I Believe in Fighting

John - Chesapeake, Virginia
Entered on December 5, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: sports

I’ve never been to a gym before, but I figured I’d utilize the one on campus because I had a lot of free time on my hands and was afraid of gaining weight. One day, a flyer for Muay Thai kickboxing caught my eye. I recalled watching True life: I’m a Muay Thai Kick Boxer on MTV a few years back, remembering how cool it was and signed up for the class. I’d figure I’d join the class, kill some time, lose weight and learn how to defend myself.

I will always remember that class as one of the most invigorating and rewarding experiences in my life. My instructor wasn’t kidding on the first day when he proclaimed Muay Thai a deadly art. Muay Thai is all about efficiency, precision, finesse, and strength. Attacking an opponent with your elbows and knees was foreign to me at the time, but as soon as I got a knack for it they became my favorite attacks. I never knew how much damage one could inflict with so little effort and pain, I was addicted.

I remember learning how to perfect our roundhouse kicks. The instructors gave us a basic demonstration and then let us attempt the kick while he watched and paced around pointing out our errors. He proclaimed he could recognize what was powerful enough by the distinct sound it made. He became frustrated since no-one was giving him the power he wanted. Out of nowhere, I threw the kick. It felt like I pulled a rabbit out of my hat, even though I had no idea how to do magic. I remember kicking the pads so hard, the sound made my instructor’s head dart in my direction with everyone stopping to look what he was looking for. He immediately exclaimed that was what he wanted to hear. That simple statement of praise hooked me in instantly. I remember practicing knees and the guys holding my pads always complained that I hit too hard. Subsequent classes it was harder and harder to find a voluntary partner to train and spar with.

I was always tired and restless growing up, often taking me at least thirty minutes to fall asleep. However, after every kickboxing session I always slept like a baby. Being sore the day after was not fun. I missed a few classes because I was in too much pain to jump out of my bunk. I subsequently failed those classes and I had to give up Muay Thai. It was something I loved, but it was getting in the way of my responsibilities. I promised my parents I would get a degree. I was failing and was giving up to much time to a hobby. A few years have passed, and I miss it so much. I long for the days I can return to fighting. One day I will return to what I love doing the most and go back to sleeping like a baby.