Resting Fedor Face


Fedor Emelianenko is widely considered to be the greatest MMA fighter of all time. The blogosphere is buzzing with all kinds of rumors about a potential deal with the UFC. It’s a damn shame his people (the Russian mob) and Dana White’s people weren’t able to reach an agreement a few years ago. We’ll never know how he would’ve done against other UFC greats in his prime.

I don’t even know where you put someone like Fedor in a current lineup. A confrontation with Anderson Silva might be interesting. Two venerable warriors trying to send each other out on their shields would probably do great on Pay-Per-View. It’s too bad the human body can’t have the restomod treatment like a classic car. Imagine a lovingly restored Tyson versus an Impeccably rebuilt Ali. Alas, time is a motherfucker.

Oh, you know, just hanging with Putin. No big deal. 

Fedor’s demeanor has always been the most impressive aspect of his legend to me. No matter how great or terrible the punishment he’s giving or receiving, his expression is cold and neutral. It’s not the look of boredom that got Luke Rockhold knocked the fuck out by Bisping. It’s like a shark or a journeyman executioner.

When I do anything physically challenging I try to mimic this cold expression. In yoga they tell you to not make pain faces because they pollute your chakras or some shit. Many instructors advocate smiling a little. I don’t even smile in pictures, so that’s not going to happen, but I think there’s something to be said for controlling what your face is doing.

I read a few neuroscience books over December and they mention when you’re learning skills you develop these mental associations and pathways. You can use things like music to pump yourself up. It works negatively, too. For instance, you might hate a certain squat rack because you failed spectacularly and wiped out the lifter next to you going for a PR. These weird mental tics are weird and everyone has them. The trick is to manage them.

Sometimes the bar eats you. 

This is why I practice my Resting Fedor Face (RFF). It helps me not get psyched out or burn energy getting too excited. I don’t like to high five or scream shit like, “don’t leave anything in the tank.” Don’t get me wrong, that stuff works great, I just like to save it for when I really need it. For instance, today I was trying to get through the last round of 2 pood (72 lb) kettlebell swings and one of my fellow Crossfitters was cheering me on. It was awesome and it helped. But I like to keep it to a minimum because I don’t want to get hooked on enthusiasm.

I like to think it’s a scientific approach to training, though I strongly suspect it’s more a broscientific approach. It could be stupid. Personally, I’m going to keep practicing my RFF and hope it gives me an edge over my weaknesses.






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