12 weeks to fight

Want a peak inside a fighter’s mind? JAI fighter Selena Small kept a diary of her thoughts leading up to her second amateur fight on March 26 (this Saturday). Here’s the first part.

12 WEEKS OUT — the mind game

Monday : Fight confirmed, matched up against Shi-Han Ngarewa, 54kg, 3x2min Modified Thai Rules at Honour 10 in Porirua on the 26th of March!

She’s bigger than me, she’s had more fights and she’s fought at heavier weights.
 This is going to be my hardest fight to date.

11 WEEKS OUT — starting to train

Monday: Right, it’s time to get serious. I’ve taken out all of my body piercings and I’m about to go to the first sparring session I’ve had for five months. It’s not going to be easy and it is definitely going to hurt. In case anyone was wondering — that’s why I was training in the beginner’s class — not because I’m lazy!

After injuring my shoulder in a fight last August I took a break. A weak shoulder is no good for Muay Thai — especially for a fighter who likes to clinch!

The last time I came back from injury I worried that I had lost a lot of what I had learnt, and there were a lot of tears, tantrums and self-doubt. A couple of times I even felt like giving up. I know I certainly wasn’t a fun training partner at that time, so I hope there isn’t a repeat of that!

Fight training can be intensive and taxing on the body. I work full time, and though my job uses more brain power than muscle it’s sometimes hard to focus when your body is so exhausted.

Tuesday: Tomorrow is D-Day, my first day at sparring. Feeling nervous. For those of you who are wondering — why all the effort when I’m not even the main event?

Well, if I lose to a better opponent I will be disappointed, but that’s nothing compared to the embarrassment from losing just because I didn’t put in the preparation and hard work to train for the fight. Generally in life, if you want people to take you seriously you need to be serious, and when it comes to competitions I am certainly not a joker.

Wednesday: So, turns out the first session back wasn’t that bad… Still got some skills, didn’t die or get terribly hurt, and I’m not super unfit. In my mind I was clearly worried about nothing. I’ve been studying hard during my injury period to pursue a new career in software development so ideally I’ll get myself into a potion where I can write code during the day and train in the evenings. Maybe one day I’ll get myself to a point where I can live in Thailand for a while training and work remotely from there.

9 WEEKS OUT — building momentum

Friday: It has taken almost the whole week to make up my mind to get back into running, but I managed a couple of runs this week. Watching past videos of fights brings back the motivation that I need to build up to fight mode again.

8 WEEKS OUT — the struggle is real

Tuesday: Things are getting tougher since I started. I am struggling to keep up with the other fighters. In my mind it’s starting again from scratch sometimes.

Thursday: Wish I hadn’t announced to my trainers that I was fit and strong through self-training over summer. Today I was struggling to breathe after 10 minutes of sparring and they were joking:

“Look, look! I am strong and fit!”

Haha, I deserved that. I shouldn’t have expected to take a break except for cardio and weights and expect to be Muay Thai-fit.

Friday: I’ve got so much going on right now outside of training, looking for work opportunities in attempt to pursue my career and running a restaurant. The last thing I need is to feel uneasy about my training. Maybe I’ve got too much going on right now to be committing to a fight? But I’ve already committed. I don’t really have a choice, there’s no way I’m walking into the ring unprepared. I mean, if I lose I lose but the reason for losing is sure as hell not going to be because I just didn’t work hard for it.

7 WEEKS OUT — feeling good

Monday: I’m finally feeling good and training six nights a week. The fighters are running after class and I’m trying to keep up with the fastest in the group. Which I can… mostly.

Wednesday: I’ve never really put much effort dieting or nutrition but since this time I’ve got a bit of extra weight to lose, I’m going to try eating reduced carbs after my evening workout. Hopefully I can train my body to work harder with less food and by the time I cut weight at the end I won’t be literally crying of starvation.

For Selena’s final six weeks of preparation stay tuned for part 2.

Originally published at www.jaithaiboxing.com on March 21, 2016.

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