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Sit down with Guy Mezger’s up and coming talent

A post shared by Mezger Martial Arts (@mezgermartialarts) on Oct 4, 2019 at 9:04am PDT

I sat down with three fighters competing in XKO’s Friday Night Fights event this weekend and spoke with them about their start into training, preparation, and the environment that is their training facility. Competing at a catchweight of 140lbs, 125lbs and 155lbs are Audrey Wolfe, Crystal Tolentino and Brandon Bennett, respectively. Bennett will be making his pro debut and Tolentino is competing as an amateur. Wolfe is currently signed with Invicta as well as with XKO. Brandon and Crystal are also signed with XKO, which previously promoted talents like Kevin Holland.

Regarding XKO, what the fighters seem to appreciate the most is the promotion’s efforts to offer bouts to them regularly. It helps these athletes continue to gain experience and verify how much they are improving as they continue to push through training sessions. The event was also a female-only undercard, and it can all be experienced at Texas Live in Arlington.

It’s no surprise that everyone gets into martial arts for different reasons, yet they are also enriched by it in different ways. Tolentino is also an educator and has had the singular experience of some of her students coming to train at the facility. She expressed that she was able to connect with her students even more. And after that, they got to know her more intimately through the nonverbal communication of martial arts. They now have a higher level of respect and perhaps adulation for her after watching her improve a skillset that she began to build for self-defense.

A post shared by Mezger Martial Arts (@mezgermartialarts) on Jul 12, 2019 at 4:13pm PDT

Wolfe started young, but also got into BJJ for self-defense, and admitted that it was tough for her at first. Training with men who are strangers was unsettling and intense for her as a female student. The male athletes often had a ripe odor to them, and the discipline itself was tough to excel in. Instead of neglecting it, Wolfe embraced it as another artform and pushed through the mental attrition that goes with learning something new and difficult. Today she pushes through temptation to submit to fatigue frequently. She is proactive in using the energy that she has for training if she knows that she will be too exhausted if she waits until later in the day. But every time a fighter pushes through to get up and train when they are depleted, it adds to their mental conditioning as well.

In our interview, Bennett describes in detail his conscious effort to play situations through his head and train extra during fight preparation. He describes even working over twelve hours in a single day, making it home and letting his dinner get cold, because he had to leave and go run for extra conditioning. Now, positive affirmation is a big part of what keeps his confidence where it needs to be. He gives himself position affirmations in the present tense, “I spend a lot of time on mantras”, “You’ve already been here, you’ll figure it out”. This is one of several practices that has transformed him into the athlete that he is today.

A post shared by Mezger Martial Arts (@mezgermartialarts) on May 31, 2019 at 12:54pm PDT

One of his most candid moments was his admission that he quit everything he ever started when he was younger. He was interested in martial arts and decided once his daughter was born never to quit it so that he could set an example for her. Bennet reflects strongly on the person that he used to be and gives the impression that he is also setting an example for his subconscious self through his own conscious actions.

After training together each day, Mezger’s community of fighters will make a point to say something positive to each other about their preparation. This, along with the mentorship of Guy Mezger makes up an environment where they can excel. They have over 30 years of training under Mezger between the three of them. Bennett drove home the point that both the physical training and Mezger’s instruction allows fighters to relinquish their egos. This frees them to be honest with themselves and ultimately compete at a higher level. Bennett believes that this training and instruction prepared him to adequately handle all situations in life. ■

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