"Take the first step in faith, even if you don't see the whole staircase, just take the step." - MLK JNR
Sometimes taking initiative and ensuring that you're pushing yourself outside your comfort zone can be the most important decision in your life. Each step of the way, you will be presented with a new path, from there it's up to you which one you follow. In October, myself and 16 other young competitors took one of their many steps along their journey. All but me and one other competitor had never entered a Muay Thai ring before, let alone the few that had never been outside of Victoria.
From the early months being told that I was competing in the Queensland Junior National Muay Competitions, I never thought of it much. In contrast to my peers, I felt almost careless. I was glad to see that the younger ones weren't apprehended by the idea of travelling to fight, perhaps in their young age they were unaware of the importance of "doing well".
Approaching the date we were to leave Melbourne, I was in a relatively comfortable mind state.
I never had mixed emotions, never felt anxious, excited etc. I looked at my situation as a positive one. I was almost arrogant with my confidence inside my head, having that "Yeah, I've done this before" type attitude. I don't feel as if this was a necessarily bad thing however. Having that thought in the back of my head reassured myself that these younger ones looked up to me, and that gave me the confidence to perform.
The experience itself was fantastic. I was especially happy to see that we got time to take our minds off the whole competition side of things and be as resourceful as we could. The place was bigger than I had expected. Staying there definitely developed relationships with people from the gym I had previously never really spoken to, and I'm glad we made the most of it during our stay.
When the time came, it was stressful for me.
Both days having to weigh in under 51 kgs. It seems comical at how much of an issue it was to me then thinking about it now, but keeping at a certain weight at 14 isn't as easy as it seems. Watching the fights, certainly was probably more of a reality check for me than for our kids actually fighting. These kids showed some courage, that is all I can say! Persistence, determination, just integrity these young kids showed in and out of the ring was outstanding. These little warriors didn't need me or Michael or Stu to cling on to! These were independent young people making their own decisions, fighting their own fights. So they definitely were something that someone such as myself, could aspire to be in the ring.
Spectating these fights however, made the longest days. Watching and watching, with the constant back of your head thought "I'm up in 5 hours"... "I'm on in 3". Definitely mixed emotions at that point. But gaining confidence in my own ability was a big improvement I picked up this time around, in comparison to my past fights. I told everyone I was feeling good, and that was true. In all honesty, never had I felt I was going to go out and beat my opponent. This time I did, and from there I knew I was on.
In the ring, I felt out of breath around halfway through the second round.
It could have been the 2 minute rounds, but the breaks made up for it. I proved to myself once again that I can take in what my trainers say. If there has been anything I've picked up so far from Queensland and previous fights, it's that you have to remember that others perspective is 9 times out of 10 better than the one you have when fighting, and to have belief in yourself that you can put together what you've learned and hear out what people are saying outside of the ring. It was a great relief, after the wait and hard work to have my hand raised and take home another Gold Medal for Westside MMA.
Overall, it was an awe inspiring experience and I congratulate all competitors on their feats, with also a thank you to the parents, in all seriousness, the mums and dads were the ones behind the reason we got to travel and compete, and of course my trainers Stu and Abbas, I'm not sure you guys will ever truly understand my appreciation, but I thank you both for the path you've guided me.
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