How long does it take to get in the ring? (5 ways to do it quicker)
May 1, 2023 | Training
We’re coaching a Boxing or Muay Thai class and a keen student asks us the age-old question: “When can I jump in the ring, and fight?”
It’s a question we get asked A LOT. The short answer is, there is no same answer for everyone, it all depends.
I am always brutally honest when it comes to fighting in the ring: It is real. You are exposing yourself to a situation where you face someone who is going to take your head off, and unprepared, you will get seriously hurt. In my lifetime I have seen many a sorry-soul end up second best in a situation that could have been prevented by better preparation. As a coach, I’d rather avoid it altogether for someone who isn’t ready…
It can take months, if not years, before the time comes, however, here are 5 things that can get you there sooner if planning to take the plunge in the near future…
1) Consistent Routine
Training consistently is something super important in your development. Whether you train a few days a week, or most days a week, being consistent is a good way to ensure you build a baseline of mental tolerance, fitness, coordination, stamina, and skills. Your training week should consist of extra-curricular cardio training (jogging, swimming, biking, and sprints), pad work/bag work (emulating or exceeding the duration of a bout), drills/sparring (a combination of hard sparring and light work), as well as ensuring adequate hydration and nutrition.
Let’s not forget recovery for those sore muscles that will happen! (Sauna, massage, walks, yoga, etc.)
As a general rule of thumb, I recommend:
– Beginner: Start with 3 hours of adequate class training per week
– Intermediate: 4-5 hours of adequate class training per week
– Advanced: Minimum 6 hours of adequate class training per week
2) Be Aware of the Peaks & Troughs
Training consistently is bound to give you the highest of highs and from time to time, a few lows… This may appear in the form of soreness, feeling emotional, a lack of self-belief, negative self-talk, self-doubt, slowed progress, or low energy (CBF). One day you’ll be training the house down like Floyd Mayweather in his prime, the next you will feel like the poor old man that Conor McGregor unexpectedly punched in the pub.
The thing is, you have to be aware that the journey is never linear. It is a climb that is squiggly and will test you at times, it may even seem like you are going absolutely nowhere. The thing is, if you are aware that this is a part of the journey and acknowledge the troughs, you will always be progressing even if it’s not at the pace you’d like (see below).
Remember to think back to why you want this, show up consistently, ask your coach quality questions, and aim to be 1% better instead of 100% better each session.
3) Make Journal Notes
This is a mind-numbingly simple task that feels like another thing to do but was taught by my jiu-jitsu coach a few years ago. The mind retains a lot more of the information that has focus and attention driven to it. So post-session, grab your journal and a pen, and write down key takeaways, any pointers, or even extra info you learned during the session!
As an added bonus, this exercise alone is super-powerful when it comes to facing the very real self-doubt/imposter syndrome you may face in the aforementioned lows as it allows recognition of the actual work undertaken, and can help remove the emotional monster that can sometimes rear its ugly head.
4) Stop coaching yourself
One thing I have seen among people is a tendency to put a lot of pressure on themselves because they expect a high level for themselves. Sure this is a good thing, but it can become a painful point of resistance for a coach to break through.
Because the person is already coaching themselves in their own mind, creating added pressure, and can be exhausting as they are internally dealing with a twofold mountain.
I always say to a student doing this, “Stop coaching yourself. Let me tell you when you’re doing sh*t”.
One of the most memorable moments with the GOAT Saenchai at lunch here in Northbridge, was “How do you deal with the high-pressure fights with so much at stake?” He replied: “Empty your mind. Be free and don’t pre-empt, or anticipate, the free’er you can be leading to facing adversity, the better you’ll perform when comes the time.” I was blown away at how simple the philosophy was, I realised the same applies to training, sparring, and anything else challenging we do in life.
So remember, you employ a coach to push you to be better, get out of your own way – Let them do their job!
5) Emulate the greats
My greatest coaches always told me to watch many, but find my favourite ring practitioners, and what they did – Make note of their movement, techniques, patterns, and rhythm. I would watch Muay Thai golden era VHS tapes on repeat, rewinding, slow motion, and repeating.
I would visualise myself moving the way they did, to the point where I was doing similar in training, making it a part of my own identity.
This is such a good way to pick and choose what you love and add it to your tool kit when it comes to fast-tracking your progress. Today, we have YouTube which is such a powerful tool to do this!
After being involved with the game since age 11, I thrive in helping people achieve their dreams of fighting in the ring. Everyone I coach, I want to see succeed. I want to give them the path of least resistance… But as the old adage has it – “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t force it to drink”.
Everyone develops at different stages and there is no one size fits all approach when it comes to how long it will take to be ‘ring ready’. It took me more than 24 months to be even considered for a bout, but that could be done sooner or may take a little longer.
My advice is this: Do the work, if you want to be better than the average, do the extra.
In fighting, nothing is given, all is earned. You have to go out there and grab it if you want it.
And remember: it is NOT meant to be easy, because if it was, everyone would be doing it!
Go chase Greatness, it’s yours for the taking! ✊
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