The first time I walked into an MMA gym seven years ago, I said to myself, “What have I gotten myself into?”
At the time, I was desperate for a new physical and mental outlet. I had been a yogi for 13 years, but my intense daily sessions had left me with a torn and herniated disc in my spine. I found a Rolfing practitioner who put me back together, but I was never able to return to yoga with the same commitment level. Instead, someone suggested I try boxing. I did that for a few months and absolutely loved it, but as with everything if I’m going to do something, I’m going to do it 110%. So I decided to leave behind the safe world of cardio boxing and immerse myself in the world of mixed martial arts. That’s when a friend recommended I check out his local MMA gym.
When I first entered the gym and eyed the tough-looking fighters, I was excited and nervous at the same time. It didn’t take long for me to learn that there was much more to this sport than most people watching a pay per view fight from the comfort of their living room couches would ever understand. All too often I hear people describe mixed martial arts as “too violent” or “just guys in a cage beating each other,” but the reality is absolutely the opposite. The best MMA fighters aren’t simply the ones who have mastered Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Muay Thai or wrestling. They are dynamic athletes who sacrifice so much to master numerous disciplines and understand every move, muscle and action of their opponents, training their mind and body to move together like a symphony orchestra. Mixed martial arts is a physical, mental and emotional chess match. Once you step into the octagon, it’s anyone’s victory.