I have really fallen inlove a with Muay Thai.
I’m five months in, but it feels like I’ve just begun and the last time I wrote about Muay Thai was three months ago.
Nobody told me that once you break the shell you’d be left with only spirit and a blank slate of nothingness.
Ok I lie, I did know that. I’ve broken a few shells in my time but this is something else all together.
How can one be empty with their feet still on The ground?
The physical activity is teaching me how to flow through my body and be free with my expression, before allowing thoughts to become weightful. Free expression encourages a weightless mind and a weightless mind never gets tired. Surprisingly I have not really been practicing traditional meditation. Living is the meditation! Not being attached to ideas or outcomes has a tremendous effect on the mind and body. It allows one to be fully in the present, being aware of ones thoughts and choosing what and what not to express.
And in my practice last night I got a good glimpse of a steadiness accompanied by strength, power and individual self-expression. But I would be lying if I said there were no doubts still. Finding one place in a tribe is an interesting journey.
The art of Muay Thai is teaching me to trust my own movements and be aware of the power that moves outwards into the world and how to adjust it depending on what (and who’s) direction it’s going in. I’m embracing my competitive and raw nature rather than privatising it, and its refreshing.
And I admit, I thrive on conflict like an embodiment of Kali, and Muay Thai helps me embrace this need to destroy things.
Every eye movement, every contraction of a muscle, sound of a kick or a breath holds an expression in the fight.
Muay Thai is a converstaion!
When one learns to fully trust themselves, then they are fully able to trust others. And this means sticking by everything you stand for, because one slip of a doubt unexpressed can be a real head fuck. Doubt yourself and you’ll doubt others.
Learning to express my fears and doubts is a new one to me, and not a burden to others as I had once believed. Naturally we want to encourage one another and naturally in sharing a doubt, the other someone is able to squash it – either with encouragement (sometimes needed), or rational discussion (what I mostly need). Even leaders need to be able to connect with others through their flawes.
Celcus, a Roman scholar said that man should have a variety of activities in life to have a balanced body and can avoid sickness this way. And so Muay Thai is something for me to do alongside climbing trees, salsa, studying essential oils and cycling about.
It’s definitely interesting that Muay Thai is the art of Eight Limbs, the same way that Yoga has Eight limbs -The mental and the physical complement one another. Just a tiny observation, nothing to take over serious right now, but it might explain why I’m exploring this in a yogic way.
Muay Thai is so much more than about fitness. I cycle 30 – 60 miles a day. I’m fit but it doesn’t mean that I’m completey healthly. And I’m basing this on the WHO’s (world healths organisation) definition.
This is self-mastery and self-expression along with respect and encouragement towards others walking up an ascending path. This is tapping into physical strength purely for the pleasure of it.
Competition is also fascinating, because the word itself comes from the old Latin, ‘to agree, together‘, ultimately coming to mean ‘to strive (alongside another) for the attainment of something’ and I really feel that when I am with the others… well sometimes. I’m working on it. I’m still accepting that humans are human.
And as a human, I have always tested the boundaries with those who choose to hold space for a living (rather unconsciously I might add) and there are very few people I respect; those who can hold their own when I challenge them. And I do this because its something I strive for myself.
However, if one cannot handle my emotionally intense nature then they need to not be in my life. I have a lot to give, and I need to feel that energy back in return – otherwise I get real selfish with it.
Though I like to think that the recipient of a punch (mat), an elbow (sok) or a kick (Te) is able to receive it the same way I am willing to receive it.
Humility is a wonderfully odd feeling and it forces me to reevaluate my own truths. In my first month of starting Muay Thai, I got hit on the nose – it wasn’t painful, but it was enough for me to realise that my skill wasn’t as strong as my passion. And yet it was honourable because I accepted the challenge and I lost because I was too slow. Like I said, so much more than just fitness.
I am entirely grateful for our Kru (teacher) for bringing in a seriousness and structure to our classes. Despite my playfulness, I take this seriously (maybe too much) and I want to build on it. Muay Thai lives in the blood of my fathers ancestors and its something I’m still exploring. (There are photos of my family in history books that I still haven’t read). And I see the art as a tool for community empowerment and political movement on subtle grassroot levels.
I’m still working on my humour though. My social skills are something to be questioned. I’m so focused on movement and sensuality sometimes I forget I have vocal cords.
I actually quit karate in my teens because I wasn’t expressive enough and having been around so many boys and men I didn’t know I had a voice. In my household, asking questions equated to a clap in the face and I carried that with me for a long time.
But today, sharing a space with others means we all choose Muay Thai- for whatever reason. Sharing sweat with someone is a lot more bonding than you might think is comfortable, but for me it’s a fact. I walk out of every class smelling of other people and I’d like to think I rubbed off on them a bit too. But I am far from where I want to be.
It’s encouraging to be with others also on a path of self mastery. I’m surrounded by people who inspire me and I keep that way too secret. Maybe the testosterone blocks my expression of gratitute.
Im doing this when I want to walk alongside others. Yet, that in itself is the next great challenge.