Sunday, April 27, 2014

Luck

This definitely applies to fighting but I know it happens in every field and every walk of life…

If I hear one more person tell me how lucky I am I just might lose it! Yes. I am very fortunate and blessed to be where I am at today and to be able to do what I love, but luck had absolutely zero to do with it.

When I gave up my entire way of life to go after my dreams, when I had to face all of my fears, doubts and all of my demons, when I had to put every question and doubt I had into the back of my mind and just go for it, how lucky was I?...And that was just to get signed up the first day.

It's easy to see someone who has 'made it', or made it to a level you wish you were at and think, “Damn, they are so lucky. I wish I could do that.” But rarely do they see all the sacrifices and failures that they had to go through. Almost anytime you’re at a fight you’ll hear, “That guys a bum, I could beat that fool no problem”, at least once. Or they will sit there and critique or coach from their seats while drinking a beer and eating nachos. All you are seeing is a fraction of a fraction of a moment.

You didn't see me killing myself, all day and all night, in the gym for years on end. You didn't see me sacrificing all of my time with family and loved ones. You didn't see me at home alone while everyone else was out partying, 'having a life'. You didn't see me living in the gym for years, surrounded at night by thousands of cockroaches and bugs, freezing in the winters and sweltering in the summers all while everyone would constantly ask me, “When are you going to give all of this up and get a real job?” You didn't see me get stopped my first fight and have all of those fears and doubts, that had kept me from ever doing this, come crashing down on me, only to have to face them all over again. You didn't see the countless injuries, the losses, the failures. You didn’t see numerous times I went into a fight half dead from sickness or injured when anyone else would have pulled out long before. You didn’t see all the fights I took on a days’ notice with people who outweighed me by 30 pounds or had more experience than I ever could hope for, you didn’t see all the fights I took, in other sports, that I’d hardly ever trained in, just to stay active. You didn’t see, even with all that, when I couldn’t get a fight even if I offered to pay. You didn't see when everything was starting to come together and Muay Thai was finally gaining the momentum I knew it one day would only to then blow my knee out and never know if I'd ever see the inside of a ring again. You didn't see the pain and torture I went through, not only in order to get back in there but to do it as quickly as I did. You didn't see every doubt and fear that went through my mind walking into that first fight back. And you definitely don't see the fact that I still deal with all these same doubts and fears that you all do. All you see is the end result and equate it to ‘luck’.

Keep telling yourself it's luck, keep telling yourself they're overrate, keep telling yourself you could do it too if you really wanted to. Keeping getting online, writing your blogs and critiquing the ones that are actually out there doing it. No one's stopping you. The internet is flooded with experts and tough guys, all sitting behind the safety of their keyboards. But do you want to talk about it or be about it? Do you want to find out how difficult it really is, find out if you have what it takes...or do you want to sit your lazy ass on the couch and assume it's all luck?

I have yet to meet one successful person that got that way by being 'lucky’. We all have certain areas in our lives where we are more fortunate than others just as we also all have those where we are way less. We all have our own weaknesses and strengths.
No matter what you are facing there are those out there who have it just as bad as you, if not worse, and still made it. They had the exact same obstacles to overcome yet took them as motivation to push that much further rather than excuses as to why they just couldn’t make it.
It’s not a question of what’s in your way, it's only a question of whether or not you want it.

“Face your fears, live your dreams”


-El Presidente'

Friday, April 25, 2014

What it takes

Do I have what it takes?” A question asked to me regularly throughout the years, a question I had often asked myself, and still do. Whenever this question would be presented to me I always had the same answer “Everyone has what it takes, that's not the question. It's a question of whether or not you are willing to do what you have to do in order to achieve your goals, a question of what you are willing to sacrifice and endure.” No one can ever tell you whether you can make it or not, although everyone will definitely try. It's a question that only you truly have the answer to.

I allowed this question to keep me from going after my dreams for almost ten years. Could I really make it? Am I too old to start, am I too far behind? Will people laugh at me? Will I go in there and just make a fool of myself? Everyone has doubts similar to these at some point, often more than you could ever imagine. It's not as if once you begin your journey of following your dreams these questions all of a sudden go away, sometimes they get worse, especially when your dream expands. These doubts still creep in from time to time even to this day and sometimes they get the better of me but then I remember “Don't act like a bitch” and I push through.

Hard work beats talent that won't work hard.”-Tim Notke

I've always believed anyone is capable of anything that they truly set their heart and mind to. Sure genetics, natural ability and opportunity all factor in but we all have circumstances to overcome. There's so many different pieces to this puzzle that you will never have them all naturally. At some point you are going to have to work and work harder than you could ever imagine to get the rest. Unfortunately it's those that are born with the most gifts that usually end up taking them for granted and never reach the heights they could have. I'll take someone with no talent but has a strong work ethic over someone who was born with everything but refuses to push themselves. I can't tell you how many fighters I have known who could have had it all but they took their talent for granted and thought it would get them to the top without ever having to work. For the most part they are correct, it can get them extremely far, especially in the beginning, but at some point it is going to catch up to you. At some point there will be someone who hasn't been given everything that wants it more than you and that desire will overcome any shortcomings in talent they may have. What usually ends up happening though is they learn this way too late, it's like being ten years late to the prom. It's extremely difficult to suddenly develop a work ethic when you've spent your whole career coasting.

Can I make it?” My answer should be irrelevant to you. Sure it's always helpful when others believe in you but the only person that truly needs to believe in you is YOU! Even if you are surrounded by doubters, haters and a world of negativity, if you have something you want to do and believe in your heart that it is what you were meant for then go for it, believe in yourself and one day others will too.

Face your fears, live your dreams”-El Presidente'


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Fear #2

"The way it works is, you do the thing you're scared shitless of, and you get the courage after, not before."-Archie Gates(Three Kings)

Going into my first fight I wondered if I would get nervous or not. What would it be like, I had no way of knowing. Would I freeze and even be able to perform, would I get so nervous beforehand that I puked? We try and envision how things will be but when going into the unknown we truly are left guessing as to how we will react. No matter how much training you do, no matter the years you put in, nothing can compare to what it's like to go 'live', to truly be encompassed in what it is you have been training all this time to do. 

I have always been naturally an extremely calm person, only a handful of times throughout my life had I ever been in any real fights, although the ones I did manage to get in were of the epic variety( once against 12 people). No matter how many street fights or altercations you have been in nothing compares to what it's like getting in the ring. This is a reason I find it comical when I ask a beginner if they have any training and they say "naw but I be fighting in the streets sooooo...." Not only is that a sign that this person has no idea what they are doing but it also lets me know that they will probably be even more difficult to train then a person that has never fought because they have this preconceived notion that they actually know what they are doing. This is another topic all together so I'll save it for another time.....

Walking out to that first fight I was surprised to see just how calm I actually was. Looking back I did have a bit of tunnel vision and it was all a blur but I don't really remember having many nerves about it. As I had more and more fights I continued to notice that I never had any issues with nerves, and at the time assumed most other fighters were the same way. It wasn't until years later that I realized just how odd I was. 

Coming up on my first time fighting in Thailand I thought once again to myself "is this the one that's going to make me nervous?" I mean if anything was going to do it this one would but again, coming out to that fight, I just had this overwhelming sense of peace. Maybe this comes from knowing that I'm living my dream, knowing what it took to get me there, knowing where I'd be if I never had turned my life around, or maybe I'm just a weirdo. The next huge fight after that would probably be fighting for the Kings Birthday in Thailand (12/7/07). Surely fighting love in front of 300,000 people on the biggest Muay Thai stage their is would surely do it. Walking out in front of that sea of humanity, so many that it almost looks like fields of grass instead of human beings, you can't even wrap your brain around it, surely the nerves would get to me then, but no, calmer than ever. 

I had previously learned the perils of not having any nerves when it comes to fighting. Being nervous is a horrible feeling as anyone knows, especially when it comes to needing to be at your best. The flip side of that however is just as bad, it might be a little more comfortable but it is much more dangerous. Nerves keep,you sharp, keep you focused, get your adrenaline going and get you in the zone. When you are in a life and death situation the worst thing you can do is feel like it's another walk on the beach. One if my first amateur fights I went into with absolutely zero adrenaline. I remember continually having to tell myself "ok we're about to fight , time to get it together." Next thing I knew my opponent was headed straight at me and still nothing, luckily after a round or two I snapped out of it but those first few were some of the worst I have ever experienced. No nerves meant no adrenaline, which meant I felt every damn thing that happened in there. Let's just say it was not the most enjoyable experience. I vowed from then on to always amp myself up beforehand and make myself get going. Most people have the opposite problem however but I always tell people I would rather be too nervous than too calm. 

As the years went by it always baffled me at the amount of fighters who got nervous, I'm talking really nervous, almost to the point of not being able to function. I cornered a friend once for a smoker in LA way back in the day, he kept telling me how nervous he was and I did my best to calm him down and let him know it was a good,natural emotion to have going into a fight. As the hours ticked by and this went on and on I found myself getting more and more annoyed to the point where I had to leave the event for a bit just to clear my head. I wanted to yell at him "You know you don't have to do this right? We can leave right now." 

For the most part, no matter how nervous a fighter gets, once the bell rings it's game on, you don't have time to think about nerves when someone is trying to knock your head off. I have however once encountered a time when a fighter, who was actually doing extremely well and winning the fight, came back to the corner telling me how nervous they were and from that point on let the fight slip away. I've always found it interesting to see how nerves can either elevate or destroy us.

I think the reason most fighters don't talk about this is they see fear as weakness and weakness is bad. There is however a difference between being nervous and being afraid. We all deal with nerves at some level unless we truly could care less about the outcome and if that's the case then why are you doing this. I would never begin to tell someone how they feel going into a fight is wrong. Everyone deals with these same emotions it's just a matter of how we use them or let them affect us. It's not a question of being too nervous or too calm, it's a matter of using those emotions to get us into a ready state. A matter of not letting them overtake us but to bring us to a point of elevating our game that we couldn't have done without that "fear". Don't kid yourself, you are putting yourself into a situation where you can get seriously hurt,crippled or even killed, you should have some nerves about that,not to mention performance anxiety on top of all the other countless factors that go into fighting. 

If it doesn't scare you then it isn't worth doing. Set your goals on things that seem out of reach, that's the only way to every truly achieve greatness in anything. Fear can be your friend but it is one that can turn on you in the blink of an eye if not used correctly and will make your worst nightmares a reality. 

"Face your fears, live your dreams"-El Presidente'

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Someday

We all have 'somedays' in our lives. We all have things in our lives that we say we will someday get to. Someday I'll take my wife on that trip, someday I'll spend more time with my kids, someday I'll quit drinking, someday I'll go back to church, someday I'll go after my dreams, someday I'll live the way I know I should. We all have these things but what we need to realize is that 'someday' we won't be here anymore. We aren’t guaranteed tomorrow, we aren’t guaranteed today for that matter. All we really have for sure is this moment, right now, if that. Our lives are like a breath on a cold day, we shine for a moment and then we are gone in an instant. So, with that in mind, take all of these 'somedays' and start making them today. How long have you been putting off things that you know you should be doing? Has any of that time you've waited helped? If anything I'm sure it has only hurt and made it even more difficult for you to go after those things. Do it today, do it right now, don't wait. Fix the things in your life that you need to while you still can. Live your dreams, no matter what. If there's something in this life that you know you should be doing, DO IT! It's real easy to put these things off, put them into the back of our minds and eventually even forget about them completely. But every now and again they come up, and they always will. Often the things we truly want seem far too difficult to ever achieve, so we sit back and get comfortable in our daily lives. But isn't it far better to go after what you want and fail rather then to constantly succeed at mediocrity? Most people aim low so that they know they will succeed rather than to shot for the stars and fail. No matter how afraid you are, no matter how hard it seems or how far away it is, go after it. Whether it's a dream, a change of attitude, a relationship, whatever. There's a great song lyric by Switchfoot that says,"This is your life, are you who you want to be?" I love this lyric, your life is up to you. You can't always change the things that happen to you but you can change how you react to them. Go after the things in this life that you know are right, and you know that you are meant for. Why put it off any longer? All you have is right now!

"Face your fears, live your dreams!"
-El Presidente'