Fight, Flight or Fright | Kickboxing Tournament Match

[clickToTweet tweet=”Do you get so nervous in a kickboxing match that you feel like you can’t move or throw a decent punch? #happysaturday #blogloving #bloggers #blogger #mma #muaythai howtokickbox.com” quote=”Kickboxing or martial arts tournaments or matches are all about fighting. But, what if you are a freezer and don’t have an effective fight or flight response?” theme=”style3″]Why freeze when you have to fight?

Kickboxing or martial arts tournaments or matches are all about fighting. But, what if you are a freezer and don’t have an effective fight or flight response? What if this is your first tournament or match ever and you are so overwhelmed and nervous that you go into a state of what psychologists like to refer to as tonic immobility? Will you just freeze and do absolutely nothing except take a beating? The answer is a good and solid “Hell to the no!”. In the fighting ring, there is literally no room to run and definitely no time to be immobile. You gotta fight, dammit! So, let’s see what we can do to be more effective fighters.

two muscular, strong and fit white men fighting kickboxing AFA bleeding noses wearing mouth guard and head protector and gloves

What motivated me to write a piece on this topic is my own experience. I have to admit, I am a freezer. The fight or flight response makes me feel so weak and I find it hard to implement any kickboxing technique in self-defense or a street fight. How can that be? How can I change that?

Trying to understand why we become tonically immobile during fights

I decided to do some research on fear, fight or flight, adrenaline, and why it makes us feel weak and unable to perform at times, especially when we are in dire need of all the energy we can get. At the time of writing this, I have a competition in about a week. I worry that I might freeze and have flimsy punches. I also fear that I might feel so weak in the knees and legs, on the day of my kickboxing tournament, that I won’t be able to kick with enough power.

The first time is always nerve-wracking.

This would be my first ever K-1 American Kickboxing fight; but, I have been in a few fights in my life. Being a woman,  I am in no way proud of having ever had to attempt resolving a difference of opinion in such an uncivilized manner. All of those fights involved a particular person to whom I am regrettably related.  The last time we fought, I noticed that I didn’t have the ability to really put power into the punch that I threw at them and I even hurt my thumb during the ordeal. So, I want to make sure that I can avoid this phenomenon of freezing when faced with a  physical or psychological threat.

Anger makes me anxious.

It seems as though the very instance of being angry overwhelms me with an overbearing amount of adrenaline and make me feel weak all over. Like, when confronted or verbally attacked my heart would race and I wouldn’t be able to move or think of what to do next in a dangerous situation, leaving me helpless.

Freezing might save you your life, but it will be your demise.

Psychologists seem to believe that the instinct to freeze is very effective when faced with a situation in which you are neither fast enough to escape nor powerful enough to fight without being killed. Do you believe it’s that effective, especially since we people are more likely to be killed by other humans who have good vision and can’t be fooled by the act of playing dead? I feel that the way society is today, it is very to be assertive and ready to be first to attack.

Don’t freeze, fellow kickboxers, try these…

If you are a “freezer” like me, here are a few tips and resolutions to help you prepare mentally and physically for a fight and all of the pain that is involved.

  1. Remember that pain doesn’t last long and that you will be okay, no matter how many bruises you’ve gotten or how many times you’ve bled.
  2. Sparring will give you more confidence in your technique and ability to strike, block or counterattack; and, it will give get you used to the pain and the anticipation of an attack. So, don’t chicken out of any sparring sessions.
  3. Keep calm and breathe. Strengthen your lungs and heart with more aerobic exercises, like jogging, to make it easier for you to actually get oxygen into your blood to help you not to get nervous. Anxiety and stress are linked to an increase in carbon dioxide and a decrease in oxygen.
  4. Remember that kickboxing is just a sport. Sure, people bleed, but it’s all in the name fun, self-improvement, sportsmanship, and professionalism.
  5. If you focus on throwing those punches and keeping those fists really as tight as possible, you won’t get worried about not boxing in order to prevent possible injuries due to impact. Make sure you really focus on technique. It’s really important. Best believe that if you have no clue how to do something as fundamental as holding a fist correctly, you are going to be scared out of your mind.
  6. Spend your free time, reading, or watching about your favorite greats who were once defeated only to rise to glory and fame. Try to motivate yourself with inspiring stories.
  7. Be brave. Stop avoiding confrontation. Stand up for yourself in situations that require you to be assertive. The more you avoid the inevitable of being in a fight and hope that you’ll be fine, the more you reinforce your anxiety mechanisms. The best way to overcome your fears is to face them. Always be prepared, willing and able to fight if you have to. If you don’t fight for something, you’ll stand for all the shit and shitty people that come your way and take a beating your whole life.

I hope that you will put all of these tips into practice so that you can go from being a victim or loser to being a victorious champ that takes no shit from nobody.

 

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