Anyone who has spent a significant amount of time in combat sport knows that the time in between fights can be very taxing. You have just come off a fight and you are mentally and physically exhausted, you have a long way to go before your next fight. This is exactly what I am experiencing right now.
Training can be a slow grind sometimes. The greatest athletes will always get through. In my experience it’s the grind of constant competing that takes people out of the sport. If I looked back at my weight class over the past 3 years I can show you a list of people who don’t compete anymore. Athletes come and go.
For example, of the 8 people that competed in the 2012 Nationals in the -80kg division only 1 competed in the 2014 Nationals. Me. Of those 8 in 2012, only two of us still compete. 6 people over the course of two years, stopped fighting. That is a lot of retirement, almost the entire division is gone. Of course, they have been replaced with other people either moving up into my weight or new athletes fighting in the Black Belt category for the first time. It amazes me that after 7 years in Taekwondo, I can turn up to a competition, have a chat with all the coaches I’ve become close with, all the athletes who I have been on trips with and then look at my draw and have absolutely no idea who the people are.
I would like to think I have become so good at Taekwondo that people are getting scared of me. But that isn’t it. I think it’s the grind.
It’s turning up to training everyday, doing your strength work, doing your recovery sessions, sparring other elite players at your club, dealing with injuries and managing your diet. This is no easy feat, there is a good reason that people respect Olympic Athletes. Imagine doing all of those things everyday for a chance at your dream once every 4 years. There is also a good reason not everyone makes the Olympics, and I have listed them all above.
Embracing that grind is so important. I have some small competitions coming up before a big International Tour in the middle of the year, looking towards that tour it’s hard to motivate myself to turn up to training everyday.
Georges St-Pierre the former long time UFC Welterweight Champion once said that ‘fighters’ train when they have a fight coming up, but Martial Artists train year round. He couldn’t be more right.