Basically the idea of practicing something is to stop sucking at it. Sometimes it’s merely about sucking less. Why, anyone can suck at anything, you just have to figure out for yourself what it is you don’t wanna suck at and simply do it. If finding it doesn’t make you do it, means you just don’t care enough about not sucking at it. So you keep sucking.
When it comes to fighting, there are multiple reasons not to suck at it.
For many people it’s simply about feeling safe and knowing how to defend oneself and those who can’t against some aggressive jerks out there. Fair enough. Most people don’t even know how to throw a punch so if you practice your defense for few months you’re already quite a few steps ahead. Just don’t get too excited, you don’t turn badass after a few self-defense classes, nor do you learn to fight only from watching YouTube.
There surely are plenty other reasons.
As for you, you just need to struggle, you need to keep learning, keep your mind busy, clear your spirit, sweat away all the bad shit that happens to you, because, believe it or not, the person you fear the most and whom you have to defend yourself against is your very self. That’s right, you are your dearest enemy. So how could you mind if someone tried to beat the shit out of you? Aren’t you the one who pours gallons of beer and whiskey in this ugly mouth of yours? What actual opponent you may think of would push all those disgusting cigarettes down your throat? What ruthless barbarian would stuff your stomach with junk food? What enemy would waste your time the way you do it yourself? Against what fighter would you have your mind messed up the way you do it to yourself with drugs, porn, cheap entertainment and toxic relationships?
That’s right, you’re the monster here.
Your buddies at the gym try to beat you all the time and you’re thankful to them for that, and you do your best to repay them in the same manner for you know that they expect the same from you as you do from them.
So be it any sort of ass-kicking philosophy: from the ancient Greco-Roman wrestling to the modern Brazilian jiu-jitsu; from the elegant Japanese arts of karate or judo to French savate and Russian sambo; from deadly beautiful Korean taekwondo to tough American kickboxing, from the sweet science of the Western boxing to the violent Thai art of eight limbs.
It is all worth bleeding for.
But beware, my friend, of obscure mysticism and all the Jedi bullshit. There ain’t no kung fu grandpa waiting for you in some ancient dojo on the top of a mountain, willing to make you a warrior in some secret ways of forgotten art. Yet there are frauds and impostors out there who want to benefit on your will to improve, selling you some badass mambo-jumbo for the very few and initiated. Don’t trust those guys. If any of their complicated moves worked in real life, you would see people use them in MMA. And don’t you buy the crap they say about not using it for such low incentives like cockfighting. Why, if you got some killer technics it’s not for your dancing classes, right? You wanna be able to actually perform them in a real fight.
Tell you what. The only shit that’s real is where you work your ass out and there’s blood, sweat and tears. And you know it’s real because people get hurt and you don’t get to fake bleeding. Pain is quite a real thing. That’s pretty much it: shit is real when it hurts.
So when you choose, choose wisely. Find out what fascinates you, what makes you curious, what drives you crazy. For anything you train makes you better, stronger, healthier. Once you start it’s no more a set of UFC highlights, no more keyboard fighting.
You become obsessed. You cannot sleep because you think about it and when you sleep you dream about it and when you don’t dream about it you cannot sleep and when you cannot sleep you start again to think about it.
I want you to think of your techniques before you get to sleep, whatever it is, I want you to kick, punch and roll when you sleep, damn it, I want you to sleep on the mat, and when you roll in your relentless nightmares your teammates from the gym will come and choke you so that you wake up and start training for them not to come again to choke you in your dreams.
Why, I shamelessly admit to do my shadowboxing everywhere I can. I slip punches in front of my bathroom mirror while shaving, I practice my head movement in the elevator, I train my kicks in my office. It is all about repetitive drills and precise motions, you want them to become automatic, you want to perform them without thinking, make them instinctive.
Once it becomes a part of you, a day without it feels way more painful than the actual fight can be. Once you train on a regular basis, it brings you down when you don’t, you get depressed from not doing it. But it ain’t obvious, it’s all about discipline. The fight begins the very moment you’re awake and struggle to get up from bed. Your body hurts already, your mind hurts, you don’t want to move. And even when you do, it’s terribly easy to lose your shit during the day. And the worse day you’re having, the more convincing a beer and peanuts look. You tell yourself that you can skip this one, you’re justified. Just remember that your own hell is paved with your excuses.
Moreover, you know there’s people out there that are gonna be judging you. Dear, oh dear. Can’t express how sorry I am and how I feel for you. So what you’re trying to tell me is that it bothers you that someone you don’t even know, you don’t even care about, is watching you and probably laughing inside while he should be minding his own business. Is that what scares you?
Tell you what. If you’re a real badass fighter you’d have to be a real jerk as well to be laughing at some beginners. And if you’re a beginner yourself, to laugh at others would mean for you the achievement of an extreme level of pitiful douchebaggery. And yes, of course, jerks and douchebags are always there. But with some time and patience you’ll learn to deal with them. However, most of them are the projections of your own fear and anxiety. Those creeps and goblins are all in your head while the actual reality doesn’t give a shit about you.
Which doesn’t mean reality ain’t there. Indeed, you will get to know the objective reality as soon as it punches you in the face or kicks you in the rib. Many times you will get hurt without being able to strike back for your opponent will turn out to be on another level. Many times you will get schooled like a kid by an opponent younger or even smaller than you. Maybe you’ll get outsmarted by a girl. You’ll get outsmarted by people less educated and less comprehensive. You will get punished, you will bleed from your nose for three days in a row, you will have your guts smashed by those nasty body shots, you’ll have the shit choked out of your neck, you will have your arm twisted by some violent takedowns, you will have your ribs devastated by those huge middle kicks, and many times you will feel helpless and frustrated. As everyone does at some point. This is where you find that there ain’t no quitting, you’re not allowed to quit. And that’s how you stop sucking. And then it gets harder.