ready for war

The journey of an aspiring fighter #52

Published On March 6, 2014 | By Helen Harper | Blog


Not over excited at all….. Much.

Before I get in to all that, here is some ramblings from the week gone by:

Friday 28th February 2014:
I gave my car back this morning, which was more of a painful experience than I imagined it to be… I have come to rely on that little beast more than I imagined I would and I am very sad not to have wheels for my last few days. However, it has made me appreciate the time I did have wheels so much more and my wonderful dad for helping me out financially with that.
I am currently on my way back from the airport where I dropped the car off to, and on my way to Jiu Jitsu (penultimate session in England this time round). I trained last night but I had gone out for a huge lunch with my step mum and step sister which made me very slow and lazy. Oh dear. I realized I’m done with my binge for this post fight week, now I’ve got it out my system I’m ready to get back to tearing up the mats and eating right.
It’s made me realize how much better I feel in myself when I eat right, and how lazy I get when I don’t. I don’t think I ever found so much of a difference as this time though, but then I did go from one extreme to the other so it’s hardly surprising really.
I have a few meals coming to to say bye to everyone, and the real challenge now will be attending these meals whilst sticking to a healthy diet. I more or less follow the paleo rules in general, although slightly adapt it to work for me. I really believe that everyone’s body is different and therefore everyone’s body will react slightly different to different diets. For me, the diet that I feel the best using is my adapted paleo – although it really is always adapting but then so is life so we really need to work with it.
It’s funny, fighters go through such extreme diets, and phases of diets, I don’t think someone who has never cut weight or fought would ever really understand it, how or why we push ourselves through the pain of cutting weight.
It starts when you find out the date for your fight. You’ve been eating a normal mostly healthy balanced diet before that, but once you get that date it’s time to start planning the fight camp. At this stage you’re always so excited and feel pumped for the fight it’s fairly easy to begin the fight camp. After a few weeks it starts to drag, you have been training super hard and your body is starting to ache in places you forgot existed (since the previous fight camp!). This is the hardest part for me, it still feels like a while until the fight and you have to keep that motivation up, still train as hard as you can, but you can’t supplement with naughty food because you still have to weigh in in a few weeks.
Once you reach the pre-fight week, in my opinion it becomes easier, the finish line is almost in sight, the hard word has mostly been done. This week involves some serious tunnel vision, and knowing that you have a 50/50 chance of your hand being raised spurs me on even more. Different fighters go about pre-fight week in a different way, everyone has their own rituals and ultimately it’s what works for the individual. For me I watch loads of YouTube videos of fights with similar opponents to the one I will have, which helps me to visualize the win, and the more I visualize it, the more I believe it can and will happen.
Pre-fight week also involves a water load, and I have Mr. Brad Terrey to thank for teaching me about this. Water loading is as it sounds, loading your body with water. I’m not going to lie, it’s not that fun. You will be sick of the sight of a bottle of water after three days, but then once you start dehydrating your body for the actual weigh in, you will wish you drank more water as your body feels weak from the lack of fluids. Pre-fight week is a horrible week, and even most of the fighters I know generally wonder why the hell they are putting themselves through the pain of a weight cut, but then when your hand gets raised, it all comes flooding back, and the memory of just how great our sport is becomes very much apparent.
Pre-fight week must be the hardest week to deal with a fighter in your life too, as I know how much more emotional I am during this week. What you non fighters have to understand is we put our heart and soul into every fight, from beginning to end. We sacrifice a normal life to be able to train and fight to the best of our ability. As you know for every fight there will be a winner and a loser (apart from Japan where there are a ridiculous amount of draws) so if you put all that effort in to a fight camp and weight cut, and don’t get your arm raised at the end of it this is a serious downfall. We will ALWAYS blame ourselves, and we will ALWAYS punish ourselves for not doing enough, not training hard enough, not pushing ourselves that little bit further.

Monday 3rd March 2014:
The night before the big journey! Of course I can’t sleep. Sleep would be an absurd idea at this stage. I have literally 350,000 things going round in my head. At the same time. Seriously, try being a woman, it’s like this all the bloody time. Well I guess usually it’s only 250,000, but still that’s quite enough.
Today I had an extremely exciting tweet, from a very influential person. I can’t really say who or what it was regarding at this stage, but it definitely single handedly proved to me that there was a reason I signed up to Twitter.
Annoyingly I can’t really write about most of the things that are going round in my head, which is hard for me because usually I write about literally every babbling piece of rubbish that comes into my head. I guess a side track to it would be to write about what I feel is important to me in life, which also might help me in making a few decisions for the future.
I know a lot of people who have very different experiences when it comes to family. Some families are very close and always have been. Some prefer to keep their distance. Maybe that’s the only way for a few families to keep the peace. For me, I have become increasingly close to my family as I have got older. I don’t know why, maybe we have all learnt to respect each other and our differences. Maybe we just realized that each one of us is irreplaceable and no one lasts forever so let’s make the most of the time we have with everyone who’s important to us. Either way, my family has never been as big as it is now, but we have never been so close. My immediate family (2 parents, 2 step parents, 1 sister, 4 step siblings) have made it very clear that they are there for me whatever the weather. I’d like to think that they would all think the same about me too. I’ve always been very close to my step mum, she used to let me braid her hair when I was 7 years old, and what better way to make friends with a 7 year old girl?!
I’ve only recently got to know my step siblings (2 on each side) and was lucky enough to get up to Oxfordshire to have lunch with my step mum and step sister last week. We had such a lovely time and I realized how lucky I was to have such amazing positive people around me.
I feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day to be able to see everyone properly, but I was so pleased to be able to see my dad and sister this weekend too. Even though they don’t really approve of MMA 100% they still gave me some pretty solid advice for my future and it felt amazing to know how they have my best interests at heart (even if it’s not theirs!)
On returning to Surrey, I managed to squeeze in yet more food when I went for dinner with my mum. Why do I always eat so much whenever I leave a place?! We had a lovely pub cooked dinner at one of our local pubs and even joined in on the pub quiz! We came last out of 7 teams BUT we were the only team of 2 (all the other teams had at least 4 players) and we didn’t even touch Google (which the winning team definitely did!) so all in all we actually did pretty well. I do love a pub quiz!

Tuesday 4th March 2014:
My last day in England!! I can’t believe it’s gone so quickly. I’ve just had my last training session at Andy Roberts BJJ, which made me super sad but I can’t wait to get back to Phuket Top Team so that side of things is exciting!
I feel like I’ve come quite far during my time at Andy’s, and my wrestling and Jiu Jitsu has really improved (even though I was meant to be concentrating on stand up!) above all I feel like my confidence has improved which is really the best thing I could hope for.
My main priority now is to get my MMA record up, so I am going to be focusing on improving what I already have in the way of Jiu Jitsu and wrestling skills and working on ways to build my striking into this, so I can incorporate the striking in to my ground skills.

Speaking of which, that’s where I am off to now! Wrestling to get me back to BEAST MODE!!

Finally, a few pictures from the fight last week (video still not been released but fingers crossed by next week I will have it…)




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About The Author

English Mixed Martial Artist fighting out of Andy Roberts BJJ and Legacy BJJ with a pro record of 4-1.

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