My first fight in Thailand
So.... this happened last week!!
Wow what a roller coaster I have to say.
Not long ago I posted something saying that if I ever summed up enough courage to fight in Thailand, I would have won my battle. Well, looks like I did it!
When I left the UK the plan was to train hard and maybe, maybe (!!), fight. When I got to Thailand and started watching some of these fights I thought I would never be brave enough to do it. As time went by and I didn't progress as fast as I expected, the idea seemed more and more unrealistic.
After a 2 month break from training, trying to keep up with my 3 jobs and a new routine, I decided I wanted to fight. I went into my old gym, here in Chiang Mai, and I said I wanted to fight in the next couple of months (by which I thought end of November...).
It felt good to be back at training everyday for a couple of weeks, although still weird doing it only once a day and after a long day at work. Last week of October, I got offered a fight in less than 2 weeks. And the first thing I thought was "Fuck it, let's do it!".
The funny thing was how I found out I was fighting. I had been off the whole week with a horrible cough. The only day I trained, the cough got a lot worst and so I decided to rest and not train. Saturday I went training both morning and afternoon and just before the afternoon session started, I heard the main trainer and owner of the school tell the other trainer to push me hard because I was fighting next month. All good so far! By the end of the session, a Thai girl comes to me and says "Oh 2nd!!".... I thought she meant this was my second fight.. NO! She meant 2nd of November! I looked at my trainer and he was smiling and saying yes. My chin was down and I had to go ask the owner of the school, Arjan Hua, and with a straight face he gave me a definite yes. This was 11 days before my fight!
Up until the end of the session I thought he was, quite frankly, taking the piss(!!), maybe trying to make me train harder. But when he asked me to take a picture of me for the promoter I started wondering... For a whole week I still thought he was going to turn around and say he was joking!
Well... fight night. Wow! I wanted to have more time to prepare mentally and physically. Normally people have 5/6 weeks prep time. My cardio was sh*t!!! I hand't been training for 2 months and I had been having some cheeky beers and smokes.... way too many!!
Luckily, the week before the fight I was actually off from my job due to the 1 year Anniversary of the King's Death. I trained twice every day and I gave it my all. I felt my mind was what needed more work. I admit I kept thinking I was not good enough; this was not enough time for me to prep considering the time off I had; or - who am I kidding, Thais born with it! They've done it all their lives, plus, she's training twice a day and I can't because of work... ALL bullshit right!?
Well I decided that even if I did really bad, I would at least learn something, it would create momentum and, most importantly, it meant progress! Progress in the sense that I was acting on it, despite of my fear. Progress because from only training I would have to build the courage to actually be up on that ring. Progress because to try is better than to sit back.
As I heard in a motivational video during one of my morning runs, this whole thing was just like a bulldog without teeth. When he barks you might freak out and run away, but if you look closer you might find out it has no teeth!! How much damage can it do? So yeah! I was freaking out, but I convinced myself this was just a bulldog without teeth and I would deal with it in the ring.
A couple of friends questioned why I was doing it and some in particular tried to make me walk away from it. Considering the lack of rules and regulation, fighting here is definitely not for the weak hearted. Weight-ins are nonexistent, weight categories are broad (to say the least), amount of experience doesn't always matter, and not all Thais fight clean. I've seen a first time fighter fight another girl with 60 fights and almost all fights very uneven when it comes to weight.
Being short and bulky, with all this goodness packed inside, I knew I was going to fight a taller girl. The girl on the poster announcing the fight was taller but skinny. When I saw her at the stadium, before the fights started I thought...ok, let's see how it goes. But 5 min after, Arjan Hua told me that I was fighting the girl next to her ... a big Thai girl. (When I say big, some people said 10kg bigger than me).
My monkey mind started freaking out but I shut it off. I had been telling myself since 4pm "I CAN. I WILL. I MUST". And that's all I said while I waited to go in the ring, when I got up and as I did my Wai Kru.
When I first found out about the fight I could never image the moment of walking up to that ring. My heart literally sank every time I tried to picture that moment. But surprisingly enough I didn't feel all that nervous as I was about to go up or even moments before the bell went.
My biggest fear was my cardio, burning out too quick, and shin on shin action! Once at training I connected shin on shin with my trainer and it was one of the most painful things I've ever experienced for 3 weeks. But it's true what everybody told me, when you're in there, you don't feel it!
Surprisingly, I didn't have many thoughts going through my head during the fight. I was afraid my monkey mind was going to do its thing but I didn't have to shut it down, not even once. I was just focused. With eyes set on my opponent. I realised punches were her weakness, and it being what feels more natural to me, all I had to do was to try and land them.
Winning was insanely good but it was a lot more than just about the result. The fact that I managed to keep my monkey mind and adrenaline under control, the fact that I wasn't afraid of the pain (it being full contact with knees and elbows allowed to the face) and that I didn't coil down because she was heavier... this is my real victory! Training with men, specially with Arjan Hua, heavier, taller and with over 500 fights worth of experience was intimidating to say the least! During training he kept telling me I shouldn't be afraid, but it is human nature to be afraid, to want to protected ourselves against paint. Most of it while sparing is pure instinct.
It was also a great opportunity to see what I need to work on. Time to go back to the gym and work on it!
I am glad I gave it a shot, even if at times I felt like I had no chance at winning or even lasting the 5 rounds. I am far from been good at it, but I love it and a challenge is always motivating.
Where will it take me? I don't know yet. But I'm chasing it!