Discovering the Fighter in You Through Muay Thai
At first glance the sport of Muay Thai seems to be a mental and physical onslaught of discomfort and exhaustion. It is at its roots a highly intense form of competition. At the highest levels it can be a brutal and at times bloody way to spend one’s time. And considering this, in the past many assumed that Muay Thai is not an activity of choice for most demographics. But it seems to be exploding in popularity among everyday people. Today I am going to touch on one of the most important reasons I believe that Muay Thai is truly for everyone.
While I happen to know many people who have fought at the higher levels of the game and have even trained many of them, the truth is that being an actual Muay Thai fighter is not why most people in America gravitate towards the sport. Not everyone wants to be an actual kickboxing competitor. And not everyone should.
There Is a Fighter in You
But it is worth mentioning that everyone who comes in my gym and really applies themselves will come face to face with an opponent of one kind or another. They find themselves fighting self doubt, frustration, fear, or impatience. The list can go on and on, and what this “opponent” looks like is different for everyone, just as the method of fighting this opponent is different for everyone. But that opponent can feel very real to many of us. I have found that if you pay attention during your training, there is always a true battle going on. If you pay attention you will see that whether or not you climb in the ring to compete, you are after all a “Fighter.”
I tell my team that when you are on the mat you cannot escape your Demons. And that is a good thing. What that means is that you have a real opportunity to confront them. At times you will feel as though you are loosing the fight. And at times you will feel that you can raise your hand in victory. But it’s important to remember that you must continue the fight. After every victory there will be another opponent waiting to climb in the ring with you. Each one feeling just as real and significant to you and your life as the last. But here is the good news: regardless of how intimidating and consistent these fights feel, each one is in place to make you stronger, more confident, and more powerful.
If you choose to train in Muay Thai but don’t feel adequate enough to compete you should know this. The most inspired Muay Thai champions will tell you that what drives them is not just to show the world how good they are. What drives them is to show themselves what they are truly capable of. To know that they had the courage and faith to give every opponent their absolute best regardless of the outcome. Ask yourself how is this different from your own motivation? Is your journey not unlike that of a fighter? Is it not just as commendable?
You are already better than you ever thought you were. You can endure more than you think. You can fight harder than you believe. Perhaps I say this because I was literally raised in a Martial Arts school, but when I look around all I see is a world full of fighters. Fighting their own fight, in their own way, for their own victories.
Author Sensei Ben Brown is the founder and Head Coach of PHAS3, a Muay Thai school in Santa Rosa, California. PHAS3 prides itself on welcoming “fighters” of all skill levels – from champion competitors to beginners of all ages – in a supportive family atmosphere.