I was asked to fight exactly 4 weeks prior to the event. I hadn’t trained muay thai (MT) before, only going to classes intermittently to practice my striking for mma since we seldom do it in mma; my coach is a grappler – and I like doing pad work. My urge to fight had been brewing for a good 6 months now, and an interclub would be a good platform to test my skills (or lack thereof). As soon as I read the message from my coach, I knew I would say yes, but pretended to consider it anyway. Before accepting officially, I voiced my concerns about not being a technical MT fighter but he negated my thoughts with his confidence in my immediate abilities. I was matched with an opponent as soon as I was put forward, so there was no room for second thoughts.
Week 1 was cram week. I tried to get as many hours in the gym as I could, partnering myself with other fighters in the event who had years of experience in MT over me. I hadn’t mingled with the MT team previously, and they probably thought this new girl was in over her head in attempting to fight but they remained understanding, patient, and coached me so well over the next 4 weeks. By the end of week 1, muscles that I didn’t even know existed were sore.
Week 2 was interrupted by a cheeky holiday to beautiful Portugal, but this was well-timed, as I was starting to overthink and over-train so the half-week off did a lot more good than harm to my training. It was here that I learnt mental prep is equally as important as physical. Your body alone cannot take you to great places without the mind.
Week 3 was getting real and a rollercoaster of sudden internal and external confidence boosts and then a flurry of lows and doubts when I couldn’t make the appropriate angles during sparring with people who had a far longer reach than me, or when I’d be thrown on the mat time and time again in the clinch.
Week 4/fight week started with (kind of) minor injuries that prohibited full movement of my hand and shoulder, I still have my lingering ankle flexibility issues and, just because this is my blog space and I can complain all I like – my right shin was severely bruised from my tiny little shin bones breaking and mending themselves. Expected, I know. I fit in a few more days of specific training, but was given strict instructions to stay away from the gym from 4 days before the fight. Rest and recovery. What is that!? Nailed it anyway.
During fight week I was anxious, nervous, going through scenarios and combinations nonstop in my head, trying to imagine what my opponent would look like and wondering how I’d go back to face my team and myself if I were to be completely smashed during my first fight. With the weight of hard training off my shoulders, I deferred to these unproductive thoughts, but was kept predominantly on track by thoughtful reminders morning and night that I was a beast and that I would be okay.
The day before my fight I became exceptionally calm – going about my day picking up errands, shopping and getting my fight hair do. A brilliant job was done, I really loved it and wish I could have left my hair in for longer.
Fight day is finally here – story TBC tomorrow because I am tired hahahaha.