It was about 9 months ago when I decided to make a comeback to Kickboxing I used to practice 20 years ago. During that time, I was 17 years old, going to school with plenty of time and energy. Now, at 37 things are different as I am a busy professional, married and a father to an adorable 4,5 year old daughter.
I was very excited with the idea of starting this sport again, because I had being quite bored with routine workouts in the gym. I was eager to take on new challenges and to test my limits. Since, I was always into different sports like gym training, running, tennis and as mentioned kickboxing, I knew that the time period I would need for my body to fully adapt to the required training would take about a month with 2-3 training sessions per week.
The Kickboxing Gym I had found near my work also combined Muay Thai into the training, which I had never tried before. Having done some research on Muay Thai, also known as the “art of 8 limbs”, I knew that it would be quite painful since elbows, knees, and shins are included.
So here I am on the day of the first training session right after work taking off the tie and the suit, slipping into shorts, barefoot (as the sport requires) and wrapping my hands. I can really start feeling the energy inside of me sort of like a lion waking up and starting to roar. As I’m wrapping my hands, the coach walks up to me and asks me to start warming up with a jump rope. I hadn’t used the jump rope since I was in elementary school and I was going to do this after work and at the age of 37?
Of course I was…
After about 10 minutes and nearly tripping 5 times with the rope, it was time to start the real warm-up with running, jumping, sprinting and stretching exercises. Once these were finished I was pulling my legs and arms together feeling exhausted and worn out. The funny thing is that we had not even started the second and most intense part of the 1 hour training session.
Now it was time for Shadow Boxing, Heavy Bag work, and techniques with gloves and shin guards.
I took a few deep breaths, dried the sweat off with my towel and heard my internal voice telling me, “It’s nice to be back, let’s do this. Pull yourself together for the sake of old times!”
I put my gloves and shin guards on and we continued with punching and kicking techniques. As we finished the workout, I was at the verge of collapsing – remember that all of this was at the afternoon after work. My body was totally exhausted but my mind had cleaned away every single thought I had during the day.
The great memories of my school years came back to me!
A small accomplishment that had been achieved on the way of becoming a greater one in the time ahead. And this accomplishment had little to do with making through a highly intensive workout. It was about constantly pushing your mind and putting pressure on yourself to go beyond what you thought was possible.
How far are you willing to go the distance to overcome your doubts and your limits?
Let’s be honest, Muay Thai is considered by most people to be one of the most brutal Martial Arts. In order to be able to withstand the pain, you have to train both your mind and your body that it is part of the process in excelling in the sport. In addition, you learn to overcome your fears when you are in the ring with someone who might be stronger, faster and more experienced than you are. You have to be able to feel sure and confident about yourself and find out what you’re made of.
Only you can put yourself down at any point in your life!
The difference inside the ring is that once you are there, you have to respond immediately. If you don’t, you will be beaten up before you realize it.
I consider the sport of Kickboxing with Muay Thai to be a very close representation of life. We all fight and struggle day-in, day-out in many aspects, whether its at our workplace, taking care of the family, maintaining friendships, or studying to get a degree. As life has its ups and downs we are all in a position where we have to act one way or another, sooner or later.
The question is are you going to take the beating when things don’t go as planned or are you going to respond and recover fast?
P.S. A special thanks to my coach Achilleas for making every training session a challenge.