Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Fight

How to lose 14 pounds in 7 days

Last week, I read that they desperately needed a 115 pound fighter for a mma tournament in Evansville, Indiana for a January 17th fight. I was 128 pounds at time, but I'd been looking for a fight FOREVER! I took it. I knew the weight loss would be hard, but I didn't realize how hard until I started cutting food. I don't like to tell people how I do it- it could encourage people to use it as a viable weight loss method (and it's NOT- not healthy and quite dangerous, in fact!)

By the time I weighed in on January 16th, I was at 114 pounds. I was weak as a kitten, but I was proud that I had made the cut. I dragged my carcass over to a chair and immediately started the rehydration and reintrodution of food of my poor, emaciated body. I did nothing but drink fluids and eat easily digestible foods for the next several hours. By fight time the next day, I was up to 122 pounds. Yet, I was still weak- and scared. I thought I might still end up in the hospital for severe dehydration before the day was over. I had no grip strength, and it was even hard to run in place to warm up before the fight.

What scared me the most, though, was that IF I won my fight- I'd have to fight another lady, and IF I won THAT one, I'd have to fight a last one for the GFIGHT championship 115 pounder belt (for 3 five minute rounds, no less!). I knew in my heart that I would be lucky if I made it through the first fight. I also knew, though, that I would give it my all- that's my nature.

I met the woman I was to fight, and all the other women in the tournament, previously at weigh in. It amazed me that they were all awesome people. No attitude, no nastiness- just pure athletes. All excellent fighters with amazing records. Everyone was supportive of everyone. In fact, my opponent and I even had waffles together (at different tables) the morning of our fight.

It might interest you to know that my opponent, Van Do, trains out of Cung Le's Gym. Cung Le defeated Frank Shamrock with a kick to the arm that literally broke it in half! No slacker in her own right, Van has an IKF kickboxing title from 2005 and some gold medals from various tournaments and quite a few wins of her own. She is also a mature fighter like myself- (she's only 38, though).

Back to the fight- they called me out, I waited in the ring for Van. She came out- we tapped gloves- and it was ON! We banged eachouther pretty hard with some head shots, and soon after that- I was on my back holding on to her, waiting for the ref to stand us up. On our feet agin, more punches thrown (I can't recall if any kicks were thrown), she was on top of me again. She got me in an arm bar, and I was able to stand up and drive her into the mat head first to get her off me. More punches, and then she got me down again- I immobiolized her on me. Mercifully, the bell rung.

I had not been that exhausted in a fight in years. My tank was empty, I had nothing left. The dehydration took it's toll. My corner told me to keep it standing (keep her at the end of my punch). I said I'd try. The bell for round 2 rang and more punches were thrown. At some point, she got me in a position that I've been in before in judo class. I felt myself getting thrown over her hip (I think I said- "Oh crap!" as I was going over.) She got me in another arm bar- this time I didn't have the juice to fight her off. I lay there with my arm getting bent backward for what seemed like hours. I did not want to tap out. It didn't hurt yet. I was going to let her snap my joint just to prove that I was tough, but my common sense kicked in. I tapped. She won. We hugged. They raised her hand, and I went back to my locker room space.

My husband was back there with me, taking out my braids, feeding me Gatoraide and telling me how good I did and how proud he was of me. Then (and I hate to admit this- but I feel it paints a more honest picture) I broke down into a million tears. I probably depleated myself of whatever fluid I'd finally built up from those racking sobs. I was inconsolable. My husband just keep rubbing my back and telling me he was proud of me. I finished crying, called my parents and told them I was all right (they get so worried). I put on some decent clothes, wipped off the tears and joined the rest of the fans to watch the fights- and to show them that I was fairly unscathed (just a scratch on my cheek- Van, to my only credit, had a couple of black eyes from my punches).

When it was all over, and we were all back in our hotel rooms, we got together with Van and her coaches and had a drink together to celebrate the end of a chaotic week. I helped her take out her braids, and we talked about getting together to train some time. I told her I'd never fight in her weight class again- I'd stay at 125 where I'm strong. It's a funny sport where you can face eachother in a cage and try to pretty much beat the crap out of eachother and cause as much damage as you can in one instant- and in the next instant, you can be sharing a drink and laughing like old friends.

Meanwhile, I've been doing nothing but relaxing and eating and drinking as much as I can tolerate to try to get my strength back so I can start trianing (hopefully tomorrow). I'm looking forward to my next fight- which I am told will be in Palm Springs in March against my hero, 5 time world kickboxing champion, Kathy Long. We'll be fighting at 125 pounds- perfect! My husband always wants to know why I can't get an easy fight- I tell him it's just not in my nature.

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