Starting Muay Thai….
Haribos, Krispy Kremes and Bread. I had to start doing some exercise because of my proclivity towards sugar was getting my razor close to being fat. That pleasure you get from eating foods high in simple sugar is the same pleasure derived from taking an opioid, I’ve heard. The dopamine/serotonin receptors in the brain are stimulated and this is why you want to eat more and more. Each of the Krispy Kreme donughts has around 200 calories per unit, and I could eat five and feel great about myself for around 5 minutes after.Keep in mind the daily calorie intake for a man is usually around 2500 so the sweets and simple carbohydrates alone would be enough to ensure you exceed the threshold. I have always had a special place in my heart for exercise, contact sports and martial arts and after watching the Raid and Raid 2 with the actor Iko Uwais I decided to start my journey to weight loss. The Silat in the move the Raid was artistic but brutal and I loved it. It wasn’t until I was in a slightly altered state, watching the Ultimate fighter series that I realised the true energy between fighting competition, and its more about control than it is about the violence.
Mike Tyson said he could see it in an opponent’s eyes before the fight started, that moment of weakness where your opponent processes self doubt, and he pounces on that. I’ve been practicing Muay Thai and sparring weekly for about a year and a half now and it has helped me understand the details of the combat world. In Muay Thai we’re taught to stare at the chest, I rarely look at the eyes and focusing on the chest area has helped me to improve my peripheral vision, and being able to pick up on an opponent’s movements, pre-movements and feelings throughout the exchange. Fear and pain can’t be masked from the eyes. The warm up is 10 minutes skipping with various exercises in between, press ups, squats and burpees etc which purges the sweat from your system. On my first day I wore grey jogging bottoms, and the sweat outline at the end of the session ran along my ass crack and crotch line which was embarrassing. I noticed after the first 10 minutes and had to deal with the perceived judgemental eyes, but there was none in reality. Just embarrassment, but not enough to keep me away!
Slipping jabs, powerful angle kicks into pads and trying to land elbows as a disruption technique are all skills being acquired in the world of Thai boxing. My coach Damon is someone who has immersed himself in the Thai culture from when he was young; fighting, travelling and setting up his life in Thailand, it’s amazing to be part of a journey so pure and inspiring. Understanding the art of one on one combat is something I’ve tried to focus heavy on. Cardiovascular fitness and conditioning are key to not dropping your hands during a sparring session and getting beat up, and getting used to the pain is a mental barrier. The nose acts like bridge for pain as you get punched in the nose. You think you have your guard up and you’ve parried the last three punches but you couldn’t read that last jab he stuck on the end of his combination. The jaw gets pushed out of place with well timed elbows and hooks, this can be felt when you eat your breakfast in the morning. Split toes, sprained fingers, bruised ribs, plenty of pulled muscle. Why do it?
Growth comes through challenging ones former self and due to the high stake consequences of combat sports the mind and body understand the urge to get better. There’s discipline, there’s comradery and there’s skill acquisition. It’s definitely not for everyone, especially when it comes to clinching which is a skill pivotal to Muay Thai, where technicality reigns supreme amongst the other necessary requirements. I’ve started to document myself and self analyse, which is a tool that can be utilised in the sports world and outside. It’s important to highlight your mistakes and not turn a blind eye to it, that way the mistakes are less likely to be repeated. I don’t know where this journey will take me, but for now I’m having fun and trying my best to get healthy. I have fallen in love with the art of Muay Thai and relish any challenge that is put in front of me. It leaves me with a great sense of accomplishment knowing that I’ve overcome something difficult after training and hopefully leaving me with a much better feeling than any doughnut ever would.