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I've been serious about muay thai for about a year now, been going inconsistently for a few years before that. I'm back in the gym after three or four months off due to finances. Now that I'm back, I'm feeling my motivation seeping away as I see new members get to do smokers and I have never gotten the chance to do one, though it's been brought up to the gym. I am overweight and my stamina needs work, I know this, so I started going early to run before class. I am making extra efforts to build up my stamina and work on my form.

I'm starting to think my form is so horrible that my trainer doesn't want to embarrass himself by putting me in a smoker--or anything like a fight. He's always telling me to keep my hands up. I don't know how I look during sparring, sometimes he says good, but usually it's keep your hands up or look at the chest. He has told me I am getting better...but better does not mean decent. 

I started skipping sparring this week because the thought of sparring with really good people who are probably going super easy on me and not throwing at every opening they see, has me cringing. I've been sparring since August, 2015, but I don't see myself getting to do a smoker anytime soon.  :ermm:

It's frustrating. I don't want to go to the sparring class because I'm very self-conscious about how behind I am, but if I don't go, I'll be even more behind. I love sparring but I want to reach the next level and I don't think that's going to happen. 

Did anybody have to go through a ton of training, more than other students, before doing a smoker/interclub? How did you deal with the feelings of inadequacy? How did you motivate yourself to be aggressive about making progress? Has anyone seemed to hit a wall in their progress and, if so, how did you overcome that plateau? 

Thank you! 

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"Did anybody have to go through a ton of training, more than other students, before doing a smoker/interclub? How did you deal with the feelings of inadequacy? How did you motivate yourself to be aggressive about making progress? Has anyone seemed to hit a wall in their progress and, if so, how did you overcome that plateau? "

 

First - ask your coach what exactly you would need to do to fight in a smoker.  Find out what weight you would need to be.   Don't take the answer personally, don't get hurt or mad (save those feelings for later or the women's only section).  Find out exactly how much training you need and do it - make sure your coach knows you are doing the running already (guys always take credit for all their stuff - you should too). 

As for me I feel like I am always available as the "Jeezus if that old lady can try it I sure as hell can" lol.

Yes I did and do have to go through way more training before fighting probably because I am not young (50).  Last time I sparred with my main Muay Thai coach I did so incredibly poorly that I thought 'that's it; its never going to happen'.  My head does all kinds of crazy shit on bad days - i have to ignore it and be willing to learn. My boxing coach helps me a lot with the mental side of things and there are many resources (check 8limbs for one).

Two smokers have gone by since I stated my goal, and also 1 exhibition fight that I'd been invited to do.  I am not ready yet, evidently, and then for the exhibition fight there was no woman my size (forget my age I don't care).

Also, and this may not work for you, but I secured permission directly from the person holding the smoker, because I know her and I understand my coach's priority is to build younger fighters for the health of the gym.  This is just reality and I do not take it personally.  

Yes your gym wants you to fight well and that is ok - it does reflect on them and that also is not personal.  It is also just reality.  

Here is the thing:  like anything, Muay Thai is most beautiful as.. itself.  I love the training so much, and I love sparring.  I keep having to pluck up the courage to state my intentions clearly;  I cannot just state the goal once or twice.  I have to tell myself and others that I want to fight, I know its a long shot, but that I want to try.  

Despite my fears, I have actually received nothing but total respect for my desire to fight.  

So many of my troubles are in my head.  I have concrete limitations - my age, size and weight.   But what is fighting but overcoming limitations?!  Keep running, don't eat sugar or white flour, drop some weight, drink a ton of water, keep stating your intentions.

My coach and I were talking about how much he wants more female fighters in the gym and how frustrated he gets that they won't "just fucking claim their space".  Claim your space, is my opinion.  I am with you.

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Despite my fears, I have actually received nothing but total respect for my desire to fight.  

So many of my troubles are in my head.  I have concrete limitations - my age, size and weight.   But what is fighting but overcoming limitations?!  Keep running, don't eat sugar or white flour, drop some weight, drink a ton of water, keep stating your intentions.

My coach and I were talking about how much he wants more female fighters in the gym and how frustrated he gets that they won't "just fucking claim their space".  Claim your space, is my opinion.  I am with you.

 

@Threeoaks - I love the way you think, thanks for that! The lady that I sparred with yesterday was 42 years old and I was so impressed with the way she worked so hard and managed to finally get a fight (after 7 years) I was 30lbs heavier than her and she outran me in terms of endurance/stamina. It was a good learning experience and I loved how she encourages and tells me to keep working hard...and wished she was my age (i'm 23) when she started. But wow, I'm so awe-struck! Kudo's to you for keeping up MT at your age, i'm sure you're a badass! My limitation (which is a no excuse) at the moment is my weight as I'm 150lbs @ 5'0 - and I am working really hard to lose weight.. and its been tough because my body mass is mostly muscles (with a love-fat here and there) I get people looking at me saying, wtf you're 150lbs?!? I mean, yeah its nice that they don't see it. But it frustrates me because I want to be able to fight and no one will be at that weight :(

@ Maya, to tell you the truth there were days where I lost motivation... I'm in the same boat as you; I literally just had my first mini-interclub (with controlled sparring) it made me realize how I'm quite far from being ready to an actual tournament (which is the one that got pulled-off because my coach told me I wasn't ready) I know I have the skills, passion and will to fight but fuck, I realized how it's annoying/embarrassing when I gas out on the 4th round (we did 3 minute rounds, 5 round) and it just made me want to work so much harder on my endurance and stamina. In fact, the girl I fought that was lighter and older than I am, and she still out-ran me. And she's the one who's having her first fight after 7 years in November! I mean, who knows, maybe she didn't realize that she wanted to fight at a later age, maybe she was scared or not ready, or maybe she was on the same boat as we are because she probably felt that she was 'too old to fight' I suppose the way I see it, and how Threeoaks interpreted as well, keep stating your intentions, don't give up! Claim your space! You got this girl!

 

I've got a long way to go - but I won't stop until I get my hands on a real fight in 2017, that's my early new years resolution - including heading back to Thailand. 

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Fear not the man who has practiced ten thousand kicks once; fear the man who has practiced one kick ten thousand times.

 

It takes time and work to be great. Be patient with yourself as you master each tool and condition your body. I think we are all guilty of being overly critical of ourselves at least sometimes. Don't let it stifle you. Keep doing the work and you will go places.

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Thank you everyone for the replies and great comments! 

@threeoaks --I am trying not to take it personal. It's his gym, I understand. Is it weird that I get jealous of the fighters? lol, sometimes I bite my lip while they all talk about fighting because I am green with envy! I'll work on not taking it personal or being defeatist about my situation. Also, you are pretty freaking badass for accomplishing what you have! Thank you!! I am totally willing to claim my space. I just have to work up the nerve to ask my trainer how long and what to practice to get to the next level! 

@radarjam --best wishes on your fight goals! Going to Thailand sounds sooo awesome! It's nice to know there are others who are still reaching for their muay thai goals and that I'm not the only one questioning where I'll go from here!

@rachel --I loved this quote: "it just has to be discipline and (in my case at least) a pigheaded refusal to concede defeat to the shitty thoughts" Discipline is hard, but I noticed it's a good sub for motivation, i.e. the days I feel like not going due to no motivation, I still go just because it seems like the necessary thing to do. I will work on building more discipline and commitment for those days when I feel like not going. Thanks!

@newthai --I loved that quote, it's Bruce Lee, right? I guess I do need to be patient. I just sometimes get impatient and frustrated.

This week I will continue to show up early to run. I'll stick through sparring, despite feeling less than! Your guys' comments made me think that I should take this not as defeat but as an opportunity to learn from people who are better at muay thai than I am. Cheers!

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