Let’s Kick Some Ass -Jehiah Burchfield
I hear these kinds of statements all the time at fights and it never fails to make me smirk. I will make no bones about the fact that I find this kind of “pumping up” through junior-high level poseur bullshit amusing at best. This is another thing I like about the way it is with the TCB team backstage. No mean frowns while singing Slip Knot songs, no wildly gesticulating Eminem imitations, no putting your face in front of a teammate and telling them that they are a “bad mother fucker”, demanding that they “get mad”, etc. I will detail below what I think is so important about getting this approach right.
Take off your mask 🙂
Displays of aggressive music, chest thumping, etc. leading up to a competition-think about what is behind that. Very often these behaviors are a response to fear-they are an attempt to cover up the truth that there is a certain aversion to what is about to happen. There is a certain attraction to it as well, but I believe you miss the most attractive part if you insist trying to cover up your concern by blasting your favorite music for angry souls and loudly proclaiming that you are going to “destroy” or “kill” your opponent or whatever other pretentious overstatement you prefer.
This guy never threatens to kill his opponents…
…which should make you feel silly if you do.
By doing this, you are missing the opportunity to face your fears for what they are-you are failing to be honest with yourself and you are putting up a front to keep the fear at bay. This is why I have always liked fighters like Randy Couture, Fedor Emeliananko, GSP, etc. These kinds of competitors have the air of the quiet professional; they don’t feel the need to convince anyone that they are there to fight, they know that the fight will happen soon enough and that it will be what it is. I also have respect for each of our competitors who step up in the cage and face their own fears with composure. It is a maturing experience if you let it be, and you can see the mark it leaves on people’s lives when it is handled correctly.
Not quiet professionals:
This is why I don’t like trash-talking and self-aggrandizement. Time and time again in my life I have seen the loud over-actors break and quit. What that looks like to me is that some people spend a lot of energy trying to convince themselves that they are not afraid of something when they are, which leaves little energy for actually rising to a challenge. It is more authentic to simply recognize that humans have natural aversions to certain situations and that they respond psychologically to these types of predicaments. In my opinion, the only worthwhile reason to subject yourself to this is to grow from the experience. However, if you never look deeply enough at your experience then the opportunity for increased self-knowledge is missed and the growth does not occur.
This spills into other areas of life as well. For instance, if you can learn to not experience excessive anxiety when your ego, reputation, or body is at risk, if you can be sincere in trying circumstances, you will experience a level of authenticity that will greatly change your entire life experience. You will learn more about worry and anxiety through true introspection in difficult conditions than you would learn from reading 200 self-help books and continuing to blast “Let the Bodies Hit the Floor” every time you “need to get psyched up” for a situation involving a modicum of stress.
I have faced a (very) few combative situations where death or serious physical maiming was a real possibility, and I never left the situation feeling more arrogant for having escaped unscathed, I never felt like fist-pumping or “raising the roof”. I know a number of men who have more experience in this regard than I do. Without exception, those experiences have left them more humble, friendly and realistic. They are not your boastful caricature of a “tough guy” who acts like a one-man mosh pit at parties, I can promise you. I think the reason for this is that facing your own mortality is not the kind of experience that makes you mouthier, it makes you quieter. As Denzel Washington’s character in American Gangster said “The loudest one in the room is the weakest one in the room”.
Combative sports can be viewed as a microcosm of this kind of confrontation with your own finitude. They offer the opportunity to experience the fear that comes from threats to self. Maybe not all-or-nothing, “death in battle” threats , but very real threats to ego and to physical comfort. And I believe they are superior to all other competitive activities because of this. So if you are ever at a fight and see me respond to someone’s fervent plead to “kick his ayy-uss!” by chuckling to myself, now you know what I am thinking. Enjoy your training.