UFC 165 Jones vs. Gustafsson
UFC 165 Jones vs. Gustafsson was a night of great fights, but the title fight between Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson was incredible! Any fan of mixed martial arts or fighting in general appreciated the battle that took place in the Octagon last Saturday. 5 rounds (25 minutes) of back and forth punches (with 4 ounce gloves), kicks, elbows, and occasional clinches and takedowns by two men with a combined reach of 165.7 inches. By the end, both men were bloodied and exhausted, wobbly and shaky. It’s a solid bet that neither even knew what round it was! And regardless of how you feel about the outcome, it was an awesome fight. It was one of those fights or tests that changes a person. Both of those men learned a lot about their hearts and about their skill level and true technical strengths and weaknesses. It’s an excellent example of why we drill techniques over and over again, and why we push ourselves harder on each successive test as we ascend the belt ranks.
Similar to a professional fight such as UFC 165 Jones vs. Gustafsson, tests in martial arts (whether they be for kickboxing or MMA or Krav Maga or Brazilian Jiu Jitsu BJJ or Kali Silat) are designed to exhaust the student. Once exhausted, both physically and mentally, the student learns his or her true technical proficiency. When we are tired or stressed we tend to fall back on the skills and techniques that we have drilled the most and which are the most ingrained in our subconscious and our body’s muscle memory. Through testing students discover which techniques they draw upon most often and also what mistakes they make under pressure.
Martial arts tests, like fights, also build and test heart. Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson both had to dig incredibly deep at UFC 165 Jones vs. Gustafsson and push past exhaustion, pain, and self doubt in order to keep battling through that fight. A test is designed to push a student past his or her limits in a similar way; as a student works his or her way up to higher ranks within a system, tests get progressively more difficult because the student is getting both mentally and physically tougher and stronger from the months and, eventually, years of training and prior tests.
Fights and tests are often looked at with trepidation; outsiders wonder why on Earth anyone would want to do such a thing to themselves! But most people will never know what they’re made of, don’t know if they would stand and fight past all pain and injury in order to protect a loved one, or if they would cower or flee. Testing shows you a great deal about yourself; who are you when you’re stripped of all the pretensions and walls and safety nets that you set for yourself? What do you see when you are forced to look at what you’re truly made of? It’s not a comfortable choice and many would rather not know the answers, but the results of martial arts training and its tests are self confidence and inner strength, the ability to better handle adversity, and a more calm decisiveness under pressure and chaos.
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