It’s funny how the mind plays tricks on you. It can be your greatest critic, or your biggest fan; it’s a driver of fear, confidence builder or confidence taker. You are gaining momentum one moment, then the next you doubt everything that you have done up to that point. 


How do I know all of this?

I have experienced it firsthand. I know what it feels like to be in a situation where you are gaining momentum in your training or a specific technique and thinking to yourself, “I’m starting to get it.” Then comes a reality check. 


If you’re anything like me, than you know what this feels like – frustrating.  Your head starts to mess with you and doubt creeps in. The little voice in your head starts to tell you, maybe you’re too old, maybe you’re too slow or maybe you’re just not cut out for this. 


Do NOT let these thoughts consume you, this happens to everyone, whether they admit it or not. If someone tells you otherwise they’re either lying to you or to themselves. 

It happens after a hard sparring class, or a technique class that was just a little more advanced than you were ready for, or maybe even after a hard pad session. Maybe you get paired up with someone that has great technique and you’re feeling like they do everything seamlessly. 


So what do you do? Well, first you must focus your energy. 

“Where your focus goes, your energy flows.” – Tony Robbins 

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.” – Henry Ford 


These two statements meant a lot to me coming up through my career. When I was having moments of doubt like what I have described above they have helped me to stay focused on the long gain. Not what’s right in front of me at that very moment. 


Trust me there have been times, especially after a sparring session or getting ready for a fight that I got my butt handed to me. I would throw my gloves down in frustration, be mad as hell and want to quit. Literally, I wanted to take all my gear off when I was done, leave the gym and never return. 

I could have given up right then and let that little voice in my head win. It was saying you’re too slow, too old; you can’t do it because of your neck. You have two left feet and you’re not athletic at all. 

But I didn’t quit. Maybe I’m stubborn, or just hate to quit things that I start without finishing. However, I told myself, “no…you made it this far, you can get better.”


So, what did I do? 

  • I took a look at where I started, what day one was like, and where I am now. 
  • I reminded myself that when doubt creeps in, that I have a choice, either I can let it win or I can defeat it by continuing to train.
  • You can talk to a mentor or someone that has been training longer and ask them what they did to get past these moments.
  • You must focus on what you are looking to accomplish and just understand that pain and doubt is part of the learning process. 


The last one, number four, no one ever really talks about. Everyone loves to talk about the glory but they fail to mention all the pain that they went through to get there. Dealing with your self-doubt is part of the process. 


You have one of two choices: you can take the easy way, quit because it’s too hard, and you’re stuck or you can suck it up, grind through the doubt, the pain and anguish and when you are done – come out on the other side better than when you started. 


Remember this, steel is forged through fire. It’s beaten on and struck repeatedly, then plunged back into the fire. The fire softens the metal to make it form to its purpose, and the blows of the hammer give it strength. This combined will give it the ability to withstand every battle that it will be called upon. 


As always, train hard, be a beast!