Saturday, 4 December 2010

Named must your fear be before banish it you can

2006 was, in general, a bit of a shit box. I split up with a long time girlfriend, my dad was struggling with cancer, work made me black out and I had to take time away from it and those I cared about seemed forever away.

In times like these it's important to keep hold, as it's the simple things that get you through.

I was training a little bit in some traditional karate and, as good as it was, I was way too immersed in mma to take it seriously. I'm not saying that I disrespect the discipline and the hard work required because nothing could be further from the truth. It's just that every time we did a long form I always saw so many points where you'd be swept off your feet if someone shot in for the double.

It was on the suggestion of a friend that I went down to Gladiator Gym. Ross Pointon was just coming off TUF3 and had helped represent UKMMA on the big stage. I was nervous as hell in all honesty but, a few lessons in, I couldn't train enough.

Ross made the trip back over the pond to fight Rich Clementi and to train with Chuck and I trained harder than ever with the two instructors, Andy Aitken and Alex Shaw, who Ross had left in charge of the gym.

Over the coming months I turned up to more and more sessions and then started turning up before classes to help Ross prepare for his Cage Rage opponents. Brutal fight camp after brutal fight camp passed and I never realised at the time, you never do, just how strong and competent I'd become.

During my time at Gladiator Gym I'd lost my father, a long term girlfriend, a best friend and a whole lot of other things but the team spirit and sense of togetherness I got from that gym and the people who trained will never be forgotten.

So it comes to today. I'm getting my head on ready to drive down to London and commentate for Ultimate Challenge. I found out a week or so back that Ross would be making his return to MMA on this card against Michael Brown.

It's only now, looking at it logically, that I realise how much of an honour it is to call a fight featuring my first MMA teacher. It's crazy to think that, just 17 months since commentating my first show, I'd arrive here but in all honesty I couldn't be more honoured.

Good luck to everyone fighting today at Ultimate Challenge and if any of you good people who read this are there then please come and say hello. I'm the tall, skinny one with the pinstriped suit and the almost permanent look of disbelief/gratitude.

Take Care


Neil Hannahs said...

It sounds like you trained with a good bunch of people Ben. I've not been at my MMA club for long now but I already feel like part of the family and see a lot of humility in the people around me.

Like you I came to MMA after studying another art and now I can't get enough of it. I find myself training at every opportunity, living, sleeping and eating MMA.

Great choice of picture for this post by the way.

Ben Cartlidge said...

Thanks very much for the comment.
I'm glad you enjoyed it and the picture is one of my favourites.

I thought it was apt seeing as my journey has bought me full circle so to speak.

Thanks for taking the time to read and I hope you enjoy the site.

Anonymous said...

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