Mr. Tiny Sumo is a long time friend of Dirty Clean Eats, a lifetime martial artist, an active competitor across disciplines and the man who I have dubbed the next Jack Slack (if you don’t know who that is, look him up). This is the first of many articles from our interstate correspondent and if you like what you read you can listen to him on our podcast later in March 2018! A great read for people thinking about starting combat sports and a great refresh for those who already ‘love to bang, bro!’.
The questions itself is straight forward enough, “should I try combat sports?”
Combat sports are (according to my own definition) any combat sport/martial art where you have the option of competing against another athlete. This can be at a grass roots level, or all the way up to the Olympic/World Championship level.
Sports could include, but are not limited to;
BJJ, Judo, Kickboxing, Boxing, Sambo, Muay Thai, Wrestling, Taekwondo, Karate, and a massive list of variations with varying rule sets and customs.
So the question again is; should I try combat sports?
Obviously the answer is yes.
Cool, short article, you have your answer, nice and easy, now go on and have a happy combat sport filled life.
In reality it’s a multi-point question with a massive list of variables, but the two I wanted to touch on quickly are;
- Short term goals
- Long term goals
Short term goals
Who are you and where are you going? OK maybe that’s too deep.
Let’s make it easier, where do you want to be in 3/6/12 months?
If the answer is fitter, more confident, stronger, faster, more capable of physical awesomeness then combat sports is probably for you.
The benefits of taking part in physical activity of any kind is going to vary from person to person, and vary from sport to sport. There is always going to be better and worse options and those will come down to personal goals and circumstances, but as far as I’m concerned the best thing you can do for yourself physically and mentally is take part in combat sports in some form or another. Short term goals are super important in terms of personal growth, the majority of people I have come across really require that point of aim in order to keep moving forward. Combat sports offers that in spades.
Whether that be in the form of grading’s/promotions within certain disciplines, losing/gaining/maintaining weight for an upcoming fight/tournament, or simply setting yourself the goal of improving or just showing up to training regularly, the mental aspect of getting through that situation yourself might be the most beneficial aspect of the whole endeavour.So what is the combat avenue for you?
That comes down to personal circumstances again. Where you live, when you can train, how much money you can spend, and whether you prefer sweaty cuddles or getting smacked in the mouth.
I have my preferences, it comes with experience, but I’ve never tried to talk anyone out of anything, as far as I’m concerned doing anything is better than doing nothing. This leads into the second point;
Long term goals
“So you wanna be f*cking fighter?”
So hypothetically you’ve been training for a little while now, you’ve done a bunch of rounds in the ring or got some minutes on the mat.
Cool, what’s next?
For some the training is sufficient, showing up to class regularly and feeling better physically is going to be more than enough. For others though there is going to need to be a bigger point of aim, something else to strive for, a “scratch that needs itching”.
Renzo Gracie once said “Fighting is the best thing a man can have in his soul”, and that’s something I can get behind. Most people will never compete at the level of Renzo but there is something special about fighting, I may be biased but I think there are some things you can only truly learn about yourself during a fight. It’s not for everyone, that’s what makes it special, but there is something written into our DNA that gravitates towards fighting whether we like it or not.
There’s going to be levels of competition, if MMA isn’t you flavour you can compete in grappling sports like BJJ or striking sports like kickboxing, with a wide spectrum in between. There’s competition levels within each sport as well which allows competitors to compete against opponents with similar skill levels.
As you get deeper into any sport the level of competition should get steeper, athletes can sink or swim. That’s the beautiful thing about combat sports, there’s not a lot of places to hide deficiency, that’s a good thing, it helps people grow physically and mentally. As a way of looking at it pragmatically if the worst part of your day is getting punched or choked by someone else in a controlled environment under supervision of a referee with a Dr in attendance then realistically it could probably be a lot worse.
If any of those points tickle your fancy give it a try, I promise it will hurt, you will be sore, you will often feel defeated & question your ability, but you will learn about yourself in a way that few other life endeavours will ever allow you to. There’s million reasons to try it, at the end of that day find yours and go for it.
So go out and sign up for a class, choke a stranger, live a little.