Jeff Isacksen: Sparring was the first thing that felt like imminent failure

I recommend that everybody spar some. [After my first sparring match], I was just standing there with my entire concept of myself as a fighter just shredded in a very good way. I came out of that being like “oh, I don’t know shit.”

Almost more important than my first belt test was my first sparring session . . . I was like, ok, if I want to do this, I need to start over with my perception of myself and really dig in and understand what it’s like to fail, because I hadn’t really run up against that yet. Sparring was the first thing that felt like imminent failure to me.

I hated it. I felt just overwhelmed by it every time. I knew that if I want to take this seriously, if I want to be a fighter and I want to do krav, I have to get through this. I just sparred at every opportunity I could. Now I love it. Now it’s my favorite part of training.

Photo by Rachel Hammond.

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