When talking about the rites of passage you automatically think of a tribal adolescent undertaking a number of trials in the hope of becoming a man. However, a rite of passage can also be used to describe any transitional stage in your life i.e. finishing school, getting a job, married, baby etc etc.
So lets apply this concept to the fight game. After a significant period of learning and advancing your techniques through regular training and interclubs you would progress to having your first decision bout. From here you would string together a number of wins before challenging for an area title. After some more wins against people above you in the rankings you’d challenging for your national title. Defend it a few times then head out internationally where the process repeats itself…beat some names above you in the rankings before fighting for a European, Commonwealth or intercontinental title, from this point you can set your sights on a world level.
Of course you may have some upsets along the way with a loss here and there but nothing worth having comes easy. I’m not saying you have to be undefeated to be a champion as losing is part of the game and a huge learning curve but, in my opinion, you have to earn the right to challenge a certain fighter or fight for a title. Unfortunately only a handful of fighters take this path now and this is where part of the problem lies.
I often see people asking for title opportunities for their fighters who don’t really deserve the chance. Even if you feel your fighter is technically competent in beating some one who is regarded a higher level than them, they must first earn the right to fight that person.
I mean you wouldn’t get a good lad from the provinces have his first fight in Bangkok against someone in the top ten of either Lumpinee or Rajadamnern stadium; even if his camp thought he was good enough. He would first have to string together a number of consecutive wins and earn his right to fight that person.
For those who have followed my blogs regularly you may recall one entitled ‘Enjoy the journey and reap the benefits‘ which discusses this subject further and advises fighters that by jumping the queue they will miss out on valuable learning experiences that will keep them at the top for a long time.
Don’t rush yourself (or your fighters) as in the long run you are only damaging them/yourself and the sport. Earn the right to be at the place you are and you will feel more proud of your achievements. There is very little money in this sport, all we get is our reputation, don’t taint it!