PORT ANGELES — Informal boxing matches held in the backyard of a home on West 10th Street near Shane Park paved a path toward success for Port Angeles mixed martial artist Jacob Goudie, 25.
Those behind-the-house brawls were moved off-site to Shane Park, Webster’s Tree Park and other locations — per mom’s orders.
“I had to kick them out of our house because of those fights,” Jacob’s mom Cheryl Goudie said.
“I said, ‘You guys are going to get mom in trouble here with all this.’”
Mom’s warning didn’t take, according to Goudie.
“We moved them to parks and if the cops came we’d scatter,” Goudie said.
Goudie’s youthful tendency to seek out all manner of thrills, be they on a trampoline, a skateboard or even catching a “wave” behind a moving vehicle gave Cheryl fits.
“He used to do stupid crap like car surfing,” she said.
“He’s lucky to be alive for a couple reasons. I’ve been to the hospital a few times for him.”
She can rest a little easier now that Jacob, the proud father of a 1 1/2-year-old son named Leonardo, has channeled much of that youthful impulsiveness into training to be a professional fighter.
Goudie, 7-5-1 as an amateur but 4-0 at his present fighting weight of 145 pounds, is the holder of two title belts, from the Reign FC and a Combat Games promotions.
Goudie defended his Reign FC belt and won the Combat Games belt in a span of two weeks in June.
Now he’s on the verge of turning pro and fighting as a professional.
His fighting career really started when a cousin invited him to train together.
“My cousin Rick Goudie told me I should start training with him,” Goudie said.
After just a month of training, Goudie soon had his first bout at 7 Cedars Casino, a knockout victory on March 5, 2011.
The introductions of the fighters took longer than the match itself — as Goudie relied on his boxing background to win the fight in just 11.7 seconds.
“I feinted at him, acted like I was going to punch and saw he was going to shoot for the takedown,” Goudie said.
“He didn’t the first time, but he did the second time and I caught him with a left uppercut. He said later he was out after that. I got on top of him and hit him a few times before the ref ran in and stopped it.
Goudie celebrated the win with a back flip, but that move hasn’t become a post-victory staple.
“Sometimes I’m a little too tired to pull that off,” Goudie said.
“I don’t have all that energy left after every match.”
Moving from boxing into MMA was a natural progression for Goudie and it’s improved an already strong level of self-confidence.
Goudie next began to train under the guidance of Cody Houston of Port Angeles’ CageworX Mixed Martial Arts and started to incorporate more Brazilian Jiu Jitsu techniques into his fighting style.
“I thought it would be a good thing to pursue,” Goudie said.
“I like the fighting. I like the self-defense aspect and being able to protect my family and Leo if something happened.
“When’s he’s old enough I’ll get him involved with self-defense, so he can have that same level of security.”
“I’ve never been insecure about defending myself, but if somebody has a weapon I feel comfortable with my skill set. Knowing that I can defend myself and have the confidence to act if provoked is a good feeling.”
He’s rarely had to use his fighting chops outside of a training session or a bout, however.
“Mixed martial arts and jui jitsu training really open your mind and give you a stronger self-control and self-discipline,” Goudie said.
“You realize you are a weapon that could really hurt someone.”
He’s also added American kickboxing styles taught by Phil Beatty and Muay Thai technique from Houston, as well as a Russian wrestling style called Sambo.
“I feel comfortable in all areas now,” Goudie said.
“One of the most exciting things about MMA is that it’s not just limited to just hands like boxing, or wrestling on the ground.
“You have to be able to do everything in MMA and Jacob is really getting there.
“High-level fighters are intelligent individuals. It’s a chess match and opponents are going to impose a set of problems on you and you have to be able to solve those problems.”
Goudie has cut out alcohol and improved his diet in a bid to slim down and compete at 145 pounds.
“I walk around about 160 pounds normally, so the hardest part about fighting is the weight cut,” Goudie said.
A fondness for blueberry Pop Tarts has become a treat.
“After my second-to-last fight I went to Safeway at like 4 in the morning to get some pop tarts,” Goudie said.
He said he focuses on a six-week training plan when ramping up for a bout.
“In my fights I’m not going to be doing a lot of running,” Goudie said.
“So my cardio workouts focus on things like wrestling, striking and moving around quickly on my feet.
He’s also hitting the heavy bag, sparring with training partners.
The most grueling training tool is what Goudie called the Jacobs ladder.
“Basically like a treadmill but it’s a ladder set up at 45-degree angle,
“I try to do 10 3-minute rounds with a 1-minute break in between to simulate the length of between-round stoppages during bouts.
“I try to imitate the pace of a match and try to keep a consistent pace and not slow down, and if anything pick up the pace,” Goudie said.
The biggest change, Goudie said, has come after the birth of his son with his girlfriend Sara Shearer.
“In the beginning of my fight career I definitely had problems with nerves and confidence,” Goudie admitted.
“But I’m 4-0 since he’s been around. I’ve felt a lot more mentally sound.
“Leo, I love him more than anything, but he’s the most stressful thing in my life.
“Knowing that, then why would I wear ever let anything else get to me? “He’s made me more of a complete fighter than I ever was before.”
And when Goudie enters the ring, it’s full-steam ahead.
“It’s like waiting for a spider to attack his prey, “ Cheryl Goudie said.
“He’s coming up to the dude and going for it, he’s not waiting for it to happen to him.”
The fighter agreed.
“I don’t worry about my opponent or the crowd. I go in there, and people are always telling me ‘Make it a good show, ’ but in my mind I’m there to finish the other person.
“It might suck for the crowd, but I’m trying to prove a point and move forward quickly in my career and fight people closer to my level.
“I always try to be respectful, I always try to shake the other guys hand or help them up when I win.”
Entering the professional ranks will allow Goudie to access a better quality of opponent and hopefully to add some additional income.
But it also means he’ll start over at 0-0.
“I’ll be back at the bottom again and will have to go up the pecking order,” Goudie said.
“And the goal and eventual dream would be to fight for the UFC.
“And I know it’s always good to dream but you have to focus on reality, so I am keeping focused on the day-to-day.”
Houston said he’s witnessed Goudie’s growth as a fighter.
“He has a high fight IQ, he knows when to attack, when to avoid danger and his skill set is so well-rounded,” Houston said.
“He’s got natural ability in all aspects of his game. That’s what will help him as he adjusts to the pros.
He’s also seen Goudie grow as a man.
“One of the best parts about my job is being able to watch them grow as athletes as well as individuals,” Houston said.
“It’s really been kind of a night and day difference with Jacob. He’s become a father, become a partner and he’s doing an outstanding job.
“I think he can go as far as he wants to go.”
Sports reporter Michael Carman can be contacted at 360-417-3525 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.