It’s not all about winning or losing – at least that’s what I tell myself – it’s about the progress made along the way. Thinking about last night I am proud to say that I have conquered many demons up to this point; every fight is a lesson, if you are willing to learn there are many who can teach, and only by facing your fears can it be possible to grow. Take a chance, for the likelihood is you’re never going to be completely ready.
Once, in Omnoi stadium, I overheard a well respected veteran telling my trainers at the time “อันนี้สู้คนไทยไม่ได้”, literally ‘this one can’t fight Thai people’. Fortunately, I’ve never been much given to heeding the advice of others, prefering instead a method of trial and error (though mainly error). To an extent I then made it my single objective to learn how to fight Thais. Today I am proud to say that, through much hardship and many mishaps, I have at least to some extent achieved that goal.
Unfortunately my 7-fight win-streak came to an end yesterday evening with Pongsiri pk Saenchai, despite it being potentially the most entertaining performance of my career. Though I feel there is still much to work on, deliberations about what I could have done differently are bound by frustrations about the shortness of the fight. Three rounds was simply not enough time to enact a long enough game-plan – barring a KO – to push through Pongsiri’s virtually unrelenting assault. On the upshot I received some new scars and caught up with some old friends during the show.
For me Muay Thai began as an experiment to see if I was strong enough, smart enough and brave enough to fight. Did I have the will to win? Could I face another man in unarmed combat and find victory? That I now define myself by it is a testament to something, though I’m not entirely sure what. Fighting is a part of life, and fighting for a living is perhaps the most challenging thing any person can do. In the last ten years, I have had 100 “professional” fights, this is now very much my life – and the lives of many of my closest friends and peers are also defined by it.
Three of the standout performances of last night’s show came from it’s youngest competitors; Gabriel Mazzetti, Spencer Brown and Maroan Hallal, all of whom exhibited exceptional skill and prowess during their fights, all claiming victory (in my eyes at least) and at only 20 years old each, all of whom represent a very promising future in Muay Thai for their respective countries.
Next stop Penang, to renew the visa which expired last week, but first to the hospital to stitch up this suppurating wound on my face.