Ben Askren - In the Mind of a Champion
There is little that Ben Askren has not accomplished in his lifetime: Men’s Freestyle Pan Am Gold Medalist, Gold Medalist in the World Championships, 2008 Olympian, BJJ Brown Belt, Bellator Welterweight Champion and an undefeated MMA record…get the picture?
“I Decided I Would Be My Own Boss”
The above quote is from Askren himself. As a young man at the University of Missouri, Ben knew his future success hinged on one person and one person only; himself. When a grappler, fighter, basketball player, etc. steps into their respective field of play they do so because they enjoy the experience.
Yet, you can tell the difference between those who enjoy what they do and those that love what they do. Those are the athletes that take matters into their own hand and don’t depend 100% on others. When they season, fight, match, etc. ends there isn’t an off-season, they go right back to the drawing board the next day in order to improve upon what they did.
That’s why the Askren quote speaks volumes on Ben as a person and competitor. People who just want to enjoy wrestling and/or MMA do so to get that sudden rush; few can claim such highly touted accolades such as Askren can. His taking command of his own training at an early age cultivate the same discipline that carries him forward in his undefeated MMA crusade - and the training "smarts" to stay strategically ahead of the pack.
Pushing Your Limits
Ben clearly had set goals for himself at a young age. With his inner-drive acting as enough fuel for the fire, he needed others around him that would enhance his skills. The man from Wisconsin didn’t have to look far in order to begin his quest as a high-level MMA fighter.
For MMA fans there are plenty of training camps that have a certain aura about them: Jackson Submission, TriStar, Black House, The Blackzillians, The Lab and Roufusport.
It just so happened that the last one is located in Milwaukee Wisconsin, just a 26 minute drive from Hartland, Wisconsin, where Ben grew up. Being in such close proximity, the choice seemed like a no brainer to join the camp.
Surrounded by world class MMA fighters such as Anthony Pettis, Erik Koch and Chico Camos, Askren clearly has found the outside source of motivation. It’s one thing to want to push yourself on a daily basis, but when you walk into the gym and see these guys waiting to rip your head off, it does something to you.
There are many sporting endeavors that the general public view as an individual sport. Boxing, MMA, Wrestling, BJJ, you name it. Sure, once the bell rings it’s just you and the other person, but in order to be in peak form, your team and training partners are vital.
Askren has found a winning combination. His elite talent allows him to exert his skills onto his opponent with ease, his personal determination and drive is what wakes him up in the morning and go to work and it’s his teammates that help push him past his limits in order for him to get better.
The mentality that Ben Askren possesses is outstanding. His work ethic is seemingly unmatched. If you don’t believe so, just take a look at that shiny chunk of gold he has around his waist, it’ll tell you that you’re wrong.
Dan Faggella is a National Brazilian Jiu Jitsu competitor, and author of "The Unexpected Champion" - which he authored after lengthy interviews with Ben Askren himself. To get the actual notes from Dan's Ben Askren interviews - and Ben's 5 Keys to Training Effectiveness - go to: www.MicroBJJ.com/Askren-Notes