The Fighter's Mind: Inside the Mental Game

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RFS
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The Fighter's Mind: Inside the Mental Game

Post by RFS » Mon Feb 12, 2018 10:01 pm

Has anyone else read this? I've been hooked on MMA ever since I saw the McGregor vs. Diaz II fight last year. These guys fought for 25 minutes, and there were several momentum shifts despite both men getting hurricane kicked in the face and then clinched in the corner of a cage. The resilience impressed me in a way I've never felt with other sports. If you don't outwork your competition in football, basketball, hockey, etc, you lose. But in MMA, another man literally mounts you, pins you down with his knees, and repeatedly BEATS YOUR ASS. In front of children and spouses. How the fuck does someone keep their cool in a situation like that?!

I was unbelievably stoked to read this, and it was even deeper than I thought it would be. Sam Sheridan, the author, basically weaves a story about mental toughness and the science of resisting the urge to quit around conversations with people who compete for a living. It is beautifully written.

There's a section I particularly liked that highlights a fighter who is a polymath. He studies things like music theory and horticulture, then incorporates them into his fight strategies. He has a picture of George Washington in his house, so he can look at it and think "this guy had to lead men through the snow to their deaths in a war that seemed unwinnable. And he did not mentally break. Whatever it is I'm doing, I can do it."
Last edited by RFS on Tue Mar 13, 2018 7:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Scott 2
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Re: The Fighter's Mind: Inside the Mental Game

Post by Scott 2 » Tue Feb 13, 2018 9:09 am

MMA is the only sport I pay attention to. I'm not even sure I'd call it a sport. The unpredictable test of wills makes a very compelling story.

It's also a good visual demonstration of what the need to be "alpha" leads to. Early seasons of TUF held my interest, because the perspectives of the fighters were so different from anything I'd ever been exposed to. My exact opposites in so many ways.

I read some of the earlier mma books, including Sam Sheridan's first. Not his second. I was struck by the overwhelming need for a black and white world, despite repeated failures to find it. A common theme was fighters romanticizing their inability to compromise with society. Many of them come across as raging assholes.

The UFC PR machine has softened the fighter's reputation, even getting some unlikely candidates held up as role models. IMO the reality is they are uniquely wired freaks of nature. It takes a special person to choose getting punched in the face for a living. A person like that will have rough edges and a do anything to win mentality.

I'm amazed how small the purses are most fight for. A great demonstration that in our society, physical dominance means very little in the way of power or influence. Watching the fighters grovel in front of Dana on TUF really brings this home.

I still watch the spectacle.

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RFS
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Re: The Fighter's Mind: Inside the Mental Game

Post by RFS » Tue Mar 13, 2018 5:15 pm

Scott 2 wrote:
Tue Feb 13, 2018 9:09 am

I'm amazed how small the purses are most fight for. A great demonstration that in our society, physical dominance means very little in the way of power or influence. Watching the fighters grovel in front of Dana on TUF really brings this home.
It is truly astounding. I read that the UFC, which nets about $600m/year, pays the average fighter $42k/yr. You eat what you kill in that business, but still.

I'm sure unions will emerge, like in the NBA and NFL, especially now that it's becoming exponentially more popular. I don't know who said "please get that fucking Tapout logo off the clothes" at the UFC headquarters one fateful day, but they truly changed the course of history.

Farm_or
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Re: The Fighter's Mind: Inside the Mental Game

Post by Farm_or » Thu Mar 15, 2018 7:17 am

This is still a sport in relative infancy. I like the way it has evolved and they are trying to avoid some of the mistakes of boxing.

Boxing's demise was the rapid greed. When I was a boy, Sugar Ray, Hagler, Duran, Hearns were household names. And everyone knew who the heavyweight champion was. That interest is gone. It started changing with the advent of pay per view. The interest and popularity declined. UFC still does enough mass broadcast to keep the populace interested so they can sell more pay per view.

It's given a whole lot of athletes a way to showcase their talent.

It's changed Hollywood fight scenes.

But it is just beginning to evolve as a sport. I'm afraid that it will be pressed to change more to make it more spectator appealing?

slowtraveler
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Re: The Fighter's Mind: Inside the Mental Game

Post by slowtraveler » Thu Mar 15, 2018 8:39 am

I did MMA for a while, long enough to get a blue belt in Jiu Jitsu. It leads to some serious body injuries. Especially in the back from getting slammed or falling, elbows from being stubborn on tapping out at arm bars, and brain damage from the obvious.

It's not about keeping cool, there's a certain rush that makes it exciting. Unlike the hype before fights, I felt a respect for all my opponents except the truly insecure assholes who were pos and had nothing outside of the sport so they were sore losers and would cheat to try to win. And one guy who beat the sh*t out of my friend in a match but I only ended up tying with him unfortunately.

I've practiced with a few in the UFC. They are like bulls, very hard to stop and like playing a chess master, get smashed very quickly.

The sport was fun for some years. I got what I needed out of it and now feel confident defending myself 1 on 1 with no weapons.

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