“What the f*** are you doing?” I look my fighter in the eyes as I pull out his mouthpiece between the second and final round of the fight. He says “ok.” I know he understands. He understands because we have been here before in training. He trusts me and I trust him to get the job done. Such is the relationship between coach and fighter.
I love fighting, or at least I used to. I enjoyed testing myself. I loved the experience and the sensation of putting it all out there and feeling completely free. What I didn’t love was amateur promotions, the uncertainty of whether I would fight or not, and the worry of letting my coaches and team down.
But I am happy I experienced all of that though.
Because of the experiences I have had, both positive and negative, I have been able to be a better coach and instructor. I take all the negative things that have happened to me in training and competing and I try to learn from them so my students and fighters never have to. I remember what worked for me and what didn’t.
What I don’t try to do though is put unnecessary pressure on them.
When you go into a fight or any competition. You are putting a part of yourself out there. It shows your true nature. It doesn’t matter how much you have prepared or how good you are you can still lose. That is why it is so scary and why most people don’t do it.
If I put pressure on my fighter to make me look good and make it all about me then they are fighting two people in the ring, themselves and they’re opponent. Why do that? Fighting is hard enough, why make it harder? That why I always say to my fighters “the wins are yours the losses are mine.”
I want to take the pressure off of them so that way all they have to do is their job. To listen, be relaxed, and fight to their potential to the best of their abilities. The win for me is a bonus.
I put my fighter’s mouthpiece back in and say “I want you to be on him like white on rice! You got it?” He nods. “This is the last round, make it count!” The bell rings he touches glove then proceeds to clinch and run knees for almost 2 minutes straight. I know he can because we did it in training. I scream so loud that I almost lose my voice. “10 seconds!” I yell. Bell rings, it goes to a judge’s decision. He wins. But it wouldn’t have mattered to me. He did everything that I asked of him and I was there for him when he needed me.
Now when all my fighters compete I try to give them the best that I have. Give them all the tools they need to succeed and go in the ring with confidence. Because it’s not about me, it’s about them.