Back in July I decided it was time to get the competitive juices flowing! I had only just returned to consistent training around the beginning of the year after injuries had kept me from participating in any physical activities, specially any kind of martial arts training. About 6 years ago began a pretty unfortunate series of injuries from bursitis in my knee, a ganglion and fluid in my wrist, a blood clot in my leg and the worst of all - 2 herniated discs and associated ills in my lower back. The back injury specifically put me on the side lines for about 5 years. There were periods of up to 6 months where I couldn’t drive, sit down or even dress myself. Although this was no significant blow to the MMA lightweight rankings, it was a disaster for me as I haven’t spend more than a couple of months since I was about 5 without training and/ or competing in some sporting activity.
Looking back, the silver lining to this period of constant whining and self pity, was that my time off the mats led to me focussing on other people’s time on the mats and perhaps why some of you are even remotely interested in reading this ramble!! Commentating and reporting on mixed martial arts became my new obsession, rather than me constantly flirting with the notion of pretending to be an actual competitive fighter!
So, this brings me to the summer of 2015 where I felt that my body was stable enough (though its really not back to fighting shape) to embark on some new competitive challenges. 5 years of not training meant I lost a lot of strength and cardiovascular capacity. However, a newfound plant based lifestyle has left me feeling more healthy. This has also contributed to a completely different mind-set whereby I am just grateful to be moving around more freely. I’m back training submission wrestling, Brazilian jiu jitsu and even some striking, which is something I never thought I’d be able to do a few years back. Another massive plus is that I’m back in the gym with old friends, some of whom were only slightly ahead of me, but are now leagues above. Demoralising in some ways, but again I’m grateful to be back learning.
Deciding what I could realistically compete in was a bit of a quandary. The UFC wouldn’t be happy about me fighting and I’ll be honest, I wouldn’t be happy about me fighting with my current skill set. I have similar views on any kind of grappling competition as I am only now starting to get back to the novice level that I was 5 years ago. It would be counter productive to get destroyed in a competition, specially now as a few more people might be interested in how good or bad I perform.
Looking outside of the obvious I connected with some old friends who were enjoying life on 2 wheels and even some obstacle races. Most of my mates have retired from footy and besides I always loved an injury in my playing days. My mind was made up; I’d try to do a tri! Oh and I’d throw in a Spartan Race. And add in another triathlon. All in the same month!