Fighting Hurt: Your Best is an Illusion

I want to talk about going into the ring not %100. Walking into a ring or cage with the only thing between you and another human being intent on doing you bodily harm being the skills you’ve developed. You might be leading up to this even thinking “I’m worried I’m not at my best” I’m here to tell you not to worry, because your best is just an illusion anyway. I have in two decades of being involved in different facets of the fight game never heard someone win or lose a fight and then say: “everything in fight camp was perfect.” As athletes and humans our perception of what should be our best and what reality is will often be skewed. 

Right from the start I’m going to simply say stop. Everyone loves to talk about how mental the sport is, especially pundits who’ve never done it, so make it mental. You don’t have permission to be concerned about minor physical inconveniences.  You’re a fighter not powerlifter or a sprinter who’s life is dependent on “meso” and “macro” cycles to fine tune your body to then participate in a highly linear and predictable sport. You signed up for asymmetrical contest with numerous variables that in its essence would be a crime in any another circumstance. 

While, I’m in no way advocating going into a fight without a solid skill-set or with a debilitating injury. I’m going to offer a few insights for those of you who are going into your first couple of fights with some aches or pains. I’m writing this primarily for people fighting with the goal of testing themselves, not monetary gain. You are most likely interested in proving that your skills will stand up to the test. Also, you probably want to be able to, even if it’s unspoken, own the credential of being a fighter. First off, if you want to be in our club pain is one of your first prices of admission.

So congratulations, you are doing something challenging and with what I’ll refer to as a “healthy amount of insanity.” Maybe not “insane” by 200 years ago standards when we still kicked the shit out of each other on a regular basis, and shot our neighbors over who’s livestock got to graze on what land.  But if you’re a man or woman in 2017 America there is a good chance you have never had to defend yourself against anything except hurt feelings. Many people are attracted to boxing and martial arts for exercise but then start to ask “does this work?” and can I measure up. Part of that crucible is not worrying about a sore wrist, slight cold, or cardio program that didn’t go according to plan. Take a moment and focus on all of your strengths. If your left arm isn’t %100 shift your metal focus to a positive aspect. Think about how it doesn't matter as much because your defense has been rock solid and conditioning is outstanding. Shift your mid-set to what you can control and the positive. 

So, now that we have that out of the way let’s move on to what being truly prepared means. If are about to fight someone, part of the training should be well “fighting people.” Although, I’m a big proponent of intelligent sparring and avoiding “gym wars,” this still isn’t golf. Forrest Griffen the former UFC champion says “…if you’re 100 percent coming into a fight, you probably didn’t train.” So if you are allowing the seeds of doubt to grow in your mind remember: “your opponent is probably hurt as well, if they’re not they aren’t prepared.” Go forth, have fun, punch people. If you get seriously hurt and your lawyer wants to contact me about it remember my official stance is all contact sports are bad. Also, my advice is for entertainment purposes only and should not be taken seriously be any human being. Cheers!