I’ve always been fascinated by words. Especially the blisteringly smart and funny ones, and the great poets, singers, actors and writers who deliver them. It’s why I became a lyricist and won the UK Songwriting Contest, it’s the reason I’m a qualified journalist and a proud copywriter.
However, there is one place where being a grammatical guru means absolutely nothing, and that’s inside a mixed martial arts (MMA) gym. MMA is a full-contact combat sport based on striking skills adopted from muay thai, boxing, karate and taekwondo as well as the grappling arts, such as wrestling and Brazilian jiu jitsu. And just like being a good writer, it involves getting out of my comfort zone, being creative, problem solving, keeping calm under pressure and having good all-round skills.
Naturally, everyone has stress in their lives. It’s how we deal with the stress that is important. MMA is my stress relief, it’s a way I can starve the anxiety gremlin that shadows me. As soon as the cage door slams shut, I’m in the present moment, and slipping that next punch is the only thing that matters. It also compliments my work life perfectly as the last thing I’m thinking about when someone is trying to choke me unconscious is the pros and cons of the oxford comma. This gives my mind a break, and it’s this rest that frees my mind up, so when I’m back at work and faced with a blank space and a to-do-list as long as my arm – I’m ready.
MMA helps boost my creativity, concentration, discipline and confidence levels. It’s how I look after my mental health and keep the fire in my belly burning. This fire is my endless quest for self-improvement, if I stop learning the fire goes out. And the fire is never allowed to go out.
If writing stalls or I reach a plateau in my martial arts training, I tend to fall back on the immortal words of Bruce Lee: “Adapt what is useful, reject what is useless and add what is specifically your own.” This advice flows through my life like water and hopefully shows itself on the page as well as in the cage.
– John, Copywriter