A year ago, if anyone were to tell me I could cut weight and show up in a ring on an amazing card with ten days notice for my first fight, I’d call it a fantasy. But I did it. I debuted at the Legends Muay Thai Championship, last Saturday. I’ve been practicing Muay Thai for a year and half, and was confident in my ability to win. I have to admit my attitude toward the fight bordered on cocky. I showed up to the fight and I was TKO’d in the second round. I trained hard, but I froze when the bell rang. My opponent was good, and I was shocked. Then came the questions: What happened? How could I have prevented this from happening? Did I really train hard enough? Am I not cut out to be a fighter? Will I ever get the nerves down?
Now that it’s been a few days since the fight, I’m feeling more focused, motivated, and humble than ever before. The first fight is a rite of passage. It’s an initiation also akin to a baptism. Some babies have a fit when the water touches them, others are calm. In the end, it doesn’t really matter. They’re now a part of a group and its what they do in their journey after which determines if they are true believers. My first fight has taught me a lot about myself. I’ve also learned from everything that has lead up to it, and all that has followed. The sacrifice and commitment I made to cut weight and consistently train hard showed me I can really do more than I imagined. And let’s face it: getting steam-rolled in front of a huge crowd and still wanting to get back in the ring means a lot, too. The fight was one of the most exciting things I’ve ever experienced, and I want more.
Coping with disappointment has been a huge learning experience. I have been given a reality check with specific lessons about competition that I must accept:
1. Never underestimate anyone
2. Forgive yourself—it’s the only way to move forward
3. Presence of mind is key—stay focused, alert, & positive—be open & keep learning
As I get deeper and deeper into Muay Thai, I stray farther and farther from my studies at UCLA. Yup, I’m an English Lit major (makes sense, right?). I took 2 years off at the beginning of my junior year, and now I’m back, again—and guess what, I feel like taking yet another break. Put two and two together and you have an amateur Muay Thai fighter writing about her experiences. I have a tumultuous relationship with formal education. Actually, I dislike most things which are formal, or conventional. I don’t believe in a piece of paper endowing an individual with wisdom, or power. Right now, I am feeling cornered to make a decision. To finish school, or not to finish school—that’s the question. It all boils down to what I want to do with my life. Earning a degree requires the time and commitment to study, attend class, and turn in all assignments. Here’s the problem: I think the shit I have to listen to and turn in is completely irrelevant. Once the purpose of action is lost, I become inactive. I refuse to continue, until meaning is returned. So, in short, I’ve been playing hooky and training for fights. What’s a girl to do?
Why “Jackie, Face Punch!”?
No matter what level you may be in your fight career, a reminder is required to keep moving forward to get the job done. There is always a task before you, and it’s time to deliver. “Jackie, Face Punch!” is a simple, straightforward, plain-language reminder of what I’m here to do =)