Just over a week ago I had my first striking sparring session. It was a little unexpected on my part, I had no gum shield, no sparring gloves and no shin guards. Luckily James had some spares and even offered to lend me his cup – which I politely declined.
After just doing an hour BJJ sparring, it didn’t seem like I was going to do well. The fear started to set in about the reality I was facing that day. Even though it was “light” sparring and nobody was out to hurt one another, the fear still set in.
If you have never had somebody throwing kicks and punches at your face and body, it is one of the strangest scenarios you will find yourself in. You know that you have to keep your eyes open and head up to fight, but your natural instincts take over. Covering up becomes your best friend.
The whole hour was an embarrassment for me. I was putting my head down and winging my punches from anywhere, just to try and hit my sparring partner. It failed and I got hit a lot more than I cared for.
Then I sparred with an experienced Muay Thai fighter, I won’t say his name, but he is a fucking monster. He weighs about 15 stone and it is all muscle. He also doesn’t seem to understand the concept of “light sparring”.
I was already terrified to step in with him, but I knew I had to. I set my stall out and tried to find range with him by throwing a few leg kicks and a couple of jabs. It didn’t work haha. The next thing I felt was a kick to my body that made me feel as though my spleen was about to fall out and then came over the top with a superman punch right hand to my beak.
It was at this point I said “give me a minute”.
Sticking It Out
While I was hurting and clearly didn’t have a clue what I was doing, I stayed out the session. I took my beating and went home, as they say. A cut lip, a battered mid section and shins that looked like a marble mosaic were what I went home with.
It doesn’t matter though. I knew I would take a beating that first day and I am just lucky that I didn’t put myself in any real danger that day.
No matter what, it was a fantastic learning experience. From this sparring session alone I could pin point exactly where my flaws are. My head movement was non-existent, I was keeping my eyes open during exchanges and I wasn’t keeping my posture high enough to impose any sort of will on my opponent.
After a good 10×3 min rounds, it was done and I was done.
When it came to my second session yesterday, I was a lot more prepared. No cup still, but ready to go nonetheless.
I was still terrified and in fact was more terrified than the week before. Knowing that you’re going to fight someone over any extended period of time will make you think twice about your life choices.
However after last week, my only goal was to be better than last week. And I was. My head movement was better, I was standing straight on at all times and I was keeping my eyes open more when opponents attacked. Don’t get me wrong, I still got battered like a cod but this time it was more on my terms.
Feedback is always Key
After my rounds, my coach James said it was better than last week to me.
While it may not seem a lot, the word “better” when you are training MMA is like having someone suck you off in a traffic jam. It just makes a bad situation good.
I knew I would get murdered again, but just hearing it was better than a week ago, fills you with confidence that will get you back the next week.
Overall this week was a great learning experience altogether. It was more of a life lesson really.
Take that beating but keep moving forward and you can only get better.
Please check out the people supporting me on this journey through their Instagram accounts:
James Dixon (Coach) – @james.dixon.martial.arts
Rob Dawson (Sports Psychology) – @Mindsport_Ltd
Daren AKA Slaphead (Strength & Conditioning) – @chinnor_kettlebells
Simply Prep (Food prep company and nutrition) – @simplyprepmeals
Use the code “fatty” for 10% off all orders
Feel Supreme – (Health and Vitality) – @feel_supreme
www.feelsupreme.co.uk – Use code word “jockstraps” for 10% off your entire order
Precise Sports Nutrition – (Protein Company) – @psn_uk