The week after a fight is always interesting. A bit sore and bruised on the outside and a sort of calmness inside that can only come from accomplishing something difficult that you worked hard for.
If you missed the action you can read the recap here.
Or you can catch the Replay of the Event on video here.
Elaina as I expected was a tough girl, but I trained hard and under the good direction of Kru Mark Komuro and Joe Schilling at The Yard and I was prepared for a battle. A big thank you to my trainers for believing in me and helping me believe in myself. You guys rock!
Thank you to all my friends, the F5 family, fans and of course my awesome boyfriend Dustin. He is my rock, I couldn’t do this without him.
I am home from Vegas now and happy to be back teaching and working at my gym. I am always amazed after my fights when I take a week off training and realize how much free time I have. I used to be so excited about training that you’d see me back in the gym the Wednesday after a Saturday fight – all ramped up and ready to take on the world.
During this training camp I had several revelations. First I realized that owning my own gym and training for a fight was more challenging than I expected. I opened Function 5 Fitness in Feb 2012 – I had an easier time preparing for fights when I was working independently as a personal trainer and renting space inside of a bigger gym for my small group women’s classes… and it was easier still when I just bar-tended 4 nights a week like I did when I first started fighting.
But it wasn’t just the time and responsibility that made this fight camp challenging it was something bigger. I’d fought through all sorts of personal and professional turmoil before. I took fights when I had no gym and even no coach. I’ve fought through broken hearts and moving houses and not once did I lose focus.
However, this time I felt myself resenting my training schedule, staying late at work at my gym and showing up to training late. I was tired all the time and I looked shitty in sparring and even shitter (is that a word?) was my cardio. I know what it takes to be a professional so I made sure I did enough, but I didn’t want to do anymore than “just enough” – and I felt like I was trudging though mud to get there. This was so far from my A type personality I know I have that I had to examine where the behavior was coming from. “But I love Muay Thai!” I thought to myself… and it’s true. I do – with all my heart. But I did not have the same drive and hunger training to fight as before.
I’d catch myself staring at some random girl at Starbucks, thinking “She doesn’t have to train 3 hours a day and go fight some beast in the ring next month – lucky girl.” Normally, I like the sacrifice, giving things up: social life, sugar, alcohol, and time all because I wanted to excel so much. But I found myself resenting fighting for taking away time from other things that are important to me: friends, family, work, hobbies. I love Muay Thai too much to ever want to resent it, so I had to consider what I think my mind had already decided for me: I wanted to retire.
When I finally said it out-loud to my boyfriend, friends and coaches I felt instantly better, like a weight had been lifted. I started to think about all the new challenges I wanted to do in 2012 and all the work I wanted to put into my gym. I stayed as focused as I could for this training camp and relied on my experience to pull me through, but if I am honest with myself, my heart was elsewhere.
I started getting sick the last couple weeks of the training camp and had to take more time off training than I wanted too. I used that time to really get my mental game tight. I read Sam Sheridan’s book The Fighter’s Mind. It was awesome. I highly recommend it. I also did some EFT sessions with Jon Boyd Barrett which is a great way to get over mental road blocks. Honestly I was kind of a mess for a few weeks, but I pulled through in the last couple of days when I spent some time alone and realized some important things, mainly about why I fight.
I remembered that I fight because it’s hard. I fight because it’s not easy for me. I was not a likely candidate to be a pro fighter. In high school I was voted “most likely to be a professional club kid” – I’m not joking. But my life changed when I found Muay Thai. It grounded me and pushed me. It gave me self confidence and discipline. Muay Thai helped me grow into a real adult, but most of all it gave me a purpose and with that focus my life changed.
By choosing to accept that this training camp was hard for me, mentally more than physically – (but I felt physically affected). I was not fighting myself anymore. I accepted all the fears and doubts and negativity that kept coming up and just remembered that I love Muay Thai and that love gives me an abundance of strength…all the strength I need to carry me to victory.
Once I got into the ring I felt at home. I knew I had struggled more than usual to get there, but every fight camp is different and as my good friend Robb Wolf assured me, sometimes the shittiest training camps have the best outcomes. Maybe it is the adversity that makes the victory come easier.
I love fighting, I always will and I will always have Muay Thai in my heart. I will teach and train and push the sport forward to the best of my ability, but I knew that the decision I made to retire was the right one and it was time to step down and put my focus on my new passions: teaching, educating people on health and nutrition, running my gym, and training the new crop of young fighters.
I was very happy to go out with a win. I am satisfied with all my accomplishments. Sure I could have fought more often, gone after bigger fights, traveled the world fighting -but I chose to follow my heart and build my dream gym. I don’t regret a thing.
Even though you won’t see me in the ring again. I will still be around. I had a good run for almost 10 years. It seems the Muay Thai retirement age is around the mid 30’s especially for most female fighters. It’s a rough sport, I understand that. I still want to help Muay Thai grow in popularity and of course I want to help people be healthy and fit and live lives filled with passion and purpose.
Thank you all for your support!