On the face of it – What? Am I a masochist? Do I like pain? What the heck am I talking about getting hit? Well to a non-fighter – it might seem strange but when I sparr… one of the things I really enjoy is getting the crap beat out of me in an initial exchange!!!
Backing up a bit – fighting is call an art. One past instructor told me fighting was a way of communication. Kind of a dance between partners. Well to use that metaphor – when you are attacked with everything but the kitchen sink and you are not really ready… there is nothing quite like that to wake you up!
In this post I will talk about how getting hit is good for the learning process and I would say a necessary part of the training process (if one is to excel). But first watch some MMA come backs for your viewing pleasure.
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I remember many times going into Thursday night sparring and got hit hard – I instantly had a choice to make – did I want to take it or dish it out… if I wanted to dish it out – I had to weather the storm somehow and strike back!
It seems like a simple thing now but it is not if you can take the other guy that is important but if you can take the other guys best shot and come back and take him that makes you tough!
While I admit it is not smart to take the other guy’s “best shot” – it is importaint that you learn to take a punch or you will never be a fighter.
One time when I was attempting to sell life insurance to a young couple – they learned that I was a black belt and wanted to know more. So I started telling them how every once and a while I needed to get hit. They did not understand. I tried to explain how it made me feel alive!!!
When I was a young black belt – if I was given the company of a young woman or getting into a good fight as a choice – fighting always won out.
Part of the learning process is while you are fighting – if you get tagged by a good shot that you cannot defend against – you have to learn how to handle that attack. I used to dream about getting hit after a night of sparring – where my subconsious was trying to work out how to defend that attack.
I recall asking my instructor, Dick Willett one time how to avoid getting smacked on the way in – when I was throwing a lunch punch to the body (I was great at body shots – but got tagged with a head shot sometimes)… he told me to duck my head after I started my punch. I practiced that punch and got good at it… not getting tagged on the way in.
Have you ever lived near the beach and got used to jumping into the water every week? While I did as a teenager to the point when I moved to the desert – I had to drive to San Diego once a week to go body surfing at least once a week!
Fighting is kind of like that – if you ever were a good fighter – you need to do it now and then – even if you are not as good as you used to be – but you need the feeling of putting all of your chips on the line to see if you still have what it takes to overcome your opponents attacks and win the day!
So how can pain be good? Pain is a indicator that for me wakes me up to excel to the challenge. One time I was fighting at the studio for some testing – what I don’t recall and Todd (the head instructor) asked me if I wanted head hear – as a salty old dog, I said no. After the first minute the guy I was fighting lit me up with head shots – more of a boxing attack. I weathered the storm and woke up – started incorporating more movement and upped the pace to increase my attacks to keep my opponent honest. Boy I loved that fight!
So while I do not enjoy feeling pain – it does make me feel alive and in a fight – it helps me rise to the occasion. I’m not sure everyone enjoys fighting like I do – It has been years since my prime and although I do not think it likely I will ever fight in a real self-defense situation again in my lifetime – I hope I get the chance (understand hoping does not matter – I cannot make it happen) to beat off an attacker again… I cannot think of a better form of enjoyment – even now.
Yes I guess I am a glutton of punishment.