Fighting Tired

“Fighting Tired”

I've decided, after much deliberation, to finally start putting out this content that I've been writing for awhile to help share some perspective - about training, competing, name it. So here goes, enjoy!

I learned to box, REALLY learned to box, in Hempstead, NY in the late ‘90’s. This kicked off my fighting career that meadered its way thru Kickboxing and MMA for the next 8 years…but lets focus on Hempstead – where it all started. Yeah. If you don’t know what that means, then I don’t even know if I can explain it to you. I’ll try and paint you a picture…imagine downtown Philly (the one you see in your mind when you think of Rocky movies...), make it way sketchier, just as gritty, and fill it with guys that want a shot to make it out of their neighborhood on the wings of a fighting career. Yeah. It was a GREAT place to box. I was 24 years old, and I had been boxing in NC for 2 years before I moved up to the island. I had a lot of years of ‘martial arts’ experience, but nothing near as applicable as I thought it was, lol. I was a light heavyweight at the time, and I was pretty good by the standards of the guys I measured up against when I was training. My time there sharpened me like an axe blade. My style became unorthodox (hah, to say the least...), and I became a dangerous counter puncher. The greatest lesson I learned however…was how to Fight Tired. More on that in just a minute…first, some context…

A lot of people don’t know that I started my ‘functional fitness’ career, in both training and coaching, as a fighter. Yes. As hard to imagine as that may be now, there was a time in my life – for me it doesn’t seem like that long ago (13 years ago, since my last refereed fight…wow) – when fighting was what I spent most of my time doing and training to do. Over the years my exposure to some truly great coaches and athletes helped to evolve and expand my perspective so far beyond what I could have done on my own. I learned a lot in those years, and those lessons have helped to shape my approach to training, competing, and coaching. One of those guys taught me a lot about what motivates athletes, fighters, humans, and pretty much all living creatures...Survival.

I hired a great boxing coach when I started training in NY - who to this day still has one of the best ‘Trainer Names’ ever – John “Flex” Tobin. John was from Grenada, was an Olympian in 1988 as a middleweight, and he was a beast of a dude. He also asked me one of the greatest questions before we started training together – “Why the hell you want to start training Here, Now?..” At the time, I had no idea what the point of that question was – I mean, dude, do you want my money or not? I’m pretty sure that’s what I asked him right after that, and he just shook his head and laughed. What I would come to learn very quickly, was that there were about 20 guys getting ready for the Golden Gloves in Hempstead at that point, and they were all looking for dudes to spar with. Especially if they thought they could get a free 3-5 rounds with a guy who wasn’t a rank amateur, but who wasn’t nearly on the level with them. Yeah, enter – This Guy. For about 3 months I got my ass absolutely BEATDOWN, 2-3 times a week. I would come home with my nose swollen shut, clotted with blood, eyes swimming and ear ringing. Constantly. I fell asleep in an Epsom salt bath one night and woke up 4 hours later almost hypothermic. It was terrible. It was awesome. Flex would tell me – ‘you are a counterpuncher, you’re smart but not as fast as these guys, you’re tough and slick, but not as athletic as most of these young dudes. That means you must WAIT for your opportunity. They have to make a mistake. You have to wear them down a little OR a lot. So - you have to learn to fight tired. You can’t count on a 15 sec win, a 2 min win…you have to be willing to go the distance. To out-work them, frustrate them, and then knock their ass out.’ I gotta tell you – when you are getting your ass handed to you in sparring bouts constantly, waking up with blinding headaches, and pretty sure you are gonna bleed out when you blow your nose…this is not comforting. I embraced it though – because I knew he was right. All of that is true about me. Then and now. I was never the best, fastest, biggest or strongest - but I always had a plan.

Anyone who knows me, knows this is how I approach things. Methodical, analytical, technical, and then swift, direct, violent action. That one piece of advice informed my entire perspective. It so utterly defined me then and it still does today. I also learned that sometimes this means you will be backed into a corner, exhausted, faced with a determined opponent who wants to kick your ass until you can no longer perceive reality in a meaningful way, and you have to find a way to stop that from happening. You have to shut down all the voices that say – I’m tired..I can’t…I’m not as good as this guy…I’m not as good as I think….I should just give up…None of that can be an option. You have to keep fighting.

You all are probably thinking right now - “How in the hell does this translate to CrossFit B? Seriously, that’s the only reason we are reading this…FFS get to the point…” I hear ya’ll. So here it is…SERIOUSLY? CrossFit is pain. It is suffering. It is what defines the sport. You have to Fight Tired, because there is no other way. If you aren’t – then you aren’t GOING HARD ENOUGH. You have to find the limit and push right up against it. There is no quick, painless victory. Only a punishing slog with the hopes of something glorious on the other side – like the time you want, the reps you want…a box of doughnuts from Krispy Kreme (take that Steve! /StaringFaceEmoji/) Whatever it is, you have to fight for it.
So, at the end of the day – what is this all about? Everything and nothing. But if you want to be successful in CrossFit, sport, life…survival – you have to learn to fight tired. You have to squash any lingering doubt. You have to talk a little shit. You have to shut down all the other voices except one – one Voice. The voice that says you can. The one that says you HAVE TO. The one that wants to survive, and you have to Believe it.

See you all at the gym!!



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