The Phoenix 50 was the most difficult experience I've ever signed up for. To say that it was physically demanding would be the understatement of the century. I mean, heck, I ended up in the hospital that night.
Emotionally it was tough as well. Having my wife and all of my sons in the audience cheering me on inspired me to keep pushing, but it also brought on a level of stress I hadn't anticipated.
One of the harder aspects of the fighting...and this is going to sound ridiculous...was the break in between each fight. Each fight was 90 seconds of full contact sparring followed by a one minute break. If one of the fights ended early (with a knockout or proper takedown) then I got the minute break PLUS whatever was left on the round time. Simply put, it paid to end fights early.
That being said, I hadn't anticipated how difficult it would be in the late rounds to get up for each fight. Physically, my body had taken a beating; my legs, in the end, could just support my weight. Mentally, there was a war going on. Emotionally, I was starting to become affected by the experience. So, towards the end, my mind, body, and even my spirit we being broken. You might never complete a 50-man kumite like I did, but I guarantee you've been (or one day will be) in that position where you're broken like I was.
It's during those times you need to listen to the people around you. I don't remember much about the last 10 fights in the Phoenix 50. If I hadn't seen so many photos, I wouldn't really remember any of it. What I do remember is Sensei Jason Franklin (my friend, training partner, and my cornerman for the event) giving a very simple instruction: "Get up!" And I did.
So there's two sides of the coin that we can all apply here.
Heads: YOU are the one broken. Listen to others around you. Listen for the practical steps that you can take. Chances are, the things that are hardest to hear and the ones you need to hear most.
Tails: Someone around you is broken. Give them very simple, clear input. No philosophical ranting or soapbox preaching.
We're all in this together. We all need breaks, but we also need that encouragement to get up and get back in the fight.