Friday, April 20, 2012

Thoughts On Fighting

I have no idea why I have always been fascinated by fighting. I have always loved boxing and watching fights. My father, a professor, never watched boxing or ever even talked much about it. I have only seen him lose his temper once or twice and it was a fearful sight; a guttural roar swelling from his lungs somewhere that scared the crap out of me. But I have never seen him swing on anyone, ever.

But growing up in Prince Georges County, Maryland, one definitely had opportunities to fight. After school there seemed to always be a fight somewhere going on in a parking lot between a "jock" and a "burnout". The scuttlebut would begin around second period and then everyone would meet somewhere to enjoy the festivities. Most of them weren't great fights. Someone would be getting beat pretty badly and quit.

Then there would be a few names in the school that were fearsome, that everyone whispered about as being great fighters. Or there would be the kid who everyone said "He took Karate man!". This was the time of Billy Jack the movie and Kung Fu the tv show so those kids were thought to be untouchable.

I learned real fast that most people talk a big game when it comes to fighting but when really seriously confronted they keep talking and don't fight they just always wanted to- A. Take their shirt off and B. Tell somebody to "Hold me back!". They weren't going to fight either.They just liked the show. It's the ones who don't talk that one has to worry about. I learned a long time ago that a barking dog never bites but a deathly silent Rottweiler is something to be worried about. That kind of tension in the air is palpable.

I definitely got into some scraps, my thing was that I never could take anyone disrespecting me. I always tried to be nice and polite but most folks think that they can just say anything and they won't get called on it. My modus operandi was to always confront everyone on everything that they said about me just so they realize that there are consequenses for their actions.

I have been bloodied pretty badly. I got beat up  in DC on New Year's Eve one year that required bunches of stitches and a long Emergency Room visit. To this day I still don't know who beat my ass.

In college I got into a fight with a running back who hit me about thirty times before I could get a punch off. That punch worked well but I learned not to underestimate my opponent.

Then people started suing people when they got beat up instead of just shaking hands at the end of a fight so street fights bcame a thing of the past.

When I got to Philly I began to take Muay Thai lessons and fought in the ring. I knocked out my opponent in the first one and then entered a Toughman Contest and got my nose broken and got hit about 4000 times.

I have taken lessons with pro fighters who think that beating you up is a rite of passage, when they should have just been teaching me how to do things right. All I learned was that even pro fighters have low self esteem and feel the need to be tough guys for no reason.

The favorite boxing teacher is my buddy "The Wiz" from Philly. He works the crap out of you, has zero ego and loves to teach. I used to train with him at 5:30 in the morning. One night I stayed out until about 2am and then showed up at my lesson in pretty bad shape. Wiz decided that was the day to spar and so he beat me up and I learned to always be prepared and to respect the fact that a 50 year old man can whup my butt.

Getting hit actually feels good, it wakes you up , brings all your senses to the surface.

But I got away from taking lessons from hitting the mitts. I missed it.

So the other day I was hitting the heavy bag and I was like, I am gonna give Wiz a call. And I did and we began training again. He worked me to death until I was dry heaving and could barely hold my arms up at the end. There is a different feeling when you are that spent, when you are hitting something and someone may hit you back at anytime.

When I woke up after working with Wiz I was sore in muscles that I had forgotten existed. And I realized that this is something that I love and I should never stop doing. I recommend it highly for everyone.

It is probably some evolutionary thing that we are meant to fight or wage war or have our adrenaline flowing every once in awhile just to keep us sharp. But don't quote me on that one. I just know that it feels good.

All About Being a Lifer

What's a Lifer? Someone who isn't in to something for just a day, a month, a's for life. Whether its training or your family or your doesn't matter. You work at it, you build on it, you see the big picture . You don't miss workouts because it means something to you. You are like a Shakespearean actor- no matter what is going on in your life, you block it out when it's time to train. You walk into the weight room and all else disappears. Worry about it later.