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Just like any other sport, mixed martial arts require a large of physical training. During this training you will hone your body into becoming the tool that you need to become a successful fighter. However, many people do not realize the importance of training your mind as well as your body. Mental toughness goes a long way in helping your become a complete athlete and push through when others may quit.
It is mental toughness that will teach you how to react in stressful situations. The same mental toughness that will help you push through when the deck seems stacked against you. For example, your fight begins and both you and your opponent rush from your corner and begin exchanging blows. You get hit with a clean shot that leaves you hurt. Instead of wilting under that pressure, being mentally strong to steady yourself will help you weather that storm.
Look at how Frankie Edgar withstood a first round barrage from Gray Maynard during his title defense in January. That fight looked very bleak and could have been stopped, but instead Edgar buckled down and fought through that assault to force a five-round draw. If you were to show someone just the first round of that fight you would think that Edgar was easily defeated. However, it’s due to his training regimen and mental toughness that he is still UFC Lightweight Champion today.
During competition it is inevitable that you will become fatigued. No matter how much training and cardiovascular work that you complete, your muscles can not go on forever. Still, you have to keep fighting for that victory. Mental toughness can help teach you how to push through when your body is tired. Controlled breathing and relaxation techniques are two examples of mental training exercises that can help you. Panicking in such situations can lead to defeat. Training exercises such as these can help you focus when the situation is most dire.
Fighting through animosity is a big part of any fighter’s career. There isn’t one fighter who has not found himself to be in a bad spot that required more than his years of martial arts training to get out of. It’s moments like these that require mental toughness to find a way out. Develop this into your own game and you will find yourself much closer to becoming a complete fighter.