The journey of an aspiring fighter #53

Published On March 14, 2014 | By Helen Harper | Blog

I have a lot of thoughts this week, I guess it’s from the lifestyle I am now living – literally eat, sleep, train, repeat – so my brain is working on overtime to compensate! It’s amazing not working so much (still doing bits and bobs but nothing regular) and it’s a breath of fresh air to have all this time to concentrate on training but I couldn’t do it forever…

Speaking of which, I was chatting to my mum on Skype about it. My mum is easily the most inspiring person in my life, and although we have had our differences I can’t make any big decisions without running them by her first. I explained to her that I felt guilty more or less only training whilst I am out here, because I am used to rushing around all the time trying to squeeze in training around work (or is it work around training?!) She told me it was OK to enjoy the time training because I am in chrysalis mode: Before a butterfly is a butterfly, it is a caterpillar, and it must morph into a chrysalis before it turns into a butterfly. When it is in chrysalis mode you can’t see it, but it’s working away inside the chrysalis to change completely and become the butterfly. So right now I am a chrysalis, working away even though no one back home can see me. By the time I have my next fight everyone will see a massive difference to my game, see how hard I have worked and my inner butterfly will come out.


A couple of things have irritated me this week, two of which I will elaborate on.
1. A (very few) males attitude to rolling with females.
2. People missing weight.

Firstly, the subject of males either avoiding or being clearly disappointed when asked to roll with a female. I was rolling with a guy a while ago, and he got really offended (after he’d tapped me out once) when I then went after him for a submission. Sometimes it gets rougher than you meant it too… but ultimately we all know what we’re hear for, to get better.
There are two sides to this. Guys don’t like rolling with girls because they don’t want to get tapped out by a girl. EGO. The other side of it is that guys view girls as boring and they won’t get a decent roll in if they are rolling with a girl. So treat it as a technique only roll? Surely that’s the obvious solution.
The thing is, what most people don’t really get, and even explaining it until I’m blue in the face probably still won’t get, is I’m a 57kg girl. The people I roll with on a day to day basis are 70-90kg guys. So not only do they have the strength advantage, they also have a power advantage.
However, me being me, I still want to match up to them. Always. To me a blue belt is a blue belt, no matter their gender, weight or height. Technically speaking any blue belt should be a match for any blue belt, same for purple, brown and black. White is different because people use brute force instead of technique so it’s harder to judge. But back to my point. If a blue belt steps on the mat, no matter their gender, weight or height, I should have a chance to submit them. I should be using my technique, not my strength and power, as should they but we all know this isn’t always the case.
My technique should outweigh their strength and power. For the most part it does – us smaller people have to work out ways to use a larger persons weight against them. But obviously sometimes we get caught. Sometimes we get caught by lower belts. As much as we brush ourselves off and try to forget our egos, we just can’t help immediately trying to rectify the situation. We must prove we’re not the weaker being, and even when we can’t submit our opponent, we must at least control the situation.
Sometimes when we roll with someone, we know with 100% certainty that we’re not going to submit our opponent because they will just power out of it, but if we can control them and at least stop them from submitting us then this should definitely be classed as a victory.
I personally can’t power out of most submissions, and I certainly can’t use brute force against guys twice as big as me. However, I can use technique. And once your tired, who has strength and power within them anyway? You must rely on your technique then anyway, so why not use it in the first place?
If you submit me though, don’t expect me to sit back and take it. I will come after you, and try my very best to prove myself as being as good as you at least technically. Don’t be offended, it’s how we improve. If we didn’t have all these training partners to constantly push us, how would we become better fighters? Put the ego away and let’s roll!!

Secondly, and this is a tough one because there are many different points of perspective on this, people missing weight. I’m not talking but 1kg, that’s not an ideal situation but it’s not entirely disrespectful because you have at least tried.
I’m talking missing weight by 3 or 4kg. I had it back in August, when I fought in The Ultimate Beatdown in Malaysia. My opponent weighed in way over the mark (I can’t remember exactly but it was around 3/4kg over) and I had already come up in weight to meet her up there. I found her on the whole to be quite disrespectful to me as a whole, and the staff at Ultimate Beatdown (who were by the way, absolutely fantastic). Luckily I was given the option of whether to continue with the fight or not and me being me of course took it anyway despite the weight difference.
The same thing happened with Ann Osman vs Sherylin Lim which was a bout scheduled for tonights ONE FC in Kuala Lumpur. Ann Osman weighed in absolutely fine, and I have always found her to be very respectful and a good ambassador to the sport of WMMA. Sherylin Lim however, did not. She weighed in 3kg over, and when she was given the option to try and make weight again in 3 hours (which is a common request from promotions to give fighters every chance they can have) she refused.
I just can’t find this attitude acceptable in any way. We all know how hard it is to find well matched fights, especially as a female, and especially in Asia. It seems that she had no intention of making weight whatsoever, almost running away from Ann Osman in the most public way possible.
Full respect to Ann Osman though, for taking everything in her stride. She must be really disappointed having worked so hard leading up to this fight. I hope ONE FC can find her a decent opponent soon so we can see her grow as a martial artist and an athlete.

ONE FC is due to start in just one hours time – and I can’t wait to support Phuket Top Team‘s very own Andrew Leone who fights Shinichi Kojima. Good luck Andrew, we will be watching you from Calorie. You have the support of Phuket behind you!!


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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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