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  • Matt

Chess-Boxing Training Part 1

Without the help of an alarm, I woke up at 4:45AM with no hope of falling back asleep. I had overwhelming energy because it was my birthday and I had too many to-dos for my Brawl for a Cause Board Meeting and subsequent birthday party. Before I started checking things off my list, I decided to stretch, saddle up on my bike and ride through Piedmont Park for sunrise.

When I rode into the park, I saw the beginnings of the Memorial Day Jazz Festival being set up. Staffers were erecting tents, running cords and patrolling high traffic areas. When I entered, I carefully ran over an electric wire protector that stretched across the walkway like an unforgiving speed bump. After the interruption, I kept riding through my usual morning loop, then looked up in the sky to see the birth of light.

Birds were chirping, wind was caressing my face, then BOOM! I was flying through the air.

The collision with another cord protector happened so fast, and as soon as I was launched over my handle bars, adrenaline kicked in. Time slowed down, and I was able to plan for impact. I needed to protect my head and face, so I used my left shoulder and right hand to buffer and skid along the gravel path for a few feet. As I slid, I couldn’t help but curse what was happening. I thought…

Today, I'm proposing the pivot for Brawl for a Cause to a board that believes in my ability to make good decisions and take care of myself and my non-profit. Today, I'm announcing my intention to become the first American to compete in the Chess-Boxing Amateur World Championship in Kolkata, India. Today, I’m supposed to have a great day, and grinding my flesh on gravel is not a great start.

The road rash on my shoulder, forearm and hands would bleed throughout my board meeting. It would prohibit me from training like I planned for the first of my eight week journey to the World Championship. It was painful and annoying. It was an excuse, lurking in the shadows of my mind, waiting to tangle me up and hold me back, but then I caught it.

I decided to see it as a sign. I need to use this as an opportunity, not a threat. I need to be careful these next eight weeks, take care of my health and prepare my mind and body to the best of my ability. I need to focus more on chess than boxing, and what better way than to be forced to only focus on chess for a week?

So, that's what I did. I used my first week knocking out more administrative tasks I would normally avoid, focusing hard on chess tactics, and rallying a team of all-stars to help me in this endeavor. I'm so excited to share my first week of progress towards the Chess-Boxing World Championship with you:

Administrative Progress:

  • Applied for a new passport

  • Researched and set travel dates for out-of-state training

  • Researched and set travel dates for my trip to India

  • Setup process for filming, editing and distributing training content

Chess-Boxing Progress:

  • Recruited world-class team to help prepare me for the tournament

  • Announced my campaign for Brawl for a Cause to my close friends and family at my birthday party

  • Completed 50 hours of chess training

  • Completed 10 hours of endurance training

  • Had first one-on-one Strength and Conditioning session with Jon Kolowich

  • Raised over $1,000 to help with travel and training costs

Over the next few days, I will be introducing various members of my team. Some are experts in chess or boxing. Other are specialists or influencers helping in other ways to make this campaign and journey successful. All of them have my gratitude for helping this dream become a reality and for benefiting an organization that has become my heart and soul, Brawl for a Cause.

Thank you for joining me on this journey, and for your support.

Brawl on!

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