Photo courtesy of Hywel Teague
I was at an amateur MMA event in Wales on Saturday night, with a couple of our guys who were there to have their first fights. We had a great night. It was good to see such a healthy amateur scene, and I was reminded of how much standards have improved over the last few years. Mike controlled his fight and won a solid decision, and Percy scored a 17 second KO. It was also one of my first experiences of being in the corner…. but that’s a whole other blog!
Anyway, talking to Karl afterwards, and enjoying the post-fight euphoria, he commented that he was going to put a sign up in the gym “you do it for you”. His point was that he doesn’t want fighters who feel that they have to do it to prove something to someone, or to be accepted in the gym, or because they feel they should. He’s a coach who really believes that he’s there for the fighter, and not the other way round.
Then surfing the internet later in the hotel room, I come across this post on the internet:
Why girls don’t fight
There has been a lot of talk of the forum lately as two why girls dont compete more, although I train loads and love sparring and fighting I havent competed in years (most comps were full contact but only very little mma). The main reasons are: ……
This got me thinking, and I posted the following reply.
Actually, I think the OP makes a very valid point, although not one that is unique to women. Everyone, male or female, has lots of reasons not to fight. And if you, personally, don’t want to do it badly enough to find a way past the reasons why not – then you shouldn’t do it.The only good reason to fight is because YOU want to.The guys and girls that get in the ring or the cage don’t have fewer reasons not to – it’s just that they do want it badly enough. The fight I’m most proud of is the one I fought seven months after having a baby (by c-section). Aside from recovering from surgery, losing the weight, getting back in shape, there was the whole thing of finding time and energy to train while having a baby to look after…. I’d be up all night with a teething six month old, then have to be in the gym at 9 the next morning to spar. And if you think turning up to work with a black eye is a problem, try explaining it to your baby’s health visitor. I’ve trained for fights in the middle of major personal upheaval that I can’t even talk about on here. I’ve sat for days in hotel rooms on the other side of the world, hungry, thirsty and terrified. I’ve put up with being yelled at in training by my (then) ex (who, for the record, is an excellent coach… but still…)I’m not saying all this to get a pat on the back. I didn’t do it to impress anybody else. I did it for me. I wanted to do it badly enough, so I found a way. And it’s the same for everyone who fights.Watching the other guys and girls on our team compete, every single fighter who gets in that ring or cage makes sacrifices to do it. Whether that sacrifice is not spending time with their family, strain on relationships, having no social life, waking up every morning in pain, starving yourself to make weight, risking injury, the pain, exhaustion, emotional stress, fear, sleepless nights, training session after training session of intense frustration that makes you want to pull your hair out, sticking with it even when you want to find an excuse to run away…. everyone has their own personal demons to overcome and goes through their own individual hell in the run up to a fight.But – to quote Abraham Maslow – “A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself.”And a fighter must fight.If that doesn’t stir anything inside you, if you don’t feel an urge, bordering on an obsession, to fight – then you probably shouldn’t be doing it. All that means is that you’re probably rather more normal and well balanced than those of us who do. Congratulations. Just don’t attribute that to being female.
Another good night for SBG Manchester