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If You Wanna Train MMA, You Better Know Your Lockflow

Charles Pearson, fighter / trainer from the Pacific Northwest, Talks MMA and discusses training partners who've included Chris Monson, Josh Barnett, Maurice Smith and the legendary Matt Hume. He also gives insight on what it means to be a fighter and what training (GRUELING) typically consists of.
By Robert Rousseau,
Charles (Charlie) Pearson is a combat library of MMA knowledge; a man that has seen the sport of mixed martial arts grow from nothing more than a spectacle to something much grander today. Along with that, he's trained with the likes of Maurice Smith (former UFC Heavyweight Champion) and Matt Hume (AMC Pankration), so he certainly knows how it all should be done.

Nowadays, he's transitioned from a fighter with a 17-5-3 record to a trainer himself, coaching both recreational and competitive mixed martial artists in Washington State (Everett and Arlington gyms).

Thus, was lucky enough to hear from the owner of on past influences and training techniques for both competitive and recreational martial artists.

RR:  You have trained with several excellent fighters during your career. Interestingly, though, I read that early on you took Tae Kwon Do, and even achieved fourth degree black belt status in the art. Did this more traditional training benefit you later in no holds barred contests and training?

CP:  It helped me in some ways, and hurt me in others. I was used to training hard and developed self discipline thru my Tae Kwon Do training.

RR:  Early in your MMA experience you trained with Maurice Smith. What kind of things did you pick up during your time with him regarding training that has helped you both personally and to work with other fighters?

Mo was great at the mental part of training and fighting; he would make us mentally tough by "picking on us"! LOL! He was always cracking jokes, which made training fun. Mo also always jumped into every workout and did the drills with us. I try to emulate some of those aspects.

RR:  You trained with AMC Pankration (and Matt Hume) for a long time. What kind of influence did your time there have on the way you get fighters ready for competitions today?

I picked up so much stuff from Matt that I could write several books. Matt is an endless fountain of knowledge of submission holds. I really like the intensity Matt brings with him into the corner for his fighters; I always felt like I could accomplish so much more with Matt there.

RR:  What is the goal when you coach/ train recreational martial artists?

CP:  We try to make sure our students get three things out of every class- fun, knowledge, and sweat.

RR:  What are some things that you try to instill in fighters you coach/ train for competitions, as opposed to recreational martial artists? CP:  Thinking and responding correctly under pressure. Also drilling and training with intensity - to mimic the fight. Of course the strength and conditioning required for actual fighting is at a much higher level.

RR:  That's interesting. Could you give some examples of drills that put your fighters under combat pressure in practice so that they are ready when they walk into an Octagon or ring? What's the best way to accomplish this?

CP:  Sure. We will have a fighter start with a rough set of punch/kick sprawl drills. Then a partner will jump in, and they'll box for two minutes. Then another fresh partner will hop in for another two minutes of takedowns; then yet a third fresh partner will hop in for two minutes of submission wrestling. After a quick forty five second break, they'll go again for a total of five sets.

RR:  How important is weight training for competitive martial arts? Does the focus on type of competition (submission grappling versus MMA) make a difference in this regard? CP:  I've never really trained with weights for fighting. I've always felt that my time would be better spent on the mats. I know some trainers disagree - but that's just me.

RR:  There are many fighters/ trainers out there that would also probably agree with you on the weights thing, Fedor Emelianenko included. However, Fedor is also a proponent of high altitude training. Have you ever either trained personally or coached a fighter in such an environment before a fight? What are the advantages of such training?

CP:  Japan, Hawaii and Brazil are places that myself and some of our fighters have competed in that we changed our training for. Normally we just turn the heat up and lock the doors! Mentally, it made us stronger.

RR:  For recreational martial artists, do you ever recommend weight training?

CP:  I do some weight training for some of my private students that are trying to get stronger or lose weight. So yes, I have.

RR:  How important is cardio for fighters training to compete? Along with this, what kind of cardio exercises do you to tend to recommend when readying for a competition? CP:  Cardio is king! A corvette is really slow when it has an empty gas tank! Jumping rope, sprints, partner carries, and plyometrics all play a role in our cardio training.

RR:  When training for competition, fighters undoubtedly will come up against bumps, bruises, and injuries. When do you feel a fighter should draw the line and say, "I'm too injured to fight in this event?" In other words, is there a question they should ask themselves or some type of boundary?

CP:  This is where communication with your coach becomes important. I have told my guys many times that this is not ballet, and if you don't have some injuries going into a fight, then you probably haven't trained hard enough. That said, a good coach will keep an eye out for his guys. There is a local fighter from a different gym that fought with a broken jaw he didn't tell his coach about! This is definitely taking things past the boundaries.

RR:  How much does it help competitive mixed martial artists to train in an octagon or ring before a bout that will be fought in such an enclosure? Further, is there any benefit for recreational martial artists to train in such enclosures?

CP:  I have never trained in a ring or octagon for a fight. In our gyms we don't have one. We do have padded walls for intensity; I think that is enough. For the Rec students, I think it's more of an "awe" factor than anything else.

RR:  Does being a licensed referee help you to train fighters? CP:  I can tell them what a ref is looking for when getting ready to stop a fight, so I think that can be a benefit.

RR:  Having come from a striking background (TKD), it's probable that grappling was the part of the game you learned last. What person or persons do you owe the biggest debt of gratitude to when it comes to submission fighting? CP:  There are actually three. First, my training partner Chris Monson- who was my first grappling partner. Second, Matt Hume- who gave me technique; and third, Josh Barnett who always made training fun.

RR:  Pretty much everyone knows about your website, Tell us a little about the site and how it came to be.

CP:  We are really happy with the growth of Lockflow. Several months ago we passed one million viewers for a one month period.

When I first started grappling, I used to cut out the submission techniques from Black Belt Magazine (all the Grappling Mag's didn't exist yet.). When I retired from fighting, I talked to one of my fighters named Jeremy (who was a programmer and coder) about starting a site, and presto!

RR:  Is there anything else you'd like readers to know about what's going on with you and your pursuits? CP:  Check out and drop me a line! Also, you can check out the gym at or our local fight circuit at!

RR:  Thanks for agreeing to the interview, Charles. It was great getting to know you, and our readers will no doubt appreciate it.

CP:  No problem.

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