Well, I have been in martial arts for the majority of my life (started 28 years ago)...not always Combat Sambo. During those years all roads have lead to Combat Sambo so to speak. Each time I shifted my training, I went on increasingly practical, less sport oriented paths. Shotokan as a kid, Tae Kwon Do, San Shou/submission wrestling, and finally Combat Sambo. I was never interested in boasting about wins or competitions...just a guy who loved what I did, loved the training and fighting - whatever the rules were. I have lost as many matches as I have won.
I fought TKD and NASKA in the early days; later I fought amateur MMA (called freestyle at that time), San Shou and grappling. I guess my "claim to fame" was my finalist finish at the 1997 San Shou United Worlds. Some of my most memorable matches were against guests at my school, training down at Gleason's, or visiting other schools - not public or sporty stuff. When I was fighting, I trained 2x a day, six days a week (this went on for several years). I did sacrifice much over those years. Any high level committment requires that. Now running an organization, promoting events, and running a school are my new challenges. I have been at it since April 03 when my teacher went back to Russia. I love the experience, it has gone great, and I get such joy watching it all happen. Again, some sacrifice, but worth it - it does not even feel like a sacrifice. Having quit my day job, it will soon enter a new level. I have dreamed about the day that I could make my living solely doing martial arts.
To be honest, what turned me on to Combat Sambo was the need to step up my training as well as the particular teacher I trained with. By the time I came to Combat Sambo in 1999, I had a strong foundation standing, throwing, and on the ground. Competition was not a prioroty for me any more and I had already started coaching and cornering fighters (I still trained almost daily, always did, and still do). I still love to spar and roll...I just do it for my own joy...not medals. Along the same lines, my teacher did not stress competition either. He was all about practicality and self-defense.
What has kept me on track? Simple. I love Martial Arts and Combat Sambo more than any other thing I do.
I ramble too :o)