Every person’s journey through Muay Thai, just like in life, is different. For me, it started out as a journey into self-improvement…and ended up as a stripping away of who I thought I was.
Today, I’ve decided to share some very personal parts of my Muay Thai journey which has inspired me to keep moving forward. At the age of 23, after graduating college with a well-paying job which I felt completely indifferent to, I seeked significance, ego-enhancement and self-development through Muay Thai.
Looking back on who I was as a human being, I came into this art as a young Asian kid growing up in the pampered suburbs of East Brunswick, NJ. On the superficial level, who I was and what I was about at that time certainly did not prepare me for what I was going to endure the coming years into my training and competition years.
From my years of training, as I look back, what is most important, what I hold onto most dearest through those years is the exact diametric opposite of why I initially started Muay Thai.
Muay Thai, training, and fighting got me in deeper touch with was that core self, a stripping away of those layers of bullshit…I felt as if some skill set or acquisition of some special power would allow me to escape myself…vulnerable and imperfect.
Instead of building my ego, Muay Thai stripped away at it…everything that I clung to for security, that made me feel significant, was torn away when I stepped into that ring for the first time
Through my fights, I learned humility, sacrifice, and a deeper sense that things will truly work out okay in the end, even in the face of great adversity. I learned the simplicity and challenge of life when your awareness is no longer scattered, but focused intensely on an end goal. I got in touch with the most primitive of instincts, survival. (In no way am I saying that Muay Thai fights are a life and death situation, but I’ll tell you from my experience, the first few sure as hell felt that way)
During those weeks leading up to my fights, I was aligned, focused, and felt mentally powerful. Problems with work and life outside of training felt weightless in comparison. I felt a state of oneness within myself, when all priorities, all decisions, diet, sleep, and what I chose to divulge my mind in, synchronized to support my one goal.
As a fighter, I can honestly admit, nothing has ever driven me harder in life than to prepare myself to survive/thrive in that ring….that feeling of sacrificing it ALL for those few minutes in the ring. In preparation for the ring, where anything can happen, I was in touch with my imperfection, my vulnerability, and a drive to strengthen my weakness. By no means, do I consider myself a great fighter and it wasn’t the outcome of the fights which drove me to keep going. It was who I was becoming as a result of the challenge, the training, and being in touch with my primal instincts which inspired me to keep getting up and moving forward. And it is in this sense, I feel that this journey has been one step closer to purifying the imperfections of my soul….a step towards the truth of who I am at my core.