It’s only a couple of weeks now until I’m fighting again, and as the last full week of training approaches I’ve been thinking about how I feel and how I’ve felt about fighting previously. Every time I sit down in my living room I’m surrounded by inspiration. I’m surrounded by achievements big and small. Whether I’ve won or I’ve lost each of them are achievements in their own right. Really it goes back to what a good friend of mine told me about fighting before I stepped in the ring for the first time.
At the time I was probably more nervous than I have ever been about anything in my life, and I guess that never changes. I can remember very clearly phoning my friend and telling him I had a fight coming up and it was my first one and I could almost see him grinning from ear to ear. ‘That’s great!’ he said ‘Just remember as soon as you get in that ring you’ve already won.’ And then almost under his breath ‘good luck with the training.’
I think I spent the whole 6 weeks getting ready for that fight visualizing a half man half monster stepping into the ring with me, when it came to the fight in itself, the young lad about the same height and build as me wasn’t what I expected, and then when I was fighting him adrenaline took over from nerves.
I lost on points that day, but from what I remember it was a good fight and it showed me that I have what it takes to step up. But you see, after that first fight I then lost another 6 fights in row. Among those fights, some of them were wars and some of them were very close. I began to learn, that really if you love the challenge and the combat you never really lose anything at all. You only ever learn. And I’m the first to say I have learnt some very hard lessons, and in hindsight from some of those initial fights there’s been a lot that I’ve taken away. I guess if you can take a fight back to the gym, and work on what needs to be worked on to come back stronger than you were before then that’s a victory in it’s own right.
One of the toughest moments of these times for me has been getting back to the training, but ultimately if your determined to succeed then you’ll learn to accept that sometimes it takes perseverance and commitment and a lot of knock backs to finally head in the direction you want to get to. I can remember being told a story about a guy who spent 2 years losing fights, and when it finally tipped for him he ended up becoming a Vale Tudo champion and a fighter all the other fighters avoided. I can’t help but wonder how much he learnt about himself over that time and how much stronger he became inside. That story has stayed with me for a long time, and has always given me focus when I’ve felt at my lowest. It just goes to show, when you set your intention there really are no limits.
You see I kept fighting on the back of those losses because I knew that if I have what it takes to step into a ring then I have what it takes to win. It was really just a case of keeping competing and keeping belief in myself. So when it finally tipped for me, Well that was a good day. It was a amateur K1 bout, and not the tidiest of fights, I fought late in the evening and was relieved when my name was called as it felt like we had all been there forever, but I fought well despite it being a three round war and I got the decision. I was so determined not to lose that day, winning was the best feeling ever. And of course, the win that came after that one was a real achievement.
So here I am 2 weeks away from my next bout, a little nervous but feeling more and more ready as each day passes. If I can do this for a third time in a row then I know I’m onto something here. Win or lose, I’m going to be fighting for a while and as I’ve said before I’ll be training for many years to come. I’ve ended up becoming a completely different person from who I was before I started training and competing, but I guess that’s a story for another day. All I know is that the returns you get back aren’t always all about the physical. It’s made me a better person too. I’m better and I’m stronger than I have been before. And I intend to stay brave from now until forever. I hope you do too. Train hard, fight easy and I’ll see you on the road.