by Shane Sorensen
Modern Day Fight Club: One Man’s Lessons from the World of Martial Arts
Tyler Durden… Tyler Durden is the man that we all wish we could be; courageous, strong, never afraid, and totally in control of his own destiny; Tyler rejects the social constraints of life and paves his own path through the unwalked ways of the wild.
“How much can you know about yourself if you’ve never been in a fight?”
Fight Club is a movie about men and it’s a story about the hidden warrior within each of us. No matter if you are an accountant, a paper pusher, an insurance guy, or a mailman, there is the voice of a warrior deep within you.One of the craziest things about life is that we have been given the choice to live our lives in whatever way we choose. We must eventually all face this sobering truth: we are all dying and life IS a fight. Whether you are fighting your boss, fighting some guy in traffic, or just fighting yourself, life is still a struggle.
How much can you truly know about yourself if you have never been to that breaking point? How much of a man can you really be if you have never tasted death, defeat, and failure and decided to rise up again for the next round?
It is not our times of comfort that define us as people, it is how we react to the trials and tribulations that creates our life’s legacy.
I believe that combat sports; MMA, boxing, kickboxing, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and wrestling are all some of the truest tests of masculine energy.
In highschool I did wrestling: I lost a lot of matches and I won a few. I’ve done MMA: I won all three of my fights and I felt people crumble under my pressure. I took a pro boxing match and I had my ass handed to me heartily.
I even did Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu semi-professionally- traveling around the country and competing in every tournament that I could afford; I won way more fights than I lost, I rose to the rank of number 6 in the world, and I pushed my mind, body, and spirit past many points where I thought they would break.
During my times in combat I realized something: that it isn’t your opponent who you battle with, it is almost always a contest against yourself. Through combat you can learn many things about yourself that you would never learn otherwise.
Lesson #1: Everyone Will Break Eventually
On more than 1 occasion I was the underdog in a fight: I had no reason to believe that I was qualified to win the upcoming match, yet sometimes if I pushed hard enough I could still get the win; other times I really thought I would win, yet I broke under the pressures of competition.
The truth is that no matter how skilled you are, no matter how tough you are, and no matter how strong you are, that every single person on this planet has a breaking point: it takes being in a fight and literally feeling yourself break to realize this.
Until you have entered a fight and felt another man break under your pressure, and until you have entered a fight and crumbled under the pressure of another man, you don’t know shit about manhood.
The truth is that no matter who you are, you aren’t invincible. If you become too confident, too weak, too comfortable, or just too tired- even for a moment- that is all it take to suffer defeat.
There is nothing more raw, more true, and more humbling than knowing that EVERY man will eventually break: every single person on this planet is united in their fragility.
Lesson #2: Give Respect, Earn Respect
I’ve had a ton of experiences in BJJ where I got totally destroyed by someone bigger, stronger, or better than me; basically, fighting is like eating a big humble pie over and over again.
In the fight game you start out as nothing: you get submitted over and over again; over time though, if you keep working hard and keep getting destroyed over and over again- and if you can still respect yourself and the guys that are beating you, you will start earning other people’s respect.
Eventually those guys will see you are tough enough to last- you pass the “test”, and people will start helping you get better.
Give yourself enough respect to stand up for yourself, respect others (whether they are friend or foe), and eventually you will earn the respect of others as well.
Lesson #3: Your Mindset is Everything
Like I said, sometimes in a fight I have been the hammer, and sometimes I have been the nail, but the biggest determinant of success in a fight is your mindset.
Every person may have a breaking point, but ultimately it’s your mind that determines where that point lies. Resilience and toughness are a combination of physical preparation and mentally pushing forward even when it sucks.
Whether you are in the boardroom or the battlefield, victory comes down to how physically and mentally prepared you are for adversity. You have to believe in yourself, prepare yourself to win, and prepare yourself to face whatever lies between you and victory.
Prepare for a battle, respect your opponent, and believe that you are tough enough to win and you will be ready for victory in any area of your life.
Lesson #4: Don’t Listen to Everyone Else
When I was training full-time, competing, spending every dime I earned on traveling and getting better, a lot of people thought I was crazy.
They saw me getting injured, they saw me being broken and beaten, and they saw me losing tournaments in the last couple of rounds over and over again.
In the beginning of any journey in life you are going to suck. If you have never practiced, then you aren’t going to be very good starting out; but, If you will commit to practice, if you ignore the voices of everyone standing around you telling you that you can’t do something, and if you just keep going, eventually you will get better.
I wasn’t born a champion fighter, and it took me a lot of losses before I became a good one, but loss after loss I got stronger and better.
If you ignore everyone else and just keep fighting for what you believe in and want in life, eventually you will manifest the life that you desire. Be brave enough to ignore the naysayers and follow your own inner voice.
Lesson #5: After You Break, You Can Rebuild Stronger than Before.
Every man may have a breaking point, but the more you fight, and the more you push on regardless of the difficulty, the tougher you’ll get. Likewise, the more you lose and fail, the more you will learn and the better you will get.
“It’s only after you’ve lost everything that you are free to do anything.” – Tyler Durden
Failure and defeat bring twofold benefits- the lessons you learn, and the toughness you develop from getting out there and daring to fail.
You might start a fight softer than a wad of cookie dough, but keep fighting long enough and you’ll eventually be carved out of wood. Only after you have broken down the old, can you build something new.
Everyone breaks, give respect-earn respect, mindset is everything, don’t listen to everyone else, and realize that defeat gives you a chance to become stronger: these are the simple lessons I learned from the fight game, and they are my gift to you.
If you are martial artist or fighter, I want to hear from you. Share the biggest thing that you have learned from fighting in the comments below!