There is a divide in Muay Thai training that is indiscernable within myself. On the one hand, Muay Thai is love and art, breath and passion. I need Muay Thai in order to be who I am and who I want to be. On the other hand, Muay Thai is a sport, a game, a discipline. Sports are something one can be good at.
I feel this difference in my body: in how I love and hate my body in equal measure. I love it for what it can do and how it takes care of me; I hate it for how it fails or begs for rest, or refuses to look how it feels. I can also feel this emotionally, in the way that I get excited to train or look forward to sparring; I also feel it when I am disappointed with myself for how I’m training or how poorly I’m sparring.
But I never seem to choose in favor of positivity. If I do poorly, I never think to myself, “well, it’s a sport; I train for myself and I can only improve with time and dedication.” Rather, I think it is a deficit in my person, rather than my training or knowledge. If I do well, I do not attribute it to how hard I’m working or how much I enjoy it. The only constant between these two sides is that I always love Muay Thai. If I hate myself or have a shit day, I still love Muay Thai; if I land sharp punches and powerful kicks, block and move with purpose and confidence… well hell, I really love Muay Thai.
But there has to be a way to stitch the two together in my head and heart so that I don’t go through this intense guilt and stress that castrates me. I have to be able to see the sport side and give it space, know that improvement is not given but earned. And I have to see the side of it that is necessary for my well being – that I do this because I love it and I may never be prolific… I don’t like to think that, but I do have to accept where I am before I can yearn for where I will be. I can’t keep fighting with myself. It’s not a fair fight.