstances which affect the life of not just an elite level athlete and an elite level coach but all people whether you perform a sport or not AND we address how one must handle these things in order to perform at a professional level, and what we call in sport, a championship level in order attain Olympic Glory and a shot at operating and competing under the covering of the Olympic Rings.

But we addressed all of this with the understanding that the things which happen and occur BEYOND THE RINGS can truly impede any possibility of probability of you acquiring an Olympic Ring.

Let’s be honest, if we broke it down even further.

In marriage, the problem isn’t in the bedroom – its BEYOND THE BEDROOM.

In business, the problem isn’t in the boardroom – its BEYOND THE BOARDROOM.

In your financial life, the problem isn’t your budget – its about what happens BEYOND YOUR BUDGET

For students, the problem isn’t what happens in the classroom – its about what happens BEYOND THE CLASSROOM.

So what we have to recognize and keep in mind is this:

“Sometimes in order to fix ‘the thing’ we need to look BEYOND ‘the thing’ itself”.

So as you go throughout your day, please remember to maintain your balance and to keep your focus. And when and if something happens today that rocks your boat….. immediately stop, refocus and find your balance again because trying to do anything from an unbalanced state isn’t going to end up good anyway.

And if you are lead to do so, please get your copy of Beyond The Rings today for only $14.95 with absolutely no shipping costs.

Thanks for your time. Take care and have a fantastic day.

Sincerely,

Rhadi Ferguson
2004 Olympian
4-Time National Judo Champion
World Class Strength Coach
“All Around Nice Guy” :-)

The Inside Scoop About….

Auto Date Thursday, June 26th, 2008

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Introduction
==============

Today, I’m feeling a lot better. Some of you knew and for those of you who did, but I was a little bit “under the weather” the last couple of days.

I was in the hospital on Sunday and in the doctor’s office on last Friday and this Monday. I had an ear infection and the flu. The real deal is that I just didn’t follow my own advice when it comes to resting, relaxing, eating correctly and watching my health.

I was running myself so ragged trying to make sure that my clients and I were fully prepared for the Olympic Trials during the past couple of weeks, that it really took a toll on my body. So, I’m here to say that I have LEARNED my lesson.

On another note, I wanted to say thank you for your support of the new DVD Beyond The Rings –> http://www.rhadi.com/beyondtherings/btr.html

If you don’t have your copy yet I would like to STRONGLY URGE you to get it. It is less than $15.00 and there’s absolutely no shipping cost at this time.

Why?

Well, Taraje and I really want to provide the world with accurate information about what it takes to become an olympian, make an olympic team, train for the Olympics and what type of impact it will have on your life and the life of your loved ones.

So please do yourself a favor and get your hands on Beyond The Rings.

To be honest with you, whether you are an athlete or not, this DVD will enlighten you, inspire you and invoke a sense of responsibility in your towards yourself and those who have helped you get to where you are today.

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New Video Clip
==============

I have a new video that I want to share with you.

Now that the training for the Olympic Trials are over, I want to share with you, the impact that some of my higher profile Olympic-Level clients had on my coaching career and provide you with a little bit of insight on what it is that I do, what I provide and a little bit of insight on them not only as athletes but as people.

Basically a quick birds eye view of the athlete. Call it an extra Beyond The Rings experience if you will.

So first up is 2000 Olympian and 2004 and 2008 Olympic Alternate, Cara Michele Heads.

Cara is an awesome individual, a superb friend and a truly truly PHENOMENAL athlete. It’s humbling to sit on the other side of the fence, now as a coach, and see the feats of some of the athletes that I coach. I constantly ask myself, “Did I used to train like that?” or “Was I so psycho about my training?” and I guess that answer is “Yes” and I guess the over-the-topness is what makes good athletes great ones.

So please enjoy the audio visual tribute, thank you, celebration and behind the scenes insight about Olympian Cara Michele Heads. (I’m sure you’ll learn some things that you didn’t know.)

Next up……… 2x All American and Olympic Alternate, Brian Picklo!!!

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Closing
============

Take care and have a super fantastic day.

Please get your hands of Beyond The Rings, right away –> http://www.rhadi.com/beyondtherings/btr.html

Take care,

Rhadi Ferguson
2004 Olympian
World Class Strength Coach
http://www.BeyondTheRings.com

Rhadi has a NEW Video to share with you

Auto Date Thursday, June 26th, 2008

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Introduction
==============

I really appreciate all the responses which are sent on a daily
basis to www.AskRhadi.com

This week I’ve put up another video response that you can see right here

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How To Improve
at Judo
============

2004 Olympian, 4-Time National Judo Champion, Brazilian Jiujitsu Black Belt and Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist Rhadi Ferguson answers question submitted to him at http://www.AskRhadi.com In this webisode Rhadi answers questions on what exercises you can do to improve your throwing technique and proficiency in judo.

If you are interested in having your personal questions answered from one of the best fitness, business and life coaches in the country then please submit your questions to http://www.AskRhadi.com Please visit Rhadi’s website at http://www.Rhadi.com for products and services

Take care,

Rhadi Ferguson
2004 Olympian
4-Time National Judo Champion
www.Rhadi.com

A Word From 2X Olympian Taraje Williams-Murray

Auto Date Monday, June 23rd, 2008

==============
Introduction
==============

I just want you all to know that I’m very proud of all of my elite level clients (Cara Heads, Brian Picklo, and Asma Sharif). They’ve all done a wonderful job in their adherence to the training practices that I’ve put in place for them

Brian Picklo and Cara Heads both achieved the status of 2008 Olympic Alternates.

Asma Sharif is rehabbing from a knee injury and is making a superb comeback and is getting back into fighting trim.

And Taraje Williams-Murray, who has been with me since 2005 is a 2008 Olympian.

Many of you know Taraje from hearing me talk about him and from visiting his website http://www.Taraje.com I can’t tell you how proud I am of his accomplishments and his maturation and growth inside and outside the area of sport.

Taraje sent me an email to share with you and I’d like to do that.

So here it is…….

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A Word From Taraje
===================

Hello, my name is Taraje Williams-Murray and I’m a 2X Olympian, a 2X World Team Member and a 4-Time National Champion. For those that don’t know me, I come from a family of five and I’m originally from Brooklyn, New York.

Often times in New York, you see people feeding pigeons, well, you usually see somebody on the steps or a park bench feeding the birds. When I was young, I used to watch this and I noticed that on occasion there was usually one bird who would have a keen sense of direction and a good eye and he would locate the biggest piece of bread as it was being thrown and then he would snatch it up and fly away and eat it while the rest of the birds would fight for the scraps.

I found out at that point in my life that if you want something bad enough you are going to have to take it or you will be reduced to fighting for the scraps.

Entering into tournaments at a young age, I can remember what it was like being the big dog. I pretty much knew I was going to win and everyone else did too. Then as I got older and the competition became greater, I found myself, reducing myself to fighting for scraps.

I no longer had the “keen sense of direction” and the focus that was necessary to be a champion.

But through getting my hands on the right information, surrounding myself with the right people and doing the right things, I was able to locate that direction and focus and once again become the “big dog”.

This is what I want to provide you with.

Over the years, I have learned a great deal in terms of competition, how to manage my mat life and my personal life and how to find the focus and “keen sense of direction” in order to snatch up 2 Olympic Team spots, 2 World Team spots and 4 National Championships.

If you are at all interested in learning the difference between those that walk away with “the biggest piece of bread” and those that “fight for the scraps” then please join me and my coach Rhadi Ferguson as we release the DVD that will surely help you get out of the stands and on the podium. Join us as we take you BEYOND THE RINGS.

Beyond Rings will be release tomorrow on June 24th. Please make sure that you are registered at http://www.BeyondTheRings.com

Thanks for all of your support and help in making my Olympic Dreams a reality. I thank you in advance for your support on my first DVD project.
With gratitude,

Taraje Williams-Murray
2X Olympian
4-Time National Champion

P.S. I figured what’s the use of going to school to pursue a Masters Degree in business if you are not going to use it. I will resume school in the fall after the Olympics and when I do so I want to let my professors know that I was still working and learning. Thanks again for your support.

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Closing
==========

Please look for my email tomorrow about Beyond The Rings. It will be here tomorrow on June 24th.

Rhadi Ferguson
2004 Olympian
4-Time National Champion
World Class Strength Coach

Tomorrow it will ALL BE OVER

Auto Date Monday, June 23rd, 2008

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Tomorrow it will
all be over
=============

About 10 years ago, I restarted my judo career after graduating from college. I thought I was going to be a NFL football player but that didn’t work out.

I decided to return to the sport that I loved as a child….. Judo.    To be quite honest, I was excited and scared at the same time.  I was scared because I knew I HAD to be good at something and I was hoping that this was it because I really couldn’t take or afford another emotional let down.

After watching Jimmy Pedro compete in the 1996 Olympics, I told my mother that I would make an Olympic Team.  She replied, “Okay honey” in a sarcastic tone.  I said, “I’m serious!!”   Well, in 1998 I began that journey.

I failed in 2000.  I was so close but soooo far away.

I tried again in 2004 and I made the team, but not without a significant amount of “learning experiences”.

I’m a firm believer of listening to other people who have walked the path that you desire to walk so that you know where to walk and what terrain to avoid.

In the new DVD Beyond The Rings you will DISCOVER exactly what the Olympics requires, implies and demands of you, your family, your friends and your person.

For those that have been following my career, you know that I did something this year that many coaches have not ever had the opportunity to do… I coached at two seperate Olympic Trials.   I coached at the USA Judo trials and at the USA Weightlifting Trials.  It was a great experience, but one that was mentally and physically draining for me and my family.  My son ended up with a fever and a temperature of 104 at the Judo trials and I’m going to the doctor’s office today because all of the travel and stress has really broken me down.  My body is aching, my throat is sore, and I’m tired, but I’m super happy about what my clients and I have accomplished.

We made history!  And we did it outside of the Olympics. Our experiences go BEYOND the Olympic Rings, our experience are priceless.

And all I want to do now is share with you some of the priceless information that I’ve learned over the past 4 years.

I certainly hope that you are interested.

Are you?

If so, make sure you go here and register for the release of Beyond The Rings on June 24 –> http://www.BeyondTheRings.com

Take care,

Rhadi Ferguson
2004 Olympian
4-Time National Judo Champion

Catch The Olympic Trials on MSNBC today

Auto Date Sunday, June 22nd, 2008

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When?
==========

A two-hour taped show from the event will be broadcast on Sunday, June 22 at 12:00 noon ET on MSNBC. The broadcast team for the MSNBC show is play-by-play announcer Matt Devlin, wrestling color commentator Rulon Gardner and judo color commentator Pat Burris.

Enjoy the show, it will be absolutely exciting. Maybe you might even see me on television at the Olympic Trials again. :-)

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Beyond The Rings
==============

On Tuesday June 24th, the first and only video which properly, correctly and TRUTHFULLY identifies the difficulties, hurdles, joy and pain of the Olympic Experience will be release.

2 Olympians, who between them share 8 National Championship Judo Titles, 3 Olympian titles and 3 World Team selections will REVEAL what 99% of you do not know and may never find out about high level competition and how it affects your life forever.

If you are at all serious about competeting at a high level or have children, or have a martial arts club, then YOU absolutely need to go here –> http://www.BeyondTheRings.com right away and register for the release of Beyond The Rings Today.

If you are registered on this site, you will receive a special low price of-fer that no one else will get.

Make sure you are registered today.

Take care,

Rhadi Ferguson
2004 Olympian
4-Time National Judo Champion
BJJ Black Belt
World Class Strength Coach

The Olympic Trials on MSNBC this weekend!

Auto Date Friday, June 20th, 2008

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When?
==========

A two-hour taped show from the event will be broadcast on Sunday, June 22 at 12:00 noon ET on MSNBC. The broadcast team for the MSNBC show is play-by-play announcer Matt Devlin, wrestling color commentator Rulon Gardner and judo color commentator Pat Burris.

Enjoy the show, it will be absolutely exciting. Maybe you might even see me on television at the Olympic Trials again. :-)

I have a friend that is competing at the Olympic Trials in Track & Field and I’m not going anymore. I just can’t take it.

It is too emotionally stressful :-( It’s draining. Seeing so much sadness and disappointment in one place is rough. It’s cool when you are affiliated with the winner, but if you’re not, it’s one rough weekend!!

Please make sure you invest in the DVD Beyond The Rings. It will be released on the 24th of June –> http://www.BeyondTheRings.com

Take care,

Rhadi Ferguson
2004 Olympian
4-Time National Judo Champion
http://www.TheStrengthAndConditioningKing.com

P.S. Don’t forget June 24th 2008 –> http://www.BeyondTheRings.com

Sincerely,

Rhadi Ferguson (a.k.a. “The Strength and Conditioning King”)
Rhadi Ferguson (a.k.a. “The Judo Crusader”)

You have to see this video

Auto Date Friday, June 20th, 2008

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Introduction
=============

There were a lot of happy faces and a lot of sad ones at the Olympic Trials in Las Vegas this past weekend.

Right now I want to show you what the trials are all about.

They are REALLY all about selecting the individuals which will represent the United States at the Olympic Games.

Here is a video of the introduction of the Men’s and Women’s Freestyle Wrestling Teams as well as the Greco Roman Wrestling Team and the USA Judo Team.

I believe that you will love this video

Please make sure that you sign up at http://www.BeyondTheRings.com so that you don’t miss the June 24 release of the DVD “Beyond The Rings”.

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Rhadi Ferguson
Speaks about his
Clients Taraje at the
Press Conference
==============

After the Olympic Trials I had the opportunity to speak at the press conference. It was a great privilege and pleasure to speak about my client.

You can check out the press conference clips here

Please make sure that you sign up at http://www.BeyondTheRings.com so that you don’t miss the June 24 release of the DVD “Beyond The Rings”.

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What’s Up Next?
=============

THE WHOLE DEAL EXPOSED.

On the 24th of June 2-time Olympian Taraje Williams-Murray and 2004 Olympian Rhadi Ferguson will show you exactly what it takes to get to the games and to operate at a high level of excellence as an athlete and a coach.

We will also tell you about how damaging the Olympic Experience can be to you, friends and family. And we will show you how rewarding it can be as well.

In Beyond The Rings, you will get and see, the “inside scoop” to becoming an Olympian. If you have any aspirations of becoming an Olympian, or if you know of someone, or if you are just curious about what it really takes, then you NEED to make sure you get this DVD on the 24th of June.

To make sure that you don’t get left out and that you get the super low price which will be less than 20 bucks with f.r.e.e. shipping, make sure you sign up at http://www.BeyondTheRings.com

Take care,

Rhadi Ferguson
2004 Olympian
4-Time National Judo Champion
World Class Strength Coach

Thank You to all For Your Support

Auto Date Thursday, June 19th, 2008

================
Introduction
================

Below is an open letter from Brian Picklo which can be found on Brian Picklo’s website –> http://www.BrianPicklo.us

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Thank You To All
For Your Support
=============

First, I would like to thank everyone who has had a hand in this amazing journey. Mike Darter is a friend and a saint. He has been the silent support and an unbelievable help in this quest to make the Olympic Team. He ran the “Behind the Scenes” back home and was always ready for a workout. Mike’s support was indispensable. All my training partners who continually pushed me to be stronger, faster and better. I could not have done any of this without them. Travis Serna, Scott Blankenship, Bill Patten, Clint and Kyle Dake, David Fukuda, Matt Conrad, Mike Darter, and Rafael Lovato. Aside from the judo and ju jitsu workouts, a few of us would meet at Mustang High School, on Sundays after Church, and do our “Junk Yard Workouts”. We flipped tractor tires, flipped telephone poles, ran stadiums and hit the sledge hammer until we couldn’t grip it anymore. You all pushed me, and I am better for it. I especially loved those workouts, mostly because they were so dang hard, and we pushed each other past what we thought we could do. That environment was one where champions are forged.

===============
Thanks Rhadi
===============

Rhadi Ferguson is an amazing coach, strategist, and tactician. I spent the last month training exclusively with Rhadi. I first met Rhadi in 2002 at the US Nationals in Cleveland. I had a poor showing, and placed 5th. During that competition, I injured my back. I had a herniated disk in my lumbar spine. I quit judo. At least I thought I quit judo. I had some epidurals, and came back to the sport that I had fallen in love with two years later. I returned, and had quite a bit of success from 2004 to 2007. I won the World Police and Fire Games in Judo and Wrestling. I got to represent the USA in the Pan Am Cup in Rio de Janiero, Brazil.

Through that time, I battled with injuries and time conflicts. By this time, I was a father of three, and a full time police officer. Again, I had to take time off from judo for a back injury. Through all of this, I was a good “fighter”, but I wasn’t a good judo player. I relied on my wrestling too much, and missed some of the finer details of judo. This kept me in the middle of the pack. I maintained a national ranking, but I was always just a little shy of being the top competitor. In 2008 at the New York Open, I once again had the opportunity to meet with Rhadi. He gave me some sound advice, and helped me to realize my potential as an Olympic contender. I went to the US Nationals in the 100 kg weight class at the advice of Rhadi.

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He Took His Clothes
Off For Me…
===============

I had not competed in this weight all year. I had to place in the top three in the US, or there was no chance for me to make the Olympic Trials. I lost my first match. Thrown for a full point. It was a long row to hoe. Rhadi was there. Again he offered encouragement and advice. He apparently saw something in me that the rest of the judo community did not. After all, we were both former college wrestlers. He was able to use his wrestling skill, and took it all the way to the Olympics. I battled back through the loser’s bracket, and made it to the bronze medal match. Rhadi helped me prepare for my final match. He stripped off his collared shirt and borrowed a judo gi. We fought grips, and had a light randori. I was impressed that this guy, this Olympian, whom I had only briefly met on two prior occasions, cared enough about me, and my hopes and dreams to offer himself up as a workout partner. He provided me with a very brief game plan. It paid off. I won the match by Ippon. I was in the Olympic Trials.

While we were warming up, for the bronze medal match, I couldn’t help but notice that Rhadi utterly owned me. He got his grip, and pretty much could do what ever he wanted. I was fighting with two hands tied behind my back. At least, that is what it felt like. I knew that I needed a lot of help in the coming months if I was going to have any chance at all at the Trials. Rhadi told me that I needed to come and train with him. I knew he was right.

I took time off of work, and went to train with the “Judo Crusader”. I hoped that under his guidance, I would be able to unlock my wrestling skill. In my mind, I was always the best athlete on the judo mat, I just lacked experience. My time with Rhadi was a crash course in experience. I had miraculously timed my visit with Rhadi while the Pan Am’s were going on in Miami. The first night in Florida, I got to train with the Cuban National Team, and the two time Olympian from Argentina at 100 kg. It was eye opening. The Argentinean told Rhadi, that I was very strong, but from my wrist to my finger tips… “Muerto”. This means “dead” in Spanish. This confirmed what I already knew. My grips sucked. That is all Rhadi and I worked on. Grips, Grips, Grips… He also began to implement a system of gripping. Again this was foreign to me. Though I competed at the highest level in wrestling, I did not have a “system”.

This system began to take a lot of anxiety away. http://www.rhadi.com/judo_success/index.html

It also opened up my wrestling to be used in Judo. This was huge. I felt like a brand new fighter. I was. I could now do the stuff that brought me success in wrestling, in judo. This was too easy. Does it really work this well? I was a little skeptical. Again, by God’s intervention and providence, I was able to compete in the Pan Am Team Tournament. It worked. I was able to throw Leo Leite, a two time Pan Am Champ for Ippon. I also threw the 100 kg player from Dominican Republic for Ippon. Alright, now I know that I am in contention for the Olympic Team.

I went home and continued to train. As soon as I could, I returned to Boca Raton, Rhadi’s home. Again, I had to take time off of work and leave my family. I am so blessed that I have the support of my wife and children. I knew it hurt them to see me leave again. It hurt me just as much. There is nothing on this earth more important to me than my family.

–> http://brianpicklo.us/wp-content/uploads/2008/04/front.jpg

I could not have done any of this without their support. I missed my oldest son, Cameron’s first indoor soccer game. He is becoming quite a soccer stud. Cameron also had a solo to sing in our church’s spring musical performance. He is usually very shy. I know that this was a huge deal for him. I hated being away. I tried to talk to my wife and kids every night. My daughter told me how much she missed me, and would ask “when are you coming home”? All I could say was “soon”. While at Rhadi’s, we usually worked into the morning hours.

================
Uchikomi At 2:00am?
Is This Guy Mad!?!?!
================

The first night I returned to Boca, I did Uchi Komi’s until after 2:00 am. Rhadi had the coach from Puerto Rico, Angelo Ruiz, come and help train me. I won’t forget what he said, “If you want to be a champion, you don’t have time to sleep”. I knew I had a great deal to get accomplished in a very short time. He was right. We made the most of all the time we had. If we weren’t in the gym, we were watching film on the guys I might fight. If I wasn’t watching that, I was watching the previous Olympic, and World films. It helped. The “step over” counter to Volmer’s Uchi Mata, that I did in my first match at the Trials, was one that I picked up while watching videos, and eating eggs and grits in Rhadi’s living room. This was a trial by fire. I had no time to waste. I had to learn things quickly. I did.

Rhadi had me do scouting reports and S.W.O.T analysis http://www.rhadi.com/goldmettle/index.html. SWOT is an acronym for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. We stayed up so late one night, scouting Volmer, that Rhadi would fall asleep in mid sentence, and then wake up to finish the sentence. We had our game plan. All the work had been done. I was ready for the Trials. I was never nervous, just anxious to do it, and see it through to the end. My conditioning was great. Rhadi is an outstanding strength and conditioning coach. I have never felt more prepared. I think that is why I had such a low level of anxiety. I knew that the only thing between me and the Olympics was 25 to 30 minutes. Five or six, five minute matches. I had done a ton of mental preparation.

I had convinced myself that I had nothing to lose. I was enjoying the journey. Some say it is about what happens in the end that matters, I say it is about what happens on the way there, that matters. I loved the journey. I loved who I was on this journey with. I had put a lot of trust and faith into Rhadi, and likewise, he put a lot of trust and faith in me. I had begun this quest with one goal in mind, that through all of this, God will be glorified somehow. Rhadi is a Christian, and so am I. We both had faith that this was to be bigger that either one of us. I don’t believe in accidents, and I don’t believe in coincidence. I still feel that there is a blessing in this. I know that through my journey, and struggles God will be glorified. James 1:2-4 says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything”. I had hoped not to learn any life lessons at the Trials, but I know that this test of faith has to strengthen me in the long run.

06/13/08 10:00 am

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I KNEW I WAS READY
================

I was bout number twelve. This was my very first Olympic Trials, but it felt like home. It was awesome to have the wrestling in the same venue. It brought me back to a time and place when I was unstoppable. Some of you know my story, others do not. At Michigan State, I went from an unrecruited walk-on, to a two time All-American, and Big Ten Champion in wrestling. I felt that way again. I felt that this is my time, this is my opportunity to make history. I did… Almost.

I was the eight seed. The lowest seed in the trials. I had the number one seed in the first round. I knew that it was a miss match, for him. I was ready for war. I was not the normal number eight seed who goes out there, and is just happy to be at the Olympic Trials. I had sacrificed, I had bled, and I had cried real tears. I felt entitled. Nobody knew the hours that I had put in, nobody knew the sacrifice of time I had made, nobody knew the psychological, and emotional investments I had made. Nobody but a select few. Those that had been beside me from the beginning. I felt I owed it to them. They sacrificed too. Many times, more than I knew.

As I was back stage, in the little stand-by area, I was brought to tears. I held them back, for the most part, but all of a sudden, it hit me, the enormity of this quest. The payment for sacrifice was that feeling I had back stage. I felt a huge rush of emotion. It was pretty much, all good, but I guess when the body is overloaded with emotion, it just cries. I felt powerful. I felt overwhelmed, but in a good way, I felt that this was a defining moment. It was.

I rode that wave all the way through the Trials Tournament. Through out the day, I had beaten a former Olympian, a two time World Team Member, and another former World Team Member. I was none of those things. I am just a cop from Oklahoma, who loves to compete. I did feel unstoppable. I went undefeated through the Trials Tournament. After I won my finals match, I didn’t have much time to recover before I had to fight Volmer, the number one seed, again. Since he was the number one ranked player, Volmer got the opportunity to fight me best of three matches. I guess I had gotten a little drained from fighting all those matches, while Volmer got to relax and plan his strategy against me.

==============
Volmar Came Out
With A Different
Game Plan
==============

The first match in the best of three went to Volmer. I have to give him credit, he came out with a new game plan, and it threw me off. He beat me by a penalty point. He never threw me for a score. The next match I threw him in overtime for the win. It was now tied one match to one. The next match would decide the Olympian. We were scoreless during regulation time, and went into overtime. I don’t remember how much time had passed, but I recall attacking him a lot, and him not attacking at all. Finally he stepped in for an attack. It was weak. He never threatened to throw me in any of the four matches we fought. I countered. As he tried to take me forward, I stepped around, and changed the direction of the throw, taking him backward. It was a throw that I was very comfortable with. I had used it many times in the past. In fact, it was just a natural reaction. I don’t even remember thinking about countering him, I just went for it. We both landed on our sides. I was a little more on my back, that him, but that is the nature of this throw. It was my throw however. Like a sacrifice throw, such as tomoe nage, the back of the thrower hits the mat, but since he initiated the move is scored against the throwee. Volmer even landed first. I have still photos of this… My score, I make the Olympic Team, end of story.

Not so fast. The referees on the mat cannot decide who to award the throw to. They confer, and watch a replay. They award it to Volmer. Dreams smashed. At this point, I am ill. I know who threw, the crowd seems to know who threw. I am sure Volmer knows who threw. We try to have the referees review the tape. All the photographers, offer up their still photos as evidence. The digital cameras, with their little screens in back, show frame by frame in a convincing manner that I was the thrower, and Volmer was the throwee. All of this for naught. There is a rule in place that says, once the referees leave the mat, the decision is final. Funny though, how do you keep a ref on the mat to field your protest. You don’t. You can’t. That is just the way it is.

I had been implored to take my case to arbitration, and fight the ruling on the mat. Can’t be done. There is another rule that says that a “field of play” call can not be overturned in arbitration regardless of how bad a call is. That is the nature of the game. There are gonna be some bad calls. You just gotta live with that sad reality. Especially sad for me, since it affects my status as an Olympian. In order to get a case overturned, I need to show some sort of fraud. I don’t think there was anything sinister at work, I just think they made a bad call. A court case could cost anywhere from 25-50 thousand dollars. Ouch. My family has already sacrificed so much for me to chase this crazy dream. I wouldn’t dare place an huge financial burden on them as well.

As of right now, I am the Olympic Alternate. Should anything happen to Volmer, I would be able to step in and fill that spot. It has always been my dream to be an Olympian. Through all of this, I still love Judo. I am as patriotic as it gets, and I would love to represent this country in what ever way I can. My family has said “I don’t care what the referees said, you are my Olympian”. For whoever reads this, I hope you will think of me as “your Olympian” as well.

Sincerely,

Brian Picklo

2008 Olympian (well almost)

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Here’s the Match
that was in Question
==============

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For Commentary
on the match
===============

You can go here –> http://judoforum.com/index.php?showtopic=27184

You can also go here –> http://thejudopodcast.com/?p=160

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Closing
==============

I would like to thank Brian Picklo for his kind words and for being a gentleman of faith and honor. It has been a pleasure to coach him and befriend him. I was really looking for an opportunity to provide someone like him with the information that I have in my head. A lot of people think that being good is about having the best techniques ever. I’ve won many matches in my career and people attribute it to strength, power, athleticism, but never intelligence, intellect, better strategy and better preparation.

I always felt disrespected by that. I’m sure glad that Brian put himself under my tutelage to provide me with an opportunity to show the world that there’s more to Judo than osoto, uchimata and a jujigatame roll. For all intents and purposes, Brian won the Olympic Trials last weekend in Vegas and I’m super proud of him. He showed the world and USA Judo that he is one of the top competitors in his weight class. He never won a National Championship and won the mini tournament, beat 2 World Team Members and fought the number one player in a 2 out of 3 that was as controversial as it gets.

Brian was at my home when I was finishing the final touches on the Beyond The Rings DVD that I’m doing with Taraje. He had the opportunity to watch it and all he could say was, “That’s the truth”.

MANY OF YOU HAVE NO IDEA about the sacrifice that it takes to make an Olympic Team so what Taraje and I want to do is allow you to peel the curtain back and get a sneak peek behind the scenes so you can see exactly why Brian and his family are hurting, why my family is happy and sad at the same time and why my wife feels super drained as she had to watch my son in the stands during the Olympic Trials when he had a fever with a temperature that was volleying between 102 and 104.

The Olympic experience is HARD ON EVERYBODY. –> http://www.BeyondTheRings.com Make sure you are registered for the release on the 24th of June.

Take care,

Rhadi Ferguson
2004 Olympian
http://www.Rhadi.com
http://www.Rhadi.tv

P.S. Make sure you are prepared for Beyond The Rings on the 24th of June. It will be phenomenal and less than 20 bucks and the shipping will be F.R.E.E.! http://www.BeyondTheRings.com