When you’ve bitten off more than you can chew.

I leaned in closer to hear what David was saying in the cozy atmosphere of Tito’s Cantina Tequila Bar & Grille.

“On Tito’s Facebook page, I saw a picture of Tito in a headlock by one of his customers.”

“That’s so cool. If I meet him, I want a picture like that.”

No longer had the words left my lips, and Tito Ortiz appeared—the infamous UFC world champion and Hall of Famer of MMA fighting.

He casually chatted with his patrons.

When he came to our table, he asked David if he was enjoying his meal.

“Even if I don’t like it, I’m not going to complain to YOU.”

Tito chuckled and we discussed Hurricane Ian and why he left Huntington Beach to make Cape Coral his new home.

I asked if I could pose for a headlock picture. 

He’s probably asked to pose for these types of photos all the time, but he was gracious.

I looked up at him wondering how I would reach his neck. “Should stand on the chair?” He bent down to accommodate me.

My arm felt like a twig trying to bend around a tree truck.

And even though I’d taken a whole three months of martial arts training at High Altitude Martial Arts in Aurora, Colorado, now, standing there with the world champ, I forgot every skill I’d once learned— including the simple practice of how to property clasp my hands once I had him in a headlock.

I gave my angriest fight face as David snapped the picture. 

In that moment, I realized I’d bitten off more than I could chew. I certainly wouldn’t want to be this man’s opponent!


After a fun night of hanging out with Tito and with my high school sweetie, David, (it was our 34 year anniversary that night), I got to thinking about taking on more than I’ve bargained for and how to combat it.

  1. Ask for help. I asked Tito to remind me of how to perform a headlock. Asking for someone to assist you might feel painful, but you will never completely take hold of life without the assistance of others. We are made for relationship.
  2. Don’t exhale. When grappling with one of my professors, Curtis, I exhaled in defeat. He immediately scolded me. “Never give up. When I feel my opponent exhale, I eat that for breakfast like Cheerrios.” From that day forward I trained differently. When life’s Oppressor has you in a lock, breath, but don’t exhale in loss. We can be confident knowing that we know the One who ultimately wins.
  3. Own it. One thing that has gotten me this far in life is the ability to own my decisions. I asked for the picture, I didn’t do my hand grasp right, but I made a “fight face” and owned it. Don’t judge my mean look…you know my only pose is smiling.

What I’ve discovered is that when I ask for help (from God or others), refuse to exhale, and own my decisions, I become more like Him. And isn’t that what we are all “training” for?

By the way, y’all, the food at Titos’s in Cape Coral, Florida is amazing. And you WILL bite off more than you can chew.