On Friday Juha and me were fighting at Loikroh Stadium in Chiang Mai. I wouldn’t call it a stadium because it is a ring surrounded by bars. When I was last in Chiang Mai the only people I remember fighting there were drunk tourists who wanted a free bucket.
So it was different going there to actually fight. It was my first fight in nearly 2 years after just training for just under a month when I haven’t trained in any meaningful way in more than a year and a half.
It was a good time, it wasn’t my first fight and I felt calm before it happened. It wasn’t that I wasn’t scared but more I had done everything I could in the short time I had and I was just going to enjoy the moment no matter what happened but I still wanted to win, if I didn’t believe then how could anyone else believe?
I am not a fighter at least I can’t see myself as one and maybe that’s one of my many issues. I tend to downplay my own reality towards the negative at least in terms of how I perceive things.
I think back to how long it took me the first time to just get to the ring, it took 14 months from the start to when I fought. I didn’t need that much time but I did need months of not giving up to just start to feel like I could like with fluidity.
That took forever and since I was in New Zealand I didn’t train at all and when I got back to Charn Chai Muay Thai in mid November it took a week of soreness to just find a rhythm. I told Bee that I would fight whenever he asked because that’s how it was right before I left.
So in a lot of ways it feels like I stepped right back to where I was when I left and that felt awesome. My defenses suck, I can’t kick high enough without effort and I don’t have the same kind of power I did before.
I started running as soon as I got back so I did have great endurance during the fight and as a stubborn bastard I know I can take a few hits. I didn’t know what to expect because every opponent is different.
The first 2 rounds were pretty normal but in the 3rd and 4th I was getting teeped to hell and back. Instead of batting them away I kept on getting hammered by them. I also got several knees to the chest. They weren’t that bad because I was moving out a lot I didn’t get the full impact most times.
In those 2 rounds if the fight went to points I would have lost, there isn’t any doubt about that. That’s what Noom told me before the 5th. Bee was telling me to go for the body punch and I did try to do that but wasn’t able to land it.
It’s just that when you are inside the ring, its chaos, everything is moving so fast that half the time I forgot what they just told me and was just reacting. I wasn’t reacting well at all. I always worry about kicks but in this fight I didn’t get hit badly in the shins and it was more my body that was taking the brunt of his attacks.
My issue is because I have always been the smaller person they always have reach over me. I always have to take a bit of punishment just to get into range to hit them at all. I am much better with my boxing than my kicks and that proved to be the case here.
During training I always spar pretty light, there are times when I go for speed because that’s all I have but if I combine my speed with my endurance and my ability to take their assault then I know that I at least have a fighting chance.
The 5th round is where it turned around. I can’t be sure but he went from attacking me to protecting his point lead while I had nothing to lose by attacking and using my endurance while he was gassed out.
I had got him in the face a few times as he had also gotten me as my left eye’s shiner was proof but when you are in it you don’t feel the pain. You have so much adrenaline coursing through your system that you don’t feel anything but the fire to fire back.
When I attacked he ran and I had to chase the guy down but once he started doing that I knew I had a chance. It wasn’t over yet, I just needed a good shot, I knew he didn’t have as much energy as me (thank God for all that running I did) and that I had a shot.
He was close to the ropes and I got a really solid punch to his face, he started to fall back and he hit the bottom rope of the ring on his way to the ring floor. He wasn’t out for anything more than a few seconds but that was enough for them to call it and I actually won.
I was just happy it was over but if it had gone to points I would have lost so thankfully there are multiple ways to win in muay thai. I don’t have the best technique but what I appreciate the most is when Noom was saying I had the heart to not give up.
I didn’t have a lot of confidence going into this fight in part because I had lost my last 2 fights and that was almost 2 years ago by this point. I’m really hard on myself and I never thought I would be able to win but I was hungry for it, I needed to win because after all that had happened to me the last few months it was important for me to push and see if I could even after all this way find a way to win.
If I could do that here then I can do it in other parts of my life and what I want to do. I fight even I don’t think of myself as a fighter because it is a rush, because it pushes my limits both physically and mentally and reminds me that I can, that if you keep on getting up then you can make it happen.
There isn’t a video of the fight but that doesn’t matter, I know what it felt like to be there. It meant that I put away my fear and even when I was on the verge of loosing find a way to win. That chips won’t always fall in my favour but just being willing to go the distance and take it as far as i can is a lesson worth taking into the ring and into everything I decide to do.
I never thought I would be doing this at this point in my life. To think that I have fought five times and have a 3:2 record is something I could have never imagined when my friend Mike told me I should try Muay Thai in Taipei when I was figuring out where to go and what to do.
It makes me remember to be open to the possibilities that can happen by chance if you are open to them and are willing to embrace the uncomfortable because that is when you learn, that is when you become a better version of yourself. I never thought of myself as an athlete let alone a fighter and its something I can’t see but I have to because even if I’m not the best, even if it scares me I am still willing to get into the ring and participate in organized violence.
didn’t think I had it in me to do it but I never gave up and suffered through it until I started to feel the flow of the movements and get into it. Now it is time to go beyond the basics and work on my tactics and get serious about improving my game and expanding what I can do so when I get into the ring next time I can have skill as well as heart.