Quotes from J’Den Cox at Practice

We had the priviledge of having 2x World Champion and Olympic Medalist, J’Den Cox visit practice yesterday. I’ve spoken to him before and he’s always full of great insights and has a knack for inspiring those around him. I captured my favorite quotes from before practice and while anwsering questions after practice. I also included the full video of the speech he gave before practice while he gave a “test”.

Before practice (All while doing 5+ min straight of push ups):

What does it take to win? That burning you feel in your arms, that temptation to put the knee back down, to bend your back, to not do it properly, to not continue to push, to not fight through it…..to literally go until you can’t go anymore, that grind, that fight, that’s the work that it takes to get to the fun, the winning.  You feel like you have to stop…you’re like “I have to collect myself”. But what if your opponent doesn’t stop? Right now your opponent is pain. And pain is one of the best opponents your will face in the room. But pain doesn’t stop. Pain keeps attacking and coming after you. Being tired doesn’t stop…it keeps coming after you. And you know when it’s won? When you find a way out. “I gotta take a knee. I need to breathe. I need some water. I need to come out of my stance a little. My back is getting tired.” And the funny thing about being tired is that feels like you can’t do anymore. But if you stopped and I asked if you could have done more, your answer would be yes, I could have done more.

You have to get to the point in your training, where you stop asking yourself “could I have done more”. You have to know you’ve given everything. The question needs to be, “how much further can I go next practice?”

Being tired and being in pain is like walking down a dark hallway. You keep going, but you don’t know what its going to be like because you can’t see. It’s scary. It’s unknown territory. You keep pushing, so that as you walk down the hallway, you light a torch. That light will stay lit because you know what it feels like, because you’ve been there before. Because you pushed to this place before. What it feels like to be in this kind of pain, to be this tired. And you keep that torch lit to push further in the dark, and that gives you the courage to keep pushing forward. 

I’m not saying winning is everything. But I am saying it’s worth giving everything to win. 

I say the same prayer before every match “God, allow me to wrestle at the best of my abilities with what you’ve blessed me with”.

I don’t look at my opponent before my matches. My opponent is not real, he’s not the problem. He’s just unfortunate to be in my way. I don’t look at him until the ref has us shake hands. But I don’t look at him, not because I’m scared, but because he is not the opponent I’m facing.

Wrestling is not what you are willing to do to someone else, wrestling is what are you willing do to for yourself. It’s easy to say “I’m gonna beat you up”. But when the pain starts seeping in, when your legs get wobbly, that mindset starts to change….are you willing to sprawl correctly when you are exhausted? Are you willing to set up your shots the way you are supposed to? Are you willing to stay in the handfight with a brawler? Are you willing to keep moving your feet as much as you can even though your legs can’t move?

Breaking someone is a false statement. You don’t break anyone. It’s a choice they make…it’s a choice you make. 

The most grueling practices you will go through are not the ones where you are exhausted from sprints. Anyone can run and do conditioning. It’s the ones where you are working on one small things for 2 hours straight and it still looks like diddly squat. When you are physically, mentally, emotionally grueling putting your soul into perfecting one small item. 

How uncomfortable are you willing to be? What are you willing to do for yourself. It has nothing to do with your opponents.

I don’t care what my opponents do. I didn’t train for them. I trained for me. They are just unfortunate to be in my way. When you approach matches with that mindset, it takes the nerves away. Because you realize that person doesn’t matter. The bracket doesn’t matter. The rankings don’t matter. What matters is what I trained for and what I fought for. 

I’m not saying the work is easy. I’m saying it’s worth it.

After Practice

We had a great Q & A where he was very open and honest about his journey and obstacles he’s faced. He talked about the importance of doing all the little things right including nutrition, sleep, extra curricular activities, etc. Below are a couple of memorable questions and answers:

Q: What did you do in your training that separated you from others?
A: Everyone talks about putting in extra “time” in, but it’s not about the amount of time. It’s what you put into the time given. A lot of guys stayed after practice to put extra “time” in. But if I practice for 1 1/2 hours, I am emptying the tank completely and I don’t have anything left to give after practice.

Q: What is something in my training I should be doing every day?
A: Pray…and be genuine and kind to everyone. Wrestling is a lifestyle.

Q: What is your mindset like going into matches?
A: I sing. I dance. I crack jokes. I’m not worried about the wrestling because I’ve already done everything it takes to win.

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