Leading up to my second fight I was training really hard, but I honestly didn’t feel confident or mentally ready. Two of my trainers were pushing me mentally to a point that I didn’t feel prepared or good enough to fight.
I had been putting in the work physically — sprinting and running, faster padwork rounds, correcting a lot of technique with knees/punching, my stance, etc., but their voices inside my head were constant.
When you spend so much time with your trainers, you cultivate wonderful friendships, and you can joke around and have fun. But, there comes a point when the joking sometimes doesn’t feel like a joke anymore and feels more like criticism. Okay, so what if my punches aren’t my strongest suit? I work on them to get better, but when someone is constantly making fun of you because your punches aren’t what they want them to be, that doesn’t make you feel very good. You laugh it off, but those ‘jokes’ linger in your head.
Training takes a lot of space in my mind. If I have a bad day at training, I usually can’t just leave it at the gym — I take it home with me. I think about what I did wrong, why I didn’t feel my best that day, and how my trainer looked at me like “what’s wrong? what are you doing?” I put a lot of pressure on myself and when I don’t perform well, I’m left feeling like shit.
So, the day of the fight rolls around. I’m already not feeling good, as one of my trainers had told me just the night before, “I don’t want you to fight — I don’t want you to get hurt.” I had to work that day, so I went home after school, rested up for an hour or so and then started to get ready. I went over to the gym around 7:00 pm, ate dinner and then waited until it was time to go to Tha Pae Stadium.
There was some confusion about my opponent that day, so I was a little uneasy, thinking I was having a rematch with the girl from my first fight. Turns out, I fought someone completely different. She was shorter than me (as most Thai girls are), and my trainer told me she was a bit intimated because of my height, but that didn’t prove to be a problem for her in the end.
I fought 5 full rounds, (again!), and lost on points. I was extremely disappointed and that’s an understatement. We went to the back to take off my my gloves and my trainers just started on me with criticism. I looked at Amy and she knew I was starting to get really upset, so we asked for 5 minutes so that I could go to the bathroom. I couldn’t hold in my tears before we got to the bathroom stall and when we got inside I just cried.
I thought I did so much better than my first fight, hadn’t I? Hadn’t I taken direction a lot better? Was I THAT terrible that they couldn’t give me a small pat on the back — or at least not yell at me? By the time we got back out there, everyone had left, except one trainer. They thought I had just left instead of going to take a few minutes alone.
Amy and Joe tried to reassure me that I did really well, especially compared to my first fight, that they thought I had won and that after watching the video, I would think I did a lot better, too. But at the time, I just felt like an asshole. I let my gym down and I let myself down, for the second time, and I wanted to crawl in a hole.
2 losses in a row — my first two fights — what a fucking wash. Some of you reading this probably won’t see any of this as being a big deal, but to me it is. When you train your ass off, work so hard towards something, dedicate a huge portion of your life to it and then don’t see the results you thought you would, you get discouraged and start to wonder if it’s even worth it or if you should just give up.
I also hate when people yell at me in public, so when two of the trainers were yelling at me in between rounds, and as soon as I got out of the ring, especially after I had just lost, I was very embarrassed. I am not the type of person who is motivated that way. One of the other trainers noticed that I was not responding well while being yelled at in the ring and we locked eyes and I could see a little bit of sympathy, and he quietly gave me a tip or two. I was thankful for that.
When I came out of the bathroom, we finished taking off my hand wraps and I just wanted to get out of there, but was then criticized for the next hour by my trainer, while still at the stadium and on the way home. By the time I got home, with a black eye already forming, and not being able to really move my jaw, I was ready for a very hot shower and to not think or talk. I couldn’t sleep because everyone’s negativity was swirling in my head and I couldn’t shut my mind off. I probably got 3 hours of sleep and then had to wake up and go to school.
I fought on August 15 and now, almost two weeks later, I am feeling really unmotivated and I just don’t feel like being in the gym. I’ve still been going and banging out sessions, but there’s no heart in it. After watching the video of my fight, I could see how much I improved. I even thought to myself that it looked like I had won that fight. But, I can’t help hearing those discouraging voices in my head.
I love my gym — they are like my family — but I am holding onto some resentment from this fight and I wish I wasn’t. The head trainer from my gym didn’t come to the fight because he was teaching a private session (he is one of the hardest workers I know and admire him for that), but didn’t tell me couldn’t be there, which disappointed me. I could have used his calmer nature to help level me out during the fight.
I just felt like my gym (maybe not everyone, but my main trainers for this fight) wasn’t behind me for this fight — that they didn’t believe in me — and that is the biggest mind fuck. I feel like the people who train me everyday, who I put my ultimate trust in with this sport, who are not only my trainers, but my friends/family, weren’t supportive and they should be the MOST supportive out of everyone, win or lose. It almost feels like a betrayal of sorts.
After this experience, I’m learning that I need to be my own cheerleader — I can’t rely on others for that. I can’t depend on others to validate that I’m good enough or that I can succeed in this, even if they are the very people who have gotten me to the point of actually fighting. I also can’t take things so personally — I’m sure they aren’t even thinking about any of this anymore, but I still am, and I can’t let go of it.
I still love my trainers, I still love my gym and I still love Muay Thai. I’m not trying to insult my gym or my trainers in the least — my loyalty lies with them –and there’s a part of me wondering if I should even publish this post. But, this is what’s happening and these are my feelings toward it — maybe others have felt the exact same way as me, who knows? Through blogging, you share the good and the bad, and although this wasn’t the most positive experience, I’m hoping something good comes out of it.
Now, I’m trying to get myself back in a good headspace and for me that means taking a few days off from training and coming up with a plan of action to get back on track. I’ve decided that mental training, which I’ve read about on Sylvie von Duuglas-Ittu’s blog (8limbs.us) and Emma Thomas’s blog (undertheropes.com) is a good first step. I need to believe in myself more or else my thoughts will consume me to the point where a third fight won’t even be possible because of my lack of confidence and worry that I won’t win.
So, here’s to hoping third time’s a charm and a win is on the horizon.
**You can watch my second fight here: https://youtu.be/wkapjqiHYfA