My lack of amateur fighting experience is impacting my confidence

Ivan

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Hi. As many of you know, I am mainly self-taught, especially when it comes to boxing. Although I have been to gyms with coaches, that would sometimes give me snippets of advice, I never had a coach that would give me the time of the day. I've been hoping that I would come across a coach who would acknowledge me for almost five years now and the day still hasn't come. I've worked hard to get where I am, repeatedly drilling the same combinations and drills and techniques in front of mirrors and bags for hours and hundreds of repetitions at a time daily, as well as pushing my fitness limits as much as possible - in just the last 2 months I raised my plank time from 4:36 minutes to 6:13, and I am so close to being able to do perfect dragon flags. My cardio feels great, as I am constantly doing harder variations of exercises during HIIT boxing/kickboxing gym training sessions. I plan to buy a 22lbs weighted vest and start doing my sessions with it to make it harder and get my movement speed up, and perhaps taping my mouth during my weight training to increase lung capacity.

Regardless of my hard work, I feel that my confidence and my ability are being limited by my lack of amateur fighting experience. It started off as a minor thing but now it is getting to the point where it is becoming a huge insecurity. I see people which seem to be in much worse shape than me, and even have less experience/training than me, get into the ring and it makes me so angry. The fact that these people have had the opportunity to get into the ring and I haven't, makes me feel as though my work and experience is invalidated, and that's just extremely painful. As if the fact that they've had a fight and I haven't made them better than me, no matter how much more training or dedication I might have put in. I feel furious and desperate and have no other way to describe it.

I just need join the amateur team that I have been trying out for, for a couple of months, but it's fruitless. I need to step into the ring so that I know I have what it takes and I can prove it to myself. I want to know I'm not weak or cowardly. My worst fear is getting into the ring for the first time and never having the courage to step back in. The coach I approached that spoke to me about my footwork seems to have pushed me aside, and the only people that have helped me improve are the people on this forum as well as some others online. I had to learn myself and learn the hard way, I learnt from crappy online videos and sparring partners. I've been knocked out, knocked down, and winded from body shots so many times, yet all of those have been in sparring, not fights. My entire experience with my lack of coaching is one of the things that pushes me most with wanting to be a coach myself, so that I can give other people what I have always wanted and never received. I have been overlooked by every single coach I've had. I've been treated as average and mediocre, which I may be, but I do and have always strived to outwork every person in the same room as me.

My next course of action is to book a private session with the other coach who runs the amateur team and see if I can prove myself to him, even though he's a real hardass. The only way that I can reach my full potential, and improve at a normal rate, is if I have someone paying attention to me and helping me see my flaws, yet I can't get that. What it takes me 3 months to achieve on my own, I could probably achieve in just 1 if someone would just lovely help me.

I won't have many options left if that doesn't work. The only thing that will be left for me to do is to fight at my University's Student Fight Night or some white-collar event to try to get some approval. Although some say that these fights might get me the fulfillment I desire, I doubt it. I want to fight someone with my goals and training, not some average Joe with 8 weeks of training. If not, there is only one other boxing gym in my vicinity with an amateur's team, but I'm tired of having to move around until I get what I deserve. I don't want to keep feeling lesser because I've not been given the opportunities everyone else has. I am drained and I am exhausted. Just 4 weeks ago I had an absolute brawl with my kickboxing instructors.

Just me and them, constantly rotating in 2 minute boxing rounds for an hour. I had light nosebleed, swelling and brush marks all over my face. I was knocked down multiple times from body shots and headshots. Just last week I came back with the realisation that I had never been putting in enough power into my blows, or aggression either. And when I started to do that, I dominated all of my sparring partners (it was hard sparring) or at the very least went toe to toe. One of the instructors was one of these sparring partners. I managed to put him on the back foot for once. But why is that not enough? Although my kickboxing gym is willing to get me a fight, they are only local to my home in England, and I spend most of my time in Scotland currently so it is not an option.

I am tired of not feeling worthy, and I don't know what to do. Please, I just need some life advice on how to cope and move forward. This is the one insecurity I have never been able to shake and it is taking a toll on me.
 

Monkey Turned Wolf

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Have you asked these coaches directly why they won't sign you up for a fight? That answer may invalidate the below advice.

Regarding your kickboxing-I'm guessing you are spending time in Scotland because that's where you go to University, while you live in England. Am I correct in that? If so, and you're not able to get a boxing fight, I'd recommend scheduling a fight for the end of the summer, that way you have time to train with the coaches you'd have for the fight, while you're home on break. In the meantime, sign up for the student fight night. Might not be what you're looking for, but it's something, and should be more tolerable if you get an actual fight lined up for like August.

And i know waiting another half year might seem like a lot, but ultimately, and compared to 5 years, it's not nearly as long as you might think of it.
 

Monkey Turned Wolf

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Hi. As many of you know, I am mainly self-taught, especially when it comes to boxing. Although I have been to gyms with coaches, that would sometimes give me snippets of advice, I never had a coach that would give me the time of the day. I've been hoping that I would come across a coach who would acknowledge me for almost five years now and the day still hasn't come. I've worked hard to get where I am, repeatedly drilling the same combinations and drills and techniques in front of mirrors and bags for hours and hundreds of repetitions at a time daily, as well as pushing my fitness limits as much as possible - in just the last 2 months I raised my plank time from 4:36 minutes to 6:13, and I am so close to being able to do perfect dragon flags. My cardio feels great, as I am constantly doing harder variations of exercises during HIIT boxing/kickboxing gym training sessions. I plan to buy a 22lbs weighted vest and start doing my sessions with it to make it harder and get my movement speed up, and perhaps taping my mouth during my weight training to increase lung capacity.

Regardless of my hard work, I feel that my confidence and my ability are being limited by my lack of amateur fighting experience. It started off as a minor thing but now it is getting to the point where it is becoming a huge insecurity. I see people which seem to be in much worse shape than me, and even have less experience/training than me, get into the ring and it makes me so angry. The fact that these people have had the opportunity to get into the ring and I haven't, makes me feel as though my work and experience is invalidated, and that's just extremely painful. As if the fact that they've had a fight and I haven't made them better than me, no matter how much more training or dedication I might have put in. I feel furious and desperate and have no other way to describe it.

I just need join the amateur team that I have been trying out for, for a couple of months, but it's fruitless. I need to step into the ring so that I know I have what it takes and I can prove it to myself. I want to know I'm not weak or cowardly. My worst fear is getting into the ring for the first time and never having the courage to step back in. The coach I approached that spoke to me about my footwork seems to have pushed me aside, and the only people that have helped me improve are the people on this forum as well as some others online. I had to learn myself and learn the hard way, I learnt from crappy online videos and sparring partners. I've been knocked out, knocked down, and winded from body shots so many times, yet all of those have been in sparring, not fights. My entire experience with my lack of coaching is one of the things that pushes me most with wanting to be a coach myself, so that I can give other people what I have always wanted and never received. I have been overlooked by every single coach I've had. I've been treated as average and mediocre, which I may be, but I do and have always strived to outwork every person in the same room as me.

My next course of action is to book a private session with the other coach who runs the amateur team and see if I can prove myself to him, even though he's a real hardass. The only way that I can reach my full potential, and improve at a normal rate, is if I have someone paying attention to me and helping me see my flaws, yet I can't get that. What it takes me 3 months to achieve on my own, I could probably achieve in just 1 if someone would just lovely help me.

I won't have many options left if that doesn't work. The only thing that will be left for me to do is to fight at my University's Student Fight Night or some white-collar event to try to get some approval. Although some say that these fights might get me the fulfillment I desire, I doubt it. I want to fight someone with my goals and training, not some average Joe with 8 weeks of training. If not, there is only one other boxing gym in my vicinity with an amateur's team, but I'm tired of having to move around until I get what I deserve. I don't want to keep feeling lesser because I've not been given the opportunities everyone else has. I am drained and I am exhausted. Just 4 weeks ago I had an absolute brawl with my kickboxing instructors.

Just me and them, constantly rotating in 2 minute boxing rounds for an hour. I had light nosebleed, swelling and brush marks all over my face. I was knocked down multiple times from body shots and headshots. Just last week I came back with the realisation that I had never been putting in enough power into my blows, or aggression either. And when I started to do that, I dominated all of my sparring partners (it was hard sparring) or at the very least went toe to toe. One of the instructors was one of these sparring partners. I managed to put him on the back foot for once. But why is that not enough? Although my kickboxing gym is willing to get me a fight, they are only local to my home in England, and I spend most of my time in Scotland currently so it is not an option.

I am tired of not feeling worthy, and I don't know what to do. Please, I just need some life advice on how to cope and move forward. This is the one insecurity I have never been able to shake and it is taking a toll on me.
Now for me to voice my other concern, unrelated to the advice given above this, or your questions. If you're often getting knocked out during regular sparring, that is an issue. Not something that you'd want happening even if you were a professional fighter-there's no real benefit to going that hard. You also shouldn't be getting knocked down multiple times from headshots in a one-hour long round robin with your instructors. They should absolutely know how to control themselves to not be knocking you out/down and giving you nosebleeds. Those things can happen, and for most MAers have at some point or another, but it shouldn't be a common occurrence like it sounds like it is here.
 
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Ivan

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Now for me to voice my other concern, unrelated to the advice given above this, or your questions. If you're often getting knocked out during regular sparring, that is an issue. Not something that you'd want happening even if you were a professional fighter-there's no real benefit to going that hard. You also shouldn't be getting knocked down multiple times from headshots in a one-hour long round robin with your instructors. They should absolutely know how to control themselves to not be knocking you out/down and giving you nosebleeds. Those things can happen, and for most MAers have at some point or another, but it shouldn't be a common occurrence like it sounds like it is here.
That's just the type of gym it is. The head coach believes in roughing up his fighters. And when I mean rough up, I mean rough up real hard. He's broken noses and it was the other coach who KO'd me. It was hard sparring and granted he was hitting me hard, but the KO was accidental as I ended up dodging right into a roundhouse kick, so the momentum collision made it much worse than it would have been I think. Nevertheless, the coach told me that what I needed to improve further was hard sparring and I embraced it. I hadn't really had any good hard sparring anyway, and it definitely made me tougher and helped me improve.

As for signing up for a fight with the coach, the only way I could do that would be to skip summer vacation with my parents so that my parents would be unaware I am fighting. I would usually be down to do that, and I did that last year to train. However, the last time I did, I think that the lack of suntan and exposure made me really sick. I was raised in Spain which is a really sunny country so I guess my body is used to Vitamin D or whatever. Last summer was the first time I didn't go abroad to get some sun and I was ill with a severe chest infection and antibiotics for 3 months. If I have no luck within 1-2 months of returning to Scotland, I may ask my Kickboxing coaches to sign me for a fight.

Regardless, I know that my kickboxing gym is not ideal. I believe in hard sparring, but not to the extent they do it there. Even the coach admits that his way borderlines on bullying and abuse. His fighters definitely come out strong and tough for sure, but they do suffer a lot of damage before even having had a fight. What awaits me if I ask them to train me for a fight is just that. The head coach was toughening up one of his students in this way, and he said that by the end of it the gym looked like a "slaughterhouse" from the blood and that he needed it to have it "deep cleaned" to open it back up. Even though it's not the best of gyms, it's the only striking gym close to me. Since my parents moved house, my old boxing gym is too far away and has turned into a HIIT for moms etc type of gym anyway.

As for what you said about Scotland, yes it's because that's where my university is. The reason for not being signed for an amateur fight is that they are not willing to sign anyone for a fight unless they're on the team. The gym is very careful with its reputation, so they don't allow fighters into the team or allow them to take a fight unless they are sure they have a very good chance of winning. I am definitely going to attempt to sign up for some white collar stuff. I already put my name in for a student fight night, and I am going to join the university's boxing club to ask to fight in the University's fight night next September.
 
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Blindside

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Uh, let your
Step 1 - Find people who want to get together and spar.
Step 2 - Get together and spar.

Honestly if he can't find a decent club in the area that is producing fighters he probably isn't going to find decent sparring partners just randomly out of thin air.
 

Dirty Dog

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Uh, let your


Honestly if he can't find a decent club in the area that is producing fighters he probably isn't going to find decent sparring partners just randomly out of thin air.
What he has said, though, indicates that there are gyms in his area that spar, but he's unhappy with them. So that would seem to indicate that finding some partners wouldn't be impossible.
 
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Ivan

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What he has said, though, indicates that there are gyms in his area that spar, but he's unhappy with them. So that would seem to indicate that finding some partners wouldn't be impossible.
I can find sparring partners for sure.
 

Blindside

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What he has said, though, indicates that there are gyms in his area that spar, but he's unhappy with them. So that would seem to indicate that finding some partners wouldn't be impossible.
To paraphrase Elmore Leonard, "if one coach is a problem, he is a problem, if every coach is a problem, you might be the problem."
 

JowGaWolf

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I've been hoping that I would come across a coach who would acknowledge me for almost five years now and the day still hasn't come.
What do you think needs to be acknowledge or what do you want to be acknowledge for? My personal thoughts is that your mental space should never be occupied with acknowledgement. It's been my experience that acknowledgement comes often when people aren't seeking it.

perhaps taping my mouth during my weight training to increase lung capacity.
nah you'll just pass out. The mouth is like a big carbon dioxide vent.

Even the coach admits that his way borderlines on bullying and abuse. His fighters definitely come out strong and tough for sure, but they do suffer a lot of damage before even having had a fight.
Yeah don't train like this. It'll stunt your fighting ability because your body will always be trying to heal itself. Not healthy at all. How can someone push themselves to the next level if they are always busted up? My best training days are usually after I had my two days off. I usually get 3 good days of training before I start to decline due to my body wearing out. Training with a fresh body definitely beats training on a worn out one.

I already put my name in for a student fight night, and I am going to join the university's boxing club to ask to fight in the University's fight night next September.
This is probably where I would start, if I were in your situation.
I am going to join the university's boxing club
Usually clubs like this have people who have passion for boxing, vs trying to be the best boxer in the world. You could probably more sparring done. You might also run into people who used to train in gyms as well.
 

JowGaWolf

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It was hard sparring and granted he was hitting me hard, but the KO was accidental as I ended up dodging right into a roundhouse kick, so the momentum collision made it much worse than it would have been I think.
This is why I don't push hard sparring. You would have made this mistake sparring at 50% but it would have been less damaging. It would have been an easier lesson too. You can't learn anything when you are KO'd

If you can't out perform in a sparring environment at 50% then then you are going to have a tough time doing it in hard sparring.

Right now you have a lot of gaps in your fighting ability. I don't mean it in a negative way, but those gaps can be critical as you are currently finding out. You have to spar at an intensity level that will allow you to make mistakes over and over again without paying a big price for them. This will allow you learn faster and to develop adjustments. It will allow you to try things out and will give you time to get things right.

People get better when they afford to make mistakes. When sparring is too hard, then you are going to play things safe by doing what you already know vs trying to do things you want to learn.
 
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Dirty Dog

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Hi. As many of you know, I am mainly self-taught, especially when it comes to boxing.
And that is almost certainly at least part of the problem. You really cannot teach yourself this stuff.
perhaps taping my mouth during my weight training to increase lung capacity.
Don't do this. It's idiotic. It will not help you in any way. It's worse than your earlier idea to soak in pickle juice.
Regardless of my hard work, I feel that my confidence and my ability are being limited by my lack of amateur fighting experience.
I honestly think it's more that you lack real training and do ridiculous things for silly reasons. E.G. the tape and pickle juice things.
It started off as a minor thing but now it is getting to the point where it is becoming a huge insecurity. I see people which seem to be in much worse shape than me, and even have less experience/training than me, get into the ring and it makes me so angry. The fact that these people have had the opportunity to get into the ring and I haven't, makes me feel as though my work and experience is invalidated, and that's just extremely painful. As if the fact that they've had a fight and I haven't made them better than me, no matter how much more training or dedication I might have put in. I feel furious and desperate and have no other way to describe it.
Your insecurities are also a problem and I'd bet money that getting in the ring will not change them at all. You seem to base your opinion of your own self-worth on outside sources. That's a mistake. Honestly, and without any intention of being mean, I think you'd be better off addressing these issues with a therapist than a trainer.

To paraphrase Elmore Leonard, "if one coach is a problem, he is a problem, if every coach is a problem, you might be the problem."
No disagreement at all. I think the OP has problems that are not going to be resolved by sparring.
 

JowGaWolf

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And that is almost certainly at least part of the problem. You really cannot teach yourself this stuff.
Yeah. That's true. We help when we can but no one here is setting a path for him. It's like he's walking in the woods with his eyes clothes. He does well on when the well traveled paths, but will when that path starts to blend with the rest of the woods, that's when that guidance would help.

Personally since he's into boxing, he may want to hit up @Terrible Tim Witherspoon. The stuff that we know is good for fighting and understanding various approaches but that's bits and pieces of knowledge some of which couldn't even be used in boxing. Someone who coach boxing could lay a path for him to follow.

What he has said, though, indicates that there are gyms in his area that spar, but he's unhappy with them.
ha ha ha. I must be easy to please. When I signed up to the gym I'm in, they wanted to give me a tour. I told them bluntly. I'm not joining the gym for the weights, I'm joining for the heavy bags. That's all that it took to make me happy.
 

Monkey Turned Wolf

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That's just the type of gym it is. The head coach believes in roughing up his fighters. And when I mean rough up, I mean rough up real hard. He's broken noses and it was the other coach who KO'd me. It was hard sparring and granted he was hitting me hard, but the KO was accidental as I ended up dodging right into a roundhouse kick, so the momentum collision made it much worse than it would have been I think. Nevertheless, the coach told me that what I needed to improve further was hard sparring and I embraced it. I hadn't really had any good hard sparring anyway, and it definitely made me tougher and helped me improve.
...
Regardless, I know that my kickboxing gym is not ideal. I believe in hard sparring, but not to the extent they do it there. Even the coach admits that his way borderlines on bullying and abuse. His fighters definitely come out strong and tough for sure, but they do suffer a lot of damage before even having had a fight. What awaits me if I ask them to train me for a fight is just that. The head coach was toughening up one of his students in this way, and he said that by the end of it the gym looked like a "slaughterhouse" from the blood and that he needed it to have it "deep cleaned" to open it back up. Even though it's not the best of gyms, it's the only striking gym close to me. Since my parents moved house, my old boxing gym is too far away and has turned into a HIIT for moms etc type of gym anyway.
That's not a gym to stay at. Unless your goal is to be really tough by 25, never actually reach your peak ability, and have to retire from most of your MA by the time you hit your 30s. No martial arts is better than bad martial arts.

I haven't seen her in a few months, so not sure if she's still on here, but it may be worth talking to @Tez3 . She's involved in the fighting scene in the UK, but if I'm remembering right spreads out a little bit farther than that, so may have some contacts and/or recommendations for where you're at in scotland. That is, if she's both on here/sees this thread, and feeling nice. Her or @Terrible Tim Witherspoon might be good people to get some advice on...here's hoping they get notifications from tags lol.
 
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That's not a gym to stay at. Unless your goal is to be really tough by 25, never actually reach your peak ability, and have to retire from most of your MA by the time you hit your 30s. No martial arts is better than bad martial arts.

I haven't seen her in a few months, so not sure if she's still on here, but it may be worth talking to @Tez3 . She's involved in the fighting scene in the UK, but if I'm remembering right spreads out a little bit farther than that, so may have some contacts and/or recommendations for where you're at in scotland. That is, if she's both on here/sees this thread, and feeling nice. Her or @Terrible Tim Witherspoon might be good people to get some advice on...here's hoping they get notifications from tags lol.
Hey Terrible Tim here I will do a video on this subject because it is real important and lots of fighters get hurt.
 

Blindside

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Go at a MA school, watch their class. At the end of the class, ask a student if he wants to spar with you outside of his class. k

Wow, I bet that gets you a pissed off coach. If it is one of my advanced guys then great, they can handle themselves. If it isn't I'm going to be more than a little protective of some stranger trying to walk in and get sparring partners.
 

Kung Fu Wang

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Wow, I bet that gets you a pissed off coach. If it is one of my advanced guys then great, they can handle themselves. If it isn't I'm going to be more than a little protective of some stranger trying to walk in and get sparring partners.
You don't have to ask that student in the school. You can ask that student in the parking lot. Of course you will pick the best student in that class (advanced guy). You won't always succeed. Sometime people would turn you down. The nice thing about this approach is you can spar with people from different MA systems.
 
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