If you're fighting in the gym, you're doing it wrong

I want to share a few thoughts on gym etiquette and proper frame of mind when training.
From Fitness Boxing to Advanced Striking to Sparring, it's all a form of training but if you find yourself fighting in the gym, you need to step back and reflect.  Let's preface this with a quick clarification of, and defining the word "fight".  I think for most people who are unfamiliar with boxing and other combat sports it all looks like a fight.  It looks like a violent crazy mess of bodies, but that's not the way a regular practitioner of these sports would describe their experience.  For instance, a fight is what would happen if I had to defend myself, or someone I love.  A fight would be what happens on the school yard between a couple of youngsters.  In a fight there are no rules, anything goes, eye gougin, hair pulling, biting.  A fight comes from a place of desperation and survival in a mind set of at-all-cost.  But that's nothing like the experience of training to be a boxer or mma competitor or bjj practitioner or whatever else you can think of.  These sports require an unbelievable amount of focus on technique, frame of mind, and physical conditioning.   For those who have never been in the ring or trained to be competitive it's difficult to fathom the amount of control and skill required to execute a well put together game plan.    The athlete must practice patience waiting for the opening.  They must read the opponent and make adjustments.  They must listen to their corner mid stride and execute the request.   Thus bringing us to the title of this short piece regarding fighting in the gym.   Once in awhile a young and/or inexperienced athlete will make the mistake of fighting in the gym.   By fighting, I mean they lose control of their emotions and therefore lose control of the moment.  The intensity begins to escalate and what began as sparring ends in a fight, and that's when someone gets hurt.  The truth of the matter is, the hardest any "fighter" will ever fight (should ever fight) will be in the ring/cage when it's all on the line.  But that's not the way to spar or train. It's simply not sustainable.   Sparring is a time to work on something very specific.  Sparring is not about winning.  Winning is for the competition.  Sparring is about getting better.  While sparring you should be looking to execute, maybe it's the shuffle jab, maybe it's head movement, maybe you think your real effing awesome, then you better be practicing and setting traps.  Not brawling, not fighting... executing.  If you find yourself overly emotional, or looking to "win" against your fellow training partners, you'll never beat the guy looking to "win" the belt.  Brass requires a third party at all sparring sessions.  This means that a coach or qualified training partner (ask if you don't know) must be spotting any time two people are sparring on their feet, this is simply to help those sparring maintain control. On a similar note, don't be a hero in Jiu Jitsu.  Be down to tap.  Tap early and tap often.  It's the cool thing to do.  The sooner you get over tapping in the gym, the faster you'll progress in your own game.  Competition is a little different, it's the place to push the boundaries and the number of escape attempts, but don't push it too far.  Injury just isn't worth it.  Allowing yourself to be injured when caught, out of stubbornness or pride, is not only counterproductive but it's rude to your training partner.  Nobody wants to hurt their buddy.   When you check your pride at the door the gym is a different experience.  The gym is a place to practice self control.  If you wanna let loose, the bag is your friend.  If you want to bang it out one time in a real boxing bout to see what that's like, we can arrange that, all ages above 8 years old can compete in boxing and BJJ.  If you want to spar, decide what you're working on first, find the appropriate spotter/coach and get down to business.   One of the fastest ways to correct this habit of becoming emotional while training is experience, just keep showing up to the gym.

The best athletes have a level of control that allows them to literally pull punches.  While sparring they can touch their partner with a punch that says "gotchya" without causing harm.  Again, it takes practice, in the meantime relay on coaches to guide you. 
To sum it up, don't spar too often and never spar with an intention to win.  Spar with a plan to get better.  Get your mind right.  

We must protect our computers, our brain and that of our teammates.  It's equally important that parents of athletes understand this concept and support the gym policies.  Sparring in the gym is not about the win.  It's about executing something very specific.  If you have more thoughts or questions on this topic I encourage you to sit down with a coach and discuss this more in depth.  We want to be the best and that starts with safety and ends with a championship belt. 

-Have the best day of your life.


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