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  1. So, I have been training Muay Thai for about a year, and finally had my first fight Nov 6. I wanted to share my experience and maybe get some feedback from the more experienced fighters on the forums about what my training priorities should be for my next fight. Obviously, my trainer has some strong opinions, but I like to get different perspectives The fight was sanctioned under ISKF rules in Florida, which means no elbows and very limited clinch. This is going to be a long post, so please feel free to skip to the end, where there is a link to the youtube video. I am 5'8", and walk around at 140lbs. I had planned to fight at 135lbs, but about 2 weeks out from the fight, the promoter told me I needed to be at 130lbs if I wanted a match. I was very unenthusiastic about cutting weight, but desperate to fight (I had been waiting several months for a match) so I followed the advice in this blog post: http://fourhourworkweek.com/2008/01/18/how-to-cut-weight/ and managed to come in 128lbs. My opponent was 5'2", weighed 129lbs, and had a record of 2 wins and 1 draw. I felt like shit the last week of training because of the lack of carbs. But it was 'day before' weigh-ins, so I had time to rehydrate and refuel. I had some pre-fight anxiety, which I wrote about thusly: "So I am less than a week away from my first fight. I keep thinking to myself "I must be crazy. Why did I agree to do this?" I'll be sitting calmly at work, and suddenly get a shot of adrenaline as I think of my opponent, as I picture entering the ring. I keep thinking of the worst things that could happen. I'm not really afraid of being knocked out, although that would be bad. It's more like the nightmares I used to have, where I'm so angry and I want to hurt someone but all my movements are in slow motion and nothing seems to land. And I'm scared of gassing out: of being so exhausted that my arms and legs feel so heavy and dead. Those are the things I fear: being helpless and tired and dumb. Everyone warns me about the adrenaline dump, and tells me that once I'm in the ring I won't be able to think and I'll just throw whatever my body remembers best. I've written a list of 8 techniques that I'm going to carry in my pocket until the day of the fight. Four of the techniques are "reaction techniques", and four are "initiation techniques". I think that should be enough." (For those that are curious, my list was "1. Jab 2. Teep 3. Parry to punch 4. Parry to Knee 5. Leg kick 6. Hook to kick 7. Jab, cross, switch kick and 8. Superman punch". In retrospect, kind of silly. But I found it very comforting.) Writing down my fears really helped me to process them. I realized the things I was actually afraid of (being totally helpless, getting totally gassed) would be nearly impossible considering I had been training Muay Thai for 3 hours a day, 6 days a week, for over a year. Yes I could lose the fight, but I had done everything my trainer told me to do to prepare, and I wasn't going to embarrass myself or the gym. Reading Sylvie's blog posts also helped me to keep perspective. The day of the fight came, and I was almost last on the card (I think I was the 20th fight?). We got there at 4pm, and I didn't fight until after midnight. I managed to take a nap in the 'locker' room, and stayed bizarrely calm the whole time. I'm generally a pretty anxious person, so I expected to be a bundle of nerves, but it just wasn't the case. Several fighters from our gym fought back-to-back, so I didn't really get much of a warm up, and didn't get a thai oil massage. My trainer is very traditional, and was clearly unhappy and superstitious about it, but I kind of just shrugged it off. In a way, the fight felt pre-determined to me. Either I had internalized the techniques, or I hadn't. I kept thinking of a quote from Muhammad Ali "The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses - behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights." I had a huge physical advantage with my height, and while there are absolutely people who train harder, I felt fairly well conditioned. Then the fight happened. I kept expecting a shot of adrenaline, but it never came. I don't know if that's good or bad. I kept thinking "Surely as I warm up, I'll start getting excited". Nope. "Surely as I stand on deck, I'll get pumped". Nope. "Surely when I walk into the ring and see my opponent, my heart will start racing". Nope. "When the bell rings, THEN I will go into Beast Mode". NOPE. It was very weird. I just felt calm and detached, and totally in control of the fight. Watching the video afterwards was hard though. I did some things 'right', but so much I did wrong. I controlled the pace and the distance and landed some good knees. But everything looks so SLOW and I looked so LAZY. My guard is terrible: I keep leaning back and wildly swinging my arms when I should be keeping them tight and leaning into her punches. I could hear my corner screaming at me to "Go forward! Engage!" and I straight up ignore them because I was out of breath, felt like I was winning, and wanted to play it safe. After the fight, my trainer was clearly very frustrated with me, but didn't lay into me too hard because I had won. But he felt that I probably could have KOed or TKOed her if I had just followed up more after rocking her. I have mixed feelings about this. Obviously, it's preferable to end the fight decisively without letting it go to the judges. On the other hand, I felt very dominant, and it seems strategically advantageous to keep something in 'reserve' for my next fight. I don't know. Or maybe ultimately I'm just lazy and like to do the bare minimum, haha. Here's the fight. I am the very tall one with purple shorts: Comments and criticisms welcome!
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