It pays to be loyal. This is a premise that flies directly over the head of many MMA competitors. Find a good striking coach, a good grappling coach, a good group of training partners under the same instructors and stick with them. Building a synergy between yourself and an instructor is not something that can be done in 8 weeks. When I hear about guys taking off for this camp or that camp for one specific fight, I have a hard time truly believing that the coaches involved have true invested interest in that fighter.
I’ve been with my Thai boxing Kru Chris Kew at MAS Thai boxing for 9 years now and flying the Berklerk Pinsinchai (former Lumpinee Champion) Muay Thai flag proudly since 2003. I enjoy training with these well respected coaches and couldn’t imagine going anywhere else. These are the men who made me. How could I turn my back on that and go somewhere else? Combinations don’t really need to be called anymore. I throw and strikes are caught on the Thai pad. Familiar training is fluid training, and being smooth in the gym translates to finesse in the ring. I’ve be training with the Pat and the Renzo Gracie Canada guys for a little over a year now, and I’ll never train anywhere else unless they suggest it. It’s good to have finally found a home to hone my grappling abilities as well.
I hear people say MMA is a one man sport. They’re wrong. It’s all about team. Every fight, the people you’ve bled with, sweat with, and spent hours, months and years of calculated sufferings with are in the ring fighting with you.
When you win as a team, its better. All the people you’ve been with day in and day out congratulating you is he best feeling in the world. You properly represented your team and it’s system of fighting.
When you lose as a team, it’s tough still, but ultimately better. Unfortunately every fighter must lose some battles. It’s a horrible experience, but having people that care about you there makes it a little more tolerable. The few times a have suffered defeat, Chris and I just laugh hysterically about it and crack jokes about how funny I look with a broken nose or hematomas all over my face. It’s weird yes, but it beats crying about the situation that’s for sure. After the laughs the constructive criticism begins immediately and we look toward the next fight.
Sharing the great feelings associated with winning, as well as the frustration of losing; both of these just wouldn’t be the same alone.
I feel strongly about this… especially right now. I’m on the bench. My entire pro MMA career I have been avoiding my doctors and fighting regardless of injury. Well it caught up with me and now I must face the surgeon in December over Christmas Holidays. This is fine… I am looking forward to coming back and fighting at one hundred percent instead of seventy five or eighty.
It’s a scary thing being a mixed martial artist and getting sidelined. We don’t have worker’s compensation or insurance. In a world where you’re only as good as your last fight, no matter what the circumstances, sponsorship for a one legged fighter is understandably hard to find (my respect goes out to the www.mmatraining.com gang for sticking it out with me). Fortunately I have coaches with invested interest in me. They have put in as much hard work as I have into my MMA career. At the same time, I have put in the time with my coaches and remained loyal no matter what the sacrifice. And in times like these it’s coming back full circle. I am provided for by the people that have invested time and energy in me. I teach, watch, hang out, help out even though I am not in my most capable form and still get to be paid to be surrounded by the sport I love.
If I was a “gym whore”… jumping around to train at gym’s here and there, who would even care that I was hurt? Nobody! Would they provide if I wasn’t putting the money for privates, or percentages of purses in their pockets? Nope.
Having a good team is easy to take for granted when everything is going good, but when there’s a bump in the road, a loss, an injury, it becomes incredibly evident just how important this aspect of MMA actually is. Thanks to the team… Can’t wait to get back in there!!