Those who have known me since childhood might find my love for kickboxing a non-issue since I basically spent ages 2 through 12 kicking and screaming (sorry Mom). But for me, my infatuation with Muay Thai was actually unexpected and wonderful… kind of romantic don’t you think?
Looking back on it, Muay Thai sort of changed my life in a very subtle and unassuming way. I decided on my 25th birthday that I was going to start working out – it was going to be the year I got my shit together, and being able to hold a plank for more than 0.5 seconds was step #1. I tried all the typical stuff: running, weight training, the new all-the-rage squatting, but I just found myself waiting for my “Workout Playlist” to end so I could make it home in time for The Bachelor. It wasn’t until one day at work, I was irritable and agitated in the middle of a 12-hr day that I realized punching something might actually make me feel better (working at a gym made that possible without the risk of getting fired and/or arrested). I had my first boxing training session that day, in the middle of the gym floor, amidst the jungle of over juiced, vascular men, and it was the most terrifying experience. I didn’t realize how insecure I would be, but I was. I have always been afraid of standing out, and not only did I stand out because I was boxing in the middle of the gym, but I also stood out because I was terrible. Now, this would usually be the point in time when I would moonwalk off the gym floor and go sit in a corner and let the image of me flailing around play over and over again in my mind, but that didn’t happen. Yes, the experience was mortifying, but it was also the most fun I had had in what felt like forever. I was hooked.
The experience I have had with Martial Arts has been so gradual that I didn’t even realize the impact it’s had on my life until just recently. The discipline, the strength, the challenge, all of it gave me a silent confidence that I had lost somewhere between awkward adolescent and confused young adult. I began to feel powerful and proud after every grueling hour of kicks, knees, elbows, and punches. It’s become something I look forward to each and every week – even though it’s painful and exhausting, I have a profound appreciation for the mental and physical strength it takes. I was happier on the days that I trained. It was my outlet. No matter what had happened that day, I knew I would leave the gym with a smile on my face. That’s why I continued to do it after failing at it on day one, and that’s why I do it today. The physical transformation was evident, but that wasn’t the important part for me. My transformation happened on a much deeper level. I fell in love with kickboxing, and I continue to fall in love with it every time I do it.
I owe a large part of my mental and physical transformation to my trainer and friend, Richard Pham. He has continued to push me to believe limits can all be crushed with enough patience and focus. The passion and dedication he has to his craft is infectious and inspiring. Personal Trainers are often synonymous with extroverts who berate their clients while they lay in the fetal position in a pool of their own sweat (at the risk of sounding melodramatic). In Richard’s case, being an introvert who calmly educates and encourages works just as much if not more (but somehow you still end up in the fetal position). He truly is, in my humble and extremely bias opinion, the best of the best.
For more information on Muay Thai and other forms of martial arts, check out Kombat Arts on Facebook. It will change your life.