I thought I was done...
I am going to tell you something only a few people know. A little over 1 year ago, I was done. I was out. I didn’t want to have a gym and train people anymore. I was looking at where I was with the sport and looking at the other people in it. I didn’t want what these people had and I was sick of the industry. I wanted something different, so I stepped away. After 20 years as a professional Martial Artist, I was done.
After sitting down with people close to me and telling them 1 by 1 that I was done, something happened. I simplified my schedule to 3 hrs of teaching a week. I was riding out a few contracts with students fully prepared to walk away. Then some new people started coming in. For some reason these people resonated with me. I was having fun and actually teaching my craft to people that cared about it.
My top fighter, Karl Roberson, came back off of a 9 month layoff due to surgery. He came back better than before he got hurt. Nobody wanted to fight him. His career was stuck because nobody would risk a loss on their record. Then one day Karl tore thru the room we go on Saturdays for work. He dropped guys with big show fights coming up. Some important people were in the room. They made some calls.
Karl signed with Sucker Punch Entertainment. They got him 2 fights back to back. Karl won both in the 1st round.
New people started filtering into the gym each week. These were not fighters, these were regular people looking to practice my craft to better themselves.
Karl got signed to fight on the Contender Series. This show is a talent development program for the UFC. We went from dead in the water with nobody to fight, to fighting in front of Dana White and the UFC brass for a contract opportunity with the big organization.
All of a sudden, I was back. I was teaching my craft to people who just wanted to train and better themselves, training high level athletes, plus winning fights. I really wanted to get out but the good people in my world pulled me back in and did the work that made me believe it was worth it again.
Karl won his Contender series fight and a contract to fight in the UFC. The student base has been growing with people I really enjoy teaching. The time commitment worked itself out, the income is working itself out, the joy is back, and the success story is back on track.
I say it to those I train; you can’t quit because living with failure is much easier than living with quitting. I tried to quit but I couldn’t do it. Now I am at a place I am not sure I have ever been? I don’t think I have ever done what I do better and I don’t know if I have ever treated the people I am training this well before?
It took me 20 years to find my place in it all. I copied my heroes and tried to be things I was not meant to be. Right now I am being myself, teaching my style, and functioning within the industry on my own terms. I really don’t care what anyone has to say about me or what I do. I am in a good place where I trust myself and I trust those I work with.
You may think it weird that I said I trust myself? Thing is, when we are young we act tough but have lots of doubt. We haven’t done enough to back up the swagger. Now I have no swagger, I just do my thing and chill because I have done enough to be comfortable and to trust my decisions. I know what I can do and not do. I stay in my lane and do what I can to maximize the benefits of my labors for those I work with.
Getting older kind of sucks but really doesn’t when the experience and action come together. Stay the course and do the work that will allow you to believe.