Conquering the Fear of Stepping into the Cage


By Eric Center





The biggest comment I get from people after they find out I am an amateur MMA fighter is, aren’t you afraid of getting hit in the face? My answer is no, let me explain. You have to understand that there is a means to every end. If you want to get to your mother’s house you have to get into the car a go. If you want an A on your math test you have to study. If you want to fight in the cage and win, you prepare to be punched in the face (Unless your name is Lyoto Machida). Receiving a strike from your opponent is a means to an end. It is up to you to minimize receiving these blows by studying and doing your homework.

I view getting punched in the face as a punishment for doing something wrong. I didn’t parry the jab I get punched in the face. I didn’t slip the hook, I get punched in the face. Instead of being fearful of getting a fist full of leather, I am much more fearful of not having the right head movement or executing the wrong footwork. In essence, you are waging war with yourself not your opponent.

“The greatest fighter you will ever face is yourself.” -Unknown

Not to scare anybody who is thinking about starting their own MMA career but getting punched in the face is the best thing that can happen to you during a fight. A knee to the head or a solid punch to the liver or kidneys are much more painful and a punch. This is why it is so important to work on all aspects of your game not just wrestling, boxing, etc.

“Everybody feels fear. Proper preparation must foster the courage you need to manage fear and forge ahead through adversity, for fear will be either the servant of your survival or the master of your demise.” – Unknown

I don’t care who you are, you are going to experience fear sometime throughout your fighting career. The key is not let the fear control your emotions. Whenever I get fearful before a fight, I visualize that fear as a dark cloud. But like all clouds, the cloud of fear must dissipate. I visualize myself overcoming that fear, that false evidence appearing real and when the cloud lifts the sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and I can see my goal.

I also think about our past as a human species, I mean think about it. Up until very recently in our history, men HAD to be men. Wars were fought not from a distance but up close and personal. You had to defend your family and your honor with a sword. Thousands of men would charge into battle and slaughter each other up close and personal for what they believed what was right. The majority of men today in my opinion have been overly feminized by society. If I ever do feel any fear, I think about our history of men, about the millions who have died defending what they believed in. They are the true warriors, the true fighters and I like to think what I am doing today is in homage to all of them.

Remember fear is in your mind. Train hard and build your confidence. Know you are the best, know it is not you who should be afraid but your opponent.

Write down the reasons why you want to be a mixed martial artist and before every fight read that list. Ask yourself, are you going to let a stranger take your goals away from you? Are you going to fear another man, a man who is reality is just of afraid of you then you are of him? HELL NO! If you are staring off in mixed martial arts remember, train hard and long and you will be the one making dark clouds and ruining their picnic.

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1 Response to “Conquering the Fear of Stepping into the Cage”

  1. June 19, 2009 at 2:27 am

    This was a great post man. Im not sure who said that one comment either but I have seen it and variations of it before. One of my favorite quotes about fighting is by Mike Tyson when he said “Everyone has a game plan until they get punched in the face, then it goes out the window!”

    How has your fighting career been going? I didn’t notice a Fight Record or Stats page on here.


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