Sunday, July 28, 2013

Joe Lauzon on getting over losses

Joe Lauzon, regardless of whether it's a win, loss, or draw, always puts on an exciting fight. There's something special about a fighter who is willing to give everything he has at the risk of gassing out and having to fight two more rounds with depleted energy; but Lauzon is a fighter who is actually willing gamble on that at times to please fans. I have tremendous respect for fighters who take on that self-service action and many feel Joe Lauzon is the most exciting fighter in the UFC, which has translated to somewhere around half a million dollars in bonuses for him as a result.

But when it comes to losses, Lauzon also has a healthy attitude. He is able to overcome  the drowning negative feeling which can overcome fighters when they lose. Fighting is more personal than losing a tennis game because of the pride and egotistical elements involved. If you lose a tennis game it's not as devastating a blow to the ego as losing a fight. However, at the same time it's worthy to note that the ego is a construct of the mind, so the thoughts which can torture a fighter after a loss are actually figments of the imagination. It may not be the easiest thing in the world do to past conditioning, but one can train the mind to not take these thoughts that seriously. Somewhat akin to someone on the street who is babbling incoherencies in every direction to no one in particular; you don't take what that person is saying seriously at all; you can also treat negative thoughts in such a manner. They are only as real and serious as you wish them to be.

Joe Lauzon is a good example of getting over losses pretty well. He takes the mentality of treating the mental angst which arises from losing as holding a hot coal:

It's like holding a hot coal in your hand, it just burns you, it doesn't do me any good.

That quote was from an interview with Ariel Helwani from MMA Fighting, after Lauzon's loss to Anthony "Showtime" Pettis, and right before he was to take on Jamie Varner. This viewpoint is borrowed from Gautama Buddha's stance on anger. "Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned", stated Buddha about 500 years before Christ. That attitude of dropping negative emotions is a wonderful tool. These afflictive thoughts can creep up on us out of nowhere, but it can be a unbelievably valuable skill to be able to drop them ASAP and not suffer the burn which comes with hanging onto them. We can acknowledge the emotion but don't have to identify with it and hold on; just drop it and let go.

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