The Hits You Take, Not The Ones You Land Define You
(Light Heavyweight Muay Thai Maryland State Champion)
Forward by Good Looking Loser
I don’t know much about Martial Arts but thankfully I do know some guys that do.
Not only do they “know” about it, they ACTUALLY fight.
(I’m big on people talking from experience and not the eBook they read, can you tell?)
One such guy is a guy is Lubomyr, I’ve known him since high school.
He just happens to be the Maryland State Light Heavyweight Muay Thai Champion. He teaches Muay Thai and also punches people in the face. Although I’m too busy to ever invest a significant amount of time in Martial Arts, I love and more importantly- respect the mentality of these athletes. Make no mistake, these guys are athletes.
I totally encourage you guys to get involved, if nothing else- you become more of a man.
Think- Killer Instinct.
You can fire off your questions to Lubomyr in our new Martial Arts Forum.
Here’s a video of Lubomyr taking about 30 seconds (not counting the time the guy in laying on the ground) to demolish the former Maryland State Champion.
(Lubomyr is a pretty humble guy, this is ME bragging for him)
When I Won The Maryland State Championship
My goal, as any serious athlete (or goal-driven individual) should have- is to be the very best in my sport.
Two years ago, I achieved a milestone that suggested that I was on my way.
I spent the days, nights and years prior thinking, training, fighting and obsessing for my opportunity.
The fight kicked off and my mind went blank.
The months of preparation for this moment were forgotten, and I was just thinking “Engage.”
It was on.
He threw a jab that I immediately slipped, and I returned with a right and then a double-jab. He goes to kick with his left, which was to set up his knockout right hand, and his foot kicks me in the balls.
No matter; his right hand never gets there as I smash my own right cross into his temple.
A flurry of punches later and he’s on the ground.
He gets up, looking pissed, and lunges for me trying to clinch and knee.
I back up without thinking and just hear *Crunch, Crunch, Crunch, CRUNCH* as another right hand sends him falling backwards. My coach is screaming for me to take him out. I figure he will expect my hands, so I fake with a kick and then stampede towards him with hard rights and lefts until he does a Pete Rose slide into the canvas.
The fight is over and I get a flash in my mind of Mike Tyson jumping up on the ring post after his fight. I do the same and raise my hands to the crowd.
In 57 seconds, I become the new Light Heavyweight Muay Thai Champion.
Other than the kick to the balls, which hurt for 20 minutes afterwards, I didn’t take any hits from my opponent that night.
But that doesn’t mean I haven’t been on the receiving end of a fist.
Anyone who has earned the title “FIGHTER” has, if not in a match- then in sparing or training.
Any real fighter has had his chin and his heart tested by getting hit, whether it be in a gym or in the ring.
I’ve had my nose broken 2 or 3 times, my jaw dislocated, and have been rocked so hard that I couldn’t remember whether I lost by knockout or decision.
No regrets though.
Show me a guy that hasn’t had his nose bleed, I’ll show you a guy that only plays non-contact sports.
In fact, I would say that the hits I’ve taken have done more to build my attitude and confidence than any hits that I’ve dished out. Tasting your own blood, not being scared and knowing your just fine is a powerful feeling and worth any temporary pain.
Lets talk about this feeling…
(you’ll probably have to get hit it the face to feel it though…)
“EVERYONE HAS A PLAN UNTIL THEY GET HIT.”
- Mike Tyson
People can have a love and enthusiasm for fighting and the martial arts, and then have that enthusiasm immediately diminish once they’ve been punched in the face for the first time.
As a striking coach who works at an MMA academy, I’ve often seen very tough grapplers turn into a nervous wreck after one sparring session that involved getting hit.
These are the same guys who could roll around the Jiu-Jitsu mat for hours getting choked, slammed, and put into painful joint holds.
Why then is it that, as soon as they put on a pair of gloves and start striking, their love for fighting turns into anxiety?
The answer, in my opinion is pretty straight forward: People’s reaction to getting hit is 90% emotional and 10% physical.
“PAIN DON’T HURT.”
- Patrick Swayze, Roadhouse
Being pushed and shoved has always been regarded as a step down from being punched or kicked.
A guy might nudge you with his shoulder, and things might not escalate beyond that.
However, if he were to hit you, then all bets are off.
We’ve grown up to look at getting punched as the ultimate insult/trauma.
The way most people react to getting hit is what separates them from fighters.
People tend to forget that the human body has been able to endure blazing heat, freezing cold, hurricane winds, sand storms, car crashes, boot camp, football, and fraternity hazing.
At some point, while living in a relatively safe society, we’ve become fearful that we might break if pushed too far outside of our comfort zone.
Why then do we see fighters who are able to take painful hits and remain calm under pressure?
Were they just born that way, and if not, how were they able to grow out of the fearful shell that many people live in?
The reality is that growth is simply a matter of going through certain experiences, and interpreting those experiences in the correct way.
I once had a student who grew up in the Philippines, and was constantly beaten down at school because of his short and frail stature.
He told me that those experiences taught him two things-
- You learn what you’re made of.
- You never want it to happen again.
Here is a young man who understood what life was teaching him, and he decided to take control of the situation.
“A TRUE CHAMPION CAN ADAPT TO ANYTHING.”
- Floyd Mayweather
We see guys like Muhammad Ali or Floyd Mayweather take countless punches to the shoulders, ribs, chest, and top of the head, and still remain calm as they try to protect their chin, temple, face, and liver.
The punches to their body and shoulders definitely hurt, but these guys aren’t concerned with that.
They are only concerned with the punches that can HURT them; meaning, they care about the punches that can take them out of the fight.
They’ve learned to disregard “pain” as something that has nothing to do with their objective.
The objective is to win.
Guys like Ali and Floyd didn’t think about losing when they fought.
If they felt pain, they saw it as a nuisance and nothing more.
Their objective was to win, and so they focused on how they were going to overcome a dangerous situation, as opposed to how they were going to survive it.
There are many ways to get your head in the right place to fight back, and you can pick whichever works for you; but you have to have something to spark the drive to win. Otherwise, your brain will tell you that you’re an idiot for staying in a situation that’s causing you pain and trauma.
My motivation when I’m training, sparring, or competing is very simple: My woman’s safety and welfare depends on my win; not just my survival.
This puts me into a desperate and driven mindset that won’t quit until I’m dead in the ground. As I’ve looked at better known fighters, and their approach, I’ve found the same pattern…
“Years ago, we hardly had anything to eat. Now I earn more money and I see every opponent as a man that tries to put me back to that poorer period. That man has to be eliminated.”
- Fedor Emelianenko
“In the ring, my thoughts are pretty pure. I’m gonna hurt him before he hurts me; and if he hurts me, I’m gonna hurt him twice as bad. Like, I’ve gotten punched, and there are two reactions you can have from it: you can cower away or you can want to punish the person for punching you.”
- Mark Kerr
The best way to deal with being hit is to remember that blood clots, bruises heal, and bones mend.
The human body is a vessel for the human spirit, and the spirit is meant to be challenged.
This is why we still practice martial arts in a society where it’s simpler to shoot someone instead or, better yet, sue them.
In a fight, your challenge is standing right in front of you.
Your opportunity is right in front of you.
Your opponent isn’t giving you an opportunity to surrender, he is giving you an opportunity to remain calm under pressure and focus on a winning strategy.
Arnold Schwarzenegger said that he became great after he learned to re-associate himself with the pain he felt while lifting weights.
To him it meant progress, and he learned to like the pain of progress. The next time someone decks you in the mouth, you’ve just grown and developed a stronger understanding of what you’re made of.
Relish those opportunities and grow from them.
Soon, you’ll be the guy that other men fear when they get hit.
You are welcome to ask Lubomyr anything you want in our MMA Forum.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve never been hit in the face.
He teaches MMA and is quite busy, so sometimes it might take him a little while to get at you.
He’s going to contribute a lot of stuff that he’s learned so you’ll definitely get the chance to learn from him and get your questions answered.