As a 32-year-old girl living in Toronto, it isn’t unusual to get a gymnbsp;membership.

Like many women my age, I wish to live an active, healthful lifestyle. What is less common is to select Muay Thai on the road to healthy living. The entire “training to potentially get beat up” thing is not for everybody.

But here I am doing just that, training in the combat sport called “the art of eight limbs” (In Muay Thai you do not just strike with legs and arms. You also use fists, elbows, knees and shins) in what is normally a male-dominatednbsp;game.

I began three years ago taking a couple of classes a week in my local gym. I got a taste, but actually only a taste. It was only when I joined Siam No. 1 in 2015 — the earliest Muay Thai gym in Toronto educated under the leadership of Ajahn Suchart (a true master who has trained champions) — which I got the entire meal. I dropped my dancing and bodypump courses to concentrate exclusively on the martial art. Four or five nights a week, I spent two-and-a-half hoursnbsp;training.

Even then, I never thought I’d really step into the ring for a real, full-blown Muay Thai fight. I had been here for the fitnesscenter, not the fighting, right? As time went on, I found myself wondering why not? Why not push myself? Why not try out the skills I had learned over the last two years to see whether they actuallynbsp;interpret?

I needed to cut weight. That meant losing 12 pounds to be eligible exactly the same weight class as my competitor. I began eating dainty salads, cutting delicious drinking and carbs almost no alcohol. I was also always weighing myself to make sure my efforts were paying off and that I was really shedding those pounds. Here I was preparing for something which made me feel so hard, and at precisely the exact same time needing to “watch my girlish figure{}” Gonbsp;figure.

The majority of my free time has been spent coaching, considering training or speaking about training (I need to be plenty of fun to be around).

My mother and others asked: Why would I need to do all this for three, two-minute rounds, where there’s a significant potential of gettingnbsp;hurt?

It’s not I wasn’t scared. I was. Getting scared was why I pushed myself to do it and I was excited. Your opponent’s only objective is to hurt you, to land as many punches, knees and kicks to your body. I wanted to discover how I’d respond to something really shocking. Can Inbsp;persevere?

Stepping into the ring on fight-night I was pumped and ready to kick some butt. I wanted to show my opponent I was anbsp;warrior.

Subsequently the bellnbsp;rang.

What felt like just a few seconds into the first round, I was struck with a knee. It was shocking. Devastating. It knocked both the end and the confidence out of me. She came at me with fast hands and I knew I was losing. Big time. All I wanted was to get the round to be finished. Then another knee came in hard and I felt like leaping through the ropes and running off. The referee split us up and asked if I wanted to continue. I nodded “yes” but I really wanted him to find my face was saying, “No! What am I doing in here? Please create menbsp;vanish!”

However, you can not disappear. Walking away was not an option. So I moved on. I kept trying. I did better in the next round and came back stronger in the next (thanks to the fact that I finally listened to my coach’s instructions). Every moment that passed, my body became heavy with fatigue. Each weapon I threw became a mental calculation of how much energy it would take and if it had been worthwhile. But then the last bell rang and it was finished. I made it. I persevered.

My immediate feeling after the struggle was disappointment. I wanted to go in there and be the boss, but I fought. That sucked.

Then I discovered my cheering group of friends, work colleagues and coaching friends. They were so proud. Some of the pride rubbed off on me and I managed to hold my head a bitnbsp;greater.

It was not until two weeks after the struggle, while preparing for work, I really absorbed the entirety of the experience and what it meant. I woke up and felt like a badass. So proud of my achievement. I stepped into the ring, almost gave up, my body aching, my head yelling, “get out of there!” But I did not. I didn’t run. I did it.

In that moment, I felt so powerful and so confident I am pretty sure my temperature shot up. In that instant, I felt as though nothing was too tough to take on.And yes, so I am getting back into that ring. Next round I will be tougher, meaner andnbsp;more powerful.

Courtesy: The Globe And Mail

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