Thursday, May 18, 2017

Getting Hit in the Face

In our last round, I explained why knockouts happen, the science behind them. In this round, we're going to look at the reality of things. How it feels to take a hard shot to the face and how it feels after the fact.

I reached out to three pals from Brazos Valley MMA. Two have fought and currently coach. The third, pictured above, Anthony, currently fights. He blocked that kick and went on to win the bout.  

Bubba Bush  - 3 Time Legacy Middleweight Champion, UFC Fighter, BJJ and MMA Coach at BVMMA

Bubba putting petroleum jelly on his fighter's face
before the bout. It makes the skin slippery and
less likely to tear/split.
Being punched in the face doesn't really hurt at all. You feel the jarring and the impact, but no sense of pain like you would if you got cut or slammed your finger in a car door. Just an impact usually, and an awareness--that you're not glass, but that something less than good just happened to your body. Then you eventually feel incredibly fatigued, but this is a combination of the body reacting against the duress as well I'm sure as the tension in your body as you react/forget to breath/etc. 

Being knocked out happens in 2 ways. The first is the punch you don't see coming, which is usually the most effective. So the experience isn't so much what it feels like to be knocked out, as what it feels like to wake up from a knockout. 

It takes a few seconds to realize whatever you were dreaming about was just a dream, and then to re-acclimate to your surroundings. And then to process all of this and simultaneously process all of the implications and emotions that rush over you along with this sudden realization that if you just woke up...something bad just happened. Physically, at this point, the only sensation may be a minor stiffness in your neck, or bruise like impact pain on a swollen part of the face (assuming a tooth didn't get knocked out or jaw dislocated or anything). 

Jaw jarring pain is pretty intense and actually an 
experience of pain and not just one of impact. But, it's more rare in my experience and only when things shift. It burns and stings and gives you that terrible sense of “my body shouldn't be doing this” that you get when looking at a dislocated appendage. 

Tre Herrera - Muay Thai Fighter and Striking Coach

When Im moving through the motions, two punches may
  Tre and Bubba readying a fighter
before a fight. Look how serious
he's taking his job.
land. One is the one I see, I can anticipate, I can try to calculate. My opponent’s movement, his shoulders, his body is what I’m watching. It’s what I’m trying to time whether I’m engaging and trying to move forward to anticipate and move where his punches will not land flush, or whether I’m trying to counter his strikes. If and when that strike lands I’ve seen it; I knew it was a calculated possibility. 

Boom! It lands. It feels like i just did a long mathematical formula and I came up with the wrong answer. And, that error just cost my eye, my jaw, my temple. It feels like a pop, a flash of quick pain that immediately turns to disappointment and aggravation. Like I knew better or calculated wrong. 

If I was able to return fire or use a combo during that exchange, anything I land, I land with an extra amount of umph. I do that to let my opponent, and myself, know that I anticipated that possibility, that math went through my head and that my opponent may have made me make a mistake but that I was there and I am capable.
Tre coaching a terrible and vicious fighter
that is also the love of his life:
his wife.

The second type of punch is the strike I never saw, never anticipated, never even put in the realm of possibility. That strike is blunt. Forceful. Like a brick hit me. I taste metal, my jaw hurts, or my eye stings, my pain reminds me that I am vulnerable. It rings, loud, my vision tunnels, sounds disappear. The silence is deafening. My eyes blink uncontrollably, my nose hurts, my feet feel heavier, or my legs don’t feel as sturdy. 

I try to move but its like my body is now three steps behind my brain. I do a mental clarity check, shake my arms, my head, keep my eyes laser-focused on my opponent. Is he charging me? Is he coming in for more? Does he see that I’m hurt? Am I really here? Why is everything so quiet? Why is everything green? 

I bite down harder and move forward knowing that I have to strike back before he strikes again. I have to make sure he knows that while wounded I’m still dangerous. After a few minutes of collecting myself, moving, becoming aware again of my surroundings. I wipe my brain clean of what happened and move forward again, and dance the dance of men.

Anthony Cruz Veimau - Muay Thai and MMA Fighter
Anthony after his last victory. He is a high
energy fighter with a fantastic attitude and
really a lot of fun to watch.  

Throughout the fight, there is an amount of adrenaline that overwhelms me. Working up to the sound of the bell, I do my best to calm down and even develop a playful mind set. With that being said, as the fight progresses, the violent conversation begins. I have been lucky enough to have never been rocked in competition, but I have been hit in the head more than I would prefer. During the fight, I keep calm and register the landed strike to my head as a point scored in a game. Doing this separates my emotions from the common mistake of overreacting in the cage. At the same time, this also keeps me focused on generating a game plan to score my own points.

This is how Anthony "walks out" to the cage.
I'm telling you, he's a blast to watch!
When the fight is over, I am usually relieved. My neck does take a lot of abuse from the strikes. Fortunately, throughout my experience in 7 fights, I have never been cut. The next day, my neck certainly bares most of the pain from the strikes that have landed to my head or face.

Similar to a car accident, I never truly recall which punches or kicks have contributed to the different parts of my body. I only register the pain. Having good coaching in between rounds is vital for my momentum throughout the fight. The adrenaline will dissipate, and the months of training will reveal itself as the fight progresses.

My advice for everyone that wants to do MMA: Keep it fun,
  and you will only have fun. We can have fun throughout the wins and loses in our life if we expect them. Have fun! OSS

 My thanks to the guys here from BVMMA. If you're ever in College Station/Bryan, Texas, pay them a visit.

Until the next round at, get blood on your pages!

Bonus! Here's Anthony versus Bruce Whitehead. Keep in mind as you watch, this young man dips his head respectfully and calls me ma'am every single time he sees me. He is incredibly polite, sweet natured and always smiling. I say that because in the ring, he's a wild man! 

1 comment:

  1. Hope I never have to fight bit my characters definitely will, so this is goods information!


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