Unleashing the Beast Within: Part 2
The dominant, unshakable athlete. The one that shines brighter than the spotlight itself. He’s not afraid to let it all hang out and take risks in the arena. It’s inspiring. We all want that level of success; well, at least I did. How do we get there? How do we look largely flawless in the face of adversity?
Before we get to specifics, before we make it to a fight/competition, before we start conditioning, dieting, punching, kicking and grappling, we need to take a step back.
Why are we doing all of this?
Obviously we are training to perform in the ring or cage, but WHY is that our goal? Do we have a clear picture of WHY we are doing this?
We all have different reasons for starting our journey. Many of us had no idea it would come to a fight when we started. Physical fitness, self-defense, former high school or college athlete looking to stay active, these are the typical reasons why people come to my gym. What separates us greatly is WHY we fight.
For me, I started traditional martial arts in the late 80’s. My father took me to a friend’s gym to learn to protect myself and build confidence. After years of training, the UFC popped on the scene and I was hooked. I had to learn how to grapple!
I then transitioned from Tae Kwon Do and kickboxing to wrestling, Judo and Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. I was completely hooked on combat sports.
So, for me, the initial reason for competing was just a natural transition from competing in the elements individually. I wanted to be able to put all of my tools together. In the early days of MMA, then called NHB (No Holds Barred), fights were not easy to find. In my home state of Tennessee, NHB was actually illegal. The landscape of the sport looked dramatically different from what it looks like today.
Today we see people learning MMA as its own art. Instead of going numerous places to learn various arts, most gyms are a one stop shop. In the earlier days of fighting, it was common to have life long wrestlers, Muay Thai fighters, karateka, Judoka, etc. seeking to find a path to learn what they were deficient in. Because of the new trend, competing as an outlet to blend the arts might not be a common reason, like I once had.
So what is your reason?
WHY do you want to compete, put it on the line, fight another man?
The first, and most important step in unleashing the beast within, is asking ourselves WHY we are doing what we are doing! This isn’t a question to take lightly. Looking deep within ourselves and finding true meaning in what we are doing will be the driving force behind any hurdles that will definitely appear.
Money, fame, the spotlight? To be like Conor McGregor?
I’m sure many aspiring young fighters will lean this direction when looking for their reasons. I urge you to look deeper within yourself to answer this important question. Our true “WHY” needs to be something we can fall back on in hard times and something we can truly find passion in.
Towards the last few years of my competitive journey my reasons for fighting changed drastically. I went from testing the skills I had acquired through years of training, to battling the demon called competitive anxiety. I was trying to find the path to competing at a level I knew I was capable of. I had to step in the fire and see if the methods I had studied worked for me. My last 5 fights weren’t about the guy standing across from me, but really against myself. I had a solid “WHY” to push me.
Very deep, specific terminology is the key, at this point in our journey of competitive success (and life).
Do you want to make fighting a career? Do you want to fight at a high enough level for large contracts and endorsement deals?
An example of the type of terminology that can help us sustain a high level through a practice, a fight camp and even a career could read: “I’m fighting and working to build a career to sustain a suitable lifestyle to take care of myself, to take care of my family, as well as set up a secure future after my competitive days are finished.”
Whatever you reason is, make it meaningful and very specific. You may have multiple reasons for competing. Mine, for example, was not only to compete at a suitable level by using the steps and procedures I’ve studied, but to put them to the test. I needed to know they worked to pass on to my students and now you!
We now have our own, personal reason WHY we have chosen the path we have. Like I’ve said before, these reasons will be our driving force . It’ll get us to the gym when we’re sore, tired. It’ll make us push harder through practice, step out of our comfort zones and keep us focused on our journey.
It may seem like we are a long way off from discussing “pre-fight jitters” or maybe the inability to pull the trigger in a match, and in some respects we are. I want you to remember that this isn’t a quick fix. This is a process and an overall formula for success that can be career- and life-changing.
Think of it like this: on your first day of training did you learn a multi-part striking combination or a long detailed submission chain? I’m guessing no; definitely not in my gym. You probably learned basic stance and structure. You started with a strong foundation. That’s what we are doing now. We are pouring the concrete on what will be the foundation for all of our future success in fighting or in life.
Homework: Grab a notebook and write down your reasons why you have chosen this journey. Make it as detailed as possible. Dig deep! Once we’ve completed this, we are well on our way to building unshakable confidence and highlight reel performances!
In our next addition of Unleashing the Beast Within, we will cover the 5 P’s. Do you know them?!
If you need further coaching in your journey, shoot me an email, [email protected]