The Art of Fighting
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People often ask me why I look at the Art of Fighting differently than other sports. They ask me how it changes my outlook on life and how it can change theirs as well. Anyone who knows me knows that I love my Football and Basketball, and to be fair both sports hold a certain beauty to them that I appreciate very much. But fighting is far different…
In most sports we watch, we understand that in order for a team to become victorious there is a certain chemistry needed. There is a formula involved that allows coaches to construct ways for players to work in concert with each other, with the hopes to maximize team performance. Mistakes can be lost in the trenches, made up for on the other side of the ball, and even carried by a fellow teammate on any given play. Success is truly predicated on winning together and losing together. It builds leadership and confidence to achieve as a unit and it also makes you a competitor not only in sport but in life. I truly believe that there is a direct correlation with the mindset of an athlete and achieving in what life has to throw at you. I believe we carry over that mindset with a confidence that “impossible is nothing” and that, in itself, is rewarding no matter what level you make it to.
So now, you must be asking “If team sports bring such value into life’s events then how is fighting any different”? Well, allow me to answer that for you and hopefully by the end of this article you will see why this art has impacted my life much more than any other form of sport. How it has served me, taught me, disciplined me, humbled me, and made me into the man I am today.
Fighting is something that is built in our genetic code as humans, and anyone who begs to differ is in fact wrong. You see, many believe that it is in your “blood” to play certain sports. You will hear people say “Michael Jordan was born to play basketball”. I can assure you that is nothing more than a figure of speech. Are we all capable to play as good as MJ did if we worked hard enough? No. Absolutely not, but MJ was born with the ‘Gift’ and the genetic makeup to play the sport as he did. Basketball, Football, Soccer, Hockey, and other sports are not coded within our DNA, fighting is intertwined in the fibers of all of our bloodlines. If I put you into a game on the NFL or NHL platform in front of thousands of fans, you would probably have no idea what to do because you have never studied their playbook or even know how to skate. But in fighting, there is no playbook. Now, if I threw you into a room to fight for your life you may not win but your instinct as a human is to fight for your life, so fight with every last breath you shall. Next to running the most primitive form of human competition is in fact The Art of Combat. If you look at running, it is something instinctive that we do in our evolution as humans. We learn to crawl, we learn to walk, and we learn to run. We may all not run at the same speed or style but we know when to run and we know how to run by instinct and human nature. Fighting runs a perfect parallel line to running. Some of us may not be as well versed in fighting as others or may not even like the thought of getting into a fight, but I can assure you that if you needed to fight for your life to survive a situation the gene we all posses does and will rear its head.
In fighting, the entire build-up prior is in fact a team effort. Preparing yourself for war means having an army behind you to help strategize, help cut the weight, and prepare you for every possible scenario physically and mentally that you may face during the engagement that will be bestowed upon you. A team sport in a sense? Well, in a way yes…but in so many ways not at all and here is why. Your team behind you will prepare you physically and mentally while laying out a blueprint together with the agreed understanding of what needs to be done in order to reign victorious in your quest. However, once you step into the ropes or into that cage, no one follows you in. All eyes are on you and there is no helmet to hide under, no lineman to hide behind, no other player on the floor that can hide your mistakes or even pick up your slack. There is no winning together and losing together and there is no one to truly point at in your failures. The team behind you helps build the foundation, but it is up to you and you only to put all the pieces together motoring the machine that was created. One lapse in judgment can leave you exposed, and the unpredictable adrenaline dump can send you into a state of panic, during which all that you worked for is completely forgotten. Here is where it really separates itself though. No matter how hard you train, no matter what your game plan may be, no matter how much patience you claim you will have, there comes a point in every fight that human nature to fight comes out to play its part. Will this show in every fight? Absolutely not…but nothing is more dangerously beautiful then when that cocktail is served correctly. Both men realize that they are in a war, bite down on their mouth guard and human nature exposes itself right before our very eyes. It is then when you will experience fights like Gatti vs. Ward, Bonner vs. Griffen, the amazing 10th round comeback of Corrales vs. Castillo, and the speechless victory just a few short weeks ago by Darren Elkins. It is also then and only then when you see skill and instinct to survive shake hands and work in conjunction with each other. There is nothing more violent, more primitive, more special, or beautiful.
We love hockey’s fights, football’s monster hits, and basketball’s posterizing dunks because it’s in our DNA to enjoy violence. So now I ask you this… If we are wired to be addicted to the Art of War then why doesn’t fighting reign supreme? We are fighters by nature and we will always be programed that way for as long as we as humans remain here.
Please share this article and help grow the Art of Fighting, but more importantly if I can make 1 person look at fighting differently after this article then my job was successful. Fight On…
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For a taste of how in-depth Mike goes with his analysis week in and week out, check out some of his breakdowns, predictions and labology from UFC Fight Night 109, found below!