Saturday, August 30, 2014

Answering the call

Man, it feels good to write here again. I know it's been a long time. But I finally came across something that I want to share with you guys.

A local fight organization with one of the more unique names I've ever heard, Mix It Up Sports, is putting on a card, "Call Out", on Sept. 6 in Manassas, Va. It's a spot I'm quite familiar, having both a friend that used to live there and a MMA event I wrote about a couple years ago. This card will feature fighters from Evolve Academy in Gaithersburg, and one of them was kind enough to share his thoughts with me.

Brent Walter will make his MMA debut on the card and is dealing with the same emotions you'd expect from someone about to compete in their first fight.

"Excitement and nervousness, moments of confidence and moments of doubt," he told me in a Facebook chat earlier this week. "Coming from a previous competitive background in college football and some wrestling and Brazilian jiujitsu experience, I understand these emotions are normal but it's harnessing it which I feel is the biggest battle."

"Confidence plays a big role in competition and in a sport like mixed martial arts," he added. "If you're not confident, it's almost like blood in the water for your opponent."

Walter has been training at Evolve for the last six months, as well as at an affiliate gym in Frostburg, Ryoma Academy. It's through his training that he's learning the importance of having good cardio.

"At the amateur level, these guys don't have a lot of film and we all are still raw fighters," Walter said. "I feel the only thing I can control is having a gas tank to push the fight and ensure I have the ability to push hard in the later rounds."

The mental game will heavily contribute to Walter's victory. Just ask him.

"I only can picture my hand being raised," he said. "If I picture any other situation, then there is no reason for me to step into the cage, or put my self through the training I've done up to this point. They say 90 percent of the fight is mental and 10 percent is physical, so in my mind I have to win it before I even step foot into the cage."

I think Walter's mindset going into his first fight is the same as other debuting fighters. You run the gamut of emotions and you just have to make sure you have those in check. Adrenalin is a great ally, but it can also be a hindrance. I'll follow up with Brent after his fight and see how his debut went.

Don't want to wait that long? Check out his fight on Sept. 6.

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