There is a saying in boxing, 'that guy is world class in the gym'.
Although a very cruel saying, what it implies is that the fighter is simply brilliant when they are in the familiar, comfortable surroundings of the gym but they fall apart on fight day.
I have seen the same happen in BJJ, Judo and many other combat sports. So what causes it?
In essence, this is a mental issue. The skills are there; it is the same person as in the gym, but they lose the fight in their mind and guess what I know how it feels.
Many years ago I was boxing, and it was only my third fight. I had breezed the first two fights I had and expected the same to happen again.
Except when I arrived for the fight, the opponent looked twice my size, he looked far stronger than I was and he looked confident.
Right there and then I lost the battle in my mind, and I promised myself that it would never happen again. Needless to say, I lost the fight, not because I couldn't have beaten the opponent; I lost through fear.
But such is life. So to stop this happening again (and from experience), I came up with five sure fire ways to help me get a mental edge on fight day and here they are:
It is well known that if you hear a story, your brain stimulates the same parts of your brain that would be active if this was happening in real life.
This is a major reason that books and films are so popular. We put ourselves into the situations, and our brain makes it feel real. So I started to tell myself a story every time I fought.
The story I picked was simple; this guy (the opponent) had stolen from me. And yes I even went as far as imagining that he snuck into my house and stole my TV and PlayStation.
I visualise him doing this, and there was no way I was going to lose to the guy who robbed my house!
I am late for everything but when it comes to fighting I am super prepared. The one thing that made me calmer was packing my bag the night before.
I always made sure my gi, my gloves, shorts, etc. were neatly packed the night before. This was a ritual for me, just like a warrior preparing their armour for battle.
Once zipped up and packed it was a great mental boost because it triggered the next stage in my 5 step mental edge plan.
With my kit bag zipped up I would sit down and meditate. Now it totally depends on what your views on meditation are, but for myself this was key.
I would simply sit and empty my mind. I would not think about the fight in any way and focus on deep breaths. After 10 minutes I would get up and slide into bed.
This calm allowed me to enjoy a great night's sleep.
On fight day morning I have one ritual, and that is watching videos of the sport I am competing in.
However, they are videos of the fighter I want to emulate. When I was boxing it was Roy Jones Jnr and Mike Tyson, when I was doing Judo it was Neil Adams and Go Tsunoda.
By watching quality practitioners of your art, you will mentally ready yourself for delivering a quality performance.
Ok so this is not the most glamorous of advice but trust me if you experience nerves then you need to plan in advance.
Make sure that when you get to the venue, you go to the toilet and empty your bowels. (Told you it was not glamorous).
You might not need to go or think you do but I have lost count of the times I see people seconds before the fight needing to go to the bathroom.
What happens is that the fighter ends up unfocused and often rushed to the ring, this wrecks everything we have been trying to do to gain a mental edge.
So there you have it, five ways to gain a mental edge on fight day. But what about you?
Do you have any rituals that you follow to reduce nerves on fight day. Let us know.
The Human Weapon Team
We see martial arts all the time. In films, on TV and now the UFC has taken them mainstream.
However, even though we see countless MMA gyms popping up, the small struggling traditional martial arts have been going through a drought. But it needn't be that way, nor do I think it will be forever.
In fact, in this article we look at why Traditional Martial Arts are making a big comeback.
|Men's Body Length||27.5 - 28||28.5 - 29||29.5 - 30||30.5 - 31||31.5 - 32|
|Men's Chest||36 - 36||39 - 41||42 - 44||45 - 48||49 - 52|
|Women's Body Length||25.375 - 26.5||26 - 27||26.5 - 27.5||27 - 28.5||27.5 - 28.5|
|Women's Chest||29.5 - 32.5||31.5 - 34.5||33.5 - 36.5||36.5 - 39.5||39.5 - 42.5|