Watching the Barry McGuigan life story on ITV Sports life stories last night, he said something that really rang true and prompted this blog post.
He mentioned the small few seconds between the referee giving his final instructions, going back to his corner and the milliseconds between getting a small sip of water from his coach and taking those first few steps in to the centre of the ring as the first bell rings.
This really touched me as I have done this over 60-times in my muay thai career, and is the pivotal point for releasing all them nerves and tension.
Its the culmination of an 8-week training programme and its at this very moment that it reaches its peak. You have done all the hard work, you have spent hours in the gym, you have done your morning runs, you have watched your diet….And now its time for the synergy of all these things to come together and allow the technique, style and strategy to just flow through you…..
Its like pressing pause on a DVD, and in that snap-shot of time, you are able to see this two months of work lay out in front of you. It’s at this point when you can look back over the fight-camp period, and you have to be brutally honest with yourself, and say whether you have totally immersed yourself with the training or whether, in fact, you have actually been coasting and taking it easy. Its not the point of mere attendance….its the fact that you have always given 110% in every single session, and you couldn’t possibly do any more, to be the best that you can possibly be.
Sure, there are “game plans” that people will work for particular fighters, but if you put too much energy in to worrying about them, you aren’t concentrating on your own game. So if you can give 110% in every single session, its at that moment you can truely enjoy the benefits of your hard work.
As Mohammed Ali once said: “A fight isn’t won in front of them crowd, its won in them lonely moments at 5am, when you are doing your roadwork and nobody is watching”
For me, there were always a few mental mile-stones that I used to use as markers, and part of my preparation
1. Walking in to the venue and seeing the ring for the first time
2. Climbing up on to the apron and testing the ring ropes
3. Soak up the atmosphere/size of the arena
4. Go to changing rooms
5. Walk to the ring/showmanship
6. Calm before the storm after ram-muay final instructions, before the first strike is traded