When you lose a fight, the voices come.
The night of the fight, many fighters don’t sleep. I know I can’t sleep. The voices are there. They are my thoughts, they are my coach’s, they are the announcer’s, they are the opponent’s after she won. “I need you to do ONE more take down!” “Okay I think you won the first round.” “Thank you, everyone. I trained so hard for this fight, it’s so satisfying for me….” “Why was I so stupid?”
Random phrases replaying over and over and over and over. They leave me no peace. That’s why I hate to be alone after my fight. They are so loud. If I’m with other people, they are drowned out by what my friends are saying.
But after dinner when they leave and I lay down….
Fighters who lose should try and spend as much time as possible with the team, friends, family members, etc. I think it heals their minds and hearts and fastest, and helps shut the voices up.
They are silent sometimes and then pop up suddenly. Like if I’m watching a fight and someone’s in guard or does a knee…..
“Why didn’t you try and stand up?” “Why did you knee her head?”
“Shut up,” I tell them. “Not now, I’m busy.”
I start hitting pads again and do a hard one two kick combo. “Good,” my coach says. I’m pleased with how my power has improved. “Why couldn’t that have knocked her out in the last fight? Did I even land it?” the voice screamed.
“The punch is fine,” I argued with it, trying to cram it back down to wherever it came from. I was trying to focus on training. One, two, windmill kick!
That is such a sweet move!
“Did you even TRY to throw that in the fight?” the voice asked.
So for me, three and a half weeks have passes since my fight. I hear the voices now and then, especially now that I’ve resumed training after healing up most of my injuries from the fight. I have to keep reminding myself that my techniques are solid. Especially in my last fight, I KNOW that I got so much better and used my skills really well. I just made a few tactical errors and lost on points.
“Just choose. It doesn’t matter which. Nobody can foretell the outcome.”
Erwin Smith in Attack on Titan, and Levi say this phrase a lot.
“I should have tried to stand up,” the voice said. But I was waiting for her to cock back an arm and try to punch, so I could try and triangle her. I tried for submissions. I MIGHT have submitted her! It just didn’t happen. So I can’t really fault myself for the choice because I couldn’t have known.
Usually, a big challenge for me, having lost, is to not doubt myself. I thought my stuff being sound, I didn’t win, so….
But! I remember once I was asking Coach John a question about my movement and techniques because a teammate was trying to correct my technique, saying I had openings here and here. I got really bothered and started doubting myself.
“Why are you listening to that teammate? Not even a pro or coach? Do you believe them over me?” John said.
“No, no!” I protested. “That’s not what I meant. I would never doubt you.”
“If you’re doubting yourself, you’re doubting me,” he said. “Because I would have told you if you’re doing it wrong.”
I’ll never forget his voice, and how he stared at me when he said it, and that phrase.
Every time the voice in my head said, “Is your punch really strong…?”
I can reply immediately, “Yes, it is. Because John said so.” And the voice goes silent.
I am not set back by my loss. I don’t “have to go back to square one” or “go back to the drawing board.” I have built so much and we’re only continuing to build on what I can already do well.
Today John and also Tom, a new addition to our coaching staff, taught me some new stuff and I can’t wait to try it out. Every day is an exciting challenge of how much stronger I can get, how many more skills I can add to my tool box, and how much closer I can get to my goals.
I hope I fight again soon! …