How Training to Fight Trains You for Life

I have always been active in sports. I started playing tee-ball at a very young age and continued playing baseball until high school. When it wasn’t baseball season, I was involved in football, soccer and basketball.

Although I loved my time playing all of these sports, it wasn’t until I started training in different athletic endeavors that I started learning about life.

I started watching mixed martial arts in high school as the UFC started to become popular. I was friends with a couple of wrestlers who introduced me to the promotion, and instantly I was hooked and always talked about training.

It wasn’t until I was 27 that I started training. I took a Judo class at my college and soon signed up for Muay Thai and Brazilian jujitsu at a gym.

When I signed up I was prepared to start a physical transformation. What I wasn’t ready for was a mental transformation. The following are three ways that training to fight has trained me for life.

Photo credit: Anthony Peters

1. Always keep your balance.

This lesson comes from Muay Thai. Keeping your balance is essential for everything.

If you throw yourself off balance while punching, not only does it make it harder for you to continue your attack, it makes it hard for you to defend.

I apply this to my personal life every day.

By keeping my school life in balance with my home life, I am able to keep everything in perspective and not over extend myself in one area. This allows me to focus on one thing at a time.

2. Mat time, mat time, mat time.

This jujitsu saying is probably the lesson that I needed to learn most.It is said to students who try to find a shortcut for learning techniques.

In jujitsu, as in life, there are no shortcuts. The only way to truly become a master at something is to put in the time on the mats, or just continue working on it.

3. Fall down seven times, get up eight.

I learned this Japanese maxim from my Judo classes. In Judo, you are constantly being thrown to the mat.

Either in practice or in sparring, getting thrown to the mats can be very demoralizing. What separates those that don’t make it and those that do is who can pick themselves up and get back to it.

Life can throw you to the mat easier than the best judoka. What separates those who are successful and those that aren’t is who can rebound from hardship.