I wanted to take a second to talk about something extremely interesting that I saw last night and I felt privileged to see it unfold in front of me. In fact I am in nothing short of awe. It wasn’t the fight of the night nor was it even a close matchup. If it were a fight for points I am pretty confident that it would have been a loss on paper but in my eyes I saw it as a win on many different levels. I’m not going to say his name and will simply allow him to identify himself if he so chooses and I do not have the writing skill to truly illustrate the power of what some of us witnessed.
The Background: Months ago, in conversation with this student he told me that he thought that he wanted to experience his first Muay Thai fight. At previous weight of 195+ lbs and not old enough to drink in the United States, competition would have overpowered him as his youthful age warranted at least a 20lbs lighter weight class. He sought guidance from us to structure his diet and the activities to lose the weight safely. Taking our advice, he followed it to the letter returning to us only when he wanted to update us on his experience…we never heard a complaint. I watched him grind out cycles on our spin bike, pound out time on the bag and secretly cheered him on as he melted the pounds away. It wasn’t long before he tipped the scale at 170lbs and never asked if it was enough…he simply asked me how much more I needed him to lose. After watching your transformation during our sparring sessions, we all watched you become a more confident young man. The lower weight increased your speed and boosted your ability to move freely. Your hard work proved that you wanted it bad enough to warrant setting up your first demonstration fight against one of the schools that we are affiliated with.
The Event: The referee started the match and we could all see the difference between your youthful frame and the dense muscle of your opponent. The first kick that your opponent landed on your leg echoed through the room. Those familiar with a kick like that groaned in sympathy for you and the series of kicks that followed shook you to your core while we cringed at the power. We saw your confidence shake…buckle and then we witnessed one of the damn near coolest things that I have seen in years. The referee temporarily stopped the match in the middle of the second round to check on you, asking you if you wanted to continue. (After all, this was supposed to be a demonstration of skill and not a fight). Limping backwards, I saw you look at the referee, then gaze over at your corner to us. Your eyes were dim, we could see the discomfort in your face, but you stood up straight taking a deep breath and signaled to the referee to continue. You chose a path that demanded respect from your fellow fighters, those in attendance, your opponent and will shape the rest of your life. You sir, chose to challenge yourself where others have folded and faltered. Knowing that the next moments would be painful, you bit down on your mouthpiece and fought through it finishing all three rounds. Tired and no doubt sore, you finished it. You finished it. No black eyes, nothing broken and a life lesson that you taught yourself…there is nothing in this life that you cannot endure when you put your mind to it and no hardship that you are not strong enough to bear. You reigned your fear in and replaced it with determination. The score may have favoured your opponent, but the entire crowd knew that you won that battle inside your head when the match ended and you returned with your head high to your corner.
Congratulations…we are extremely proud of you and have noticed that you wear the T-Shirt with the “Superboy” logo in class…but after the heart that you displayed last night…you have earned the nickname “Superman”.
Now enough with the “nice talk”. Wash your wraps and get back on the bag…you have work to do.