Sunday, December 22, 2013

Big fish, small pond

I hate to always pick on the MMA people (ok no I don't :P),cuz this happens across all fighting styles, across every area of life for that matter, but there just seems to be a lot more of it going on with them than others. It's a lot more prevalent anyway. We've all seen those guys, and girls, who have only a handful of fights, win
some random ass title then go around acting like they are one of the greatest fighters of all time. Don't get me wrong, they have done a lot more than the person sitting in the audience yelling out advice, acting as If they would ever get up there and do it. I'm not saying that you need to be out there fighting the best in the world to feel like you've accomplished something. Regardless of your level it's about constantly testing yourself. Constantly trying to improve and be willing to put in the work to get there. It's about knowing that there will always be someone better and always be more work to do. As soon as you feel like you've made it make sure and smash your head into the wall and get back to work. Don't be a douchebag, especially if you haven't earned the right. Look at a guy like Dana White, Mayweather, etc, they have monster ego's and a lot would call them assholes and douchebags. I would never defend them or agree with the way they act, but like it or not those guys have earned the right act however they choose. They have paid their dues, they have put in the work, the blood, sweat and tears, and made it to the top. I've never been a fan of those that run their mouths and go around talking about how bad ass they are, I feel it belittles them and takes away from all the good that they could be doing, but I have to respect the fact that they put in the work and earned the right to act however they feel. It's the guys who haven't accomplished anything, other than getting off their ass a few times and getting in the ring, or what have you, and have that same attitude that just baffles me. If you want to be a fighter, or anything in life really, than go out there to be the best, at least go out there to be the best that you can be. Test yourself, risk losing, risk failure, because if you don't than you will never achieve anything. You will definitely never know what you could have become. If you are going to do something than do it all the way or not at all. Don't half ass it, win one fight, accomplish one small thing, then use that as an excuse to act like you are better than everyone else. In some ways you are even worse than the person who never tried. You saw what you were afraid of, realized how frightened you really were and stayed safe in your little box never having to face those fears. One thing that everyone at the top has in common is that they were all willing to fail, and failed many times along the way. They never stopped trying, they never stopped testing themselves. Even if you think you are the greatest in the world and no one can touch you, and maybe you are, you still need to constantly test yourself in order to stay there.
“Once you stop testing yourself you get slow. When that happens they kill ya.”-Billy the kid(young guns)

It's easy to sit half way up a hill, looking down over everyone else and really feel
like you've accomplished something. It's another thing to be the person that's at the
very top looking out over the world. Never be satisfied, never stop learning, never
stop growing. Believe in yourself but never be satisfied. That is how you will consistently be
motivated to improve. You can always be better.

Face your fears, live your dreams.”-El Presidente'

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Own your dreams

Too often I have people tell me "I wish I could just train all day" or "I wish I could be a fighter" Which in turn I reply "well what's stopping you?" Well you don't understand, I work so and so many hours a week, they say, I just don't have the time, blah ba blah ba blah. If you have a dream then own up to it, it's yours, stop making excuses. Too often we will see people who have "made it" and pass it off as they were lucky, or were just born talented, or they didn't have as much going on in their life so they had more time, etc. Rarely do people see the work that goes into accomplishing goals, rarely do people see the heart breaking failures that lead up to them, rarely do we see the countless times they almost quit, and sometimes did, and rarely do we see the numerous people who told them that they were fools for thinking they could ever achieve their dreams and that they should just give it all up.

It's not a question of whether or not you can achieve them, it's a question of whether or not you are willing to go through everything that it will take to get there, a question of what you are willing to sacrifice in order to reach them. I've heard every excuse in the book for why someone can't even start going after their dreams, and for every one I've heard there has been another person that has had the same circumstances, if not worse, and achieved them anyway.

Don't get me wrong, I completely understand and can sympathize. It took me almost ten years from the time I knew I wanted to be a fighter to the time I actually stepped foot in a gym. Fear and doubt kept me from ever even taking a chance till one day, I'd had enough. I realized how short this life is and I'd rather spend it failing at a dream than succeeding at mediocrity. I'm too old to start, what if I never make it, what if I'm no good, what will my friends and family think if I tell them, what if it's just too difficult? It's questions like this that tormented me anytime I would think about actually going for it and I allowed them to weaken me until I put it deep in the back of my mind. But dreams, real dreams, can never go away. You can run from them, hide from them, ignore them, cover them up with something else, but eventually, they will come crashing back into your life. It took the sudden death of one of my best friends to finally tear the veil from my eyes and I knew I had to start living if not for myself than at least for him.

Now when I first started I was in school, working and training everyday. I would wake up at 5am just to get my run in before I had to go school. After that I would go straight to work and from there, straight to the gym for a good 4-5 hours. Looking back I don't know how I did it and was still able to perform so well. Eventually circumstances happened to where I was either going to be homeless or have to basically stop training at the level I was in order to get "a real job". Part of me just said "well it had to happen eventually, you can't do this forever, might as well quit now". But no matter how tough it got I knew that I would live the rest of my life in regret if I gave up on something that I knew in my heart I was meant to do. I ended up moving into the gym. There was some storage rooms upstairs, really just closets, I cleared one of them out and moved in. I would 
wake up at 5am, go run, then do my bag work and everything else, alone. After that I would clean the whole gym and then teach the morning class in order to pay for my "rent". Thankfully by this time I had already graduated as it freed up a bit more time for me to train. I lived in that gym for about 3 years. Freezing in the winters, boiling in the summers (Las Vegas), crawling with thousands of cockroaches, that Dorian one day dubbed 'la familia'. The doubts and thoughts of quitting would often come creeping back into my head, especially in the times when I had fight after fight fall through or when I'd have serious injuries. During those really tough times it was the the people coming up to me telling me that I inspired them, that I helped them change their lives in some way, that really gave me the strength to stick with it. I knew if I only did that for one person than that was priceless but to do it for countless people was indescribable. I knew that no matter how bad it got I would never give this up. I knew that in going after my dream it helped give others the courage and strength to go after theirs, and to me that is what life is all about, helping others.

I know it's tough, I know it seems like there is no way that you will ever be able to achieve your dreams, but just remember, no matter how difficult it may seem, there's someone who has had it twice as tough as you and still found a way. A life spent pursuing a dream, even if never reached, is never wasted.

"Face your fears, live your dreams"-El Presidente

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Don't act like a b#tch

 You may look at an old fighter whose punch drunk, body is broken and feel sorry for them. You may look at an Ali or Freddy Roach, see them struggle daily and use that as a reason to never step foot inside the ring. Granted it's tragic, yet to me I see them and I'm inspired. They are the epitome of someone who gave everything they had towards following their dreams. Some might ask “Yea, but is it worth it?” To all those people I say “You're damn fu#@ing right it is!!!”

We are all going to end up worn out, used up, dead and broken one day. You can sit inside your house, in a padded room, surrounded by doctors and nurses, being cautious of every little thing you do. Sure you may live a little longer yet you will still end up in the same place that we all do. So I ask you “Is it worth?”. Is it worth never risking anything to end up in the exact same position that the person who gave life their all does?

Granted it's tragic seeing a fighter, athlete, or whoever, that has been killed or suffered irreversible damage in the line of doing what they love. But this is no reason to not go after it yourself.

-“It's not tragic to die doing what you love.”-Bodhi

I really love this video, more than anything the two speeches in it from Mark Bell and Brandon Lilly hit home on so many things.

It's not a question of whether or not something is dangerous, it's not a question of what might possibly happen to you. The only question here is “What are you willing to sacrifice, what are you willing to go through and what are you willing to risk in order to be the best?”

Whenever I would have a serious injury, specifically the time I had my skull fractured, people would ask when I was going to give all this up. “You're lucky to be alive”, they would say “are you gonna give all this up now?” Not a chance in hell!!! As long as I'm breathing then I will be spending every second going after my dreams. It would have been easy to take all those bumps in the road, and I've had plenty of extremely serious ones, as a reason to give up. Most people do and that's why most people never amount to much in their lives. To me it just fuels me to do more, do be better, and to motivate as many people as I can to do the same.

Take for instance the several times I've broken my right hand. The second time I broke it I had a fight coming up only a month after. Sure it would have been easy to back out, and who would have blamed me, but for me as long as I'm breathing than I'm fighting. Now I'm definitely not telling anyone else to do this, and definitely not saying it's the smart way to go, but you have to be willing to sacrifice in order to achieve great things. Luckily for me I was still able to go out there and perform and come out with a win. But on the flip side, since I didn't take care of it properly, I've hand hand problems my entire career. Every single time I punch with it I'm in some level of pain or discomfort. Sure I've had work done on it and done some therapy which has helped, but it's always there. The one thing I use every single day, especially in training/fighting, causes me pain. But nothing worth having in this world will come to you easily, nothing will come without sacrifice, nothing will come without pain/discomfort, but it's a small price to pay in order to live your dreams. The difference between the people that make it and the people that don't has nothing to do with what happens to them along the way. It's a matter of how they handle themselves when those things do happen. How they push passed it, how they used it to motivate themselves instead of using it as a reason to give up.
So many people say they want to be a fighter, but when it comes down to it people are just cowards. They are afraid of pain, of fatigue, of failure, and all of those things will happen along the way, you can be certain of that. They will look for any excuse there is to not get off their asses and give something their all. For example, recently I've been seeing these articles on Cross-fit and how it's dangerous. You'll see some asshole come up with some statistics and do a report on why no one should participate in these activities, stating how dangerous they are. Guess what, life is dangerous, no matter how safe you try and make it. You can sit on the couch and be safe or you an get off your ass and try and be your best but you gotta put the work in. You gotta pay your dues, you gotta believe in yourself when the whole world is telling you other wise.

If you want an excuse not to do something you will find one, there's plenty out there, whether real or made up. So next time you are faced with a setback see it as a challenge, instead of a reason to give up. It's just another test along the way to see what you are willing to go through in order to go after your dreams. When you feel pain just remember, as long as you push through it, that it will make you that much stronger. Pain ain't nothing but a feeling! It isn't real, it's in your head, you need to tell your body/brain who is running the show. And that's your heart. So you can let it convince you that you need to quit/take a break, or you can use it to prove to yourself that nothing can stop you and that you are willing to do whatever it takes to achieve your dreams. It's what separates the champions from all those people out there who just talk about it.

To few people are willing to put it all on the line in order to reach their goals. Those people that have given up, or that have never even tried, then will try to convince others to do the same, almost in order to justify their own failures. They will tell you that achieving your goals is impossible, that having dreams is a waste of time. No one that has ever accomplished their dreams would try and deter you from yours!

Take the risks, experience life, experience pain, failure, loss, just live your life knowing that you gave it your all and no one can ever take that away from you. We are all heading towards the same place, what are you going to before you get there? You don't have anything to prove to anyone but yourself.

Face your fear, live your dreams!”-El Presidente'