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Friday, February 13, 2009

On Being A Fighter, Or Not

My Helpful Guide To Becoming A Fighter seems to have garnered a lot of responses, most of them combining amusement and knowing nods or laughs. Which is cool. There have been a few (perhaps more that were voiced) responses however, that boiled down to "jeez, I'm not doing that" or possibly even "geez, what's the point. I CAN'T train like that."

Let me take the time to clarify a few points.

1. Those posts were really directed at people who are interesting competitive fighting, particularly in Muay Thai and MMA. Grappling tournaments seem to more forgiving of the hobbyist participant. Obviously, you won't win any titles without a lot of effort, but I've entered Judo tourneys with very little prep. Granted, I might be in better shape than some hobbyists, but the point remains. I jumped in with very little prep. Granted, I didn't do very well either, but I went in and did it. You can too, if you like.

2. Not being ready now does not mean you never will be.

For some reason, many people who want to fight seem to take it as a personal affront when someone tells them they aren't ready to fight. It's not. Wanting to do something, and being ready to do something are two very different things. As an example, I'd love to be experienced enough and good enough to be part of BTS's core coaching staff...but I'm not, and I'm sure that the other core coaches would agree. It's not a judgement about me, just about my skill.

3. Not being ready doesn't mean you aren't skilled

Skill is important, but it's not the only factor. You can develop a lot of skill and not compete. It is arguable that competition tests your skills in ways that regular training does not, but you can still get pretty good without setting food in the ring, cage, mat, or whatever.

4. Not being ready certainly doesn't mean you can't defend yourself.

Competition and self-defense are not the same thing. Many people who would get killed in a ring fight have successfully defended themselves. Likewise, some very skilled ring fighters have gotten themselves badly hurt in self-defense situations.

Competition is it's own unique thing. If you choose to compete, it is a very rewarding experience. It's also draining, difficult, and at times, horribly unpleasant. It can build up your ego, or shatter it. If you decide to do it, and go through everything that is required, it will change you in ways that are hard to describe.

Despite all that, it is not for everyone. And that's okay. Plenty of things in this world are not for everyone. I am sure that skydiving can be a life changing experience, but you won't catch me jumping out of a plane...well, ever.

Train, practice, live your life. Enjoy it. Challenge yourself, but do so in a way that you will ultimately enjoy. And don't judge yourself by what someone else can do.

And if that's not enough, stop complaining and get your ass ready for the ring.

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