March 9th, 2009
Last Wednesday, I flew to Washington DC for Century Martial Arts with Dan Bower (pictured below). We went around and had several meetings with Congressmen. What we were lobbying for was PEP (Physical Education Program) Grants and the PHIT (Personal Health Investment Today) Act. The PEP Grants are for physical education where a teacher can receive a grant for their class; but only 1 of 10 applicants are receiving the grant. So there is a huge need and we went there to get it raised from $750,000 each fiscal year to $100 million. Recently, California tested 3 million students and found out that students who are more physically fit achieve greater academic success.
The PHIT (Personal Health Investment Today) Act will encourage millions of Americans to participate in physical fitness activities. Basically what they are trying to do is to allow people to write off several fitness/sports related items as tax deductions, up to $1000. Things like your kid’s baseball gloves, gym memberships, maybe some exercise equipment. An interesting quote I received stated:
“Investing in physical activity programs will lead to economic savings. An investment of $1.00 in physical activity (time and equipment) leads to $3.20 in medical cost savings.” -World Health Organization (WHO), Health and Development through Physical Activity & Sport Report, 2002
Another quote stated:
“The ultimate objective of any health care system is to promote health… Financial incentives could be modified to encourage healthy behavior and to discourage poor health habits.” - Peter Orszag, Office of Management & Budget Director, Testimony before Senate Budget Committee as Director of CBO, Jan. 31, 2008
One of the biggest problems I think this country has is the obesity epidemic. In 2003, US Surgeon General, Richard Carmona said, “The fastest growing cause of illness and death in America today is obesity.” 8 of the 9 most expensive medical conditions relate to obesity. This is a very important topic to me and I’m very happy to be helping with these programs.
I did have a good time out there, very interesting going through all the tunnels that connect the buildings. I did get to meet Herschel Walker, who happens to be a huge fan of MMA and also does some training. I gave him my phone number and he might be stopping by the HIT Squad the next time he comes to St. Louis.
Me with Dan Bower from Century Martial Arts.
Some photos from Wednesday:
Friday morning, I woke up at 3:10 AM and started my drive to Columbus, OH for UFC 96. Had to be there in time to do the Q&A session before the weigh-ins. Mike Goldberg joined me on the stage and we fielded questions from anybody that asked. There is a link to the edited video in the Forums. As you can tell Goldie’s and my personality play off each other well and I had a good time up there.
Saturday morning, I woke up and went to the Arnold Classic. All I can say is ‘wow’ was that place packed. Had several guys from my gym compete in the grappling tournament. One of our guys, Blake, even won his weight class and his division. I tried to stick around and watch them but it was just too busy. With all the fans there, I didn’t have time to do anything but take pictures and sign autographs. I knew if I stuck around there I would have made some people mad, so I left and went over to the UFC booth. There I horsed around with Sean Sherk, Brock Lesnar and Randy Couture a little bit. Even got to shake hands with Governor Schwarzenegger and got a picture with him. I’ll try and get ahold of that picture and we’ll post it later. Although, it’s probably somewhere on the UFC website.
That night, I picked up my tickets, went to the fight and had a great time. My seat was right between Randy Couture and Brock Lesnar. Randy was backstage with one of his fighters, so I got to talk to Kim a little bit. I also jacked around with Brock the whole night and I would have to say that Brock and I are a lot alike. Dana was busy doing some filming for something, so we didn’t get to chat much It’s funny, I’ve been with the UFC for so long that I know the cameramen, production guys, and I even knew the Ohio commission who were around the octagon. So I had a great time. One of the better UFC weekends for me. Finally, I made sure to wake up early Sunday morning, so I could get home as soon as possible to see the family.
So, until next time… -matt