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Barbara_K

Some thoughts on the first fight

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Hey everyone,

just about 10 days ago it finally happened that I had my first fight and thus I wanted to share some thoughts and impressions on that and everything related to it.

For me the journey to step into the ring started pretty soon, after I started training Muay Thai 2,5 years ago at the age of 32. Pretty soon I realised I'm doing this not only for fitness reasons, there's something more behind for me. Maybe some new challenge, maybe I wanted to prove myself that I am able to go from "heavily overweighted" to "fit for fight", I don't know.
During that time I was, due to my occupation, training in 3 different gyms, learned different styles, different ways to train and get stronger.

The gym I'm training these days and I was fighting for is run by a Thai Kru who is living here in Finland for several years and that event was the first big event at home in our gym, a constellation which put even more pressure on me during the last weeks and months.
It was really not easy during that time to handle my full time job, train hard, balance my weight and never lose focus. Never before I experienced such pressure from anyone like that time from our Kru. In that certain time it was hard for me (us) "modern westeners" to handle and accept that - on the other hand I could understand him, being afraid of having his fighters losing their matches, because they weren't listening enough to him.

The last week before the fight I was still struggling with my weight, the last time that I ran around at 63kg was maybe 20 years ago as a teenager. Funny enough that all (western) friends kept asking "What's gonna happen if you don't reach the weight? Will the fight be cancelled?".

On fight day itself I was going through mentals ups and downs - it was horrible. The days before I couldn't rest enough, slept very bad, trained too much instead of keeping it easy during the last week so in the morning I was just a picture of misery, everything felt like I'm collapsing. Maybe all that pressure just became too much at that point.
After weigh-in and having lunch together I went back home again for another rest - and now I finally found my smile and strength again and felt ready to get it on!
After the fight my opponent came over and told me she was impressed by me having such calm and strong appearance when she saw me before the fight and warming-up.

It was on me to have the first fight of the evening, my opponent was a lot taller than me and in the hand she was leaving the ring as the winner. There is so many thoughts on how and why and what has happened and what didn't work out in these 3 x 3 minutes.
After the fight many people cheered me and congratulated for my good fight, I didn't have any bruises, her punches and kicks didn't hurt at all - instead my low kicks caused her problems but obviously not enough to TKO her.
(One of our Kru's basics is to have a strong body - first strong body, then proper technique. If you have beautiful technique but go KO when you receive one, you gain nothing.)

I don't remember much of that bout (and unfortunately didn't see any video yet) - but I definitely remember that I ran out of gas already during second round and was even more surprised about that fact! I thought I'm in good shape, but obviously not enough. Maybe I wasn't breathing correctly, too so I got exhausted too quick. Never thought that this breathing aspect could cause such effect. Now that I know I hope I can control it better at the next fight. Maybe some hard sparring over at least 3x3mins could have helped before hand. 

Still I'm thinking a lot about the last weeks, the experience I gained, the development I made, which aspects to work on to improve for the next fight.

Thank you everyone for giving me motivation and inspiration every day - I wish you all the best on your own way in Muay Thai! 

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I wonder if this running out of gas - a quite common feature,  even among experienced Thai fighters!- is caused because you tension up your belly muscles...  Lotsa hits goes into belly, so apparently you must have them tensioned up to max...  This must take its toll, no?

 

OK, is there some trick to have belly muscles tensioned up, but not drawing off energhy?   I dunno, but thinking about it, its few female Muays whom do seems to have sixpacks.   Although obviously they do have enormous belly muscles, per definition so   BUT the same women may have them when they exhibit for photo sessions on free time, but not during the fight...

An extreme example is young Jodie McCarthy.  A phantom of cardio, furious attacks all five rounds even if getting heavy beating by bigger opps.  During the fights (end Wai Kru) she has a childish big belly, but on her free time photos we see she has a grandiose well muscled belly...

 

So its my theory, its some sort of a trick, to tension up her belly muscles, but without losing any bigger energhy nor air on it...

 

 

Ps.  The changed breathing as already mentioned,  is of course also surely a part of this, so learning a proper breathing technique is too a must.

 

 

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If you were to tire that quickly, it would largely be breathing technique. I had the same issue for my first and second fight, but corrected it for my third. The main problem with being nervous is how the body will tense up, which includes limiting the breathing.

From my experience, Thai kicks are one of the most energy consuming attacks in martial arts, and perhaps it is why such a distinct breathing technique has grown in Muay Thai.

Strong abdominal muscles are very important to have when it comes to your armor against knees and body punches. An over abundance of muscle can certainly limit one's breathing and movement in extreme cases, though if you are building that muscle in a non-stationary way, you should be able to maintain looseness. ( When I do pushups I usually accelerate on the push upward to mimic a punch).

For the breathing technique, you want it to develop naturally. I believe to learn it, you have to push yourself to an exhausted state and begin to vocalize your exhaustion as you push on. With every breath out you can say "ha". This will be easier and less awkward when you are already gasping for air (lol). The point of this is just to emphasize communication toward yourself, to your body, and to your training partners. It's easy to get lost in your head and lose focus on breathing while training, so the goal is to overemphasize it vocally and keep it conscious. This should give you more endurance, and keep your body loose and free flowing. Always remember to breath out on your strikes as well, whether it's a slight "shh" or a "HIYAAAA"

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On 9/25/2020 at 2:28 AM, Barbara_K said:

It was on me to have the first fight of the evening, my opponent was a lot taller than me and in the hand she was leaving the ring as the winner. There is so many thoughts on how and why and what has happened and what didn't work out in these 3 x 3 minutes.
After the fight many people cheered me and congratulated for my good fight, I didn't have any bruises, her punches and kicks didn't hurt at all - instead my low kicks caused her problems but obviously not enough to TKO her.
(One of our Kru's basics is to have a strong body - first strong body, then proper technique. If you have beautiful technique but go KO when you receive one, you gain nothing.)

I don't remember much of that bout (and unfortunately didn't see any video yet) - but I definitely remember that I ran out of gas already during second round and was even more surprised about that fact! I thought I'm in good shape, but obviously not enough. Maybe I wasn't breathing correctly, too so I got exhausted too quick. Never thought that this breathing aspect could cause such effect. Now that I know I hope I can control it better at the next fight. Maybe some hard sparring over at least 3x3mins could have helped before hand. 

In almost all cases it really honestly takes about 5 fights or so before you can even get a sense of what is going on. Your first fight is usually a complete blur. The most important things in first fights are usually to relax your breathing (unconsciously holding your breath for strikes, or when attacked will gas you, even when in good condition), and to protect yourself. The whole reason for first fights is to get to your second fight, and so on. Sounds like you did great.

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