I get lots of emails and private messages from women (and men) from all around the world sharing their own Muay Thai passions – women from beginners to advanced fighters – and I truly enjoy and get a lot out of these exchanges. I don’t often post much from those communications, although I would love to be able to share some of it with more people because there is so much to them. I’m never quite sure how to do it because I value privacy in communication a great deal, but we tend to experience similar struggles and learn from each other, so I’d like to be able to share what I can.
I recently had an exchange with a fighter who was suddenly told by someone she respected that she should think about whether or not she should continue to fight. I want to keep that part private, but my natural response to her may help others too, because at one point in my life I was strongly advised by my head trainer to consider not fighting anymore. It was a painful moment that felt like a betrayal to me, but it also triggered immense growth and opportunity in the decisions that followed.
“I had a trainer suggest I “take a long break and reassess fighting,” which she actually meant as a suggestion to stop fighting. It was horrible, hurtful and pretty much ended our relationship. It led to great things though – I left training with her and started training with Kaensak sor Ploenjit, who is absolutely incredible and I don’t believe I would have taken that direction without that awful suggestion from her. I’d had a year-long, six fight losing streak, so I know why she suggested it but I still think it’s terrible. I do wonder where people are coming from when they say something like that, but I find it inspirational that your response was not to throw up your hands and quit! Nuts to that!
Den always tells me the following: “everyone learns the same Muay Thai, just like how everyone learns the same information in school.” How you put it together and make it your own is different for everyone; some people learn fast, some slow, some are smart in elementary school and stupid in college and sometimes it’s the other way around. What he means is there are no “tricks,” you just have to be patient and let your own expression grow out of your increased experience and comfort. I’m what you’d call a late-bloomer in Muay Thai. I have a lot of information, but I can’t piece it together very well yet… YET. But it’s a love for learning or knowledge or art or sport that makes an academic or an artist or an athlete, and that’s something you can’t “teach.” So I think you and I have quite a gift, loving Muay Thai the way we do. The rest will come in pieces, but that one constant makes all the difference, I think.
I’ve written a few other related posts on whether to fight and when to fight, you can read them if you like: How Do You Know When You Are Ready to Fight? and before that Why You Should Fight Muay Thai in Thailand but this seems like a worthy thing to add. Indeed, fighting is not for everyone and be warned that if you fight you may not win or even look good, but that isn’t the real point…the question is: Is there a love?