I am pretty low key about my journey as a Nak Muay (Muay Thai Fighter) but it is a massive part of my existence and one of the main reasons for me traveling around the world so I am going to share with you some of my experiences.
There are loads of reasons why I love Muay Thai. Yes I love the training and the pain, but most of all (believe it or not) I love how it has made me into a peaceful warrior. You see if you are stepping into the ring with fear and anger you will never really win the war going on internally in yourself. Mastering the art of staying calm and relaxed in your training and during the fight whilst performing like a powerful warrior is when you know you have cracked it. This was always my goal.
I prepared hard for my last fight on 29th January, which was to be my 6th pro fight. I knew my opponent was an experienced fighter but I was taller, stronger. Everything was in my favour…. So I thought. There are a few important life lessons I was reminded of on that night. The first one is ‘never underestimate your opponent’.
It was a good technical Muay Thai battle. Shin on shin hard, elbows, knees, both of us waiting for the counter opportunity so the referee was rushing us to move. I would bluff or move first and she would score back and move every time. She wasn’t going for the clinch as we had anticipated, she was scoring on the counter. That was her plan and it was effective and I wasn’t expecting it. For ladies, Muay Thai fights are usually 4 rounds. It was so close that we were given a fifth round. I had my trainers Noi and Chai in my corner both telling me to go forward or I would loose. At that crucial time I didn’t focus in the moment because if I did, I would have won. If I would have gone forward in full beast mode it would have been game over.
Second life lesson…. there are times when you have to GO! You don’t have all the time in the world, you gotta get business done quick or the moment is over. And it was… I lost on points.
If I am honest, I wasn’t really concerned with the outcome of the fight, I just wanted to know and feel that I had fought good (technical Muay Thai), and put on my best performance on the night. I felt I did and I had progressed so much from my last fight even though I didn’t get the win. I actually remember looking into my opponent’s eyes and seeing her soul as we hit bone on bone over and over. Not even hearing the crowd, just Noi and Chai’s voices shouting every opportunity they could see for me.
At the end of the fight, the Thai crowd tipped me money (1000tbh) to show respect because it was such a courageous brave battle. I was both honored and touched by this as I knew the respect was real and I was fighting legit Muay Thai. I had war wounds, my shins were raw but I felt awesome. It reminded me how durable the human body is and what it can withstand especially when your mindset and positive thinking is in the right place.
With all that said, nothing could have prepared me for the hurt and disappointment I felt from my coaches the day after. Nothing was said, I could just feel the emotion. Third life lesson… ‘ when you go into battle as a team, you step on the battlefield together ‘
“ We feel like this because we could see that you could win easy and you were much better than she. But you had a good fight. That’s Muay Thai “ Charoon Juntra’s words (pictured) are always so powerful. When he speaks you listen. He never bullshits and tells you exactly how it is. That’s why I have the upmost respect for him. He often (without knowing) gives me inspiration for my motivational quotes and speeches. I looked at all three of my trainers, Charoon, Noi, Chai, and then it dawned on me. They had so much belief and hope in me and when it came to the moment of truth where I had to believe in myself without hesitation, it didn’t happen. All of a sudden I felt that I had let them down as well as myself as it was there for the taking. I know this better than anyone that as a trainer, your work is measured on how good your students are. When they don’t succeed, you go through an emotional rollercoaster with them of why they didn’t. You are connected. When they are tested, you are in that ring with them, willing them to win. When they take an unnecessary loss, it’s heartbreaking. Then the words came out of my mouth “ I want a rematch….”
And so the story continues…..
It is not the victories you learn the most from in life, it is the defeats. They are our greatest lessons and hold the answers to how we can constantly improve ourselves as human beings. Knowledge is infinite. Roll on March! Ous!