This is a guest post from Spencer Throssell, also known as Dunce Two, my amateur philosophy partner over at Dunce Academy.
Do you want to fight?
I do. And I will. Here is how I arrived at this questionably sane mindset.
I had been working out pretty intensely for almost two years straight, strength and circuit training stuff, and was feeling pretty tough. One day, my workout buddy and I, bored with the same old lift weights/run-and-jump-until-you-puke routine, decided to throw on the gloves and see what we were made of. Not much, as it turned out.
Sure, we landed a couple good shots each, and got to spend the rest of the day nursing sore noses, but just in those 10 or 15 minutes of wildly flinging hay-makers at each other, it became abundantly clear that neither of us had any idea what we were doing. And I didn’t like that feeling.
Actually, I had wanted to try fighting for years, but had just never gotten around to it. That is, until the perfect storm of circumstances combined to give me an opportunity I could not pass up:
Recently, mixed martial arts (“MMA”) has really started to take off in my area. There are local shows, pro and amateur, and I have had a chance to attend several of these events. This has only increased my desire to get involved, because (a) sitting ring-side, the crowd anxious, walk-out music blaring, there is a high-school-locker-room electricty that is contagious, and (b) some of the amateurs are very amateur. No offense to them; it takes cojones the size of semi-trucks to get in a ring at any level, but unlike the lethally efficient killing machines you see on the UFC, a lot of these events just come off feeling more like a good-natured backyard wrestling match between high school kids. And you leave thinking “I bet I could do that.”
Attending these events brought to my awareness the fact that there are local and affordable MMA gyms right here in town. This means you can go and get beat up by the same guy you just saw beating that other guy up last night. And who can pass on that?
Lost my job
That’s right. I was unexpectedly let go. Under circumstances that were considerably less than fair. So I had the time. And the “energy.”
So I went down to the gym and signed up. Keep in mind, I had been working out intensely for two years straight, having lifted weights and run and participated in organized athletics for a lifetime before that. I was in the best shape of my life. And I got my butt kicked. Cardiovascularly first. Then more literally.
But I loved it. There is something called “fighting shape,” and there is nothing quite like it. I went from “best shape of my life” to “considerably-better-than best shape of my life” in about a month of fight-training, 2 or 3 hours a day. I was cut. Energy was through the roof. Self-confidence was through the roof. And I was the furthest thing from bored I could ever remember being.
A two-hour class consists of about 30 minutes warm up/technique, 1 hour cardio/circuit-training, 30 minutes kicking the crap out of each other. It’s a good formula. Fighting once you are already exhausted, you have to rely more on technique than pure strength.
And what you learn really sinks in. “Normal” exercise, it seems like fitness is the goal. But for a fighter, there are actually three areas of focus: (1) fitness, (2) skill, and (3) heart. Fitness (i.e. strength and stamina), which I had to some extent, is important, but cannot completely compensate for a lack in the “skill” or “heart” department.
Skill you can acquire; heart it seems like you are mostly just born with. I enjoy the challenge of cultivating all three.
And you need all three. Because, no matter how “fit” you are, some fat guy gets you in a triangle choke, and you don’t know how to get out of it, you’re toast.
Likewise, some fat guy is sitting on your chest, elbowing you repeatedly in the head, with your arms pinned down, and there are still 20 seconds left in the round, you are going to have to dig deep to keep from begging the ref to make it stop.
I’m still going. Still training. They say I’m a “natural.” And maybe they are right. It feels good, I feel good. Maybe I was born to fight. I’ll keep you posted.
If you have questions or you’re interested in jumping in as a beginner yourself, please ask.
About the author:
When not pinned beneath sweaty fat guys, Spencer Throssell writes for Dunce Academy and yearns for glory.
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