Do you ever get that day where you’ve been working hard and one day you feel like crap and you decide to stay home and take a day off from exercising because you know you’d just have a bad performance and it’s better to rest up and be better the next day?
That’s the smart thing to do, but I never do it. I cannot rest.
I’d rather go and fail or do poorly, than not go. “You can’t ‘not even try!'” I would tell myself. Even my dad said to me one time, “Resting is difficult for Modafferis.” Everyone with my dad’s bloodline is constantly on the go. You should hear about what my Aunt Connie does daily… raised three kids while working as an elementary/middle school music teacher full-time, taught private piano lessons daily after school, taught choir after school (or what is school chorus? whichever!) and on weekends at the church AND THE SCHOOL, and SANG masses at her church…
She’s amazing. I don’t think she knows that I admire her. I love my Modafferi bloodline, but I’m also glad I have my mom’s bloodline, too. Her family is long-lived…. everyone’s lived into their 90s, and my grandfather was 102 when he passed. Maybe I’m not a vampire after all, but her blood is keeping me looking young. Or maybe she’s a vampire?!?!
But I digress.
Two Thursdays ago, I kinda lost it. I was so mentally tired. I’m not afraid to say it because most people don’t know about what a fighter goes through mentally. Taking care of yourself mentally is just as important as physically, for fighters and non-fighters alike. I found a pretty good balance in my normal life, but when I fight prep, my rest periods go towards conditioning.
I’ve been told that if a fighter doesn’t cry or have a fit at least once in their training camp, they’re not training hard enough. I’ve been doing MMA, jiujitsu, conditioning, plus teaching my kids jiujitsu and privates for weeks on end, only skipping martial arts on Sunday. But that’s my yoga day (I hate yoga so I’m still forcing myself to ‘train,’) and chore day.
Thursday I did my stairs conditioning, went into BJJ, felt unmotivated but did it anyway because BJJ is life, and then did MMA class. My mind was just so tired. I felt like the past weeks were one continuous day. I’d been sleeping but I felt like I hadn’t, you know?
I remember standing in front of my first sparring partner, Serena, raising my hands, hearing John say “Work Time!” and a little voice in my head said, “Again? I don’t want to do this right now….”
Damnit. Whenever the audible voice pops up in my head, it’s bad news. I haven’t heard myself think for ages. It’s something that shows I’m not focused, that I haven’t tapped into my subconscious instinct for feeling the fight.
We sparred and I performed like crap. In the second round, I sparred with Jessy, and performed like crap. One time she hit me and I saw flashes of white. After that round, that was it.
It was weird because nothing was really wrong. I was so excited about everything. I was too excited. I was excited about my fight – great camp, no injuries, I’m in phenominal shape! My personal life is fine, my kids classes are spectacular, the UFC is opening 125, my future looks bright… “Why…am…I…crying?” I cried to Casey. lol My mind seemed solid, but my emotions were tired and my body was just randomly crying.
“You know,” Casey said, “You are one of the most mentally strong people I know. It takes a lot of mental strength to do what you do.”
I keep thinking back to college, where I was SO stressed out because I had to juggle tons of classes, studying, part-time job, training, personal life, etc. I thought that was the most stressful time of my life. But I guess it’s not fair to compare stresses in different time-periods, just like it’s not fair for two people to compare their stresses. We are different people at different stages of our lives. If you’re stressed, you’re stressed. Don’t belittle it. Saying, “You shouldn’t be stressed because I just got fired and my pet died and my boyfriend left me” really doesn’t make me feel any less stressed, and in fact, makes one feel guilty.
Anyway. I felt a little better after that. Thank you, Casey, for always being there for me. He suggested I stop training for the day. (It was my third session of the day anyway) but then one of my favorite Rob Zombie song came on, and I felt the need to redeem myself. It’s never too late. One of my favorite quotes came from Ronda Rousey when she said, “Training to be a champion on your worst day.” On my honor as a martial artist, I will finish the class.
So I sparred with Mike, and I had a great match! Really great. I felt reinflated, if that makes sense. Thanks, Casey, thanks Mike, thanks Rob Zombie. Then I did the drilling cool down at the end and can say proudly that I finished class and didn’t give up.
I was kind of hiding from Coach John during class… I didn’t want him to see me cry. ._. Later when I talked to him, he said the same thing as Casey. “Fighters aren’t always going to have perfect days every day. It’s just one of those days.”
I went home and took an ice bath (gah!) and watched Transformer movies online for the rest of the day. lol Lorenzo had been telling me to take a break, but I had no time to take a break! I’ve been going non-stop….lucky I haven’t gotten sick.
Friday I had a really hard conditioning session with Lorenzo. x_x ug. I was able to push through that with no problem. Then the weekend was a little rearranged, and I was hoping that would help me mentally recover. It did!
So Saturday I coached my student Preston at his first jiujitsu tournament. There was only one other kid in his division. He used to be hesitant to do takedowns, and if he felt himself failing, he would fall on his butt (and promptly get mounted) rather than risk being thrown and slammed. So we’ve been training takedown strategy so much. I’m so proud of the fact that he went out there and bravely grabbed his opponent!
His opponent tried o-soto-gari, which is HIS favorite throw, so he pushed forward and tried for a single/ double leg takedown! I taught him to think o-soto, and if it didn’t work, immediately switch to the double-leg. Jessy’s been working a lot of wrestling with him, too. He started the takedown but they fell awkwardly and the opponent got on top and held him down with kesa-gatame, scarf hold.
Preston managed to almost get out, but then the opponent tried to mount but Preston got half guard. WEEeeee! getting half guard instead of getting mounted was something else we trained a lot!! They got restarted in the middle. I yelled to Preston to get his guard back. He got his guard back and immediately tried for the choke! He’s so good at it! His opponent spent the next minute fending off his choke.
Preston couldn’t get it and unfortunately lost on points. 🙁 The opponent was really good…really smooth. Seemed too good. I asked casually to the coach next to me, “How long has your student been training?” He said, “Oh two years.”
What? Excuse me, but usually a student training for two years doesn’t have a white belt with only one stripe on it……………………………..or compete in a white belt division… just saying……………
But that makes me even MORE proud of Preston for doing so well against an opponent with over double the experience he has.
So on Monday, I promoted Preston to gray-white belt.
The IBJJF guidelines say after 6 months the kids get a new belt, but I think that’s too soon to learn the basics. I want my gray belts to be strong and have a good base, especially if they’re gonna compete. I have a list of techniques they have to know. And Preston knows them. Preston has been training for about 7 or 8 months, and he’s learned so fast because he comes literally every day and does private lessons with me twice a week.
I’m so so proud of him!!
I love Mylene! She’s so cool and skilled and nice and talented. *_* Last January? when I rolled with her, I was a purple belt and she was brown.
This time, she was black and I was brown and she STILL whooped my butt, but I felt like I didn’t get whooped quite as badly? Maybe it’s my imagination. I think I fixed some mistakes, but it’s hard for me to remember. She had given me some tips so I really wanted to show that I had improved.
Jiujitsu is fun!!
And I rolled with this lady only known as “Tammi” and when I went home and googled her, I found that she’s some BJJ world champion who beat Mackenzie Dern at one point? Holy cannoli! That’s why she wiped the floor with me. hah! Tapped me out with this nifty shoulder lock from guard.
Also had a great mitt sessions with John this week, and shark tanks. I was on fire this week. Hard training, solid mentally. I know I’m well-prepared for my fight against Sarah D’lelio. It’s next Saturday! Broadcast on Fightpass. I leave on Wednesday.
I hope this is the official fight poster…it’s cool. My face is on it. XD
These photos taken by Jessica Bakan, our resident photographer. (She is also for hire, if anyone needs a professional photographer for profile pictures, weddings, fashion shoots, whatever. contact Bakanphotography at gmail.com )
On Monday, I was grappling with Captain. I’m pretty hard to choke, if I do say so myself. So he got me in this guillotine. I’m fighting it but it’s pretty tight. I’m still able to breathe so I’m wiggling and fighting, and I can feel him transitioning to something. I’m starting to get dizzy and fade out, so I decide to tap, but one of my arms is trapped somehow and the other one was twisted under us, so I tried to reach and tap his hands. I’m sitting at a desk in my University in Japan just finishing up a test. It was my International Persuasion class. My classmates are all around me. My friend Katie was there. Then the teacher says, “Okay everyone outside! Recess!” That’s weird, recess at this age? So I get up and file out into the grassy field and I’m chatting with people. Then the world kind of turns on it’s side and I see people grappling with each other. I’m so confused. I sit up strait and say, “Where am I? Where am I? Where am I?” like three or four times. I look around. What is going on? I see Captain staring at me and then starts to laugh. It took me about 60 seconds to realize that I got choked unconscious and that was a choke dream!! I stood up and fell back down. LOL It felt like a week had passed! I was so confused. He said he didn’t feel me tap. He said it was a head-arm triangle, realized I wasn’t moving and let me go. I don’t even remember the head arm triangle. LOL I think I went out as I was trying to tap. oops
So here’s a meme that I made earlier this year and I’ll post it in honor of this moment.
Captain’s been going out of his way to help me prepare for my fight. He planted himself next to me when we were drilling in John’s class all this week and gave me tips.
I’m very grateful to my sponsors for this fight.
Dragon Do Fight Gear, Remove it Restoration, Jenkins Jiujitsu and Aaron, Top Notch fighter and John, Nick Braccia, Fight Face Custom Mouthguards, https://combatdocket.com/and crew, Cryohelmet , Dominateyourgame.com , Katie, Howard Fidler, Aardvark Painting and Robvark, Thug Life Celia, My Consumer I.T. and the Crilly family! I can’t wait to meet you guys.