Before I begin, Iíd like it to be understood that I take know pride in the story Iím about to tell. Instead, I tell his story as a lesson to others and myself. I was young, amateurish, and foolish. I know itís long, but please read all and be patient.

I was seventeen years old and had been practicing the art of Goju Ryu karate for about my fourth year. I had just gotten my brown belt. While reviewing my budgeting problems, it had occurred to me that there was no way I would be able to renew my karate membership and attend university in the following year with my current income. I had discussed this problem with a very good friend of mine and he had told me that there was some sort of and underground MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) competition that paid all itís winner very good money; the catch was that these tournaments were NHB (No Holds Barred) and people usually got hurt. However I was cocky and overrated my skill level.
I had arranged for a match to be set up. It was to be held in 3 weeks from the date that I had booked it. I trained very hard. I stretched, weight lifted, did my cardio, and countless hours of karate training. When the time had come, I was standing at 6í0 tall and a lean 165 pounds.
The directions I was given led to a soccer field. I figured there was no way I was at the right place until I saw over fifty people sitting on and around the bleachers. I was greeted by a very friendly man who on the way to the center of the soccer field went over some very basic rules (no groin shots, no biting, etcÖ), he also explained the ways to win (knock out, taping out, if the ďrefĒ decided to stop the match, or if whoever was in your corner threw in the towel; I had my cousin in my corner).
Me and some other mean looking guy stood across from each other in the circle at the center of the soccer field with a crowed of people outlining the ďringĒ. He was bigger then me, both height and width, and was built. I had heard that he was a Tae-Kwon-Do practitioner.
Some old man came in between us and asks if weíre ready; we both nod yes and he yells for the fight to begin. The next thing I remember is my heart beating out of my chest, my hands dripping with sweat, and my ears hurting from everyoneís screams and taunts. He made the first move by reaching across with his right arm to grab my right shoulder. Next, he starts punching; straight, hard punches. I tried punching back by it didnít do too much because I had to punch over my own should and I barely touched him. Also, I couldnít turn myself because of the awesome grip he had on my shoulder and because of how strong he was.
My cousin runs in and yells for the ďrefĒ to stop the match after my face looked like someone spilt red paint on me. I didnít get any money that night, but the lesson I learned about fighting was good enough for me.
That was about two years ago, and once again Iím having some serious money problems. So much so I might be forced to drop out. Iím much better now then I was then, and the option for me to fight again is still open. I no how stupid it sounds but this is the only other way for me to get my hands on some money, and believe me Iíve explored other options (parents, students loans, bank loans, credit cards, other family members, a second job). It seems Iím down to a simple choice of fight, or drop out, any suggestions?

Ps: Please donít say another source of money because Iíve tried more then you can imagine! And believe me, this is NOT a choice I like making!