“Why do you fight?”

If you are a fighter or if you have ever competed in combat sports then you have probably been asked the question, “Why do you fight?”, this type of question is spoken with a confused or often concerned tone as if they are speaking with someone uneducated or broken in some way.

So why do we fight? Well I think this question comes down to a number of reasons so its hard to pin point just one, but here are a few of the influences that I believe guide people to becoming a fighter

george st pierre

If someone asked an AFL athlete why they like playing AFL they may reply that they love the fast paced action, the skills needed to play the game, the excitement of not knowing what will happen during a game or that they admire the sheer athleticism needed to take part. Well I’m sure if you asked someone why they loved doing BJJ or Muay Thai for example they would answer in a very similar way. I believe most combat sports need amazing athletisim, skillset, coordination, technique and mental awareness to take part at a high level. Not only are you in a sport where you must judge what the other person is about to do and reply with the correct answer for that particular technique but it takes such a high level of fitness and mental toughness to just compete efficiently.

Often people only see the fight itself and don’t understand the sacrifice and discipline needed to compete in a combat sport.

A fighters life often works around their training, their eating and their recovery for at least 6-8 weeks before a fight. You have to sacrifice time with friends or even social events you can’t attend, you must make sure your eating is on point and is often restricted to make the weight needed to compete at your category and you have to train everyday even if you are tired, sore or bruised from the training the day before.

People don’t see this sacrifice they only see your performance in the ring over a few minutes. They don’t see the emotions you wrestle with including all the games your mind plays with you, doubting yourself and your ability time and time again.

If you can overcome the overwhelming feelings of excitement mixed with fear that you encounter during that long walk into the ring before a fight then all the sacrifices are always worth it.

The benefits from taking part in this kind of competition plus the fight preparation required are unmeasurable.

You will become physically stronger, your body will be placed under major stress which will make it a higher functioning and efficient machine.

You will increase your mental focus and toughness, if you can compete in combat sports then everything else in life becomes that little bit easier. What once stressed you out or made you anxious will pale in comparison. Now I’m not saying that you will not feel stress again, as the feeling of is natural bodily reaction but it will be dulled down, it will put things into perspective.

People often say they are never really in the present, they often refer to this feeling of life being muffled and always just responding to what they need to do for the future.

When you fight the focus you have will definitly be in the moment, nothing else comes into your mind at that time so this makes for a centred almost zen feeling that most will never encounter.

The passion you have for the sport, the challenges you overcome preparing and perfoming in a fight plus the excitement you feel when you step into the arena all come to mind when answering the question of why you fight.

Most people will never understand why you fight no matter how much you explain the feelings you get from doing this amazing sport and they will often just focus on the negative possible outcomes they can imagine from their limited understanding. This is why it takes a special kind of person to endure and achieve in this sport.

So next time someone asks “Why do you fight?” just simply reply “Because I’m a Fighter” and leave it at that.

Stephen Walton