As a female Martial Arts gym owner, I find myself among mostly men as peers in my chosen profession.
It didn’t start that way. My husband and I opened this gym together, but he has since opened his own gym, and left me to run this one on my own.
I, very much, enjoy what I do. I don’t really consider what I do ‘Work’, as I get to work out, and meet new people every day. I have seen young people’s lives be changed through Martial Arts, and with the recent addition of our Fitness Kickboxing classes, I have had a direct hand in helping a multitude of adults reach their fitness goals.
That said, I wasn’t 100% confident in my knowledge of Kickboxing as an instructor. I have been around the gym for nearly 20 years, and have a pretty solid understanding of the fundamental principles of kickboxing, but have never actually been in a fight, so it’s hard for me to look my members in the eye and say with any degree of confidence, that I ‘KNOW’ Kickboxing.
Fortunately, my son, Nickolas teaches the instructional portion of our classes, but I really wanted to be able to teach my Fitness Kickboxing members the proper way to throw a punch, kick, knee or elbow.
My husband has been fighting all his life, and had finally had the opportunity to fulfill a bucket-list items and train Muay Thai in Thailand. He spent 3 months training with some of the best trainers in the world, and was raving about it.
Afraid of going over there and getting demolished, so I chose to stay at home and let him have his ‘fun’.
Toward the end of his three months in Thailand, my son decided he wanted to go and learn from REAL Muay Thai instructors as well. I don’t know what I was thinking, but I decided I should go with him.
This wasn’t a hasty decision. I had labored over it for a long time. I have always wanted to test myself, but fear was keeping me back. I was AFRAID of what might happen to me in Thailand. After a great deal of thought, I decided having both my son and my husband there, I would be OK… Hopefully.
The trip to Thailand was exhausting. I’m glad I had my son to lean on! When I arrived, I spent the next 12 hours sleeping.
My husband had been training at world-renowned, Tiger Muay Thai in Phuket, Thailand. By the time I woke up from my nap, my son had already signed up at Tiger as well.
Upon touring the place, I was petrified. There were REAL fighters everywhere, and the Thai trainers didn’t seem very nice either. I saw a sign outside the beginner training area that read as follows: ‘To all students: I have stick. If you are lazy or naughty, I will hit you with stick.’ Uuuuh, OK… maybe, this isn’t for me.
I decided I would stick my toe in the water, rather than just dive in. I signed up for a private a session, along with my husband, to work one-on-one with a trainer, rather than hop into the group sessions. This ended up being the best decision I have made in a long time.
The private sessions ended up being more grueling than the group sessions, and there was no escaping the wrath of your trainer, but as mean as they seem from the outside, the trainers truly are genuinely there to make you better. They will push you to your limits, and they will make you want to cry (OK, I might have shed a tear or two), but they really are there to teach, and help you learn Muay Thai-and perhaps a little something about yourself.
Battered and bruised, I came home knowing I could endure what few people have ever experienced. I also learned a lot of technical aspects of Muay Thai that I just didn’t grasp before. I came home with a new confidence that I ‘KNOW’ Kickboxing. This is not to imply, I know everything about Muay Thai, but I feel very comfortable with fundamental principles, and a pretty solid grasp of advanced Muay Thai that will allow me to offer my members something I could not before my trip.
At 40 years of age, I have no pretenses about becoming the next Thai World Champion, but I did conquer my own fears, and am very happy I went. As a side note, Thailand is a beautiful place. The people are amazing, and the countryside is as green as anywhere I have ever been.