My last fight was not a positive experience. I performed very poorly and it was a very underwhelming night overall. On top of that, I was already on a losing streak. As I was walking back to the dressing area to get changed, there was a voice in my head telling me ‘you’re going to have to re-evaluate some things now’. Something needed to change, but I didn’t know what it was. I just didn’t understand how I could train so well but fight so poorly. I needed to get back to where I was a few fights ago. Did I even want to keep fighting? If I didn’t, did I still want to be in Thailand? What would be next? It was all very heavy.
Usually, I always get straight back into the gym after a fight, often sparring the following day. There’s usually nothing that can keep me away from the gym, not injury, sickness or even having my wisdom teeth removed. This time, I really felt like I just needed a break. I wanted to completely separate myself from the gym and almost remember what it was like not to have that pressure on me all the time. Considering it’s a pressure that I put on myself because it’s something I enjoy, that wasn’t an easy thing to do. This definitely wasn’t a feeling that I was used to, but I embraced it and hoped that something different would do me some good. I considered it as a mental health break. A change of pace and scenery for the betterment of my well-being.
A few days later, it was my birthday, which I celebrated by eating a nice lunch with a couple of my training partners. I spent the rest of the week resting, continuing to eat what I wanted and generally treating myself and doing things I don’t normally get the chance to do. I spent some time with friends outside the gym, bought myself a new phone, got my hair cut and even tried floatation tank therapy. I just indulged in every way that I could, completely guilt-free. I’ve never understood people who always take lots of time off after fights. I always thought it would be detrimental to my progress and frankly, I’ve never felt like I deserved it. I felt as though on the pathway for success, there was no time for distractions or pauses. I did enjoy this, though. There was just so much negativity and confusion surrounding my situation that I needed it in order to recharge and clear my mind. I’m glad I allowed myself that time.
I returned to training the following Monday feeling ready to spar again. In that first session back, I could immediately see where I was going wrong. I’d developed bad habits in my sparring and they were spilling into my fights. It was as if everything was suddenly clear to me and I could see how much my style had changed from the way it was when I was most confident. Here are the things I noticed:
- I’ve become more reliant on defending than attacking.
- I don’t have as much power as I used to. When striking, I’m not using enough of it to deter my opponent from coming forward, which is increasing my their confidence while decreasing mine.
- I’ve stopped side-stepping.
- My right hand and right kick, which were always my best weapons, are no longer as sharp as they were and I’m not using them as much.
When I look at all the above, it’s no wonder that I haven’t been doing well or feeling good. These changes have happened not only in my last couple of fights, but also sometimes in my sparring, day-to-day. The reasons why they’ve happened could be many, but what’s important is that I now know that they’re there, and that they are not a reflection of my overall ability as a fighter. They’re just something I have to overcome. I now have an explanation for why things haven’t been working for me the way they used to both in the gym and in the ring, rather than just hopelessly wondering why things aren’t coming together for me recently. From here, I can make the necessary changes to my training to get better. Having taken some time out and coming back to my normal routine with a clearer mind, I definitely feel more positive and better-equipped to do that.
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Sometimes all it takes to see a situation more clearly and be able to make corrections is just taking a step back and giving it some distance, as you did. I’m glad to hear you are taking care of yourself! We all need that reminder sometimes.