Toughness
Get Used to Taking a BEATING
by James Bullock

Photo courtesy of Jerry Chavez

WARNING! WHAT FOLLOWS IS INTENDED FOR THOSE WHO TRAIN AS WARRIORS TRAIN AND DO AS WARRIORS DO. IF YOU CONSIDER YOURSELF A "WEEKEND" WARRIOR, OR JUST TRAIN IN THE COMBAT ARTS FOR FUN, THEN DON'T READ THIS ARTICLE, BECAUSE YOU WON’T COMPREHEND IT. THANK YOU AND HAVE A NICE DAY!

If there is one profound thing I learned when I first started training 23 years ago, it is this: I had better get used to getting my butt kicked on a regular basis, and in some cases, DAILY! Most people begin their martial arts journey to ensure that they don't get beat up in everyday life. The thing is, toughness is not a natural born attribute, it is an acquired attribute. Believe me, acquiring toughness has a very large personal price tag. The Combat Arts are not for the faint of heart!

If you truly want to train like a Warrior and BE a Warrior, then you have to "pay your dues," so to speak. What I mean by that is you are going to have to deal with more than your fair share of people that beat the hell out of you in sparring. Then years later, you realize that those same people weren't being mean: they could have literally turned you into a puddle of DNA on the mat if they had really wanted to. They were working with you and teaching you through necessary applicable experience.

I can recall plenty of times when I would go home pissed off, complaining that I had my face beat in, bleeding from one or more places, and with a limb that didn't want to work correctly for at least a week. This scenario would repeat itself for a long time. Then at some point, your perspective of things matures and mutates into longing for those intense training sessions where you feel like you have gone through an epic war. You begin wearing all of your "battle" wounds like a badge of honor. There's nothing in the world quite like trying to limp with pride.

As time goes on, you get the privilege of being the person who dishes out the “beatings,” which is a completely different experience. Then it becomes your duty to help others pay their dues, so that they can continually progress as Warriors. Please understand that what I refer to as beatings are educational sparring matches and training drills where the advanced student is working with the beginner; making it very challenging at the same time. When you are a beginner these type of matches and drills seem like you are getting beat half to death. Truth is, the advanced student is actually being “nice” to you. As with anything else it is simply a matter of perspective and experience. When a new student watches advanced guys train together it looks like an epic war between two people. In reality those two are probably actually training at medium intensity. One of the most important skills that a warrior must learn is how to control training intensity when training with beginners and even intermediate students.

Obviously, training like a Warrior is not for everyone, and that is completely ok.

I am a Warrior and I am absolutely thankful to all those that have kicked, punched, thrown, and generally beat me over the years. I am now especially thankful to all of my students who try so diligently to hurt me on a regular basis. Their efforts keep me humble and motivate me to continue training as hard as I possibly can.

Strength & Honor

James Bullock


Remember to Share this Page if You Liked It!


About the Author

James Bullock is the head coach for Irondom Performance Systems and Combative Sciences. He's written programs for athletes and non-athletes alike, including numerous world record holders in various sports. Combative Sciences was found in 1999 and is the culmination of decades of martial arts training. 

Return from Toughness to Mixed Martial Arts

Return to Warrior Sciences (homepage)