Martial Arts Journey (YouTube channel of Rokas documenting his experience and sharing his journey and discoveries from Aikido to MMA):

After practicing Aikido for 15 years I decided to switch to MMA. You won’t believe what happened…

Martial Arts Journey:

The problem was, there were no full-time MMA training camps around me. I am an all-or-nothing type of person. I also felt that I was already on the edge of being too old for this and that my time was running out. Luckily, that’s when I discovered Wimp 2 Warrior, a six months intensive MMA training camp which included a full-on MMA fight against another participant at the end of it. I decided to enroll. I then cut all of my ties in my country and moved to the States to do the program. Little did I know about all the challenges which were still ahead of me. Besides the training happening five days a week, it was also set for 6:30 am. I am not a morning person. I’m used to going to sleep around 2-3 am. Waking up so early each day to train was bound to be hell for me. I also decided to give it my all. Besides doing the Winter Warrior Training, I also joined additional MMA competition team and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu trainings, not only on weekdays but also on weekends. I ended up training around 15 times per week. There was little time for me to recover. So I knew that sleep will be crucial. Knowing though, was not enough. I would go to bed at 9:00 pm to try to get at least 8 hours of sleep, since I was waking up at 5:00 am. I would end up rolling around in my bed for hours until I would eventually fall asleep around 1:00 am. Not only did I not get enough sleep, it was also torture to try to fall asleep for hours every day. I went on to try supplements such as Melatonin, Magnesium before bedtime, sleep enhancing teas and everything else I could find to fall asleep quicker. All to no success.

Martial Arts Journey:

Over time, my fatigue piled up but I was not about to fall out of my commitment. I wanted to achieve victory in my upcoming fight, no matter what. So I kept pushing on. I ended up devoting all of my time and focus to preparing for my fight. For months, all I was doing was training, eating, resting and sleeping. The closer I got to the fight, the more I stopped doing everything that did not seem to help me prepare. I limited my means of entertainment and my social relationships. In order to win, I avoided doing anything that seemed unnecessary.

Finally, 6 months passed. The time for my fight was here. Me and my coaches had to drive for 10 hours to the event. My training camp was happening in Portland, Oregon and the fight was organized in Kalispell, Montana. Through the drive, I felt tired and lacking sleep but my mind was completely set and unwavering. I was not going to make excuses. Many people ask me if I was afraid before the fight. To my own surprise, the answer is no. I felt so ready and focused that fear was the last thing on my mind. I was set to win. As I entered the cage, I had a plan. Having trained so much, I was certain that I would have an advantage. I also knew that my fight will be filmed and that I’ll be putting it up on YouTube for my audience. I wanted to give them the V and I want it to be spectacular.

Martial Arts Journey:

I was planning to knock out my opponent in first round and to emerge victorious. The fight started. Each time my opponent put a punch, I tried to counter. I was aiming for a knockout. During my second series of strikes, I felt one of the strikes shaking yet, he was still up. He punched again and this time as I responded, one of my strikes rocked him. He stumbled on his knee. I thought, this is it. I just need to finish it. I went all out. Yet, the other fighter was still standing. I realized my plan did not work. I was in for the long haul. When the first round ended, I was exhausted. The fight was scheduled for two rounds and a third round extension in case of a draw. I was set for one more round. Once more, I gave it my all. Yet once the second round finished, I learned that the judges announced a draw and we were up for a third round. Now, it was a battle of willpower. I felt me and my opponent pushing ourselves to our utmost limit with each of our strikes. The round finally ended and it was time to learn who’s the winner. But I was not content. I stood next to the referee thinking; my original plan didn’t work out. I was not able to knock him out. I will not be surprised if I will lose.

Martial Arts Journey:

The announcement was aired. The first judge gave the scorecard to me, the other two didn’t. I lost the fight. At the moment though, there was something I was concerned even more than losing. I felt that something was off. As I went backstage, I started vomiting. The doctors checked me. They told me that I’m okay and that there shouldn’t be any problems. But problems there were. As I went back to the hotel, I was still feeling okay. I sat down on my bed and thought about the fight. I thought that I failed myself. Even more importantly, I failed my YouTube followers. I felt ashamed yet, honesty is a very important quality for me, so I decided to upload the fight without hesitation. I just did not dare to look at the comments. I then tried to fall asleep but I still felt nauseous.

Martial Arts Journey:

Few hours later, I started vomiting again. This time I vomited blood. I had no idea what was happening to me. Could it be a concussion? Is it a sign that I’m in serious trouble? It was 4 am, I was in the middle of an area I did not know. I wasn’t able to call my coaches, they were all asleep. Suddenly, I thought of another option. At the time, I already had a chance to get to know coach John Kavanagh. I figured that Ireland, where he resides, is hours ahead and that he shouldn’t be sleeping. I wrote him an email explaining what’s happening to me. He responded a few minutes later asking me to call him.

I convinced the hotel staff to lend me their phone for an international call. As soon as I reached John, he asked me if I remember my fight. The answer was yes. He then asked me if I had difficulties talking. The answer was no. After a few more questions, he came to a conclusion. Turns out during the fight, my nose was bleeding but it was also stuffed. I ended up swallowing my own blood, a lot of it. And that’s what I was puking out. I was immensely grateful to John for being kind enough to help me. I then started relaxing. Yet, I still had my loss to deal with.

Martial Arts Journey:

The drive home was excruciating. For the whole 10 hours, every 30 minutes we had to stop the car for me to vomit. Eventually, I managed to come back to my home place in Portland. I was still hesitant to read the comments under my fight video but I knew I had to face the music. That’s when I was caught by surprise. Not only did most of the viewers consider that I won the fight, everyone agreed that I won on a greater scale by the fact that I did it. I stopped to think about the whole experience. I realized the scope of everything I did; I moved to a different country, I trained for 6 months, stepped into the Octagon and gave it my all. I was focused on winning the fight. I realized that instead, I won by doing something that I wasn’t sure that I’d be able to pull off to begin with. The official victory is not what matters and this realization will stay with me in everything that I will do. Continue to push forward because that’s what really matters.

If you’re interested to learn how I was attacked by six guys and what happened because of it, click on the video right here.

This is Rokas and I wish you to own your journey.




Watch The Video Below! 👇