Great essay, and perfect timing for me (I actually meditated to the Litany against fear last night). I particularly like how you approach use of Will, you do have to force yourself thru Will to fight initially (or even just to spar). Early on though, I found that if it was just will that I was struggling against myself so much that I didn't have much for my opponent or the greater opponent (e.g. fear, anger, desire). I also think you undersell your "right" to talk about this, this is all our struggle (every single one of us) because we all walk around looking at the existential inevitability of the end. I fight for a lot of reasons, but most importantly to live a better fuller life because we always have our hand in that box (even if we aren't always aware of it).
Kevin, I replied briefly on facebook but really felt like I needed to say more, because I think I can relate in a way that many of the younger folks maybe cannot. I think I can understand how hard this is, not just physically but maybe emotionally as well. I started training when I was 45 and dropped around 35 pounds over the years, and have even fought a bit. Sylvie has provided me a lot of inspiration to try to do this because it seemed doable to me (and frankly not doable in the opinion of many others in my life), her Everest-quest for 200 was crazy 100 fights ago and now its within reach. I am fighting at 50, which is great. But the flip side of drawing that kind of inspiration is that its an impossible standard to live up to, my handful of fights at a relatively low level are slightly embarrassing to even mention in something she might read. Even in comparison to my youthful buddies, my "fight career" seems somewhat quixotic, so my mental game is about my mental game, about my Muay. Staying focused is my goal, no matter how tempting it is to dwell on the desire to be younger or to have started earlier or on some other externality. And I think a lot about something Pema Chodron wrote: “The most fundamental aggression to ourselves, the most fundamental harm we can do to ourselves, is to remain ignorant by not having the courage and the respect to look at ourselves honestly and gently.” I take this to mean, be real with myself but don't be cruel with myself. Hang tough, work hard. There is only your road ahead. This old guy is cheering for you.