I looked at the calendar today. I have a little more than 8 weeks left here and although I am not even 25% of the way into my trip here I feel depressed about going back. I don’t regret what I have done and I know that what I have done in Pakistan has made many people thankful to me and I have created an entire scene and put Pakistani MMA on the map all these things give me pride and pleasure. But I need to ask myself if maybe I have accomplished what I needed to accomplish and the time has come for me to move on. I took a break of 3 years from my training and it really saddens me when I dwell on how much better I would be if I had spent those three years on training and improving myself than focusing on MMA in Pakistan. But I try not to dwell on it because in the end I have cemented myself as a personality and player in the Asian MMA scene and there are plenty of people who have been fighting for twice as long as I have been training and are not getting the recognition they deserve.
But back to the point, is it time to hand over everything I have created to the next generation of Mixed Martial Artists and move on? I cannot get the training that I need in Pakistan nor the opportunity to fight regularly. I have a lack of training partners that challenge me in Pakistan. Some of the training partners I do have or some that I could call in from other disciplines that would theoretically serve to challenge me are illiterate and unfortunately this lack of education makes it hard for them be the best training partners that they could be. Yes they may have skill and experience but they don’t understand that i sparring and rolling maybe SOMETIMES it’s ok to go light or slow because that’s where you learn. They can’t cast away their ego to make sparring a game of give and take, it’s all or nothing and there’s a championship belt on the line ALL THE TIME. Contrast that to the Thai way of sparring which is very partner oriented, they are not trying to beat each other because they know that defeating an opponent is really important in a competition against someone from another gym. Beating your training partners, puts you at risk of losing your training partners and than what do you have? Nothing. It also puts you at risk of relying only on the things that work for you, I mean you wouldn’t try a new technique you saw on youtube in a title fight, so why would you try it in the gym with your training partner (sarcasm!!)? If you look at top players in Pakistan, whether it be in Wushu or boxing or kickboxing, they don’t evolve, they don’t usually get better with time. They learn a set curriculum in the first couple years of training and that’s it, they know the art, after that they just maintain.
One of the reasons I am enjoying my time here at Team Quest is that I don’t feel that pressure to win, win, win every time I spar or roll. Granted, 60% of that is because I am not a coach here so I don’t feel that pressure, that’s my own ego at work and maybe something I need to reexamine when I go back to Pakistan. But the other 40% is because I don’t get the feeling that the person across from me is trying to beat me, he is trying to LEARN. He is not using me as a tool to gain ego points but is using me as a means of feedback to better his skills. In general at the Muay Thai camps it is like that but to be honest, it is more prevalent here at Team Quest, the overwhelming feeling you get at the camp is that people are here to get better, not to be the most badass guy at the gym but to be better martial artists at the end of the week than they were at the beginning.
So, I want you the PAKMMA community to really comment on this one…Should I come back or do you think it is time for me to start focusing on the next stage? As the face of Pakistani MMA does training overseas ensure my success or can it be done in Pakistan??