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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

It's A Fight, Not A Workout

A is a client who has been training with me more or less consistently for about a year; he's trained in the martial arts for a lot longer. He is a coach at the school he teaches at. He was considering fighting in a smoker at the end of the month.

I met with him last week, worked on some strategy, and then had him spar a few rounds. His performance was, to be blunt, less than stellar. A's issues are more psychological than anything else--he has the tools to perform well, but struggles mentally. Not an uncommon issue, but there it is. We talked about some strategies and concepts for dealing with the mental block. We also talked about some drills and things he needed to be working over the week.

He came back this week, with some stories about the hardcore physical conditioning that one of his teammates had put him through. And believe me, the workouts sounded grueling. They included at least one exercise I doubt I'm capable of doing (pistols, aka one-legged squats). Unfortunately, they included zero (0) sparring rounds.

If A was prepping for a "tough mudder" or the Crossfit games, or whatever, this would be fine. But he's not. He's prepping for a fight.

This week, more sparring, and his performance hadn't improved much. Again, part of the issue was mental, but frankly, part of the problem is just a lack of ring time.

I run into this over and over again, and I don't understand it.

A fight is a fight. It is not a workout. Running, weightlifting, swimming, biking, crossfitting, or whatever the hell else you do is fine, but at the end of the day, it is supplemental training. It is not the fight. And if it all your training consists of, you will not be prepared on fight day.

What is it that inspires this mentality? I don't know a single fighter who thinks they could show up and win a powerlifting meet, but people somehow deluded themselves into believing that because they can bench press a small truck and can do more burpees in 10 minutes than most people can do in 24 hours that they are somehow ready to rumble.

If you want to fight, you must prepare to fight. And you must prepare with other human beings. Trying to PR on your deadlift or run a faster mile may be a mental "fight", but it is not the same as having someone unmercifully punching you in the face and kicking you in the legs with the intent to make you unconscious or incapable of standing. The only way to prepare for that kind of event is to practice it.

If you really want to fight, you need to glove up and GET HIT. You need to put the hours in IN THE RING, not in the gym. If you don't, on fight day, you'll look great...right up until you get your ass kicked.

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