I’m lying on the floor; face up and tears are streaming down my checks. I’m breathing in and out, as controlled as I can as I try to relax into the pain that’s caused by the thumbs of a 215lbs man who’s straddled above me, digging into my inter left knee, my vastus medialis.
These tears are a surprise to me, as I’ve done lots of trigger point, deep tissue massage and body work before and always been able to breathe and bare it –Hell, I’m tough, both physically and mentally. I don’t cry during a massage! – But what’s even more of a surprise to me is the emotional build-up behind these tears. At first I was ashamed of my teams. I was letting guard down and becoming much more vulnerable then I was comfortable with. But once I accepted that this was the result of letting go of all my pent up stress over the past 6 weeks, I lay there, letting the emotional release sweep over me, and it was the best pre-fight preparation / meditation I could do.
There is an interesting mentality behind a fighter crying. Most would think “We’re FIGHTERS, we don’t cry, not in the gym, not in life! We don’t cry from pain, we train for pain, and we certainly don’t cry because we’re frustrated, tired or just training really hard!”
Truth be told, I’ve probably seen more fighters (both men and women) cry than any other athlete. This may be because I don’t hang out with many other types of athletes, but I think because boxing is so physically and mentally demanding, how else are you going to release your stress? An old coach of mine once summed it up “Cry in the dojo; laugh on the battle field.” This is what I plan to do!
I’m now four days away from my pro debut in Edmonton and for the last week I’ve been highly charged, agitated and hyper sensitive. In all my years of competing I’ve never actually seen or felt my body respond quite this way. This type of training is what brought on the waterworks yesterday (that, and the pain of the massage). Over-training you might say? No way! This is the result of an incredible team who has managed to perfect and create a finely tuned machine that is reaching its peak and ready to fire. The biggest thing I needed before my fight was this release of emotion. All the prep, the long hours, the visualization, and the physical and mental beatings I’ve been taking needed to come to a head.
This morning I woke up totally content and relaxed. Not only did my body feel looser with better mobility, my mind was calm and settled. What I was left with was confidence and focus, knowing that I’m 100% prepared to step up to this next challenge and WIN it. Yes, I still feel like a racehorse at the gate, ready to spring; but I’ve entered a state of calmness and focus, without distraction.