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Preparing For Competition

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Preparing For Competition

The biggest battle is before the fight!

How do you reach the correct state of mind for competition?

Battling pre fight nerves

Straight away some of you have an answer in your head, right? Well the answer isn’t the same for everyone - everyone is different and deals with stresses differently when preparing for a competition.

Some competitors may prefer their coaches to be all <shouting> ‘come on, you are the best, you rock, you are going to destroy them, you have to do this, you were born to do this, give it your all!’ and so on. Some may prefer calm, yet reassuring comments, more specific to technique and game plan. There are limitless approaches to this and ultimately it’s the battles going on in the fighter’s head, certainly for the first few competitions, which are the biggest. Some competitors don’t get past this stage and lose before they even step into the ring.

“Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win” 
― Sun TzuThe Art of War

To ensure that you can win is by ensuring you are as fit as you can be, meaning quality training prep, particularly with regards to cardio. Fitness is often one of the biggest and most common causes of failure, so if you nail this, the rest will seem significantly more comfortable. The next is being realistic and honest with yourself;  Ask yourself, "am I capable?" If the answer is yes, progress things further. 

The next step is making that definition between the use of the 'should' and 'could' in the statements you make. How many times have you said to yourself 'I should win this' or 'I should have won that' or 'I should be able to lose weight'? Most people have found themselves saying this but actually 'could' is a much more positive and hopeful word to use. Using 'should' is putting unfair and unrealistic pressure on yourself. It really isn't helpful, and many neuropsychological and cognitive behavioural studies have shown this over the years.

So to say 'I could win this' shows that you are capable and more importantly that you are prepared to give 100%. Or if after a loss 'I could have won that' (providing you are being honest in your own assessment) shows that maybe you didn't give 100% and that next time you know how you can improve.

Maybe this comes as a surprise, but 100% IS AS MUCH AS YOU ARE ABLE TO GIVE!!!! Forget what you hear footballers say and the rubbish spoken on talent shows, you cannot do better than your best, FULL STOP!

Placing unfair pressure on yourself will potentially set you on the road to ruin, maybe not now but in the future. By all means give it your all, in fact, make sure you do, because win, lose or draw you will be satisfied that you put everything into it. Sometimes people are just better and eventual losses are pretty much inevitable and a reality of life, why would it be any different when competing?

Lack of fitness or strength or lack of technique or skill compared to your opponents are all areas that a competitor can choose to work at and improve on, and mental training and preparation will be the glue that holds it all together.

A great source for helping you to deal with mental preparation not only in competition but also in life generally, is a book called 'The Chimp Paradox', from a very well-respected and world renowned psychiatrist; Professor Steve Peters. Steve is a consultant to the British Cycling Team, Sky ProCycling, Liverpool Football club and UK athletics as well as working with other Olympic and non-Olympic sports. Both Chris Hoy and Victoria Pendleton say that Prof Steve Peters helped them to win gold. Ronnie O'Sullivan worked with Steve in the run up to his 4th and 5th World Snooker titles. It is well worth a read and considering the techniques he recommends.

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UCMMA 11, more wins for Iceni!

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UCMMA 11, more wins for Iceni!

UCMMA 11, more wins for Iceni!

A great night of action at Open Norwich for the eleventh instalment of UCMMA contender series. 4 Iceni Warriors/Icon team competing. We had 3 K1 fights, including one title fight, plus a debut boxing bout.

First up we had Bradley Kemp; this was his 3rd fight and Brad was feeling positive and focussed before going to battle. Round 1 both fighters came out a little too eager with fists of fury, however this started to calm down mid way through round one and Brad took control of the fight with some nasty body kicks to his opponent. Round 2 Brad was little less aggressive and sat back a little too much, which meant he took a few too many shots, albeit not hugely damaging. This potentially lost the round. Round 3 however, Brad came out like a true warrior and gave his best, with it being his highest scoring round of the whole bout, giving Brad the unanimous decision win! Brad dug deep and didn't let up until he got the win.

Second of the Iceni fighters was Diarmuid; Irish pride and the punching power of Thor's hammer played a big part in this bout. Diarmuid walked in as casually as he walked out, which in total took about 4 mins, less than a minute of this being actual fight time. The horn went, the fight started, a kick from Diarmuid, a jab and a hook (quite a nasty one) from his opponent and then a small flurry of punches from Diarmuid, ending with a short right-hook, taking his opponent to the canvas, where he took up camp for a little while. Job done, fight finished, another Iceni win! Well done to Diarmuid and indeed all of Ireland.

Next up was Marcus, this time boxing. A (big) heavyweight bout, Marcus lost 10kg naturally in the run up to it (he didn't even need to). However, his opponent weighed 124kgs and was BIG for that. Fighting giants is not at all easy at the best of times, even more difficult with only a small amount of boxing training and it being his debut. Marcus sucked it up and came out calm, composed and ready to bang. Unfortunately his opponent caught him with some nasty shots early on and the fight was quite rightly stopped. Back to Kickboxing and MMA for Marcus for the time being but when you lose you learn, only way to get better is to get back to it!

Last up was Ash, this was a bit of a step up, with only a handful of K1 bouts behind him, Ash was fighting for the UCMMA Light-Heavyweight amateur title. A very game and more experienced opponent came out and Ash did not disappoint early on, he came back with some vicious leg. Round 1 was Ash, round 2 was close but his opponent gave a little more. Round 3 was lost and following this we had to throw in the towel due to Ash feeling he didn't have enough gas left in him. Ash was gracious in defeat and agreed that cardio will play a bigger part in fight prep next time around. We are positive he would have come back with the win had the cardio been there, once again the fighter learns and moves on. 

Onward and upwards Warriors, we will take them to school next time!

Well done to all of our opponents, their gyms and to every other fighter and gym who turned up on the night, we salute and respect you all!

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