A Fighter's Mind
(by Lubomyr, Professional Light-Heavyweight Maryland State Champion)
Forward by Good Looking Loser
Although we'll get into specifics at a later date, I have always thought that competitive athletes (and bodybuilders) have tremendous potential when it comes to meeting or sleeping with a lot of women.
For one, this "crowd" is usually in good shape.
For two, this "crowd" generally has an authentic 'Sense of Entitlement' and believes they deserve to be messing around with the hot girls. They cringe when they see smaller, less masculine guys with hot girls and come home and write about on Facebook/bodybuilding forums, etc. If they aren't in denial, they probably also believe that they are underachieving and most would like to do something about it.
For three, and most importantly for anyone who has legitimate potential, they have a strong work ethic.
I've always said-
If an athlete or bodybuilder put as many hours into simply talking to women (see: Basic Guy Game) has he did into training or working out, he'd have a sex life that was better than 98% of all humans.
Ironically, a lot of these guys don't even care that much about their sport, they just want pussy.
How do I know?
That was me and most of my friends.
Most of us did okay with girls, all of us knew we could do better. No one would admit it.
However, for some reason, a fair amount of athletic guys view meeting random attractive women completely different than playing a sport or a game.
It's not a fucking game.
It's much more serious and there's a lot more on the line.
I certainly felt this way- willing to send 14 hours in the gym a week in hopes of somehow getting the girl I liked, rather than just walking up her and introducing myself.
While all that changed as I progressed through my late 20s, I remember the days I when I took laps around the mall and the nights when I felt literally felt like I was going to war as I walked from my car up to a nightclub in Hollywood. I even remember the days when I was "excited" to have Math class because I got a chance to see the girl I liked but too timid to ask out.
In reality, my mind was playing tricks on me.
You probably know what I'm talking about.
I’m pacing back and forth in the locker room, trying to shake these thoughts out of my head.
I can feel my temples pulsing and my heart pounding.
The shortness of breath only added to my already nervous demeanor.
I’ve been like this since getting to Philly earlier that day, unable to shake the nerves.
My coach asks me if I was ready.
I lie that I am.
I had trained hard and had spent months promoting this fight to my friends and family. A three hour drive to Philadelphia, including tolls and gas expenses, should have made me want to make the most of this night. The weeks of dieting in order to make weight should have been enough to make me want to go out there and fight my hardest.
I hear a loud *CRACK* and a sudden eruption from the crowd.
Seconds later the bell rings and the crowd goes wild; must have been a knockout.
A man working for the promotion comes into the locker room and calls my name.
I’m no longer on deck; I’m on...
Walking to the ring, my friends judge by the look on my face that I’m ready to kill someone.
I’m glad that this is what it looked like on the outside, but the truth was that I simply didn’t want to be anywhere near the ring that night.
The nerves and anxiety had won, and I stepped into that ring ready to lose. 34 seconds later, it happened.
After 2 quick knockdowns, I had lost by TKO.
This wasn’t my first fight in the ring, but it was my first fight in years.
Somehow, I was no longer a seasoned veteran. I had regressed to the kid who doubted himself and his preparation. Time can do funny things, and you can quickly forget certain truths about fighting and competing; truths that can mean the difference between coming in ready to coming in overwhelmed.
Whether it’s walking into the ring or walking up to a girl, the reality is the same: It isn’t overwhelming until you add anxiety to it.
Hard work takes hard work, but that doesn’t mean the effort needed is unreasonable or out of reach.
When you look at a situation for what it is, you can look for how to solve it.
When you look at a situation with anxiety and fear, you look for the possible ways for you to fail.
With respect to fighting, it should be noted that if you don’t feel ready to fight, you might not be. It’s easy to register for a fight, and a trainer may sometimes give you the benefit of the doubt if you say that you are ready. If you’re a grown man, and you say you want to compete, who’s to stop you? The trouble is that, if you didn’t do all of the work to get yourself as ready as humanly possible to fight your guts out, it’s possible that your opponent did.
A good way to relieve SOME of the pre-fight anxiety is to make sure that you did absolutely everything within your power to be physically, mentally, spiritually, and technically prepared for war. Men have died in the ring on more than one occasion. If you think that competitive fighting isn’t deadly serious, then you’ve no business being anywhere other than a bleacher seat.
Fights are won in the gym and success is built on preparation.
To be in the best possible shape of your life is step one, to learn everything you can about your style and your opponent’s is step two, and training until you’re fighting in your mind every second of the day is step three.
However, there are still people who do these things and still fold when it comes time to compete.
Sun Tzu said-
“Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.”
The reality is that, for you to win, your opponent has to lose.
For you to win, your opponent must get physically hurt.
For you to win, you need to strike him as though you want to kill him.
You’ve got to give yourself the permission to take what's yours.
Otherwise, he will.
You’ve got to give yourself the gift of being a winner.
Once you’ve done that, it’s a matter of being better prepared than your opponent; and if you aren’t, fake like you are. Maybe he’ll fall for it.
Fast forward to last May.
My managers want me to stay active in between my MMA fights. Competing in things like Boxing, Kickboxing, and Jiu-Jitsu will keep me competing and gaining experience without risking any damage to my MMA record. With this in mind, they enter me into “The Good Fight” tournament in Baltimore, MD. It’s a submission grappling tournament and it has all the feel and smell of a fighter’s playground.
Fighters from schools all over the tri-state area are walking around and staring each other down. Some are making jokes with each other, but most are in their own world.
Fights have been going on since the early morning, and will continue to go until the early evening. Different age groups, different belt ranks, different fighting styles are competing under the same roof. Brackets are being put up and taken down.
Again, I’m in the slow and tense pace of Fight Day...
Realizing that it will be hours before I have to fight, I decide to walk outside and sit on a park bench. I spend 20 minutes staring at ducks on the pond, as the sun reflects off of the water. I decide to stroll back into the building and check the brackets. Nothing yet.
The atmosphere is too tense and unsettling for me, but I don’t want to wander too far away and risk being late to my fight. I figure I’ll snooze next to the announcer’s table. I figure I’ll be jarred awake any time there’s a new announcement, so I can let my guard down and sleep a bit. The bottom line is this, fellas: If thinking about the fight stresses you out, don’t think about it.
Fighters such as Muhammad Ali, Fedor Emelianenko, and Ernesto Hoost will spend the entire fight day watching movies, playing cards, and telling dirty jokes until it’s literally time to go out and fight. A few minutes before hand they will start to loosen up and shadowbox, but that’s just to get a little sweat going.
I did the same thing, and all of a sudden the task wasn’t overwhelming.
When time came to fight, I didn’t feel like I wanted to be somewhere else because I didn’t give the thought enough time to stress me out.
The outcome of the story?
I ended up waiting 5 hours before my first fight, and then ended up having 3 fights within 20 minutes.
I won the first, lost the second, and won the third.
Bronze medal… not bad.
Imagine if I had spent those 5 hours pacing back and forth, stressing about not being ready or what everyone would think if I didn’t perform well?
I would have been too emotionally exhausted to win and probably too emotionally exhausted to compete.
The moral of the story?
Your mind can be your best friend or your worst enemy.
Make it work for you and not against you.
You can look at your increased heart beat and quick breathing as a sign that you’re having a panic attack, or you can look at it as a sign that you’re excited and ready for action. It’s your call on how you interpret your feelings, so take charge of your thoughts and make them work for you.
It takes time, patience, and faith.
It also takes FACING YOUR FEARS (exposure therapy) until you have absolute control over it.
If you want to talk to Lubomyr, post below or hop aboard our New MMA Forum
In his next post, Lubomyr is going to tell you about his diet and how fighters need to eat.
(I'm curious to learn about this myself)