Tuesday, March 21, 2017

From zero to hero

Before I met one friend Mato, I thought that all guys who fought were stupid
and that all boxers were stupid because they took beatings to their heads. That is
what I was told and I did not want to be stupid. Being stupid was bad for school
grades and having good grades was the way to please my parents. But this new
friend Mato was intelligent and after some time I found out that he was training in
kickboxing. That broke my myth about how stupid boxers were.

Mato was quite a smart guy. When I was fifteen I quit my after school German lessons, had my long
hair cut short and started to practice the kickboxing. It was not easy to find part-time
work at my age, but my dad helped me and I spent that summer working in a
warehouse. With the money, I could buy boxing gloves and pay for the kickboxing
training. This was very openly protested by my parents.

They didn’t like this kind of sport and consider it uncivilized. My father was mocking me because of that, but I did not quit.

Practicing kickboxing and working out at gym was the best thing that
happened to me in my entire miserable life. The first three months were physically
the worst, but I loved it. I thought during every training session that I would die from
fatigue. I respected the coach very much and I was not cheating during the exercises.

I admired Jaro (the coach) and I did everything he told us to do. I wanted to be the
best and earn his respect. I felt great and I knew I could defend myself and also the
weaker people around me from the bullies.

I physically and mentally went from zero to hero. I felt my kickboxing was
giving me power and although my parents were persuading me to stop I would not. I
practiced as hard as hell. Finally, I found somebody who believed in me and told me
how good I was. That boosted my self-esteem.

Winning became fun and I got the approach – “No matter how much I hurt, or how many times I have to get up, I will get up and fight until the end.

When there are only four things you do for a few months, your life becomes
simpler. I studied at school, trained the kickbox, slept and ate. I ate everything I could
whenever I could. You wake up, stretch, eat something and go to school. There you
study and any free time you have, you eat everything there is to eat.

When you have free time and there is nothing to eat, you sleep for few minutes until the next lesson
begins. When you return from school, you do your homework, eat and go to the gym
for another kickboxing lesson. Then you return home, take a shower, eat again and
sleep for 12 hours. That is the price for success in sports.

This is what I did for one year. My school marks got worse and we had many
fights at home because of that. That was the only negative part of my training. The
positive was that after three months of training I could fight almost anybody in school
and win. I was not doing it, but I knew I could if needed. My self-esteem grew and my
fears were lost.

Bullies will feel the strength in you and they find different targets if you are too
much for them. I only had to fight once in high school. And it was not a real fight
actually. The guy was down in less than a second. I got scared at first what happened
to him. You have to be careful with your speed and strength when you train with the
wolves and then a puppy challenges you for a fight.

A guy who was one year older, and little big bigger, was causing trouble in the
changing room. He was turning the lights on and off and when the changing room is
full of students and it gets dark, it is very difficult to change clothes and shoes. I told
him to stop. He did not of course as he was bigger and older. I pushed him to the wall
and told him to stop. He stopped for a while, but when I left, he started again.

As I was leaving the school, he was waiting with five of his friends at the parking lot which
I had to go around to catch the bus. They were looking at me strangely, but I was
ready to fight as I still felt the righteous anger because of the changing room.
I knew they would wait for me somewhere in school next day because they did
some threatening gestures and few ugly notes towards me.

I decided to finish this issue with the guy and I waited for him the next morning. I wanted to speak to him and tell him it is not smart to start trouble with me. As I approached him to talk, he
smiled arrogantly and I knew the words will not work this time. There are people who
are impossible to make agreement with unless you use power. My eyes went red and
I hit him a few times. It was normal on a kickboxing class to make four hits per

I've hit him only three times because he was down on the floor so quickly I had
no time to hit him the fourth time. I was shocked. This is not how it should happen.
Nobody in kickboxing training fell down so quickly. We were giving and taking
punches and kicks for minutes and although we were tired, it was not usual to fall
down to the ground. This was the surprise effect on my side.

He who hits first usually wins if the opponent is not prepared to fight. Moment of surprise was on mi side. To take the initiative is good in life.

There was lot of anger in me, but I could not hit a person lying on the floor if he
is no threat anymore. So I left full of anger and hit the classroom doors. I realized
how fragile the doors were. I had to put that anger outside of me and it is better to
break something than break someone. I was angry at myself that I lost control and
fought the bully instead of talking to him. Word got out that I was a fast kick boxer
and I had no problems with bullies in school again.

One of my friends, John, started to take kickboxing classes at the same time
as I did, but he stopped after a month or two. Once I saw him playing basketball on
the playground and with the bully I choked in school before. We were sixteen or
seventeen years old at that time. As I was passing by I saw the bully start to hit my
friend and he went down. I did not understand why John was not fighting back.

The bully was weaker than John in my opinion. Later I understood that he had a
psychological advantage over John. So I came nearer and told the bully to stop, that
John had enough. He stopped but he said he wouldn’t and prepared himself for
another hit. I told him that I wouldn’t repeat it again and I was quite thrilled to have a
legitimate reason to beat up the bully. He saw I was not joking, so he said a few
words to John and left.

I have seen him twice since that situation. Once we meet in a different town
and I was looking for part time work during college study in Banska Bystrica, so he
offered me a job digging sewers together for one day for decent pay. It was a dirty
job, but I needed the money. Unfortunately I never saw him face to face again and I
was not paid for the job. Last time I saw him he was on TV — he was there as an
alcoholic and gambler receiving treatment. I pity him.

Some bullies make a career out of crime or politics or they end up broken like he did. Bad karma gets them sooner or later. If you train in martial arts or fighting sports, you have a physical advantage.
But if you are mentally not prepared to use it and switch your psyche to the fighting
mode, you will not use it to your full advantage. It is still helpful to train, because you
will able to absorb more beatings.

But without the right fighting attitude it is difficult to win. Stronger determination to win makes the difference. John was paralyzed by not expecting the fight and not switching his mind into fighting mode.

It is O.K. to have fear, but it is not O.K. to be paralyzed by it. You have to fight
or run. Never stay still and become the punching bag. Move, move, move!

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