It’s been there for as long as I can remember and, in all probability, it was there before that. It was there when I took my first steps, and when my old man left, and when I first came to the realization that the world has us all in a chokehold, and intends to squeeze from time to time.
I seek something pure.
I seek something that I’ve only caught glimpses of as I’ve grown older. Something that I’ve only experienced in the moments when I’ve pushed myself to the jagged edge of my own limitations, and then just a little further. I think Urijah Faber saw it in his second fight against Mike Brown, as he gutted out a five-round battle with a broken right hand. I think Clay Guida saw it in his fight against Diego Sanchez in 2009.
Glimpses of purity.
Over the years, there have been a number of studies done regarding athletes and what’s commonly referred to as being “in the zone.” Sports psychologists and doctors have spent countless hours trying to unravel the mysteries behind the body/mind connection that contributes to the perfect game, the perfect play, the perfect combo. Many of us have been there once or twice, maybe more. We’ve all felt that invincible feeling—that unmistakable focus that allows us to see two or three moves ahead. It’s a feeling of purity, a feeling of total contentment that mixes together all of the training, the dedication, the focus. Athletes search for “the zone” like meth addicts search for a fix. We can never get enough. Just one taste leaves us desperate for more.
Along the way, as I’ve searched for purity in my life, I’ve come to realize that the greatest challenge is only with myself. There’s no better opponent. The person across the ring from me doesn’t compare in the least to the obstacles I put in my own path. And it’s certainly a notion that transcends life.
As fighters, athletes, and people, we all seek “the zone” in some capacity—seek purity in rings and gyms, athletic fields, jobs, relationships, anything, everything. We wrestle with ourselves, with our demons, with our shortcomings, until the day that we see the space in front of us for what it is—an opportunity to be as good as we can be.
We might use different words for it, but we all fight. We all endeavor towards something. Fighting is pure, in a world that isn’t. We use it as a form of reflection. Within it, we find purpose. We knit flags of commonality beneath its banner. We are fortunate to be here, to search together, to share this journey.
We are, in fact, fortunate to fight.
— Editor’s note: Tim has been a busy man and we’d like to reward him for it. You can easily follow him on Twitter @TimHillegonds. You can enjoy his Shady Dreams at timhillegonds.com/blog/. And check out his latest book: Vodka Flavored Tears. For additional links and more information, click here. YEP certainly gets fired up when people put in the work. Tim is doing just that.