Why do we fall down? So we learn to pick ourselves up again.
We read quotes, watch movies, see great feats that inspire us, but until we experience something that makes it apply to us, they are just words and moments in time. When the moment comes, quotes take on a whole new meaning.
Two weeks ago I was at the peak of my fitness level. I was reveling in my new found athleticism. Coming off my win in Bellator I was exultant. Few moments in my life will rival how I felt. Then in a routine stretching exercise, my left hamstring gave out, a tear that I felt from behind my knee up to my lower butt cheek. I was in agony, not able to walk for two days. I remember when I fell down, I prayed for whatever was out there to take me, I didn’t want to live anymore. Needless to say no one answered, Jesus/Allah/Buddha/themaninthesky was either too busy with orphans or they just don’t exist. Haven’t decided which, so I’m still here.
Imagine climbing to the top of a huge mountain. You fist pump the sky, leap for joy, then suddenly you slip on a banana peel and go tumbling back down. MFER! You are back down at the bottom. You look up, the top isn’t even visible anymore, the clouds obscuring view. That’s how I felt. Despair. Why didn’t the Alien creators beam me up?
Two weeks of feeling sorry for myself, I broke out the TRX, hooked it up to the door, and started climbing a different mountain. This one is taller. I have a long way to go. Today was my second day back, I got the ok to start Boxing. I can’t really pivot, my mobility at the moment is terrible. My head movement has always been garbage, I’ve relied on my square chin to absorb more punishment than my brain cares to remember. Time to remedy that. I’m learning how to pick myself up. This mountain is taller than the last one, with more risk and more prestige at the top. Thank you to all the people who believe in me. Your support means the world. Bigger thanks to those that don’t. You fuel the fire that drives me upwards.
Here’s what I want you to do, close your eyes and imagine the 1950’s. Think of the malt shops and diners from back then. The fresh, hormone free, greasy, amazing hamburgers and milk shakes that cost 25cents and actually made you full. That was the time to grow up, when men were men, dirty hands and strong backs. Now a days you can’t find that very often, its all about profit margins; in order to maximize profits you have to bring quality down. The mom and pop shops of our parents time, they are gone. My old man told me McDonalds used to be good back then, hard to believe it when today you can’t even be sure what the “meat” really is. I would have loved to have seen it.
My old man and I used to visit my uncle Brad in Lakewood California, a quiet community that has a very retro feel, all the homes are from the fifties, streets are real narrow, you can imagine kids playing stickball in better times. Around the corner from my uncles place was a restaurant called the Heritage cafe, just like the rest of the neighborhood, it was a throwback to a better time. The food was all the home cooked stuff our parents talked about, fresh everything and gigantically portioned. For ten dollars I could eat three meals. I’d order the breakfast burrito that comes with two “sides”, what an understatement. The sides were full plates of biscuits and gravy, a Loaf of cinnabon, a full stack of pancakes, etc basically a side meant a whole other meal.the place had a line that wrapped around the block, on the weekend, forget about it! Needless to say when I was in Lakewood, I was eating at the heritage. But just like any good thing, things went down hill. Owners sold, prices went up, quantity went down, quality started dwindling. The lines aren’t a mile long anymore, the food isn’t the same. I haven’t been there in years. I like to remember the good conversations with my uncle that I had over a gigantic sized burger, the one that would feed me for lunch the next day as well.
My parents were lucky. Yes they had to walk ten miles to school, one way through snow the other way through a scorching desert. But man what a time to live, chuck Taylors and jeans, plain white Tshirt with ray bans. None of this queer skinny Jean sagging down to your ankles stuff. Perez Hilton would have gotten beat up. Kim kardashian would just be another dumb whore, not the sex icon she is today. Beaver cleaver and his wholesome family. We wonder why old people are always so grumpy and calling us young punks? It’s because we let our neighborhoods be bought up, the places they used to love now sell garbage compared to what they had in their day.
I feel sorry for us. We live in a world where we work so hard for very little. Pride in our jobs are gone, whether you work at a gym that caters to dollars instead of results ;) or a restaurant that slaps ingredients together and calls it gourmet. Quality over quantity used to be a common thing, now it’s few and far between. Have you listened to our music lately? Smack that ass all on the floor smack that ass give me some more? I don’t like where we are as a society, we’ve lost touch with what is important in life. I miss the heritage. Carry on.
I’m returning home after a long weekend at the fights. Every fighter/coach/trainer knows what I’m talking about. Nothing is quite so draining as going to an mma event on the road. From the plane ride to the shady promoters(not all, but most, this weekend at ultimate beatdown was good ), it takes it’s toll on you. I hate to say it, but I think I’m done cornering, but I has nothing to do with what I just said.
A few weeks ago I had the honor to help OneFC star Adam Kayoom prepare for his fight against Gregor Gracie. It was a great, focused camp where we drilled smart and formulated a game plan that in the end worked to perfection and he won the fight. The game plan went so well that during camp he caught me with a knee that split my lip wife open. This is the part of MMA that I love, the preparation. The hardest part for a coach are the fifteen minutes watching and being able to do nothing as your friend/training partner/student tests his abilities against another. I compare it to a roller coaster, you know that it’s going to be a Thrill, but you’re never quite ready for the twists and flips that come with it. One second they are getting beat, the next they are coming from behind to steal the victory. I feel so drained after this, the victory is great, you lift the guy on your shoulders, but the cost on your nerves is ridiculous! I’ll gladly fight any day, but cornering, save that for the stronger hearted.
But I haven’t told you the part that sucks the most. A week ago a fighter asked me to corner him. This is a guy who hasn’t had the best of luck throughout his life, it’s not my story to tell, but from a fountain pen exploding on him at the airport to customs strip searching him in an office, things aren’t getting much better. I didn’t get a whole lot of time to work with him, a few training sessions, but knowing him well enough and seeing his opponent fight before, I had a pretty good game plan. Fight started off well, everything we had drilled in the locker room/ gogo dancer changing room ( yes they continued to change while we were in there without a though ) went well, we won the first round. Second and third didnt go so well, the almighty fate/poor cardio kicked in and that was that. A feeling of dejection and a very bruised face are all thats left to show from it. I hate this part. I hate seeing people lose.It’s not always like the movies, the good guy doesn’t finish first every time. So instead of having a roller coaster ride that ended with high fives, I got the roller coaster ride where someone smacks their face on the rail. Sucks! Not being able to do anything but try to say words of encouragement, terrible. Nothing you can say is going to change things, the time machine hasn’t been invented, it wasn’t a dream.
I can’t say I will never corner again, but this weekend put me awfully close. I’m much better suited to be a training partner/gym coach than a cornerman, I’m too weak for that, Its meant for stronger men. But on aug31st in Manila, you can bet your life that I’ll be in captain Americas corner as he battles a for victory against the legendary Gracie family. Carry on.