I received some exciting news yesterday: I have an opponent! Barring an injury or some other fluke, I will indeed be stepping into the ring in early November. I was so elated to hear the news.
You see, I wasn’t entirely sure that my kru would be able to find an opponent for me. I admit that I was a bit picky. I’m only planning to go through this experience once (although that may change), so I want my fight to be one that I will be proud of, no matter the results. I didn’t want to be matched with someone who had no technique and who just wanted to brawl. There have been too many female fighters like that, and I think it’s given people a false impression of what women are capable of in the ring. I want to end this experience knowing that I did my very best.
We’ve lost a lot of the traditions of muay thai in this country. We’ve adapted the original Thai fighting style to one that is more reminiscent of Western boxing. We wear protective gear and rarely allow knees to the head or elbow strikes, in order to make one of the world’s most brutal martial arts a little safer. You rarely hear the traditional music played during fights anymore, and if someone does play it, half the audience won’t understand why. (We sometimes play it during Level 2 classes at our club, and I’ve heard Level 1s ask “what is that terrible noise?”) Western fighters seldom bother to seal the ring, and it’s been years since I saw someone do the warrior dance. That said, I still remember my old school training, and I am very proud of being a part of this martial art. The very least I can do when I step in that ring is show it some respect.
Now that I have an opponent, everything has changed. More than ever, this is for real. No more whining. No more longing for lazy weekends with friends and popcorn for dinner. This is worth so much more than any petty little concerns or aches and pains.
This is for real.