We’ve all seen him, or at the very least heard of someone like him.  The guy you watch at the gym.  You know, the beast. The one with beautiful technique, speed, strength, athleticism.  He’s practically untouchable.  When people come to cross train, he dominates without hesitation.  To be like such a competitor is the hope of the average student.  The time comes when you get to watch the beast in action.  He’s stepping into the arena to compete.  Something happens; he looks off.  He loses!  What happened?  Was he sick? Was there an injury we didn’t know about?  Surely there was something.  Much to your surprise, it happens again.  Even in victory, he just doesn’t look like the guy you see in the gym.  In competition, guys beneath his skill level hold their own and worse yet, average guys sometimes get the win.  It’s a perplexing set of events, to say the least.

Unfortunately, for me anyway, this was the beat my combat sports career marched to.  I first stepped into the ring (even though it was MMA, at the time, we fought in a ring) in 1998.  My career started with a bang.  I won my first 2 fights convincingly and it seemed the sky was the limit.  My 3rd fight pitted me against future IFL and UFC vet Keith Wisniewski.  I lost via triangle after starting strong.  I moved on to fight Jeremy Horn protégé and Canadian MMA champion, Jesse Jones.  After a good start, the match was considered a No Contest due to illegal strikes.  Great performances followed by lackluster, subpar losses.  I did manage to have enough success to fight for 2 titles: the Hook N Shoot Middleweight World Title against Henry Matamoros and the American Fight League World Title against Diego Saraiva.  Both high-pressure fights ended in losses. I was surely training hard enough, and for the time, I was training the way I needed to train. My diet and conditioning were solid; great training partners and coaches too.  I would mimic to perfection the camp of a very successful fight and not have the same results. Why couldn’t I have sustained success in combat sports?  What was holding me back?

Does this sound familiar?  You or a training partner has all the tools, trains with the right people in the right ways, yet comes up short again and again (even in a win).  For me personally, I felt I was doing what it took to win.  Guys that looked amazing in competition, I could handle in the gym without a problem.  I would cross train with guys who had beaten me and I manhandled them on the mat, away from the lights.  I didn’t feel it was a physical tool that I lacked.  I needed to look deeper.  I needed to look inside myself.  I started immersing myself into mind coaching and mental toughness.  I needed to see what made me tick, or more accurately, what stopped me from ticking.  What I’ve found needs to be shared.

As a coach and longtime martial artist, I’ve seen unfortunate mental/emotional errors be the undoing of many potentially great fighters.  Anxiety, fear, a lack of confidence, and self-doubt seem to make a home between the ears of fighters preparing for battle.  It happened to me and I know it’s happened to many others in the fight game.  I want to thank The MMA Corner for giving me a platform to share my  findings.  I feel this knowledge will not only help people find success in the competitive arena but in life itself.  The MMA Corner will be posting 2 articles a month.  These articles will act as a template to prepare people to attack the certain adversity that will be encountered in the difficult endeavors they may face.

For detailed questions or personal Mind/Emotional coaching, please contact JoshCate2@gmail.com

About The Author

Josh Cate
Staff Writer

Josh Cate started his martial arts training 27 years ago. Josh become instantly passionate about the arts. One road led to another in his journey. Josh holds the rank of 2nd degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do, 2nd degree black belt in Shingitai Jiu-jitsu, 2nd degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu and Brown belt in Judo. In 1998 he had his first professional MMA bout. A bronze medalist at the BJJ nationals, gold medalist at the Jiu-jitsu World Cup, NAGA national champion are a just a few of the many awards on Josh's list of accomplishments. Aside from owning and operating Team Kaos MMA/BJJ in Knoxville, Tennessee, Josh has started working with Valor Fighting Championships and occasionally writes for mma websites. Be on the lookout for the Full Frontal MMA podcast that he is getting ready to launch as well. Josh is truly grateful for all of the opportunities MMA has given him and looks forward to this chapter with The MMA Corner!