Team Lebanon mind coach discusses ‘The Mental Dimension of Fighting’

Above: Lebanon’s Imad Hoayek receives his bronze medal at the 2017 IMMAF European Open Championships.

Joe Moarkech has been the ‘mind coach’ of Lebanon’s national amateur MMA team since 2014, bringing over 15 years of experience as a consultant and development professional.

His own personal development stems from years working and volunteering with NGO’s such as the UN, Scouts, Red Cross and others, in addition to further influences from industries including sports and the power of discipline contained in martial arts.

A deep knowledge and passion for applied theoretical development tools has seen him become a leading influence in his field, helping both team members and leaders to make things happen; leading hundreds of programs with multinational companies including NGO’s, SME’s, in the public and private sectors, blending technical and behavioral skills to upgrade the teams’ performance and enabling them to reach their true potential.

Written below, based on his professional experiences and findings, Moarkech (pictured below) shares his opinions into the processes of an MMA competitor’s mindset and how this factors in to results.

When athletes engage in a competition, the winner is usually the “Better [man/woman]!” This is easily defined when one of them has better techniques, better physique, better stamina or better experience. But when top-notch athletes who train 6 days a week, 6 hours a day, engage in a competition, what makes the difference revolves around their strategies and the power of their minds.

joe Moarkech

One of the most important philosophies that we train our fighters on is: “Control yourself and you will control the cage and who’s in it.” This goes far beyond the cage or the ring, this is a lifestyle that is based on continuously training the mind to be clean, focused and determined, it is the ability of the fighter to feel the stress and sense the distractions and know how to deal with them.

Tough minded fighters are probably those who have more bad stuff to deal with, but they know how to handle them, they know how to handle their fears, their worries, their anger, how they deal with their weaknesses and how they manage their energy and adrenaline. It is about admitting the facts of the limitations and the situational conditions that restrict and hinder the fighter from performing and yet, dealing with them and making each detail serve the performance.

Better-minded athletes have far more probabilities to get their hands raised at the end of the fight. “In competition or in life; control yourself and you will control the situation and who’s in it.”

The Lebanese team will next be in action at the 2017 IMMAF Asian Open Championships in Singapore. The national lineup will include Imad Hoayek, the most experienced team veteran at the age of 22, Hoayek earned bronze as a middleweight at the 2015 IMMAF World Championships and most recently secured bronze at light-heavyweight competing at the 2017 European Open.

He will be joined by 23-year-old heavyweight Chaddad Alexandre, 21-year-old flyweight Roland Yacoubian and 23-year-old lightweight Eli Zgheib. The team will be led by national coach Ricardo Rebeiz.

The 2017 IMMAF Asian Open Championships in Singapore will be held in partnership with the UFC, the world’s premier mixed martial arts (MMA) organisation. The Championships form part of UFC Fight Night Singapore’s week long fan activities leading up to its highly anticipated live event at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on Saturday June 17 2017.

The IMMAF Asian Open Championships will take place from June 12 -16 at Marina Bay Sands hotel as IMMAF’s first championship in Asia supported by the UFC’s on-going commitment to developing MMA in the region.

For live team developments and results visit MyNextMatch.com.

By IMMAF.org lead writer, Jorden Curran