Thursday, February 22, 2007

All banged up

Most the the time my legs are splotched, leopard printed bruises cover my legs, my toes (when I've been kicking improperly and my mid section (ribs) from sparring. While I appear to have a shit ton of lesions the bruises don't actually hurt anymore. It hurt for the first few months, then the pain seemed to disappear. My body still feels stiff at times sore from the strenous excercise but its something that can be massaged out, not that it is that often.

Mike Regnier had myself and D'arte a young 22 black man of the same weight class as me get into the ring. Mike pulled down the ropes and I practiced my parkour turnstile, my crotch got a little caught up in the ropes and I stumbled in.
"All the thai guys come in from the top," he said pulling on the top rope and ignoring my fumbling. "You come in from the bottom, you leave from the bottom."

An image flashed across my mind of some young thai man, who after months of hard training, fearing of losing the fight because if he doesn't win the purse he won't be able to support his family, enters the ring from the bottom rope. A flash forward and he's nocked out, two thai medics toss him on a stretcher and pull him out so that the next fight is ready.

"And in the blue corner with a record of O wins and 0 losses, what's your name again son?" Mike says jokingly. He throws down his hand and says "Fight."

I was a little nervous entering the ring, can't really say why, D'Arte is my size, a little quicker, but not as hard working, nor as powerful. Nevertheless a small tide of fear came into me as I'd been putting on my shin pads, but now the fight was on. We moved forward to each other tapping gloves.

We'd been watching my fight the other day and John suggested that I start feinting more. So that's what I did, well after I threw some jabs that D'Arte blocked and a right kick into his upper bicep. Twitching back and forth I could see some confusion in D'Arte's eyes. I moved forward with an attack, he quickly counterattacked.

Its hard for me to describe the fight itself, each movment, what each of us did, it happens so fast. A million things pass through my mind, range, how to be unpredictable, what my best weapons are, keeping my hands up, trying to ferret out weakness, all the while bursting into action.

D'Arte was getting gassed in the second round, if it had been a real fight I would have easily won. If from nothing else from my fortitude, a fortitude that has been developed by constant training, 5 days a week, two hours a day (at least).

"D'arte, you need to get in here, I'm not going to let you fight if you aren't training. You want to be serious about this don't you? You want to go pro right? If you want that you have to train. Training for a fight is always gonna be hard, whether its at the smoker level, the amateur level, or the pro. You win all your fights in the first round, but then you gas out. If you think the smoker level is hard, well amateur is a step up. You should be looking at fighting amateur now, but instead you're still gassing out. You've fought five times you should be ready. I'm not gonna pay for a plane ticket, talk to a promotor and set you up with a fight for you to gas out at the amateur level. That's my reputation on the line. Look at Matt, he's a good example. Get his number, start going running with him. Train with him, working with someone else is good for you. Get on the phone and bug the shit out of each other when you're not at the gym when you're supposed to be." said Mike as he leaned against the corner post.

It was a long monologue from Mike, much more than I'd heard from him before. It was surprising to me that he recommended me as an example. I know I train a lot, and sometimes I try to train hard but... I don't know it was weird. I guess I don't think much of my capabilities as a fighter. Mainly I think about how the only way I'll ever win a fight, or anything is by working really hard, by having more drive, more motivation, more will. Walking into the gym I wasn't a very fit guy, not super talented, not naturally athletic, not much of anything but someone who wanted to try.

The other thing that struck me in the monologue was that at 5 fights Mike was recommending going amateur. Five fights? That's not too far from what I've got, and paying for a plane ticket? Shit. Maybe I'll be back in vegas fighting and playing cards. Images of me earning the plane ticket fare from a night of playing cards at the mgm run through my mind. Tight aggressive playing.

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