Monday, April 4, 2011

"Mama Said There'd Be Days Like This..."

…there’d be days like this my Mama said.”  Knowing this does not make it easy.  Knowing that this too shall pass helps… but only a little.  Fight training can feel a bit like an abusive relationship at times.  From moment to moment, from words that hit harder than kicks to the shin to compliments and accolades.  Coaches do not always have the best communication skills.  They often bark orders at you in their attempt to get you to do more.  Disappointment is often shown with a shaking of the head and comments like, “Did I teach you that?” This is definitely something I have had to change my perspective on.  Although I will say that I am blessed that my coaches seldom resort to this style of “motivation” and when I have something to say they do listen.

My parents never fought in front of their kids so I am not accustomed to being yelled at or being a disappointment to anyone.  Degradations and gruff military style verbal lashings have never inspired me.  So on those rare occasions I have had to teach myself to “hear” things differently.  Now I put the phrase, “I believe in you…” before every constructive criticism, deconstruction, facetious question, grunt and even every compliment.  I know they believe in me.  I know they take pride in me.  But I also know that if I do not remind myself of this that it would be all too easy to have my feelings hurt.  Yes, I can be a bit of a softy for such a tough girl.  And yes, I am all right with that. 

The other tool I have just begun to practice is something I learned from acting classes.  That is to accept critique without voicing an explanation of why I was doing what I was doing; expressing “my motivation”, explaining what I was thinking.  It does not matter.  It is my job to find a way to give the “Director” what he’s asking for.  That does not mean that I do not ask questions when needed to gain a better understanding of what they seek.  Fortunately I am not chided for asking for clarification on things I do not comprehend… although at times responses are not in the most gentle of tones.  But this is fight training, Baby.  This is not a weekly self-help group meeting.  

photo by Jill Morley
When I played basketball in high school my coach told the team something I have found very useful in my life.  He said if you want to get better you have to play with people better than yourself.  This has helped me set my ego aside and seek out those with more knowhow in everything I have tried to learn.  Well, as a woman that weighs most days about 118lbs I have not had to look very far for training partners that are bigger, faster, better, stronger.  I am surrounded by male teammates that constantly pose new challenges because they are all those things and by female teammates of varying size and skill levels offering different obstacles to overcome.

Most days I find myself learning quickly and feeling accomplished and confident at my rate of growth.  There are days though… there are days when learning new techniques have made me so frustrated at my lack of understanding that tears flow without warning; there are days when sparring sessions have left me feeling defeated and wondering if I will be able to be a contender as a fighter.  These are moments when I know this is psychological warfare and that I am my own worst enemy and yet I still cannot get out of my head long enough to get out of my own way.  And these days are hard.  Negativity breeds more negativity.  Failure.  Doubt.  Uncertainty.

But this is love, Baby.  This is no one-night-stand or summer fling.  Somewhere along the way we eloped.  I am married to Fight.  And this love always brings me back to training.  This love always restores my faith in myself.  This love always has me looking forward to the next fight.  This love…


  1. good write up. and photo placement. you are a writer/journalist.

  2. You go on with your writer/fighter self! Keep it up. Love the honesty and clarity and gorgous photo, if I do say so myself!