It seems now more than ever, we see fighters who were the new hot contenders at one time hang up their gloves. This past weekend, Jung Chan-sung better known as “The Korean Zombie” hung up his gloves in Singapore when he lost to Max Halloway in the latest UFC event.
I know it’s been written about here before but something in martial arts culture, because it truly is a way of life makes moments like that stand out. Martial arts often teach us the importance of keeping a present mind during stressful situations. It’s healthy, to not dwell on the past or worry too much about the future. But the future still comes, and often with a message that it’s time to evolve into something else.
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Professional fighters try their hardest not to hear that call. The call to train and compete is more easily answered than the call to take a seat when it might be past your prime. The good thing about it though, in martial arts anyway is that it can be a sign of maturity. Transcendence into something or someone that has nothing left to prove anymore, and there is freedom in that.
If this edition of the newsletter seems a little somber, it’s because someone I know also transcended this past weekend. Victor Garcia-Canela was the first striking instructor in American Kickboxing that I had when I decided to take martial arts seriously at age 16. He would put me in my first smoker where I got to feel the live stressors of a fight. I learned basic punching and kicking combos from him and would be the first of many tools I would add to my arsenal. My 30-plus-year journey started with him, so when I heard he passed away this weekend. It reminded me of how long the journey of training I have been on has been, and that everything eventually has its end.