Lessons Learned from Muay Thai
It’s been ages ago that I watched Muay Thai matches in Thailand. As I mentioned in a previous post, I am not a fighting competition enthusiast. But Muay Thai and any types of traditional martial arts like Indonesian Pencak Silat have their charms that represent specific societies’ history, culture, and beliefs system. It’s not just about fighting, but the process to be a fighter with traditional elements attached to it.
In the past two years, I thought to enrol in martial arts lessons to understand how fighters prepare themselves to fight whatever they faced. It’s not just physical challenges faced by a fighter but also mental and emotional challenges. Back then, I felt that I was almost losing my fight to stay positive.
I was interested in joining Indonesian Pencak Silat or Thailand Muay Thai classes simply because of their authentic traditions representing South-East Asians. Due to practical reasons, I chose Muay Thai and started the class at a Muay Thai camp in January this year.
At the beginning of its existence, Muay Thai fighters mainly were male since Buddhist monks blessed its rings. The monks were prohibited from having contact with women. Thus, women were not allowed to be near the rings. These days, the sport has gained international popularity. The progressive gender equality movement influenced the sport to allow females as fighters. What we have seen today is the modern Muay Thai sport.
I was surprised to know many Indonesian women joined the camp. I have to say; I might be the eldest female student in the camp 😀 They look so young and energetic! Starting from twice per-week training, it develops to three and four times of training per week. It’s been eight months, and I have learned valuable lessons from the Muay Thai training and Anam Dynamite, my coach, a Muay Thai fighter.
While planning and managing are parts of my professional life, being discipline to reach a personal goal is another issue. The first challenge was the training requires me to start at 7 am before my office hours. Then, doing the type of workouts that I used to avoid, name it: skipping, planks, push-ups, battle rope squats…
The routine of workouts from the training taught me to be disciplined by creating new habits and continuing the workouts that I felt uncomfortable doing. Now I can skip; push-ups and sit-ups become a daily activity..but oh well, still, I’m not too fond of planks and battle rope squats. Yet, my determined coach kept pushing me to do them.
Courage to Fight with Humility
“My opponent is my teacher. My ego is my enemy.”Renzo Gracie
I was not born with the athlete’s gene. First time joining the camp, I was a semi couch potato and quite old to begin the training as a beginner. In Thailand, many Muay Thai fighters started their training at an early age. The majority of students at my camp in Jakarta were in their 20s or 30s and had been training for years. However, none of them shows off that they were better than others. Everyone started as a beginner, continued the training to learn and support each other. Despite the competitiveness element of the sport, the training reminded us of our physical condition to stay humble.
Aside from that, every fighter learned that they achieve the fighting skills through supports from others. It was reflected by the Wai Khru Ram Muay performance by the fighters before the match. It consisted of two shows. The first show aimed to respect people close to the fighters like the coaches, family, friends and supporters, and the second performance with bow gestures aimed to respect God.
Squats..Lots of Squats….
Training that Brings You Satisfaction
8Asians.com detailed the results of a study that showed 100% of Asian people could perform the squat, while only 13.5% of North Americans were able to (source). Yup, the squat is an Asian thing, and Muay Thai workout consists of practising lots of squats. However, the benefit of squats to your body is quite impressive. Please read the mentioned source for the details.
Each time I finished the training, it brought me a happy and satisfied mood. Satisfy that finally, I practised specific workouts that I felt uncomfortable doing—being happy because the exercise increases endorphins, dopamine, and adrenaline associated with chemical brains of feeling confident and less anxious. See the smile on my face after the training? 😉
Please watch the following video to get a glimpse idea of what the training looks like.
Music: Up High by Liru. Source: VCG.com and VivaVideo
Images and video were taken at Ultima Muay Thai Camp, Jakarta, Indonesia.
Thanking Coach Anam Dynamite and Yana for taking the pictures and video. All images and video was edited by indahs.
Disclaimer: The blog post is a non advertorial post and no intention of the author for commercial use.