*Let me preface this with the fact that my fight was only a Smoker an (exhibition) fight. Two minutes for three rounds. And… I did not have to weight cut at all, so I didn’t experience that aspect of the fight prep. I know I was missing a huge part of the experience. I also opted for no clinch as I was at a weight disadvantage from my opponent.
**Let me also preface this with the fact that this was my experience and not everyone’s fight experience is the same. I’m old, so that definitely impacts what I do compared to those young twenty-year olds jumping in the ring.
It is an absolute test. You have to want to do it. Even though I wasn’t cutting weight I maintained a clean diet. I trained in some shape or form for two weeks straight before I took a break. I trained with my personal trainer twice a week. I would get up at five in the morning and go for a run and still get in a class at night. I would leave work right away and go to the high school where I pick my kids up off of the bus and run the track for twenty-five minutes. I have a full-time job, two kids and a husband, I teach karate three to four times a week, I taxi my children to their activities, so what I am saying is, if you want it enough you find a way. There is no excuse not to make the time to train if you have a fight coming up. If I can do it, anyone can. Age is also a factor. This is a young fighters sport. My body doesn’t recover as quickly as it used to. I refuse to let my age define me but my body reacts otherwise. I say again, you have to want to do it.
The fight consumes you. It was on my mind at all times. Mentally it was a rollercoaster. I blabbered about it to my husband every night. My husband is a Muay Thai instructor so I know my questions must have been annoying. Everything became about fight prep. My diet, when I was fitting in cardio, when would I train. The day of my fight I was in rest mode and did little to entertain my kids after I drove them to lessons in the morning they were on their own. The day after the fight we had a Muay Thai seminar for three hours at our school so again, the kids were entertaining themselves. Our children also pay the price for our passion of Muay Thai.
It’s a gut check. I felt very disconnected the night of the fight. It seemed surreal. I became distracted by the fact I didn’t have compression shorts to wear under my thai shorts. I felt betrayed that my husband didn’t give me the heads up and he was annoyed I didn’t know. It was trivial but nerves allowed it to simmer. My husband gave me a meaningful talk prior to the fight and it went in one ear and right out the other. As I entered the ring it was a blur. Right before it started I couldn’t catch my breath, my stomach was a knot and all I could think was that I didn’t want to do it. My opponent was taller than me and had forty-pounds on me. (This isn’t normal there are weight classes but it was an exhibition so I took the fight knowing I would be at a disadvantage.) There is no cardio that matches a fight. The closest thing I can relate it to is drowning. You can’t breathe and your limbs are heavy. It is all a blur. You react and try to put moves together. Time seems to crawl as you battle it out. The only time that time seemed to move as slowly was during childbirth. After the round, the bell rings and your corners enter the ring. Again, in one ear out the other all you can focus on is breathing. My husband claims that you learn to breath in the ring. This must be the case because no one would do it if they had to experience the drowning every time.
It’s addictive. Post fight, I felt horrible about it. I’m an “A” type personality and no one is harder on me, than me. I was racked with thoughts of what I could have and should have done. I was mad at myself for not doing better. Then your team mates come in. They start to point out the things you did right and your good moments. Within hours the desire to do it again begins to nestle in. You want to redeem yourself and improve. You have a desire to show your knowledge and use different techniques. This part is true for all fighters win or lose it’s never good enough and you’re chasing the elusive purple unicorn, the perfect fight.
The fun part: After the fight, I asked sarcastically when it would be fun? After all they all said it would be. I realized the fun part was the change that happened when the guys realized I was fighting. They had always respected me because I owned the gym, I was Ed’s wife and some of them respected that I held rank in karate. Now, I had joined their ranks. It was different, I was truly a part of the team now. I had joined the fight club and it is awesome to be a part of it.
It was more than I ever anticipated. I gained knowledge not only about the sport but about my own personal limits. I can’t wait to learn more and…of course, I do want to fight again!