Welcome to A Fighter’s Mindset – The Spaniard Podcast. We produce content to inspire.

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On this podcast, you’ll hear interviews, conversations and daily motivational messages that will challenge and inspire you. I love reading and learning, wrestling and fighting, and perhaps most of all, inspiring others to exceed the boundaries they’ve set for themselves. Life’s a fight, so you best get tough.

Host Charlie “The Spaniard” Brenneman is a professional speaker, mentor and author. A former junior high Spanish teacher, The Spaniard left his job to pursue a career in the UFC, and in 2011, he was ranked #7 in the world.
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 Episode Archives:

#79 Interview: Phil Migliarese, Master of Jiu Jitsu & Yoga

  • As a tough Philly grade schooler in the 80s, Phil Migliarese was interested in … yoga and jiu jitsu?? Yep. This was on top of the influence of his strict father—a businessman who embodied and insisted on respect for others. Then came a terrible car accident during high school that deepened Phil’s desire to make the most of his life. All of this led him to gain a fifth-degree black belt and, along with his brother and fellow grappler Ricardo, open the leading-edge facility Balance Studios. Their trainees have included The Spaniard, who even while a UFC fighter regularly found himself bested by Phil’s deceptively skillful students. No wonder Phil’s schools have this saying above the entrance: “Leave your shoes and ego by the door.”

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#78 Interview: Barry Krammes, World-Class in Javelin

  • Barry Krammes’ story as an athlete could have ended when he found he was poor at baseball. Or when he narrowly missed two state finals in javelin. Or when his throwing regressed in college. Instead, a personal tragedy galvanized him to become a two-time All-American and place as high as sixth in international competition. Now he shares his passion as a coach and host of The American Javelin Festival. You’ll enjoy this talk about how far you can toss (and ride) a stick.

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#77 Interview: Max Major, World-Renowned Mentalist

  • Max Major’s first pro gig came at age fourteen with magic tricks at a birthday party, but his life really changed when hypnosis helped his dad end decades of smoking. That made Max dive deep into the workings of the mind. Now he’s a world-renowned mentalist–an entertainer who also conducts training at the likes of Microsoft, Capital One and the Department of Defense. This talk with The Spaniard highlights how each of us can gain from a better understanding of influencing others, as well as the fundamental power of simply asking for what we want. We even get an illustration of that from Bruce, Max’s persistent pooch!

#76 Interview: Joe Lozito, The Subway Hero Who Stopped a Killer

  • On February 12, 2011, Joe Lozito’s quiet morning subway ride suddenly became a nightmare, as a knife-wielding stranger rushed him saying, ”You’re gonna die, you’re gonna die.” As Joe tells the Spaniard in this talk, ”Getting stabbed seven times wasn’t the worst part of the day. First it was a physical altercation, then it was a psychological altercation.” Joe survived, barely, due to his instincts, thinking and devotion to his family, his Fighter’s Mindset revealed by horror. Joe credits his long, close following of the UFC as preparing him for this desperate day. Later, he was on hand for the peak of The Spaniard’s fight career, and the two formed a friendship based on intimate knowledge of fighting—for sport, for survival, and to gain the most from life.

#75 Interview: Jody Strittmatter, Wrestling Champ, Coach, Club Co-Founder

  • In the Spaniard’s home area, the name Jody Strittmatter means many different things: Wrestling champ at state and Division II national levels; All-American at Iowa; family man who has teamed with his brothers both as an athlete and coach; and now Co-Founder/Coach/Director of Young Guns, one of America’s premier wrestling clubs. What emerges in particular from this talk is two familiar four-letter words: HARD WORK. Jody cites the examples of his diligent mother and his dairy farmer father and uncle as helping form his own aim to outwork other world-class competitors. Even if it meant that highest of sacrifices all through high school and college—never drinking soda!

#74 Interview: TJ Grant, UFC Title Contender

  • The Spaniard has said to today’s guest: ”I owe you my D-level fame.” That’s because TJ Grant’s getting sick helped lead to The Spaniard’s storybook win against Rick Story. TJ grew up the scrappy youngest of five brothers in Canada and ultimately was scheduled to fight for the UFC lightweight championship. Ah, but things happen in life, and TJ speaks from experience when he says that any fight could be your last. You’ll enjoy this discussion between friends, training partners, almost-opponents and dads of sassy daughters.

#73 A New View on Interviews

  • Projects can benefit greatly from a fluid dynamic such as the guys display in this episode. The Spaniard hits record without even knowing what Dread wants to talk about. It turns out to be the fact that the podcast has come to feature more interviews. This is something of a departure from the original plan for the show, but the stories and lessons were just too good not to provide listeners. Now you’ll see why The Spaniard finds himself on the way to being the new James Lipton. Also not to be missed in this talk: The Spaniard’s kids’ passport pics, a humbling tattoo, and a new piece of Spanguage coined before your ears.

#72 Interview: Ariel Helwani, World’s Leading MMA Journalist

  • Ariel Helwani personifies A Fighter’s Mindset and is huge in the world of MMA—but not for putting on gloves. It’s for his use of microphone and keyboard. The Spaniard calls him THE GUY in MMA Reporting, as do his eight straight World MMA Awards as Journalist of the Year. He never aims to be the story, but you’ll like hearing it: He grows up in Montreal imitating Marv Albert, shrewdly gains gigs involving the Olympics and HBO, and positions himself to be a leading voice in a sport years before it goes mainstream. Nothing stops him—not a broken ankle, not an unusable studio phone, not dismissal from Fox News, and not the yanking of his press badge by the UFC. So listen in on Fighter interviewing Fighter.

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#71 Sick Man’s Philosophy on Being Overcome

  • There are reasons for the phrase ”the dead of winter.” March is doing its job of coming in like a lion while The Spaniard battles a cold and cough through this recording. The upside of his sick days on the couch include a first-time viewing of ”Frozen” and watching state finals matches highlighted by one wrestler’s quest to cap a perfect high school record. This leads into ”Sick Man’s Philosophy” on aiming for flawless consistency even when pushed toward surrender. John Wooden and Steve Gleason enter the conversation as The Spaniard and Dread discuss those times when you just might be forced to (watch for the callback to ”Frozen”!) let it go.

#70 Interview: Joe De Sena, Founder of Spartan Race

  • An early-stage entrepreneur such as The Spaniard could have no better mentor than Joe De Sena, who has repeatedly ground through bleak years of building businesses. Joe, a veteran adventure racer and founder of the premier series Spartan Race, literally ran the path that The Spaniard follows. They both seek to help people live better by pushing to their limits and beyond. On the line from Tokyo, Joe looks back on growing up both tough and earthy after pinging between hustlers in Queens and hippies in Ithaca. Now he lives on a farm in Vermont with his own answer to the Egyptian pyramids (it’s a story you won’t believe).

#69 Lessons from Locking Myself Out

  • The good news is that a recent video by The Spaniard was by far his most-watched ever. The puzzling news is that it came about completely by accident, after he locked himself out of his house and improvised the video as something to do. He and Dread are still trying to draw lessons from this. One is that it wasn’t just an accident (correction!), because it had a backdrop of experience and skill-building. This discussions sheds light on how The Spaniard thinks about business versus spreading his message. He also shares why he has to be careful about stretching out on his bathroom floor.

#68 Interview: Patrick Murphy, Past “Soldier’s Secretary” of the Army

  • Patrick Murphy readily recognizes particular veterans, legislators and military administrators with the title ”Great American.” Well, it takes one to know one. He is all of these, as well as husband, father, lawyer, teacher, hockey player and loyal son of Philadelphia. For over a year, he was one of the top four managers of the U.S. Army, first as Acting Secretary and then as Under Secretary. He is beloved by both troops and civilian employees for deep understanding of and love for the military, significant initiatives and direct engagement. The Spaniard met Patrick through his brother Scott, another veteran and lawyer. What a talk they have here, about service, sacrifice, priceless spouses and much more–including Patrick’s selfless aid to others during a tragic train accident.

#67 When What YOU Value Doesn’t Matter

  • There are times not to care what other people think, but this episode is about the opposite: When the perspective of others is all that matters. This discussion comes about for two reasons. One is that the podcast Show Notes seem to have found no audience. This is valuable knowledge that involves a crucial pivot in the use of the Notes. The other event was unique adversity faced by The Spaniard at an appearance. This caused him to slice-and-dice the viewpoints at play: His own and the crowd’s. The learning provides priceless precision for performing–both preparing for it and evaluating it. Also: There are land mines in The Spaniard’s house.

#66 Interview: Derek Wilson, State Champ

  • You’re about to meet The Spaniard’s youngest interview guest ever—Derek Wilson is still in high school. And yet during this talk he teaches The Spaniard something. It has to do with how this young man gave himself the best chance to win a state title after a disappointing start to the championship tournament. This came only weeks after Derek was waiting to learn whether he would ever wrestle again. And that was six months after meeting someone who would help change his mindset forever—The Spaniard! This talk brings Derek’s championship season full circle.

#65 Email from a Champ’s Grandfather

  • A positive email always perks up The Spaniard. But this one gave him extra perk! It was from a special friend whose grandson The Spaniard met last summer for a special training session. The email held great news: This young wrestler had just achieved a dream that had eluded The Spaniard twice. Talk about happy tears! The Spaniard was beyond excited to discuss all of this. That was good timing, because his wife and daughter had both just dissed his grooming. You will hear why.

#64 A Key Change in The Fight Club

  • This episode dives into a specific evolution of The Spaniard’s business—the past, present and future of the AMX Fight Club, a place for those most interested in learning and applying A Fighter’s Mindset. The Spaniard and Dread trace how it came to be and the lessons learned as The Spaniard formed, led and observed this community. He and Dread have come to think deeply about various levels of engagement that each of us reach, even with those people and programs that influence us the most. This led to a milestone choice by The Spaniard that illustrates what he seeks to teach. Plus: The talk goes sideways for a bit on the word ”sage.”

#63 Interview: Coach/CEO Mitch Johns

  • Today we meet yet another treasured person from The Spaniard’s life. Mitch Johns first coached The Spaniard at age 8 and then throughout high school, through big wins and crushing losses. At the same time, Mitch was building what has become a thriving software company. He considers himself a coach even in his business life, recruiting ”good athletes” both literally and figuratively and leading them to maximize core strengths as well as nurture new skills. He will surprise you with his high regard for losses, and you’ll remember his reference to fishing for sharks. As with The Spaniard, he might just leave a mark on you forever. (That means something very specific that is a joy to learn.)

#62 Get Infected with Inspiration

  • The Spaniard is brimming with inspiration after a special week. First he was in the audience to see hard-working country superstar Brad Paisley. Then he was the one on the stage, at two high schools back in his home area. He was humbled by huge effort on his behalf, as well as a touching encounter with a brave girl. On this trip with The Spaniard you’ll see bright lights, shiny trophies and a gleam of tears.

#61 When They Question the Fighting

  • Those who know and love The Spaniard find only positives in his colorful professional fighting career. But there are those who don’t. They equate fighting only with anger and abuse. This came up in a recent social media comment critical of an upcoming Spaniard appearance, and this episode is his calm and thoughtful response. He explains why he needed to fight, and why you should find your own kind of battle. And guess what? It doesn’t have to involve pounding people!

#60 Push the Limits of Body & Mind

  • What load does your mind and body want to be under? You might never have thought in those terms, but that is phrasing that comes up in this episode. You’ll hear about testing your physical and mental limits to see yourself and your life more clearly. It happens during sprints on the treadmill, it happens reciting poetry while driving, it happens the way that works for you—if you PUSH to the edge and beyond.

#59 For Those with DRIVE

  • DRIVE was already central to the life of The Spaniard, both as a personal quality and the root word of his memoir’s title, but he recently gained a fresh appreciation of it. This was after an especially powerful group call with members of the AMX Fight Club. DRIVE is what these Fighters have in common, no matter their point in life—that basic urge to reach a goal. This episode is reflection on the nature of Drive, whether it can be fostered and what shapes its expression, including changes over time. This episode is brought to you by the letters ( ) and ( ). << You’ll find out when you listen!

#58 Interview: Legendary Wrestler Cary Kolat

  • During this interview, The Spaniard says, ”I love the fact that I got to wrestle for you. You’re one of a handful of the legendary.” He says this of Cary Kolat, who was one of his college coaches shortly after Cary had just wrestled in the Olympics. This was on top of an eye-popping record in Pennsylvania: 137-0 through high school with four state titles and 111-7 in college with two national championships. This talk will give you glimpses of the highest levels of hard work, mental discipline and intense competition, including coming to terms with heartbreaking losses despite unmatched preparation. One highlight: An evening of pushups that you will never forget.

#57 Overbuild, Then Bring on the Stress

  • As you stretch for goals, stress is inevitable. But there are ways to optimize chances for good results: Maintain a circle of advisers … Develop strength for the worst days … Stretch from atop a solid infrastructure … Learn about limits in yourself and others … Be accountable and transparent. The Spaniard and Dread illustrate this discussion with references from ”Shoe Dog,” the outstanding memoir by Nike founder Phil Knight. Plus there’s a nugget from that that leading educational film ”There’s Something About Mary.”

#56 Interview: Chris “CROM” Romulo (Part 2)

  • This is the second of two episodes that highlight the powerful influence of father-son relationships. The Spaniard continues talking to Muay Thai fighter and gym owner Chris ”CROM” Romulo. CROM muses over the lasting effect of exposing his young son to professional fighting, and he shares his heart for helping the children of absentee fathers. Listen for the poignant story of what one boy learned after watching his father in a boxing match. CROM also describes how he and his wife Sarah were affected by the devastation of Hurricane Sandy.

#55 Interview: Chris “CROM” Romulo (Part 1)

  • This is the first of two episodes that will get you thinking about your father. The Spaniard talks with Chris ”CROM” Romulo, a leading Muay Thai fighter for over 20 years and now owner with his wife Sarah of a training facility in his native Queens, New York City. CROM traces his past from craving the attention of his gambling-addicted, distant father … to running the streets with friends who also lacked male role models … to nearly dying in a senseless brawl … to becoming an amateur and professional champion in a combat sport that The Spaniard hails as the most intense of them all. This episode ends with a cliffhanger as CROM is lying in the ring at the lowest point of his fight career.

#54 “Gleason” Depicts Soldiering On

  • Sit down today with tissues and watch the documentary ”Gleason.” You’ll see a young couple, Steve and Michel, who have everything going for them, including his recently-concluded NFL career and their first baby on the way … except that Steve has just been diagnosed with ALS. This video blog for the child shows a father rapidly losing and gaining strength, and a mother despairing and overcoming. Watch it, put your own problems in perspective, be inspired … and then come listen to The Spaniard and Dread offer their highlights.

#53 Tell Me About Your Positive Attitude

  • This episode grew out of Episodes 46 & 47, which presented The Spaniard Fight Story about Dread and his wife facing her medical conditions. Marc, a member of The Spaniard’s AMX Fight Club, asked if Dread’s attitude was always so positive. The short answer is no, which is a message of hope for everyone struggling daily in this area. As The Spaniard and Dread discuss, it starts with wanting a positive attitude and finding good role models. Then comes simple perseverance. Also: The Spaniard sounds extra sleek this time due to a fresh haircut.

#52 An Evening Spent with Heroes

  • The Spaniard shares his top takeaways from a special event filled with wrestling heroes: champions, coaches and a young man who lost 25 matches in his first season but was the most inspiring person of the night. You’ll hear about learning to lose, clinging to goals until your last breath, finding value in adversity, and pushing past fears as small as ear-piercing and as large as nerve disease. You’ll also hear how The Spaniard learned that he is clumsy and cannot park a car.

#51 Interview Takeaways: Stitch Duran

  • What were your thoughts after the recent Stitch Duran interview? This is the question that The Spaniard and Dread ask each other in this episode. The two reflect on Stitch’s example of compassion, skill and hard work. The Spaniard also adds to the behind-the-scenes picture that Stitch painted, recalling his pre-UFC days of having to make do without a professional cutman. You’ll be surprised that he survived. Even more so when he also talks about not wearing a winter coat back in the day.

#50 (Part 2) Meet Stitch Duran, Legendary Cutman

  • The conversation continues with Stitch’s mentioning contact with nearly two dozen internationally-known figures, from film stars to fighters. It’s not name-dropping, it’s the life of a man who has boldly pursued his passions in service to others. Ultimately, his convictions led to a well-publicized dismissal from the UFC, but you’ll hear why even that has been a special experience for him. Rocky superfans such as The Spaniard will particularly like hearing about Stitch’s appearing in two of the Rocky movies (Stitch also mentions three other films in which he has appeared). Plus, there is a declaration of love from the heavyweight champion of the world!

#49 (Part 1) Meet Stitch Duran, Legendary Cutman

  • If you ever need a cutman, hope that it is Jacob “Stitch” Duran. No one is better at taping hands, tending wounds and cradling hearts. With over 30 years experience in combat sports, he cares for fighters like they are his sons. More than once, this included The Spaniard. You’ll get to hear the two renew their friendship discussing tears and smiles in the locker room, equipment innovations and a long wait in a U-Haul van. Stitch looks back proudly on growing up a farm worker with admirable parents, confounding football opponents the Latino way, serving overseas during the Vietnam War, and ultimately working beside the likes of Mike Tyson, the Klitschko brothers, Cain Velasquez and countless other warriors. Open your soul wide for this one.

#48 New Year Reflection on Authenticity

  • During this first week of the New Year, The Spaniard and Dread avoid the standard talk of resolutions but do grow reflective. They look back on the changes during the past year while embracing the need for more. Each of them has a fresh dedication to simply conversing as himself rather than as any broadcasting persona. They also look forward to offering a deepening variety of content on the podcast, including more interviews with figures of national prominence. You’ll hear about two possible upcoming guests. Also: Dread predicts that by this time next year, The Spaniard will be twice the author he is now.

#47 (Part 2) Fight Story: Facing Disease with Gratitude

  • Recording on the morning of Christmas Eve, The Spaniard asks Dread to continue sharing how he and his wife Janet are coping with Janet’s diagnoses of dementia and breast cancer. Dread reiterates how much he and Janet find to appreciate as they stay focused on the present while hopeful and realistic about the future. You’ll hear about practical considerations such as safe driving and avoiding getting lost, as well as the fact that Dread and Janet still do what loving married couples do. Yup—they bicker.

#46 (Part 1) Fight Story: Facing Disease with Gratitude

  • This is the second in the series called Spaniard Fight Stories. It’s not about The Spaniard in the cage, it’s about one of us applying A Fighter’s Mindset to a primary life challenge. Today the Fighter is none other than The Spaniard’s co-host Dread, who shares how he and his wife Janet are facing two diseases that bring uncertainty to their future. This has recently led Dread and Janet to start sharing their lives in a new podcast—an example of fighting back against circumstances. Dread emphasizes that they have too much gratitude to move forward without joy. Speaking of which, you’ll get a kick out of the scenes from back when Janet managed a motel. Shady stuff!

Ep. 45 – Let’s Hear About Your Heroes

  • This discussion was inspired by a little fighter girl thrilled to receive an autographed picture of The Spaniard. Her delight led to a recollection of childhood heroes. Most of you will recognize their names. You’ll see that The Spaniard and Dread both had an early start in their interest in maximizing human potential—even if some of their heroes were not flesh and blood. Seek out the show notes for this one, because they feature a watercolor painting mentioned during the episode. It is the work of our own mysterious Dread.

Ep. 44 – Spaniard Background from Friends & Fans

  • Recent episodes have mentioned The Spaniard’s latest book signing. Now you get to be on the scene where The Spaniard autographed ”Driven” and talked to friends and fans, some of whom went over to a corner for quick interviews by Dread. This will take you back in time for glimpses of The Spaniard as student, athlete and annoying little brother. Okay, okay, the word ”annoying” is not applied, but isn’t it safe to assume? Another word to listen for is “blowout.” Yup, it means just what you think it means.

Ep. 43 – Keep Moving Forward

  • This episode is a catch-up conversation filled with lessons. After a longer-than-usual gap between recordings, The Spaniard brings Dread up to speed on new developments in his career: recent talks delivered, new appearances planned, and the launching of advertising for The Spaniard’s Mindset & Toughness Camp next summer (tell a young male athlete about it!). All of this illustrates the value of charging forward into new experiences while seeing learning opportunities everywhere. Also: The Spaniard is wearing Beats headphones, and this ties to a discussion of The Spaniard’s future in rapping. Kinda.

Ep. 42 – Fight Story: Dave Wagner on Keeping Off Weight

  • Here is the first of a series called Spaniard Fight Stories. This is not about The Spaniard in the cage, it’s about one of us applying A Fighter’s Mindset to a primary life challenge. For Dave Wagner, the goal was to become healthy for the sake of his wife and soon-to-be-born child. This conversation occurs after a year of good choices: planning, journaling, eating mindfully, sweating, and embracing Uncomfortability within an uplifting relationship. Also: All of this might lead to someone’s getting to be Mickey Mouse!

Ep. 41 – Pursue Perfection While Proudly Imperfect

  • No show notes have ever had more links and listings than this episode’s do. The references fly as The Spaniard and Dread embrace both imperfection and the pursuit of the opposite–and this is while The Spaniard is sitting on the floor of his perfectly imperfect basement. A partial list of this show’s topics includes Bill Walsh, Joe Montana, ”This is Us,” crying on planes, Turner & Hooch, Tim Grover, clouds, dirt, chocolate pudding, memory lapses and Peyton Manning, Oh, wait! You’ll also hear about a hairy baby!

Ep. 40 – Surround Yourself with Fighters

  • Just listen to the new resources available to you. This podcast stream has gained thirty episodes in two weeks! That’s because The Spaniard has been uploading audio from his uplifting morning video series, AM Excellence (AMX). Also, The Spaniard has just launched the AMX Fight Club, a supportive community of Fighters learning each other’s stories and keeping each other accountable. It’s a place to seek the best life for yourself and others. Also: See why The Spaniard is cooking all of this up while standing at his kitchen counter.

Ep. 39 – College: Just One Path to Learning

  •  Yes, The Spaniard and Dread know college, and The Spaniard knows grad school. But that’s not education. Those are just particular arenas for hard work and deep pursuit. What matters is ongoing learning and reaching for excellence in a personal passion. As shown in this episode, it can range from dancing to interpreting to excavating. Listen all the way through for the hunting story and Dread’s wordplay. He is (deluded that he is) one punny guy!

Ep. 38 – Consider Two Basic Questions

  • One long tangent turns into a fruitful episode (in more ways than one). The Spaniard mildly delves into Dread’s sleep patterns, and the conversation leads unexpectedly into discipline, consistency, systematic living, delayed gratification, and—what becomes the central topic—discovering your natural self. How can you live as simply and directly as possible, and most in line with who you were built to be? By gaining clarity about two basic questions: (revealed in the episode!). Also: Did you know that bananas (sorta) weren’t available before 1900? Dread can tell you all about it. See? Fruitful talk!

Ep. 37 – Beyond Eager Listening Comes …

  • There is hearing, then there is doing. The Spaniard gets a special charge from especially receptive listeners, such as two basketball coaches who recently engaged him to help their players reach a new level of preparation. He also recently spoke to students who reminded him of himself twenty years ago. But beyond being heard is the satisfaction of seeing Fighters fight, actively applying principles that The Spaniard has found essential. Where do you lie on the spectrum of involvement? Also: Are you interested in losing weight eating french fries? (listen for it)

Ep. 36 – (Part 2) My Big Brother & CHief ADvisor

  • Here is the conclusion of the rich discussion between The Spaniard, his brother Ben ”ChAd” Brenneman and Dread. As a scholastic athletic director, Ben shares the four aims that he impresses on coaches so that winning will take care of itself. Both brothers reflect on how relationship choices intersect with pursuit of goals and how a turning point in The Spaniard’s career contributed to friction between them. All seems to be going well with the episode even as a question lingers from the first half of this recording: Will Dread’s dog behave himself?

Ep. 35 – (Part 1) My Big Brother & CHief ADvisor

  • He is famous on Twitter as @no1joes (220 followers!) and as ChAd (”Chief Advisor”) in The Spaniard’s book ”Driven.” It’s Ben Brenneman, big brother of The Spaniard! In the first half of a packed discussion in Dread’s kitchen, you’ll hear how Ben helped watch out for his kid brother as they both pursued wrestling through Division 1 programs and then on into The Spaniard’s pro fighting career. In between, Ben ignored shoulder problems to help The Spaniard win big on the reality TV competition ”Pros vs. Joes.” The mutual admiration and inspiration is evident as we learn how many grapes ChAd would allow The Spaniard during weight-cutting.

Ep. 34 – Go Listen to Rob Dyrdek

  • Here’s a podcast episode about a podcast episode. That’s how much benefit The Spaniard and Dread got from a recent interview of Rob Dyrdek on another podcast. The Spaniard relates highly to Dyrdek’s story of small-town-athlete-turned-inspiring-businessman, and Dread learned a lot as well. They discuss just a few of Dyrdek’s Ten Do or Die Principles: Being Obsessively Curious, Relentless Consistent, Passionately Compelled and Honestly Brilliant. You’ll walk away with new insight on the importance of continuously learning from others. Seek out the Show Notes for this episode for lists of The Spaniard’s and Dread’s favorite podcasts, as well as details on the gut-busting treadmill workout The Spaniard learned from UFC fighter Eddie Alvarez.

Ep. 33 – Surprise! You Are a FIGHTER

  • Me? A Fighter? Yes, you. The Spaniard and Dread urge you to adopt this title as you reach for goals that matter to you. They point to the ancient Fight or Flight response and to shining examples of fighters in sports, entertainment and public service. They discuss how two types of fighting—Reactive and Creative—figure into history and into inspiring lives. Need some time to come to identify yourself as a Fighter? No problem! The Spaniard explains how it was hard for him even after winning several professional cage matches. Also: What is going on with Dread’s beard?

Ep. 32 – Your Goal-Seeking Story Wanted

  • Something is missing. That’s a common thought when progressing toward goals. For The Spaniard and Dread, what is missing is deeper engagement with the most active followers of A Fighter’s Mindset. The podcast turns a corner in this episode with a strong welcome for stories from goal-seekers at charlie-brenneman.com. Another easy way to start forming a relationship with The Spaniard is to leave a comment at his daily AMX videos posted at facebook.com/SpaniardMMA. Also in this episode: The Spaniard applies a new adjective to Dread without fully knowing what it means.

Ep. 31 – Fury at the Line-Jumper

  • You are not alone in your struggles. You might be confronting wrongdoing; being dismissed; straining to control your emotions; fighting to speak up; regretting defensiveness … The Spaniard and Dread touch on all of these while discussing a seemingly small incident of line-jumping at a store. The talk leads to valuable reminders of mindfulness, humility and continuous improvement. We also learn how The Spaniard manages to satisfy hordes of trick-or-treaters. Plus a little more bro-crushing on The Rock.

Ep. 30 – RECORDED LIVE: Living with Intention

  • Recording before a live audience for the first time, The Spaniard and Dread dive into the saying ”How you do one thing is how you do everything.” What comes to the surface is intentionality. Find what matters to you most, align your life toward them, and keep going. Don’t be derailed by perfectionism, failures, or by dwelling on more-capable versions of yourself that don’t exist. This means you, Ohio State team that lost to the local-favorite Penn State Nittany Lions just the day before this recording. Not that The Spaniard mentions that …

Ep. 29 – Adversity is Preparation

  • Just before this episode was recorded, The Spaniard persevered through an audio failure while live-streaming a video. This illustrates the essential skill of continuing to perform during problems or detours. You can come to prize this about setbacks: They train you to survive setbacks. Consider adversity an important part of your preparation, along with daily repetition of key activities and steady escalation of complexity and challenge. Also: The Spaniard provides insight into how to eat a salad while holding a crying baby.

Ep. 28 – Note from Lovers of Hard Work

  • Ahhh, there’s nothing like hard work and lots of it. The Spaniard and Dread compare notes on the joys and challenges of long hours. On the bright side, there is peace to be found during early-morning starts, and there are good habits to absorb from toiling friends. On the dark side, there can be difficulty dialing back striving, as well as discouragement from failing to see returns. The guys share how they have learned how to even things out and aim to get the most from their efforts. Listen for the story of how The Spaniard’s train was stopped when he was almost home after a long day.

Ep. 27 – Running an Inspiring 10 Miles

  • The Spaniard just ran the Army 10-Miler with his brother, a veteran, and he found inspiration in every direction. He describes competitors who bow to no challenge, and he highlights two thought-provoking T-shirts that he spotted. This leads to discussion of aging well and of leading versus following versus obstructing. We also gain Dread’s recommendation for protecting feet, whether we want it or not.

Ep. 26 – Team-Building Behind the Scenes

  • A college coach recently recruited The Spaniard to boost his team’s mental and physical capacities. You’ll hear how this work is helping high performers reach new levels of toughness and camaraderie through discipline and vulnerability. You’ll also hear how The Spaniard doggedly pursued a Mastermind group participant to allow continued growth. Plus, there are shout-outs to the remarkable Jocko Willink of Jocko Podcast, a discussion of something called emotional fluency, and new examples of old-guy vocabulary.

Ep. 25 – Interview Take-Aways: Frankie Edgar

  • As demonstrated in the previous episode, Frankie Edgar is a champion not only in the UFC but as a person. Now The Spaniard and Dread review their takeaways from the interview. These include the power of a support team, the importance of finding hard work that you can love and the paradox of navigating toward goals that might be unreachable. Also: The Spaniard recalls a brush with Channing Tatum and starts rattling off the period table.

Ep. 24 – Interview: Frankie Edgar, UFC Champion

  • ”You can be a good person AND the best in the world. Frankie is a perfect example.” The Spaniard says that in this extra-special episode featuring Frankie Edgar, active UFC fighter and former lightweight champion, whose friendship with the Spaniard began during college. Frankie’s devotion to family, friends, teammates and training shines as he discusses a career that led from underground fighting to an upcoming bout in Madison Square Garden. Frankie was The Spaniard’s inspiration to pursue the UFC, and he is the best possible first guest on ”A Fighter’s Mindset.” Where else will you hear two guys compare notes on both changing diapers and breaking bones around their eye sockets?

Ep. 23 – How Partners Handle Friction

  • The Spaniard and Dread fighting with each other?? Say it ain’t so! Okay, it ain’t so. But there was some frowning about podcast work during Dread’s vacation, so this discussion is about partners negotiating challenges. It highlights the importance of rest and listening to yourself and to each other. There’s also a reminder about what seagulls eat and a surprise at the end of the episode!

Ep. 22 – Book Talk: ”Driven” (Part 2) – with special guest!

  • This episode concludes the review of The Spaniard’s memoir ”Driven: My Unlikely Journey from Classroom to Cage.” Discussion topics include: Persevering through unpleasant tasks; maintaining supportive and inspiring relationships; seeking out teachers and mentors; and preparing for the deep lows that often accompany high aims. As well as reminiscing about the birth of Gracie June Brenneman! The messages that shine through are: Don’t settle. Follow your passions. Be YOU. Also: A quick clarification on just who wrote the Declaration of Independence; a brief tangent on nicknames; and the first podcast appearance of a Spaniard family member!

Ep. 21 – Book Talk: “Driven” (Part 1)

  • Reading is vital for growth, so The Spaniard and Dread decided to present occasional book discussions. The first title they chose is The Spaniard’s own book, ”Driven: My Unlikely Journey from Classroom To Cage.” In the first of two sessions, they explain how the book came together and expand on certain sections. This talk touches on maintaining clarity about your own purpose, developing secondary skills demanded by your goal, and balancing risk with other desires and obligations. Also, there is some murkiness about authoring The Declaration of Independence.

Ep. 20 – How to Speak for 90 Minutes Without Notes

  • Want a juicy example of pursuing a big goal with A Fighter’s Mindset? How about working for over 18 months to deliver a one-man stage show? Who did this? The Spaniard’s podcasting pal Keith ”Dread” Eldred! In this episode, hear why and how he did it and learn about key practices including starting small, working daily, building on plateaus, varying training and inviting failure. Also: The Spaniard keeps saying ”barber” instead of ”stylist.”

Ep. 19 – Unqualified Weight Management Thoughts

  • The Spaniard and Dread make a disclaimer early in this episode that they cannot officially discuss what they are discussing: Managing weight. You and your doctor have to decide what is best for you. Having said that, the guys share what has been useful for them. Here’s a preview of the simple takeaways: Drink Water, Record Everything, and Personalize Your System. Oh, and this: Plan Your Cheating. (Or does that mean that it’s not cheating?)

Ep. 18 – How to Be “The Man in the Arena”

  • Talk about a rich piece of writing. ”The Man in the Arena” has inspired millions–and shamed unworthy critics–since Theodore Roosevelt voiced it in a speech over 100 years ago. The Spaniard has been the Man in the Arena, of course, and he and Dread walk through the passage in this episode. In drawing out its many lessons, they touch on an unlikely set of movie stars—Charlton Heston, Amy Schumer and Bruce Lee. Also mentioned: Gymnastics training, recovery from alcoholism, tribal elders and dirty dishes. You gotta hear about the dirty dishes.

Ep. 17 – One New Step Leads to Another

  • Prepare to be inspired. This week The Spaniard took a new step that helped a new friend see a way forward. This happened after one of The Spaniard’s closest followers took him up on the offer of a consulting call. That person turned out to have a remarkable story of transformation, and the Spaniard gave him a specific way to start sharing it. This is how change ripples outward.

Ep. 16 – What Three Fighters Taught Me

  • This episode will let you mix it up with famous fighters. The stories will take you in close with three UFC stars: Frankie Edgar, Georges St-Pierre and Jon Jones. You’ll hear what The Spaniard learned from each, and how each influences him to this day, every day. Also: Dread has a story about politicians that’s not political.

Ep. 15 – Get Serious About Having Fun

  • Yes, mindset matters. In this episode, you’ll hear how one simple shift of perspective transformed The Spaniard’s college wrestling career from mediocre to one win away from All-American. His key decision back then: HAVE FUN! And his decision now, when he starts to feel career pressure: HAVE FUN! Now it’s your turn. Take off that backpack full of rocks (The Spaniard will explain that) and rediscover joy. Also: Favorite movie moments from The Rookie and Dumb & Dumber.

Ep. 14 – Competing Views of Competition

  • It’s host versus co-host. The Spaniard finds competition essential while Dread questions that. The Spaniard gives a wrestler’s and fighter’s appreciation of flesh-and-blood opponents: how they have shaped him, how they have often obsessed him, and how he sometimes has to search for their equivalents. The conversation highlights how competitors personify high standards and how the highest performance might require a winner and a loser. Also: Will baby Rocky let The Spaniard work out?

Ep. 13 – Principles of Fathership

  • Three days after the birth of his second child, The Spaniard discusses Fathership (a Spaniard term): his gratitude, his hopes, his plans, and how little he and his wife are sleeping. What does this mean for you? The tale involving Sheetz will make you think about the power of example. The discussion of summer camp and iffy acquaintances will help you watch for good and bad influences. The story in the hospital will alert you to opportunities to make simple, difficult decisions for growth. Whatever your relationship to parenting—past, present, future, never—there are thoughts here to help you put your arms around what matters most to you. Also: The three inspirations for the new baby’s name!

Ep. 12 – Speak up WHEN CONVENIENT?!?

  • Okay, Community Watchdog, when do you guard the greater good? Only when it’s really all about you? In this episode, that big question springs from something small: The rules at the pool. Dread dives into uncomfortability about living his values, and The Spaniard sends a sheepdog after him (you’ll see what that means). The two trade Abe Lincoln quotes and discuss how a big part of tact is just slowing down. Also: For The Spaniard’s wife, Labor Day might mean just that!

Ep. 11 – Yes, You Will Still Get Nervous

  • The Spaniard gets anxious? Yup. So does every fighter he ever met, before a fight. Hear how the Spaniard got the willies before being interviewed for the major podcast Entrepreneur on Fire–which happens to be the first one he ever listened to. If you think anxiety means you’re doing something wrong … you’re wrong! Pick up tips including quotes form Seneca, Jamie Foxx and Tony Robbins. (There’s also another shout-out related to the new show intro. We mean you, Good Dad Project!)

Ep. 10 – An Uncomfortable Working Session

  • Do you have friends, mentors and partners to push you, question you and help you keep moving toward your goals? The Spaniard does. In this episode, you’ll hear that live, in a discussion that ends up making him back away from the microphone. (But it’s all good, you’ll see.) It’s intense, positive talk that will help you see how to continue your efforts while staying true to yourself—your core enthusiasms, your special gifts, and the strengths and skills that you build and maintain. This episode is fun, this episode is uncomfortable. Hey: It’s funcomfortable! (Also, a musical intro debuts!)

Ep. 9 – But What if You Lose?

  • The 2016 Olympics have concluded, but not discussing them—specifically the crushing experience of USA wrestler Jordan Burroughs. The Spaniard got to know him and his family in a special way on the set of a Ralph Lauren commercial, and you can, too, in the touching documentary ”My Name is Jordan,” currently at FloWrestling.com. Highlighting Jordan means highlighting humility, the pursuit of victory, the agony of defeat, and the joys and challenges of success. This talk will help you travel the highs and lows of your own road.

Ep. 8 – The Risk of Not Risking

  • The Spaniard is often asked how he can possibly take the risk of stepping into the ring. In this episode, you’ll hear questions that he asks in return. The conversation was prompted by Dread’s sharing what happened to him at a red light. Then come stories of injuries, mysterious maladies and pushing your limits. Plus mentions of Fight Club, the Olympics and an exploration of old-fashioned sayings. Don’t dare not listening!

Ep. 7 – Take On The Olympian

  • This is about measuring yourself against an Olympic athlete—something The Spaniard describes doing literally. You have more in common with gold medalists than you might think. That also goes for a Grammy winner and the world’s best convenience store. The Spaniard and Dread discuss all of these while sharing tips for competing in any event. Faster, Higher, Stronger, Baby.

Ep. 6 – What Transcends Wins and Losses? Balance.

  • The Spaniard is enjoying these days when he has many goals unfulfilled. Why? Because he knows the importance of Balance. You’ve heard that word before, but you haven’t heard a conversation connecting it to grooming, an amusement park, cooking shows, championship jet skiing, farming and beach volleyball. Here it is.

Ep. 5 – Tell Me Where I’m Good and Bad

  • Listen to The Spaniard aim for beneficial discomfort. He and Dread discuss one of his favorite exercises: Asking others to name your best and worst qualities. Then they get into it unscripted, trading good and bad aspects of themselves. The Spaniards asks for the nitty gritty. Will Dread speak up? Find out.

Ep. 4 – Where Passions Hide

  • We learn which passion of the Spaniard’s is hidden in plain sight. Also how his passion for fighting is actually passion for competition. How pursuing one passion often means pursuing many. Spaniard and Dread contrast different types of competition: Physical, Mental, Career-ical. Dread strays into wrestling terms he has no business using.

Ep. 3 – The Two Big Areas of Improvement

  • Spaniard and Dread discuss Improvement: Where in the hip-hop Spaniard sucks, how he has responded, and a dumb question he asked during a fight. This episode highlights the two broad areas of importance in any endeavor: Technical and Mental.

Ep. 2 – Discovering Desire

  • We learn more about the Spaniard’s drive to excel, how his parents fostered that, and how he annoys his wife. This episode highlights how to discover your inner drive and set audacious goals regardless of your personal background. Also some good stuff on titles: the course Addicted to Excellence and the name Dread.

Ep. 1 – What is “A Fighter’s Mindset”?

  • Everything is introduced: Why we’re podcasting, what’s in it for you, who Spaniard is, who Keith is, and how we met. This episode highlights the power of relationships and the importance of balance.