I didn’t always watch UFC fights. In fact, there was definitely a time in my life when I looked at boxing or MMA and I’d think how barbaric it all was. Our present day version of Rome’s gladiators. Savages.
At some point over the last few years, something in me changed.
I don’t watch every UFC fight and I don’t even watch them that often, but when I do I sit perched on the edge of my seat, fingers twisted in knots, eyes wide as saucers.
It’s a similar experience to watching a higher level Krav Maga class work through a move. I’m watching to understand and to learn.
When I watch UFC fights, I’m constantly taking mental notes. Sometimes those notes come spewing out of my mouth and I point and exclaim “Did you see how fast Ronda moved her foot to trip Correia? That’s when the fight was over! That was the moment!” Everyone nods at me and then they go back to staring at the screen.
Sometimes I’ll see a move I’ve learned and I’ll nod knowingly. Chris and I might exchange a glance. Did you see the pluck she used to get out of the choke? we’d silently say to each other. What we’re learning works.
Over the years, I’ve learned to appreciate the sport, but I’ve learned to appreciate it even more for what it can teach me.
I practice Krav Maga for many reasons, but first and foremost is to be safe. These days, I watch UFC because it’s entertaining. But I’m also there to study the people who fight for a living in the hopes that if the time came for me to defend myself, I’d be able to pull something from their experiences.
At your next opportunity, I ask you to look at UFC with different eyes. In this moment, what can I learn from observing the professionals?