Fear of fighting in MMA and boxing

A couple days after I wrote my How to conquer your fear of fighting post, I saw this video of Mike Tyson and Ronda Rousey on Good Day LA. They discuss fear of fighting in MMA and boxing. This ties in well with what I wrote in that post so I wanted to share it with you here.

Here’ the interview:

The hosts weren’t all that great in my opinion. They could have gotten an awesome interview out of both champions but they stuck to pre-chewed questions. Regardless, the answers they got were pretty interesting. Some of the things I’d like to highlight: [Read more…]

How to conquer your fear of fighting

Ross posted this video of Chael Sonnon on his blog recently. I liked it a lot. Chael talks about something that is still taboo for most fighters: how to conquer your fear of fighting. Given his usual loudmouth antics, this is pretty surprising coming from Chael and I have nothing but respect for him for stating this publicly. It takes a lot of maturity for a fighter to admit to being afraid; not everybody gets there eventually.

I’m going to approach this article with the viewpoint of MMA and other combat sports but there is overlap for self-defense too. The differences are important though, so please keep that in mind as you read on.

Before I go on, here’s the video:

I can imagine a young fighter like Uriah Hall looking at Chael Sonnen and thinking he’s fearless. I’m pretty sure most MMA enthusiasts who want to compete professionally would think the same thing:

This guy is utterly ferocious in the Octagon. He can’t possibly be afraid.

And then Chael just flat out admits to being afraid, filled with self-doubt and negative voices. Even more, he mentions being in the same spot as Uriah and talking to perhaps the biggest legend in MMA, Randy Couture, about being afraid. Guess what, Randy says he struggles with it constantly and it never goes away.

For the vast majority of people, that’s simply how it is.

I know for a fact that’s how it has always been for me. I’ve never had a fight, inside or outside of the ring, that I didn’t feel fear.

When I was younger and just starting out, I was very much ashamed of this. I thought I was a coward. It took a long time and many fights to eventually understand I wasn’t. It also took a lot of training and studying to figure out how I could conquer my fear of fighting. A huge part of it was realizing there was absolutely nothing wrong with that fear of fighting. It’s nothing but a natural reaction of your body and mind to the potential harm that may come your way once the punches start flying.

Fighting is scary.

It can end with you getting seriously injured, crippled or even a trip to the morgue. That’s just the reality of violence. It’s only normal to understand and recognize that an activity is inherently dangerous. It’s shying away from it when it is necessary that makes you a coward.

The fear, in and of itself, is neutral. It’s what you do with it that makes it positive or negative.

Which is fine and dandy to say but it doesn’t help you one bit right now. So let’s look at how we can go out and conquer it. [Read more…]