“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.” -Theodore Roosevelt
This quote means alot to me personally. It is the philosophy that I have for my MMA career. I am in MMA for one purpose: to compete with the best and test myself at the highest level that I possibly can. I do not want to build a record by fighting cans. I want to take the fights that test your mind, heart and will to see what you are really made of. It’s not about the money or the recognition for me. I could do other things to make money and the recognition is nice, but I don’t really want to be famous. Respected, sure; eventually known as a great fighter, definitely. With that may come fame, but that is not what I am after. I am after the “triumph of high achievement” as good ole Teddy put it.
The thrill of victory is something that can not be duplicated. There is no better feeling in sports than the rush that you feel after defeating an opponent in MMA. That’s cause it’s just you. No one else to look to, no one else to rely on. Just you and an opponent that has trained for one purpose: beating you before you beat him. It is like nothing else. It can not be faked or gained through anything other than hard work and determination. And there in lies the benefit. The dedication, training, and focus that it takes to prepare for a fight is in and of itself, beneficial. Through the process you learn “the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, [of he] who spends himself in a worthy cause.”
I used to not understand this part of competition. In every other sport or event that I participated in before MMA, I thought there is nothing but winning. That is all. There is nothing to be gained from a loss. It simply meant that you were inferior and that was a terrible feeling that I never wanted to have. This view leads to what is commonly called the fear of failure. I now understand that if you let the fear of losing consume you, then you will never reach your full potential. Your fear will limit your focus and cause you to hide your faults, in turn letting them go unnoticed until a certain point is reached where they can no longer be hidden. Eventually they will surface and you will be exposed.
Competition at this level allows you to find out who you really are and what you are capable of. It allows you to find your flaws and fix them. I believe that you can’t gain that without a true test. This is what drives me to compete and seek out the tough fights that many doubt I will win. My upcoming fight is another such event. I’ll be taking on 3 time UFC veteran and noted bjj black belt Junior Assuncao. It should be a great test and one that I look forward to.
I was asked by the good fellas at thecagedoor.net to blog about my experience and training leading up to this fight. This blog will give some insight in to my preparation and some of the mental side of things. Oh and don’t worry, they won’t all be this serious. I’m just in a philosophical kind of mood today. Maybe it’s because I just watched Swamp People on the History channel. If that show doesn’t stimulate thought, then I don’t know what will.
Until next time…