Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Spirit of a Warrior

On 6 - 7 June I experienced two of the most exciting, satisfying days of my life: I witnessed my son, Zak Maxwell, light up the Long Beach Arena with a dazzling display of jiujitsu prowess.

On the first day he fought in the feather-weight division. He posted five straight victories before losing, by the narrowest margin possible, in the semi-finals. He received a single penalty point, which cost him the match...and the gold. While bitterly disappointed, he vowed to come back the next day and wreak havoc in the Open Weight category. For those of you who don't know, in BJJ the Open Weight means just what it says: anyone of any weight class--including super-heavyweight--can enter; therefore, winning the Open Weight is the most prestigious win of all. Most of the lighter weights typically shun the Open because it's dominated by true heavy weights--and can be dangerous to your health!

Over 100 fighters entered the Open. At a body weight of only 148 lbs., Zak was the lightest competitor in this event. No one gave him a chance, except the people who really know him. Zak went on and electrified the stadium with a stellar performance: for example, in the quarter-finals, despite the fatigue of six straight victories, he stunned his next heavy weight opponent with a 14-0 spanking. The referee could only shake his head with a smile. Because of his diminutive size, Zak quickly became the crowd favorite. While people love an under dog, they didn't yet know the fight in this little dog!

Many of the great black belts of the world, including Royler Gracie, Saulo and Xande Ribeiro, recognizing his superior jiujitsu skills, were rooting him on and coaching Zak from the sidelines. On his way to the finals, he defeated a current middle-weight (that's two weight classes above Zak) world, and national, champion. He won the match by virtue of a beautiful, outside, single-leg takedown. It was the decisive factor in the match. Anyone thinking takedowns aren't important in BJJ, take a lesson from this and get out there and perfect your judo and wrestling skills! In the finals, he fought a valiant fight against a heavy-weight champion and lost by the narrow margin of two points. At the buzzer, Zak had the guy in his famous Oma Plata shoulder lock. It was a stunning performance! On the podium, as he received his silver medal, Zak's coach, Regis Lebrè, promoted him to brown belt. And why not? He'd just gone through the best purple belts in the world.

I am so incredibly proud. From the time he was in diapers, Zak was raised to be a warrior. In another blog, I'll describe my unconventional methods of training children to excel in physical sport. Zak's conditioning is one of his major assets and he has followed--and exemplifies--the Team Maxercise protocols to the letter. He's a prime example of excellent genetics combined with maximally effective training, along with hard work and a single-minded dedication. The brown belts at the tournament were already worriedly scouting him and taking mental notes for next year--look out!

Enjoy the photos in the slideshow below!

Yours in Strength & Health,

Coach Steve

P.S. If you'd like to see some of the training methods I used with my son over the years, definitely sign up for the Gladiator Seminar 12 July, with Zach Even-Esh and yours truly! Click here for more.


Mr. LowBodyFat said...

Good post Steve! Congrats to you and Zak.

william said...

Awesome! I remember when Zak weighed 48lbs. He was already a bad ass. Please congratulate him for me.

Mich said...

Awesome Performance!!
He sounds like a wonderful son--you are blessed!

Anonymous said...


Congrats to Zak, you should be proud! I got your 1st Cruel and Unusual (on VHS) and saw Zak as a young boy doing pistols and db snatches. Then in '06 I got your Abs, Back, and Core DVD and saw him older and in GREAT condition. It was a shocking comparison, and a testament to your training methods and his work ethic. Kudos to you both.

Doug Boutot

Dave said...

Steve, that is awesome congratulations to Zak & you, he sounds like a great kid!!

zevenesh said...

Steve, congrats on your son and congrats to him! Must be in the name :) ha ha

I have heard stories about how you trained your son since he was only afew years old, I look forward to hearing more!

We have been getting a handful of middle school wrestlers here at my gym and they are starting to wreak havoc on the competition with their superior strength, endurance and conditioning!

have a blast in Tahiti, I will chat with you soon bruddah!


J.P. said...

Congrats to both of you! It is great to see a son carry on a father's tradition!

j blamey said...

Congrats to Zac! What a great story of accomplishment and success!

Anonymous said...

Awesome, Zach & Steve..I'm speechless. Congrats!

Steve Maxwell said...

Thanks Muata! How's your BJJ coming along? Keep pumping out those push-ups!

Steve Maxwell said...

Hey Bill,

Zak was born bad--to the bone. I'll pass it on.

Steve Maxwell said...

Thanks to all of you for the good wishes! I'll be posting some blogs and articles about training kids soo but right now I'm in Tahiti and want to share about the academy where I'm visiting and my kind host. Good times here.

Anonymous said...

Congrats to Zak. Does he wrestle folk, free or greco stlyes? He should check out USA wrestling grappling.


Steve Maxwell said...

While choosing not to compete under wrestling rules, Zak trains in wrestling takedowns and judo throws to balance his game. He aspires to enter professional MMA when he gets out of his teen years, he's still a little young.

Mr. LowBodyFat said...

I'm starting my classes this week Steve, so I'll definitely keep your posted. Oh, and I'm still pumping out those Hindu pushups on the pushup board!

John Kusaba said...

Hi Steve,
Congratulations to you and your son, Zak! Truly inspiring and simply an amazing feat! I've been continuing my workouts at SB park. Feels great!

Be well.

Mike said...

I was there (both as a competitor and spectator) and I can honestly say Zak is a beast.

I remember him a few years ago as a blue belt at worlds and I remember how impressive he was then...