“Training is 90% physical and 10% mental, fighting is 10% physical and 90% mental” – Rich Franklin
These words could not be any truer. People seem to forget where the impetus to fight comes from. Fighting can be surmised to be at its most bare, an expression of rage or passion, defending oneself or one’s family, a sinister desire to take with force from others what is not theirs, to right a wrong and to make level a slight to ones honor. These are all reasons why people fight – and it all starts in the mind and how it ends typically ends there as well. The desire to win, to fight intelligently and to be mentally tough enough to handle the highs and lows that come from combat not to mention the daily grind of rigorous training are all accomplished from ones mind.
The decision to write this came at the advice of Joel Bowen, the manager at Team Quest Thailand. After losing a Muay Thai fight I slumped down on a chair and felt like the most worthless person there, I had failed myself, I had failed those looking up to me in Pakistan and I had failed my trainers at Team Quest. I now had a choice, I could dwell over this or I could go back and see what went wrong and fix them. This is one thing you can be assured of here at Team Quest and that is that they don’t take being a team lightly AT ALL. If you put in the work, these people are gonna support you 100%.
So back to the point of mental toughness – this post isn’t about HOW to be mentally tough because that is gonna be something the person reading this is going to have look at themselves and see what they need, be it spiritual strength, psychological counseling (not trying to be funny, sport psychology is legit) or a reaffirmation and belief that whatever you are trying to achieve is within your grasp. This post is about how these things are important, especially in a game like MMA where you need every weapon possible. This post is about how you have the right environment here at Team Quest Thailand to cultivate mental strength via a supportive staff, Thai and western, a lack of unhealthy distractions like one would find in places like Phuket or Bangkok (clubs etc…) and an abundance of extra activities that help nurture the soul like meditation retreats, beautiful nature filled get aways and yoga courses. However in the end it will all depend upon the focus you put into training yourself mentally, if that is something that you neglect than it doesn’t matter where you are, it’s going to end up screwing you.
In Pakistan, a lot of the guys at my gym from poor backgrounds have this trait inherent in them. Their lives has been filled with so much misery that it had made them mentally very tough, more than any of the people who are reading this are because if you can read this, you had enough resources for an education that probably shielded you away from hunger a life so messed up that a broken appliance could mean cutting down on the amount you eat for dinner at night.
But for better or worse those who have not had this life experience and are interested in fighting it is time to build the fortitude that will make you come out for those final rounds when your down on the score cards.