Ebb and Flow: Being a Professional Athlete (martial arts edition)

Sammy Smith
Century Martial Arts
Ever since I was four years old martial arts has grown into becoming a large part of my identity. When I first started kenpo karate, I had no idea that this would become a passion which would then turn into something my life revolves around. As I continued my training, I became more and more serious about the art and soon found myself entering competitions.

Pretty much my entire childhood revolved around competing and becoming the best sport martial arts athlete, and very little of any other activity. This type of lifestyle taught me that I needed to be focused and dedicated without any distractions if I wanted to succeed- and I was fortunate enough to learn this at a very young age. The harder I worked and the more hours I put into training, the better I would become and eventually made a name for myself. This process and the recognition I was getting became addictive and I just wanted to keep reaching my fullest potential.

Sammy Smith Karate Young

Sammy Smith

But it's not all pretty and full of sunshine when you're trying to become one of the best. There were a lot of times throughout my training sessions where I'd go through injuries, mental blocks, and plenty of insecurity. I'd get so furious and annoyed at times that I would want to give up. But that was the true testament of a champion because a champion never gives up until their point is made. However, I found out throughout the years of competing that I would continue to fight this battle of an "ebb and flow." There were times I felt like I was on top; unstoppable, and winning everything, and there were other times that I felt like I should just "throw in the towel." And to be honest, I feel like every great athlete in any sport goes through these waves and it's all part of the journey. The more you become invested in something, the more you emotionally attach yourself to the outcome.

Sammy Smith Nunchucks

century martial arts

If you experience an "ebb" or lower point, it's going to impact you even harder because of the dedication. This poses a mental challenge that many great athletes must learn to deal with when competitions or practices don't always go their way. Being a professional martial artist, I've learned to overcome those negative emotions and recycle them into positive motivation to make sure I stay at the top.

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