Is my hellish experience in middle school wrestling an omen for how I'll handle mma training?

Discussion in 'Beginners Corner' started by Hakkan Mordrake, Feb 13, 2021.

  1. Hakkan Mordrake

    Hakkan Mordrake White Belt

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    In middle school I decided I wanted to try a combat sport, as I was a very combatively-minded, naturally aggressive person (still am).

    Wrestling was available.. so I jumped at it. It was borderline-traumatic for me. I was terrified going into every match and dreading every practice. I was completely miserable the whole way through. It utterly broke me.

    Fast forward to today, I still desperately want to learn how to defend myself and gain some physical/mental toughness. I have an appointment this Monday with some guys a couple towns over from mine to talk about me getting into their mma gym. I'm really excited and I think this is my chance to become the person I've wanted to be since I first developed an imagination. But I can't help but wonder if history will repeat itself.

    Here's what I want to think (and what I hope is true):

    Back then I simply did not have the emotional control, maturity and tolerance of loss to handle the demands of anything competitive and full-contact. Now that I am much, much older, more mature and less sensitive to hardship.. I am far more ready now than I ever was then, and possibly ever will be.

    But I really don't know. I'd like more thoughts on this, more perspectives and all that.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Monkey Turned Wolf

    Monkey Turned Wolf MT Moderator Staff Member

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    What was it that you were terrified/dreading? Without knowing that, we can't really give any advice on if it's an ongoing issue.
     
  3. Hakkan Mordrake

    Hakkan Mordrake White Belt

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    -Getting hurt/injured (potentially).

    -The "tryhard macho" atmosphere of the team which to this day I find unspeakably annoying.

    -Shame/frustration of being manhandled.

    -My mouth-guard at the time left only a small whole from which to breathe so I felt like I was suffocating everytime I got on the mat.

    -My dad decided it would be an intelligent idea to help coach, which put a whole other level of stress and pressure on top of what I was already doing.

    -Having to embrace the grind, which was a mental skill I completely lacked.
     
  4. Tez3

    Tez3 Sr. Grandmaster

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    How old are students in 'middle school'?
     
  5. Hakkan Mordrake

    Hakkan Mordrake White Belt

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    We're looking at 12 to maybe 14 here.
     
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  6. Monkey Turned Wolf

    Monkey Turned Wolf MT Moderator Staff Member

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    11-13 typically, sometimes includes 10 and 14 year olds in the US. Most US schools I'm aware of open up school sports in 7th grade, meaning that they'd be 12 when they try it out.
     
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  7. Monkey Turned Wolf

    Monkey Turned Wolf MT Moderator Staff Member

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    So the getting hurt may have been a kid thing, it may be fixed now. It's also something that will be fixed through sparring/competition-you do it enough (and actually do get hurt a bit) and the fear goes away.

    The tryhard macho was almost definitely a kid thing-I know a ton of kids who were like that, but none of the dojos I've been to have that as the prevailing atmosphere.

    The shame/frustration is something you have to get used to, depends where your ego is at.

    I can't say anything about the mouth-guard as I haven't heard that, and it might be a medical issue-if it comes up again you might want to check it out. Or it could have just been your mouth was still growing/growing awkwardly and is too small, only a doctor would be able to answer that.

    Don't train with your father and that issue resolves itself lol

    The grind is something you'll have to learn to live with. And it sticks around, you always need that mentality, but it is something that comes with practice.
     
  8. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    I never wrestled in Junior High (middle school) nor high school. It was a prevalent sport where I grew up in the northern Midwest, 1970s-1980s. A lot of tough farm boys tended to join the wrestling team, kids who threw a lot of hay bales and wrestled a lot of cattle and hogs and were strong and tough for it.

    A number of them also seemed to have a chip on their shoulder, some became the school bullies. The wrestling team seemed to be where they congregated. For me, I think had I joined wrestling, a big part of the problem for me would have been having to work with those guys. I would not have enjoyed it.

    Any issues like that, that you had to deal with?
     
  9. Hakkan Mordrake

    Hakkan Mordrake White Belt

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    Yep.. including from the main coach. He had to be ex-military or something because he had that signature chest-bumping sort of attitude.
     
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  10. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    Yeah, I can understand that, for sure.

    So go in to the new school and see what they are all about. Get a sense of the atmosphere and attitude and you get to decide if you want to stay. Just because they took time to meet with you does not obligate you to join. Don’t forget that. It is very important that you find a place in which you are comfortable. If this place isn’t right for you, keep looking. If you force yourself to join a place where you are not happy, this will kill your desire to do it, perhaps permanently.
     
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  11. Ivan

    Ivan Brown Belt

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    If you aren't mentally mature, your coaches will pick up on it. It's their job - if it will ease your frustrations, let them know.

    Either way, regardless of your previous experience, it's very unlikely they will put you to sparring right out of the gate. First, you will learn techniques and drills, and when you force yourself to memorize and perfect them, your mental discipline and toughness will come on its own.

    If there is one thing martial arts helps with, its mental strength.
     
  12. WaterGal

    WaterGal Master of Arts

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    Different martial arts schools/gyms have different cultures, and some are more safety-conscious than others.

    So, it is possible that you might go visit, and find out that they're a bunch of macho tryhard bros who are having new students go 100% full-contact on their first day without knowing how to do anything and getting hurt.

    Or, you might go there and find out that they're supportive, encouraging people, and they'll have you start in a safe beginner's class where you learn basic skills and don't go really hard yet.

    Presumably your dad won't be there, so that won't be an issue, and you can work out a better mouthguard situation.

    You still may have to learn to deal with the frustration of being manhandled, and you'll still need persistance to grind through the hard stuff. However, in a supportive environment, those things may be less difficult.

    Go check it out and see what it's like. Martial arts schools usually will let you try a few classes for free or for a small fee like $20, to see if you like it.
     
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  13. KenpoMaster805

    KenpoMaster805 Black Belt

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    I never wrestled i only do martial arts.
     
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  14. Monkey Turned Wolf

    Monkey Turned Wolf MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Okay? What relevance does that have to this thread?
     
  15. Buka

    Buka Sr. Grandmaster

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    Welcome to Martial Talk, Hakkan, nice to have you.

    I know you're much, much older now, but you're still only twenty three. You have a wonderful path in front of you. Enjoy it. That's key.

    I'm wondering why you chose MMA. Was it the only thing available to you? Are there any BJJ schools near you? If you could put in a couple/three years in BJJ, THEN go to MMA, I think you would feel very comfortable with your understanding and skill set. Keep the wrestling in your back pocket for now, keep it safe, then utilize it once you have more comfortable grappling skills.

    You speak of "tolerance of loss." I think you were being unduly harsh on yourself. If you had walked in and dominated, would that really have been a school you wanted to lean from?

    Show me a gym where everyone can kick my butt and I'm joining that night, right there on the spot.

    Have you trained in any striking?

    Again, welcome, stay loose and enjoy it all.
     
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  16. Hakkan Mordrake

    Hakkan Mordrake White Belt

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    Well I mean.. ancient warfare did include quite a bit of grappling LMAO
     
  17. JowGaWolf

    JowGaWolf Grandmaster

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    The fact that you even bring this up makes me think you still have issues. Normally (in this context) people don't bring up things that don't worry them.

    Not sure if this will help but there are some truths you'll need to accept about training. Hopefully this will help you get beyond your worries.

    1. Getting hurt/injured (potentially). - This is going to happen, anything active has this type of risk. The thing that you should remember is that if the school is good then the injuries should be minor. As an Instructor or business owner:
    • Injury mean students can't trai
    • If ,student's can't train then no money is coming in.
    • If student's keep getting hurt then your business gets a reputation for hurting students and that hurts business
    So while you get will get hurt many of the injuries will be minor. I've had worse injuries outside of training than I have had while training. So accept that you will get hurt but most of it if not all of it will be minor.

    2. Shame/frustration of being manhandled - Accept that you are a beginner in the system you choose and that there will be people there who are better than you in that system. Nothing to be ashamed about as a beginner. Nothing to be frustrated about as a beginner. This is a self-inflicted worry. Whatever shame or frustration you think you will feel. No one else will see it that way. They are more likely to encourage you than to put you down. So if they aren't likely to put you down, then don't volunteer to put yourself down.

    3. Hard to breath with Mouth Guards - That's always the case. It's something that you have to get used to. Mouth guards are also different than what they used to be 20 years ago.

    4. As far as coaches go - These aren't the same as high school coaches. They are nicer, easily. They know that everyone at the gym isn't trying to be a professional fighter.

    5. Embrace the grind - This is natural get used to it. But again it's not the same as stuff that's done in school competitive sports. This is more of a personal battle for everyone. If I can only do 10 push ups then I'm going to brace the grind so I can do 20. It's not about the grind as much as it is about me getting better and the will and determination to defeat my own doubts and sometimes laziness. If I can do 12 pushes up then I know I can improve. Once I get to 20 push ups then I'll feel really good about myself.
     
  18. JowGaWolf

    JowGaWolf Grandmaster

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    Train to learn and you'll never lose. Because then you make everything about learning to be good at what you train.
     
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  19. dvcochran

    dvcochran Grandmaster

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    I hope you can see how directly opposed your first two statements are. Like MTW mentioned, it is reasonable to assume a person naturally grows out certain apprehensions. But of course there is no guarantee that this is automatic. I will likely take effort on your part. I am not a fan of using words like phobia's, monster's, or even fear to the point of paralyzing.
    So open your book; open you mind and loose the expectations and do some things for yourself. Bad mouthpiece? Find one that works. In you dad's shadow? If you really think that is limiting you, get out and do your own things. Your profile says you are 23. Well old enough to start blazing your own trail.

    Honestly, unless you are in a higher level, for competition class/school/gym, the biggest pressure should come from yourself. And a person is never going to get into the higher level classes without putting in the time and effort. If you get there all your fears will be washed away by then.

    Best of luck and I hope you keep us informed on how things progress
     
  20. Hakkan Mordrake

    Hakkan Mordrake White Belt

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    They're not. I was aggressive but I wasn't tough. Selectively violent, you might say. I guess some would've called me a bully but that implies the people I hurt didn't earn it so.. cry I guess.123
     

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