A mistake lots of inexperienced trainers make is putting their faith in the wrong people. Trainers see natural ability or previous success in sports and use that as the criteria to judge a new fighter. The fact is that most natural athletes are lazy. People that found success in a sport outside of combat sports have a chip on their shoulder. Natural doesn’t mean good and success in one sport doesn’t always translate to another.
In combat sports more than most other sports, heart is the factor that separates one from the herd. To be the best fighter on the planet you have to have world class skill, elite conditioning, and the will to win that goes beyond your care for your own safety. Your trainers will keep you safe but you need to be committed to a course that you accept could lead to your own demise.
I can show you technique and get you into shape but I can’t give you heart. I can test you and work with you to find it but ultimately heart is all up to you.
At this point in my life, I won’t put myself out there for just anyone. This is for everyone who wants to train with me, not just fighters. I get the same aches and pains training a 40 year old business man as I do an 18 year old prospect. For me to sacrifice my body to help you achieve a goal, you have to demonstrate the ability to push when you don’t want to but I need you too. I need you to show me that you are prepared to do whatever it takes to succeed at any task I put in front of you. I need to know that you give a $hit.
I know when guys quit. I can watch a room full of people doing work and see exactly who is cutting corners and looking for a way out. Everyone who has trained knows the guy who fakes injuries to get out of a bad round of sparring or hard session of work. There are so many ways to cut those corners but you need experience to recognize it. For me, training is pretty transparent. I know how is really going for it, who is faking it, and who just wants to get out of it.
I would rather train a no talent hard worker with a will to win over a talented athlete with no heart. I joke that it takes a guy with balls so big he needs a wheelbarrow to walk to be a fighter. In a lot of ways, that is the truth. It takes big balls and lots of heart to step into a combat sport where another human wants to hurt you.
I have seen quite a few talented guys lose lots of fights while the limited talent but hungry as hell guy who trains next to them never loses a fight. The will to win can overcome heartless talent.
When you commit to fight, so does your opponent. If you are slacking off or not taking it seriously and he is, you are running the risk of getting hurt really bad. Combat sports are not a joke. You step into that ring or cage and run the risk of coming out the other side a different person physically than when you entered, win or lose. Respect the risk, do not commit to train and fight if you don’t have the desire and heart to go the distance.
Don’t look at the tall and long guy in great shape and assume he is better than the undersized guy in the room. See who wants it more and give that person your time. “It” isn’t your attention either. “It” is victory. In sport, the only thing that matters is winning. You will learn from your losses but your goal is to win. Everything we do is to create success. Why kill yourself trying to do anything less?