I’ve been in the Martial Arts for much of my life. I’ve seen and heard stories of men getting their hearts chewed out by the reality of the life of a fighter. It is a life of solitude, discipline and sacrifice. I have seen fighters with even the hardest of hearts, broken and defeated, only to find their lives on a path of obscurity. This is not a life for everyone, it is a life reserved for those, who are beaten up and chewed out time and time again, only to get back up, just to suffer all over again. Those who have the physical and mental prowess will be rewarded in the end.
Pearl Gonzalez is one of those fighters who can take it. Truth be told, I have not known her long, but long enough to know just how strong she is. Like all strong fighters, Gonzalez has the physical and mental aptitude to make it as a fighter. Gonzalez has been gracious enough to let me follow her and train with her on her arduous journey to the XFC. And so for the last couple of months, I’ve been working with Gonzalez.
Much of the training I’ve been doing with Gonzalez has been wrestling. Gonzalez works her wrestling with a mutual friend, Tim Caronti. Caronti is a very accomplished martial artist and a former commissioner of professional and amateur MMA in Illinois. Wrestling with Gonzalez is no picnic. Despite me being roughly 20lbs heavier and having wrestling experience myself, she manages to kick my behind now and again. With Caronti, Gonzalez is pushed beyond her limits, but she endures.
Today, I visited Gonzalez training at the south loop LA Boxing, in Chicago. It should be mentioned that LA Boxing has recently merged with UFC. When I walked in, I saw Gonzalez finishing up with a boxing class she instructs. It was refreshing to see Gonzalez passionately barking orders to students, as I have become accustomed to seeing her getting chewed out by Caronti.
Gonzalez started her boxing regiment sparring with other young women, who were hard as gravel. Gonzalez showed good tenacity and offense with her boxing, but like any good fighter, still could use a little fine tuning. But overall, this girl has solid standup.
The training commenced with bag and pad work, followed by foot and core training. The session concluded with a mile on the treadmill. Gonzalez had done Muay Thai training the day before and was feeling the painful aftermath, of sparring with a larger opponent. Never the less, she finished strong, as her trainer increased the speed on the treadmill.
Though I have not worked long with Gonzalez, I consistently see her physical and mental strength, to aid her on this quest for greatness. I hope to see Gonzalez train with her other instructors before her fight on February 22nd. In the mean time, keep reading as I will have more to come.