Fighting with Mental Health Part 2

One of the most powerful moments of my life was hearing another grown man tell me he loves me. I still remember it like it was just yesterday and it happened here at Lightning Kicks. I was in the midst of a fight camp for my first MMA fight. The weeks were going by and the training was becoming increasingly more intense and difficult and I was surrounded by a group of men who were determined to get the best out of me.

There was one particular practice that I will never forget because it took me to my perceived limitations and my teammates made it possible for me to get there. There was a certain drill Master Amir had me executed, which involved ten minutes of takedowns. The only catch is, I was in the middle and my teammates were rotated in for the drill after a takedown was secured by myself or my teammate. One after another, for 10 straight minutes, at the end of an already grueling practice, and they were instructed to really take it to me. I had to be ready for anything in my upcoming fight and each of my teammates felt a moral obligation to not feel sorry for me and not given into my look of exhaustion and fatigue. It was their role to get me to push past this level of exhaustion, push back the "quit button," as Master Amir liked to call it.

It was meant to be pure hell and my teammates did not disappoint, but there was one teammate in particulate who stood out, who was really cheering me on in the midst of sucking the life out of me. He had a strong wrestling background and would stuff my every attempt, and after we fought long and hard he would give it to me and put me on my back, all the while speaking to me, "You've got this Tanner, don't give up! I believe in you!" I was so glad he believed in me, because I was beginning to lose belief in myself and it took a very special person to show compassion and intolerance at the same time.