Monday, January 20, 2014


I've had my share of injuries throughout my career, more than my share actually. The worst of which would be tearing my ACL. Well having my skull fractured in China after being kicked in the back of the head from a guy wearing a steel plate in his shin guard (which is another story all together) was definitely the most devastating injury I've ever had but the ACL was the toughest to come back from. 
I think the most difficult thing coming off an injury is the mental aspect of it, as is most things in fighting/life. Getting to a point where mentally you believe you are 100% again is such a tough thing to do. Doubting yourself, doubting what your body can handle is one of the most debilitating things to people's recovery. This is why you will see two people coming back off of the same injury, one taking 6 months and another, years later, will still not fully be recovered. Obviously other factors come in to play, mainly that being people's work ethic but I think all those things boil down to ones mental strength.
Going into my ACL surgery I was full of confidence "I'm going to come back from this better and stronger than ever and I'm going to do it faster than anyone ever!" But I gotta tell you, the day after surgery, when I'm lying in bed suffering in agonizing pain, I didn't have a shred of belief left. I didn't know if I would walk again let alone ever be able to fight again. When we are in the middle of something difficult it can be very challenging to see the light at the end of the tunnel. It's so easy to get lost in self-pity and doubt. Thankfully I'm too hard headed to ever quit and I pulled myself out of it. However once I was able to walk again, and seeing how tough it was just getting to that point, I had moments where I told myself "This is good enough, just quit." These thoughts would continue to creep in all throughout my recovery but as the weeks and months went on they slowly faded into the background.
I believe you need to have passion, a driving force, in anything in this life you hope to accomplish. Why? Because we will all have moments where it would be so much easier to quit, so easy to feel you've done enough and just stop trying. Moments of injury, sickness, loss, etc, where everything in your body is telling you enough is enough. Passion is what will keep driving you through those times, and trust me; we will all have them no matter what.
I believe I was put on this earth to inspire people and Muay Thai is the outlet I found which allows me to achieve that. Being good isn't good enough for me, at the same time I don't need to be the best of all time, I do however need to be the best that I can be, which is a never ending journey and something that constantly keeps me driven. 
You can use your injury, your sickness, your failures and inadequacy’s as excuses to give up, excuses to never even try. You can use set backs as signs that maybe you should be doing something else and who knows, maybe you should. But I would say the majority of the time those set backs are just tests to see how bad you really want something. If it were easy everyone would do it, everyone would be living their dreams. You think people that have "made it" never had any excuses to quit? They had more than you could ever even wrap your brain around. But they had a goal and refused to let anything in this life keep them from it no matter what. If you ever want to achieve your dreams you need to have an all or nothing mentality. A "As long as I'm still breathing then I'm going after it" approach.
I would often have injuries throughout my career and people would always ask, "You're still going to take that fight? Why don't you heal up first?" Sure looking back there were times I probably should have. Times I fought with a broken hand, times I fought with the flu, etc, that might not have been the smartest thing to do. But fighting through those times, regardless of my physical state, is how I got to where I am today. "If I'm breathing I'm fighting" was always my mentality, even if someone has to carry me to the ring, prop me up against the ropes and just see what happens than that's exactly what I'm going to do. No way I would ever back out or give up. Your body will tell you to quit but your heart needs to tell your body who’s really in charge.
Once you start making excuses it becomes that much easier the next time. Ok so I broke my hand and I need to take this fight off to let it heal then next time a twist my ankle and let that keep me from fighting. Then maybe I stub my toe real hard or maybe have a fight with my girlfriend or ate some bad sushi. Once you allow that weakness into your life it will poison every aspect of it until you are left in ruins and completely useless.
As always "It's all about balance". I'm not going to say that every time you are injured you need to suck it up and go in there anyway. I would never tell anyone to do the things I have done. It's what I did and what worked for me and who knows, maybe I did it all wrong, but it got me to where I am. I think it really boils down to a question of "Are you hurt or are you injured?", and knowing the difference between the two. Beyond that it's knowing that no matter the injury, there is always something you can be working on to improve. Even if you are in a full body cast and can't move, you can always be working on the mental aspects of your game. Take a look at Bruce Lee, when he was bed ridden with a back injury. It would have been so easy for him to sit there and feel sorry for himself but no, what did he do? He used that time to write his book and really break down the things about martial arts that he thought needed addressing and changing. He used a set back to propel him even further.
You can use this injury as an excuse to quit or a reason to reach greater heights than ever before. You can truly find out if this is something you want or just a passing phase. I'm not saying you won't still have doubts or bad days, you will have plenty, but get through that bad day and get back to work. Each and every time you do that it will be that much easier to push past it next time. Every moment of strength we can have will add that much more to our lives just as each moment of weakness will only lead to more weakness. When I'm in a fight or a tough workout and  want to quit I just tell myself "Push through this and next time it will be that much easier, you will be that much stronger." This can be applied to all things in life #dontactlikeabitch 
-El Presidente'

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