As I was on the search for a something that involved more contact, I had to step back and ask myself -- is this what I really want? Do I want to place myself in a situation where I'm going to get hit or that I'm actually going to hit someone else?
I read a few books by fighters, looking for their motivation behind fighting. Some books were well written and entertaining, but none of them really gave me the answers I was looking for. Why did they choose to fight? What was it inside them that said - ok let me go beat somebody up?
While I was reading and searching for answers, I was also training. Then all of a sudden, one day when I was writing in my journal, the answer came to me.
It really doesn't have anything to do with fighting at all. So many things inside me changed through my training. Starting with the discipline of training itself (regardless of what type of training, this is a big step), to mentally preparing for what was about to come (hit or be hit), to physically building the strength and stamina to go through with it (cardio, weights, yoga) -- it was all coming together in one perfect package.
Fighting has nothing to do with striking someone. It's about defending yourself. What GM Janice Somera said (as I've mentioned before) -- you've got to believe that you're worth defending.
Finding that belief itself has been work. It's taken self-analysis, self-confidence, and a lot of effort to hack away at years and years of accumulated negative self-talk and self-hate. It's been the hardest part.
The psychological training behind fighting has really been what has kept me interested. I've had to really work on clearing my mind. I've had to work on figuring out how to stand my ground - both physically and mentally. I've had to work on breathing through the fear that you start to feel when someone approaches you with a clenched fist.
The training I went through - both the Brazilian Jiujitsu and the Kajukenbo seminars - emphasized a very key point. You learn how to defend yourself so you never have to use it.
That knowledge that you KNOW that you can protect yourself, that you can hold your ground, that you can take a hit and then hit back harder is powerful. It helps you stand tall. It gives you confidence. It allows you to walk down the street without being afraid ... and isn't that what we all want? To not be afraid of life, living, loving?
I haven't found all my answers. I have a long road ahead of me in terms of my training, but I'm enjoying this path of discovery.
I have moments when it all seems surreal (am I really leaving the house in a Kajukenbo gi with a wooden stick in my bag? What in the world am I getting myself in to?), but when other people think I'm crazy for getting involved in MMA training, I know inside, I'm not crazy. This is how I choose to train. This is how I choose to get physically and mentally fit. Plus, I'm worth defending ;)