JOE-Jitsu Week 11 - So, why then!?
A lot of people over the past twelve weeks have asked why I was doing this; be it friends, or presenters while doing any of the press that myself and Owen have been taking part in to promote the documentary, Barbaric Gentlemen, and the event, Euro Fight Night.
There’s more than one answer to that question, but the main one is probably that it’s just in my personality. Not to fight, or anything remotely aggressive like that, but rather to push myself as much as I conceivably could.
I’ve previously run Ultramarathons (the last one was also a documentary broadcast on Setanta Sports, called Challenge 126, where myself and Brian Maher ran to raise money for Special Olympics), as well as doing a couple of long distance triathlons. In my longest, an Ironman 70.3 in Germany, I learned to swim about two months beforehand. So they (the challenges) have always borderlined on almost idiocy… but therein lay the challenge, I suppose.
The (elongated) point I’m trying to make is that I put myself in a position where I HAD to learn. I signed up for an event, started raising money for charity and told eeeeeveryone who’d listen. That meant I HAD to do it – this fight is no different.
When I initially spoke to Owen Roddy about the challenge I had in mind we envisioned, vaguely, that the fight could possibly be in nine months or so. It was still a short space of time to train, but I was never going to be a pro-fighter or even fight as a decent level amateur; regardless it would make for a good documentary, or at least one I’d watch anyway.
Owen looked for an event that would suit and put me in touch with one of the top coaches in Europe, SBG’s John Kavanagh, who was planning an event about four months away. A lot sooner than I imagined, but I was going to be fighting someone of a similar level, albeit someone that had trained for longer. I wasn’t kidding myself.
When I spoke to John first to discuss the event I made one thing clear; I did not think I was tough, I had no illusions of doing it professionally, and I just wanted to put a magnifying glass over the sport, the fighters and what they go through. That’s what fascinated me and that’s what I thought readers of JOE and those who would watch Barbaric Gentlemen would be interested in…
The past few months have been a learning experience that has been unparalleled in my life so far. While I was a fan of the sport, there was so much about it and the fighters I knew nothing about. Everyone knows these guys are tough, but few realise the sacrifices they make. Their families make. Their bodies make. I wouldn’t unless I’d trained with Owen and all of the Primal lads. And even then it’s barely a taste of what these guys do on a daily basis.
Whatever happens on Saturday night, whoever wins, I think Mixed Martial Arts has pushed me unlike anything else ever could. That’s why I did it, and that’s why I’ll be back in Primal the following week after the fight.
As ever, thanks to Owen for his amazing coaching, and words of wisdom. Thanks too to the lads in Primal - especially Danny, Scott, Ryan, Mark and Dermo for their patience with me. Thanks to Bodyfirst for keeping me in supplements and to the guys at SBG city centre for letting me use their digs to train when I couldn't make it to Primal.