Kyle Slavin steps into the cage with mixed martial artist and UFC fighter Sarah Kaufman.

PLAY with the PROS – Mixed Martial Arts

Kyle in a cage match



It happens every month: as I’m preparing for my next Play with the Pros sport I fantasize about showing up and, without any training, just being naturally gifted at this new athletic endeavour of mine, leaving everybody’s jaws on the floor. These delusions of grandeur are extremely unhealthy, I know.

I have zero fighting experience under my belt. My brothers and I were unusually civil – we threw the odd punch as kids, and that’s about it. And despite my inexperience, I imagined I could step into the cage with mixed martial artist Sarah Kaufman and defend my honour. I can’t. At all. And that really doesn’t surprise me.

Before we square off she teaches me the basics of offensive and defensive MMA skills: how to throw a couple punches, land some kicks and – most importantly for me – how to block her strikes.

All that training flies out the window once we start sparring. I know she’s barely trying, but reality sets in immediately that even with her giving little effort, I’m totally and completely outmatched.

Kaufman has more than a decade of experience training in mixed martial arts. Pound for pound, she’s currently ranked 7th in the world for female MMA fighters by MMArising.com, with a 16-2 record, and one no contest. Her impressive resume should have been enough to convince me not to do this.

We touch gloves, and I can barely get my hands up to protect my head before I’m crying for mercy. She’s fast and powerful – two things I’m not. She’s strategic and observant, and immediately assesses my greatest weakness (my shamefully low pain tolerance for being kicked in the leg).

“For a beginner you did really well. It’s hard if you’ve never done a fighting, contact sport before. Your body just doesn’t know how to move, so the natural instinct is to cover up and not get hit, which actually gets you hit more,” she says.

Had she actually been trying: “You would’ve been done within about 15 seconds. I’d let you swing once and then I’d hit you a bunch of times. I’d leg kick you, and while you were upset about the leg kick, I’d knock you in the face.”

I have no troubles seeing that scenario play out exactly like that in my head. Any fantasies I had of coming in and excelling at MMA have literally been beaten out of me.

What the pro knows

Kaufman, 28, is currently training for her next fight, April 16 in Quebec City.

She’ll compete in The Ultimate Fighter Nations Finale women’s bantamweight bout versus Shayna Baszler. The two women competed once before, in June 2009. Kaufman was awarded a unanimous-decision win for that fight.

The Victoria-based fighter describes real competition as “a physical chess game.”

“You start seeing how they react, you keep doing that same thing, and then all of a sudden you’re able to go into something. … It’s trying to make someone move in a way they think they’re defending, but really it’s you forcing them to do it.”

 

 

Just Posted

UVic art display showcases craft of bookmaking

Art of the Book 2018 is in the Audain Gallery at UVic from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. starting Aug. 11

Celebrate local food with Feast of Fields in North Saanich

21st Feast of Fields on Vancouver Island is at Kildara Farms on Aug. 26 from 1 to 4 p.m.

RIFFLANDIA: Local artists thrive under festival model

Bands like Current Swell, one of the 2018 headliners, made their mark at RAP

Baseball’s HarbourCats wind up WCL season with loss to Pickles

Victoria needed a win to make the league playoffs, now looks ahead to 2019

Cannabis lounge idea to be floated at Victoria council meeting

Coun. Ben Isitt wants to explore smoking area options for marijuana users after legalization

VIDEO: Huge crowd celebrates Sunfest opening night with Canyon, Pritchett in Lake Cowichan

Plenty to enjoy as Sunfest Country Music Festival opened, and lots of folks came out to do so

REVIEW: Ever wanted to be young again? Theatre Skam’s Concord Floral will make you think again

Strong acting in an interesting theatre space, writes Sheila Martindale

Brad Pitt says he has given Jolie Pitt millions since split

Actor Brad Pitt denies Angelina Jolie Pitt’s claim that he has paid no meaningful child support.

WINE LOVERS UNITE: Victoria festival offers numerous tasting options

Parkside Hotel and Spa hosting Victoria International Wine Festival

Farquhar Auditorium updates image for 40th season

The Farquhar at UVic ushers in new season Sept. 22

THEATRE SKAM: Young cast brings Concord Floral to life in vacant downtown retail space

Former office supply store a unique venue for telling mysterious tale of youth with secrets

Schedule released for world junior hockey championship in B.C.

Vancouver and Victoria ready to host, as Canada conducts training camp in Kamloops

Blue Rodeo’s Jim Cuddy visits Prospect Lake

Power To Be annual fundraiser event brings in big personalities

Bard Across the Bridge brings ‘The Tempest’ seaside

Stage set for classic Shakespeare tale in Saxe Point Park this week

Most Read