(Logo from idoportal.com)
Written by Faiz Khan
I understand Conor McGregor is headlining every media outlet in MMA and some may think were running his story into the ground. However, as a fan of MMA, the Irishman is damn hard to ignore and it may seem like I have infatuation with him. I’ll just lay it out there. I’m absolutely fascinated by him. While all the eyes are on the newly crowned UFC Featherweight Champion, critics are all over his under the radar movement coach, Ido Portal.
“Shit, I mean, don’t pee on my leg and tell me its raining.” -Ido Portal on his search for the true meaning of Movement
Ido Portal found his calling at the age of 15 years old when he was introduced to the Afro-Brazilian Capoeira. From that moment on, Ido Portal was a man that did not want to put restrictions on movement in martial arts. There are a variety of different disciplines of movement that are subjected to only certain types of movement. Ido wanted to break the barrier and combine all disciplines to truly find a superior discipline when it comes to the human body.
In his journey, his movement education grew in popularity like a wildfire. Ido found himself teaching his new age style all over Europe, the Middle East, Russia, Canada, the United States, Asia and Australia.
Enter Conor McGregor. Again.
My friend Ryan is an avid MMA fan just like myself. He, too, is fascinated with Conor McGregor’s approach to the sport. Ryan is a cerebral type person and a student of MMA who loves to watch breakdowns involving technique. He was the one who introduced me to Ido Portal and his connection to Conor McGregor. He sat me down and made me watch a handful of videos on the Israeli Movement Guru and videos detailing his work at SBG. From then on, I became addicted to the Movement, well, movement. So thank you, Ryan. While many people were mocking the ideals shared by Ido Portal, Conor McGregor soaked it all up because he truly believed in Portal and his teachings. While the biggest fight of the year approached, Portal’s reputation was now becoming something to talk about. His reputation was solely in the hands of Conor McGregor and it was a make or break situation.
Chuck Mindenhall, of MMAfighting.com, shared an interview of Portal with Ariel Helwani on the very situation Portal found himself with Aldo vs. McGregor finally coming to fruition. On the realization of his reputation being on the line Portal shared his thoughts with Helwani explaining,
“Yeah, I became aware of it, but I did not let it diffuse me in any way,” he told Ariel Helwani. “And if you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen. It was about coming and supporting and putting full throttle behind it, although the amount of work we got to do was minimal for me. A week-and-a-half here, and another few days in Dublin — that’s nothing to blame or to really take credit for, yet. They are a small chain of decisions, decisions that must be made right. And I was a part of those decisions. What to take, when to do, what to do, what to not do. It’s a huge part, what to not do in training, in a session. Keeping them fresh, keeping them in tune, keeping the body very soft, which is very misunderstood.
“All this machismo, all this mentality surrounding the Irish fans, the MMA game, I think Conor is very good not letting this distract him. He feels that sharpness and that ability to deliver a very potent dosage…he’s superior to the drop coffee that everybody else is drinking. He is the espresso man.”
–Ido Portal via MMAfighting.com/Ariel Helwani
While Conor proved that he was the man at Featherweight in just 13 seconds, Ido Portal’s reputation is now at a high with people seeking him out more than ever from a variety of professional sports. Portal believes in what he teaches sharing his philosophy in short,
“The movement game takes the technical side, and takes the strength and conditioning side, and takes the mobility, and takes the pattern and the re-patterning work, and it blends everything together,” he said. “So at times I was taking some technical aspects of the game and tuning them up, working and refining that, and other times I was more of the strength and conditioning guy, and at other times I was the therapist, and at other times I was the nutritionist.
“You not a specialist, you a generalist, but you see the big picture much better than anyone else in many ways. That requires a lot of study into a variety of fields. The movement teacher must be a martial artist. The movement teacher must be a dancer. The movement teacher must be a strength and conditioning coach. The movement teacher must be an acrobat. The movement teacher must be a therapist. It’s a lot of work and it’s a lot of study into these fields, learning to see the common things and to see the important things and to let go of the less important things.”
-Ido Portal vis MMAfighting.com
When I watch slow motion videos of Conor McGregor and the fluidity of his techniques, I start to see subtle differences between him and the competition before him. The way he utilizes his full reach and extension when throwing punches is unlike many others. He may very well be one of the best fighters at gaging distance in the game, much like Jon Jones and Rory MacDonald. This is because these fighters understand their bodies in a different way than others. They utilize tools that others just don’t have yet or understand yet. One example of McGregor’s full utilization of his body is his left straight. Watching a replay of the Chad Mendes fight and his finishing punch that dropped him, you can see the full extension of his left arm, using every inch possible. This allows him to connect outside of the usual boxing range. It is a new breed of athlete. It’s the athlete we have seen in Jon Jones who is arguably the p4p #1 fighter on the planet and we have seen where it took Jones in the sport so far, strictly regarding competition.As I have said. I’m fascinated and all I want is more, more, more.
(Biography on Ido Portal taken from his website at http://www.idoportal.com)