Disappointment keeps tapping me on the shoulder today.
Lost my fight on Friday night, and it really pisses me off. Still. Not as much as right after. On Saturday, like clockwork, 45 minutes would pass by and in a Turret's like explosion, I'd yell, "Fuck!" Now that only happens every three hours. I guess, I'm taking it better as each day goes by. This is where I wish all the Buddhist rhetoric I listen to and repeat would just sink itself into my bones already.
At the end of the fight, I didn't feel like I lost. I didn't even feel her touch me in the last round and I know I was hitting her hard with my right hand and hook so I'm not sure what happened. It could be that I was getting hit and not noticing it since her punches were so light and you go into a totally other headspace during a fight. I know I didn't dance around the ring like Muhammad Ali and punch like Mike Tyson, but my fists felt more satisfied than usual....meaning, didn't I hit more often? Didn't I hit harder? After watching the tape, I saw that I certainly did not perform as well as I did in my last fight, but that opponent gave me more time to do my thing. Box and move pro style. This girl walked towards me throwing a bunch of soft punches non-stop. She had good form and kudos to her for getting in there with me and doing her thing, but this isn't the kind of boxing I signed up for. Where's the art? The science? I don't mean to show bad sportsmanship because yes, she was good, but I have had my ass kicked in the ring by a Pan Am Games Gold Medalist/National Champion and knew I was way out of my league. This was not that.
Unfortunately, on fight day, my coach called me at 3pm and let me know he had to work that night so I'd need to find someone there to work my corner. My heart fluttered for a second, but that was all right with me. I mean, at the end of the day, you are in there alone anyway. My husband, Gary was able to accompany me and give me good support. On the car ride to Costa Mesa, my hands started getting cold and sweaty. We got there at about 4pm and blood would rush into my head from time to time making me very hot. I tried to enjoy observing what my body was doing - heart palpitations, frequent urination, clamminess, chills and sweatiness were some of the fabulous bodily functions I experienced all up until fight time. What is fun about this again?
When my husband and I were warming up with mitts, we found a licensed coach who agreed to wrap my hands and be in my corner during the fight. One of the things I love about boxing - The people who love doing it, coaching it, being a part of it enough to lend their time and skills to other people they barely know. We are part of the same hardcore secret society.
He gave me some great advice which really seemed to work - reaching over her jab with my right hand and following up with a hook or an uppercut. I was happy to see that all the work I did getting off the ropes with my coach, Marcelo, came out in the ring. I was put on the ropes three times and quickly turned her around and put her on the ropes and started throwing and landing. Other things I worked on didn't come out - I slipped under punches, but didnt' come right back with enough. I didn't push forward and fought much taller than I feel I should have. At the same time, I still felt like I had the edge because I was stronger and hitting her harder and I thought, more often. But, sometimes the reality can be skewed when you are in fight state.
After my last round, the coach had to go take care of his fighter who was up next. My husband was taking off my headgear and I asked him if he thought I got the W. He smiled and shook his head decidedly yes. Then, I went to the center of the ring to hold hands.
The ref raised her hand and said the winner was in the red corner and I remember looking at her corner and seeing it was red and wondering how that could be. I shrugged my shoulders, shook her hand and got out of the ring. Hmmph. Okay. So, this is boxing. You win some, you lose some, you learn all along the way.
I guess it took me by surprise at how disappointed and upset at myself I was. This is a hobby for me, but it encompasses everything I do. The training keeps me level headed, calm; it gives me energy, confidence, focus, a stress outlet and a social outlet. I've become a part of this great community of people who enjoy martial arts, being physical, keeping in shape and fighting to be strong mentally and physically. So, why do I care so much if a decision doesn't go my way? Maybe it's just my nature to beat myself down. Luckily, it's also in my nature to get back up.
The same weekend, a fighter I manage, Kaiyana Rain, had a big MMA fight in Temecula. She had been working very hard, upped her training and is in phenomenal shape. We knew her opponent was tough. She was also undefeated.
Backstage, I ran into the guy that worked my corner for my fight. He took me aside to tell me he was stunned to find out I didn't win! He said he left the corner to go work with his fighter before they announced the decision because he didn't see how they couldn't give it to me. His friends told him on the way home and he couldn't believe it. That was nice to hear.
Then, it was cage time. Ripped and intimidating, Kaiyana danced around the cage when they announced her. Her opponent hopped up and down in her part of the octagon and the audience eagerly awaited the first and only "girl fight" of the night.
When the bell rang, Kai and her opponent sized each other up. Kai landed some great leg kicks, there were some quick exchanges. Throughout the fight, Kaiyana took the girl down three times and controlled her against the cage. More exchanges and Kaiyana closing the gap, smothering her. In the last round, the opponent attempted a lame guillotine choke, but Kai got out of it and started throwing punches at her. The last bell rang.
The audience was informed it was a close split decision....in favor of Kaiyana's opponent. What???? How do these people score these matches? Her coaches and myself were very pleased with the way she worked, the progress she made and the dominance she showed. The ref was calling it the fight of the night....as was her last fight. How could that not be anything but great? Tons of progress and another exciting fight. In a pro MMA fight with her same moves, she would have won.
This weekend was a real exercise of realization for me. Yes, I hate to lose. HATE IT. Am I afraid I might lose again or "get robbed?" I sure as hell won't like it, but if I can get better in the process, I can live with it. I want to figure out the scoring system; where do the judges sit? What constitutes a clean punch? Is it bad that I drop my hands and act like a cocky ass sometimes? Can they take points off for that? How can I be more composed and thoughtful when I have a girl running at me throwing punches? These are all legitimate concerns that I have as I move forward in my fight "career." My "career" is in quotes as it is in reality, a hobby. But in my heart it is real.