So You Want To Be A F@*&in’ Fighter? Rule 2 – Show Up
So you’ve followed my advice, joined the gym and kept your mouth shut. Congratulations, you did not alienate everybody on day one! Do you want a medal or do you want to keep going? You have been in the gym for how long now? One, two months? Have you felt their eyes on you yet? The veterans. You might not have noticed but they are watching you. They are watching the beginner classes from the sidelines (sometimes teaching it) and they are looking out for the next valuable member of their next training squad.
It’s good enough to be humble and worry about the training first. A good attitude is not going to elevate you from the crowd though. If you want to get noticed and join your gym’s veteran fighters’ training squad, you’ll have to put on a display. It’s not about the skill set, it’s about intensity. You’ll have to…SHOW UP.
Today’s Rule is:
2. Show Up
It’s the hard part. Showing a dilligent and responsible attitude towards training. It’s the part that does not include any fights, girls, glory and not even a little bit of satisfaction. Showing up is about managing that delicate operation where you have to get your ass off the couch (or resist the temptation of it) and travel your way to the gym. It’s hard, every night of the week, every week of the year and no, you are not doing it enough. It is never enough! No matter how disciplined and regular you are with your training, there is always someone to kick your ass at showing up. You have to be this guy.
Do I sound a bit abstract? Here’s an example. A good friend of mine and professional MMA fighter Bruno Lurette trains at Zahabi MMA. He does not live in Montreal. He does not live in the suburb or within a few hours of the city. Bruno has a house in beautiful Kedgewick, New Brunswick. Every week or two, Bruno travels all the way from New Brunswick to Montreal to show up for training. By his mere presence in the gym, Bruno is abiding the first two rules of fighters. What you won’t know unless you ask him (because he does not whine about his road trips) is that he goes to New York also once in a while to train with his longtime Muay Thai coach – the legendary Coban.
So, you have no excuse to not show up. You have to be in the gym more than the others. You have to SHOW your passion for the sport by training those long, painful but necessary hours in order to get good enough to fight. That means knocking out all of the excuses not to train before someone else does. Do not fling around an excuse for your absence to yesterday’s training. Don’t miss yesterday’s training! Excuses are something not appropriate for the mixed martial arts gym. ¨I wasn’t there because I was a lazy asshole¨ is going to work better than anything you can find.
Let’s review a bunch of excuses quick so see how far today’s rule is anchored in your mind:
Weather? You can train at 45 degrees celsuis. I did it. The Brazilians do it. the Thai people do it. You can do it too. Bring some water, some breathe-rights, whatever you need, but training at 45 degrees is good. You will sweat and you will learn how to fight as you are gasping for air. Cold weather? What’s the problem? Training and sweating is going to keep you warm. Rain? You’re kiddin right? If you skip the gym because of rain, no matter how hard, you are not suited for mixed martial arts. Go sell your Tapout gear on Ebay!
With bad weather issues come traffic and vehicles breaking down. Bad traffic is a very good excuse in case you are late. Turning around and going back home because of traffic shows the people that made it to the gym that you are ready to give up on training. Show up, get an hour of training instead of two, but make it worth your while. Show up, shut up and train with twice as much intensity as you would have if you got there on time. You will get something out of your workout if you are putting a lot of yourself into it.
Another great excuse is injuries and sickness. Now, injuries are legit most of the times, but you know, with a broken finger you can train. Hell, I had a broken jaw in 2006 and missed three days. From March to June, all I did was lift weights and train grappling techniques. On June 4th, as soon as I got the OK from the doctor, I registered in a grappling tournament and won my weight class. I was injured for three months, but I dismissed excuses, kept my body sharp and performed when needed to be. There’s always something you can work on.
You might be too injured to step in the gym, but most of the time, if you really want it, you will find something to do. Before I go, worse injury excuse I’ve heard. I was reading a book outside of school three or four years ago. This guy who trained at Zahabi MMA for a few months comes up to me. If you make it into veteran status in a gym, every gym-tourists will come up to you. You will become ”gym guy”. So that dude (I used to call him Sunshine because of his radiant smile and his unthreatening looks) sits down and starts telling me his tear jerking story about his wrist and how it stopped his career dead in its tracks. So I say: ”So what you got exactly”. He swipes his long brown hair off his face, looks at me and says:
”Sprain…a bad one”.
He was serious. So I laugh, I call him out on it and he tells me the most amazing thing: ”You don’t understand…IT HURTS”. Not everybody is cut out for this. Luckily, Sunshine never showed up in the gym again. Unlike him, you’ll need to show up and take a postman oath on this: ”neither the rain, neither the snow, neither the injuries will keep me from getting bigger, better, stronger, SMARTER and successful in the cage”.
If you think fighting’s about glorious gladiator antics, girls and living the high life, you are looking at the top of the mountain without evaluating your way up. Being on top of the mountain is fun, but you have to get there. You have to work. Harder than everybody else. So show up, be at the gym, and do not let anyone or anything get in your way. You will be your hardest opponent – do not beat yourself. No excuses! You wanna be a f@*&in’ fighter? SHOW UP.