90% of fight results can be predicted by fighting mindset of a fighter. You must train to be the best, compete against yourself – everyone else is an opportunity to test yourself and skills, and then learn and grow. Aim for the long-term success.
First fights are an awakening of the mind, body, and spirit. The first time a fighter steps into a ring or cage with an opponent standing across from them is a very real and honest moment in that person’s life. All of the preparation, coaching, visualization, setting a fighting mindset and sacrifice put in prior to this first fight can’t fully prepare them for what they may think or feel about themselves in time from when they wake up that morning to when the first bell sounds.
It would be impossible and arrogant to think there is one way to do things before a first fight that will work for every fighter. No two fighters experience things in the same way. Fighting is a journey of self-discovery and self-improvement, the best honest advice one can be given is to stay present throughout the journey. Absorb all of the feedback one’s mind and body give you along the way and use that to improve your martial arts skills.
Fighters who are preparing for their first fight should enlist the experience of other fighters and coaches they trust that have gone through this experience for advice. It very helps to get yourself into the right fighting mindset. Listen to what they have to say and honestly ask themselves if they think following this advice will benefit them or not. Don’t be a crash test dummy.
There is only one way to learn and grow and that is by taking in the information given, applying it in the best possible way and measuring the results. If the result is positive stick with it, if not abandon it and seek out alternative information. Experience is gained through overcoming adversity.
The day of the fight should be tailor made to make the fighter feel as comfortable and relaxed as possible. If the fighter is comfortable around people they should surround themselves with friends and loved ones to remain loose and relaxed leading up to the fight. It helps to get into a needful fighting mindset.
If the fighter is an introvert and prefers isolation from people and outside distractions before a fight, this may work as well to keep any pre-fight stress or anxiety to a minimum. Listening to music, watching television, light meditation are all useful ways fighters can spend the time before a fight staying in a mental state that suits their personalities and fighting mindset.
The fighter must remember all of the hard work and training is over. The weigh-ins are over and there are no more obligations to be met leading up to the opening bell. A certain amount of nervous energy is ok. The fighter must learn to harness this energy so that doesn’t zap their physical energy levels leading up to the fight. The fighter must remember to manage their nerves and adrenaline that naturally occur before a fight.
If this is their first fight this is probably the most common problem new fighters face when gearing up for their first fight. Fighting in front of an audience under the lights is vastly different from sparring in the confines of their familiar gyms. A useful technique could be arriving early to the venue and going through a mock walk out and ring entry just so the environment is not completely foreign to them leading up to their fight.
Another tip for preparing for a first fight is regulating hydration levels leading up to the opening bell. It is imperative for the fighter to completely rehydrate after weigh-ins. It is also important not to over hydrate too close to fight time. Taking in too many fluids right before a fight can lead the fighter to feel sluggish and slow when it comes time to perform.
Drink plenty of fluid early on in the day and taper off leading up to fight time. The fighter should only be taking small sips of water the last few hours before the opening bell. If there is too much water in the stomach of the fighter it could severely hinder performance once the fight starts.
This next tip varies based on each individual fighter. They must know their body and how long it takes for them to warm up. The body performs better at a warmer temperature so it is important to keep the entire body covered in comfortable and breathable clothing prior to the fight. Timing is crucial for the fighter to enter the ring ready to fight and totally warmed up.
A light sweat should be broken in the dressing room before the fight. The fighter wants to walk into the fight ready to perform at optimal levels. Do not wait for the bell to sound to begin warming up. It is also important not to over exert one’s self in the dressing room so that they enter the ring and their body and mind has already done three rounds.
The most important thing to remember and focus on is to be present in the moment, be confident in the skills trained an acquired leading up to this first fight. Confidence is the key but respect for one’s opponent is paramount. Enjoy the opportunity that has been given.
Make the most of it. Fight to win.
Here is something interesting for you to read:
- Understanding Combat Mindset and Mental Conditioning by Ole B
- 3 Tips to Develop a MMA Mindset
- Combat Mindset and Killer Instinct
- Understanding Krav Maga Mindset and Mental Conditioning
- The Wrestling Mindset and Tactics of a Champion
- Special Forces Mindset Tips
- Navy SEAL Mindset Training Tips
- Spartan Mindset – How to Live Like a Warrior
Over to you now. Tell us about your first fight and how you get yourself into the right fighting mindset in comments.
by Chris Grabowski