After not being able to train on Days Six and Seven, my return to the gym on Day Eight was an exercise in mental toughness…all 2.5 hours of it.
I’d like you to meet my guru of mental toughness, Joscelyn Bailey. Think you can’t possibly do one more sit-up? Think your arms won’t hold you for more than twenty push-ups? Joscelyn thinks you’re wrong. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned after a year of training with him, it’s that Joscelyn is always right. (Or ELSE!)
Joscelyn’s classes are tough enough–he teaches the toughest Level 2 class this side of Thailand. But being his partner inspires an entirely new level of fear. After enduring five rounds of a challenging drill, where I was given absolutely no leeway and repeatedly punched (and kicked) in the head, I survived an hour of Joscelyn’s class and thought I was off the hook for the evening. But no…more fight camp “fun” ensued. As the odd girl out, I was paired with Joscelyn. Magically, those next-to-impossible sit-ups I couldn’t manage more than ten of last week were suddenly possible. I not only did the 50 required–Joscelyn made me do 51. And I was the first one finished! It turns out fear is an excellent motivator.
Then my kru Kelly decided we should punch each other hard in the stomach. Sounds like fun! So I endured 50 of Joscelyn’s powerful jabs, and gave him my best shot, thinking that was it. No! Now we had to give each other 50 jab-cross combinations in the stomach. I needed a brief break after a brutal solar plexus shot, but we got through the round otherwise unscathed, only to…KNEE each other in the stomach 50 times! Ah, good times were had by all.
You don’t have to be Joscelyn’s partner for the evening to recognize how strong he is. All you have to do is watch one of his demonstrations in class, or be one of the hapless fools he chooses to demonstrate on. He is one of the most powerful, skilled fighters I have ever seen, and I’ve trained with a lot. I don’t know a single person who doesn’t express surprise at his strength once they’ve seen (or felt) what he can do.
But one of his greatest strengths is pushing people past their previously-conceived limits. So he ended up being the best partner I could hope for, after all.
Thank you, Joscelyn, for believing in me and pushing me past the pain.