So I got back to Pai a few days ago after a month in Malaysia. I flew out on Tuesday to Bangkok then grabbed a night bus to Chiang Mai and then another bus to Pai and I was back by 10:30 am.
I’ve trianed at a few places since I left but not for as long as I did at Charn Chai Muay Thai. It’s odd being back in Pai, some things have changed, like places I knew have moved or are gone while others are exactly the same.
One thing that I have come to realize is that no matter where I am I always feel slightly out of place. LIke its not that I haven’t been made to feel welcome, its that I stand to the side no matter where I am or where I go.
I remember when I first decided to fight how scary it was. First of all I’m fighting people that are so much younger than me. I go at it being blind as a bat, as a diabetic and as someone with a very limited ability.
It is not that I can’t compete or win but that I have to balance so much more just to get to that point. The thing the people at the gym have always been good but I’ve always lacked the belief that I should be there in the ring.
I feel like a placeholder for a real opponent and I think that shows up when I fight or spar. Even if I don’t realize I have push harder but there is an edge to that because of being a diabetic that I don’t recognize when I hit that point.
Before I fought the first time I felt so alone, it was my battle not against a person but against my own demons, my own hate for who I was and who I could never be. It was and is my battle each and every fucken day and I struggle to feel like I am ever making progress against myself.
This is what I wrote a before the third fight I lost but the genesis of it was my first fight on October 24th, 2015.
I go into this with no needs, wants or expectations because I leave fear, hate, malice and doubt behind so no negativity remains.
I will give everything I have out of respect for my opponent, in admiration of their skill and in honour of their training and my own.
I am not bound by my self-imposed limitations, I am freed by understanding them so I can exceed them just to realize they were never limits to begin with.
I carry joy and hope as blessings never as burdens and I go into this with a smile because of what it represents about who I can become.
I battle myself more than my opponent with the belief that it is possible to thrive not in spite of the challenge but because of it.
The outcome is irrelevant as long as I leave it all in the ring and maybe for just a moment I will find it within to believe that “I can.”
No matter how much I hate myself, no matter how many times I’ve wished I wasn’t the negativity is always sheethed in the possibility for hope and that has kept me going in spite of everything I am and I am not.
What I wrote was about letting that go and it always resurfaces and I struggle with that daily, hourly sometimes moment my moment when I have no where to go and no one who gives a damn even if I know that isn’t true.
I repeat those words to myself, I am trying to find things to be grateful for to get out my this negative spiral that has caged my potential as a person, as a writer and as a fighter not in the ring but agianst the challenges that life puts forth every day.
No matter how negative I am agianst myself I believe there is a light in the void, that shines and I am always reaching for it even if I feel like I can never get there, it isn’t the goal, its the journey that makes the difference and I will remember and honour that struggle no matter how many times I had hoped it would just end.
Muay Thai for me is a chance to battle agaisnt my own shame, the weight of my failure and to use those as lessons for a future yet to be written. As one of the only people to know me says I have to accept who I am and forgive myself for my those failings, for not being the man that my parents wish I was and who I can never be because I have choosen not to live a normal life.
So every day I will write what I was doing in the sessions, what works, what doesn’t and what I need to work on. While I won’t rely on anyone else I know I can’t do it alone but I have to help myself before anyone else will give me a hand.
So this week will be about getting fit. I need to start practicing fighting southpaw because my left kicks are faster and stronger than my right. I am weak in the arms, so I will need to regain strength and work on my core and conditioning so that I am ready for the battle ahead.
The fight against the opponent is nothing compared to fight I face against myself, because I am a relentless bastard who hates himself and is surrounded by walls so high and a chasem so deep that there is no way to break through.
Since I am fighting myself though I can create a door that allows through the walls, a bridge to cross the ravine so I can make it out of the dark, out of my own shame and bask in the light of the a new day. This is so I can leave the shell of who I was in the past, who I am now so that a better me can emerge.
That’s what muay thai is to me, a battle agaisnt myself, a fight against my weakness, a challenge to better than I think I could ever be. I am never going to be a fighter but I am going to fight the good fight every day, every way no matter how many times I fall, how many mistakes I make or how broken I become.
The best fight I had, was my worst one. The third fight where I lost by TKO in the 4th round. I wasn’t blocking my opponents kicks and he took me to school and made me suffer which I totally deserved.
They stopped the fight and I hated that because in that moment I would rather have been broken or knocked out than have the fight stopped, I didn’t give my best to my opponent and I will not do that again,. It was my failure, it was my fear and the lack of escalated peperation for someone who was my superior that lost me the match.
Here’s the thing I always have something to prove, every day, because I feel like a fraud and the thing is I shouldn’t and I know that even if my soul doesn’t. It’s not about what I deserve it is about what suffering I am willing to endure. It is about fighting against my belief and focusing on what I fear to see if I can push past my limitations even if it is only for a short 15 minute span of time and no matter the outcome.
I can only push myself, that is going to be hard, I have to balance my limits as a diabetic, who has poor vision with my hunger to train and improve. I know nothing, I am a student of this craft, I am a no one, that allows me to be nothing and hopefully to be filled with the knowledge to be better than I am.
I must find the calm at the centre of the store and give into the moment when it arrives. I have to do whatever I can to find the fighter within even if I don’t believe he exists half the time. I know he is there somewhere, I just have to learn how to draw him out.
I have to learn overcome my own shortcomings which are lengthy to even get to the point where I can compete and offer a fight worthy of my opponent no matter who that is. The point isn’t about winning or losing although I am training to win, I am hungry for it, that’s seocndary to just being myself.
So I have however many days until I have to fight, I don’t know when that will come only that when I am asked the only answer is a yes and my the most difficult opponent I will face is not is myself.