My Muay Thai journey started in January 2018 as I got curious when my colleagues in London told me that I would die. I actually believed in them and I was not sure what I was expecting but I was hoping for the best.
When I got to the camp on January 5th, 2018. My campmates and I decided to go clubbing the night of the darts. It was a journey itself, this ride to this nightclub – club Eden. According to The Broke Backpacker blog, there have been many accidents going to and from the club. We also had a very close experience as well. It took 45 minutes for our truck to go up the extremely steep and slippery mountain of red clay. It has the same width as the truck. Both sides were steep hills. On our way back, we had to either take a boat (which capsizes often due to the large waves) or take the same mountain down. However, it was bucketing down, so we were skidding off this mountain. There were no proper roads but a clay path with the same width as the truck. We were skidding so bad that we were sliding back halfway down the mountain. The tires were going off the cliffs. We didn’t think we were going to make it and we were going to tumble off the mountain. The look on some of the girls’ faces was absolute horror. That trip itself was a wild journey.
By the time we got back to camp it was already 7 am. We all went to 7-Eleven at the end of the block and had some snacks before taking a quick nap. We booked a two-hour massage at 9 am. After the massage, we decided to go for brunch. Everyone at camp rented scooters. As I got on my scooter, I was thinking that it’s a bad idea. I know if I don’t get enough sleep, I get vertigo. I was also looking at my feet thinking: “oh no! I normally ride with proper shoes but I was wearing flip-flops.” It was also a bad idea and my ass was burning from the hot seat in the summer sun. I was wiggling in my seat looking at my feet. Next thing you know, I got a dizzy spell and I fell and elbowed the ground. Hard.
One campmate had heard me crash so he rushed out to make sure I was okay. He told me to not look at my elbow. He held my elbow over my head and took me to the pharmacy at the end of the block. There was a young English lad getting his knees patched up. The lad’s knees were pretty hurt. I will never forget the look on his face. As soon as he saw me, he jumped out of his seat and said that I should go first. At this point, blood was covering my elbow and my right arm with my fingertips looking rubbed off. My campmates have already gone to the brunch spot but I was not able to catch up so they got worried. Wendy, from the camp, turned back to see what the hell was going on. Denis caught up with Wendy and me, while we crammed the tiny pharmacy. I asked Wendy how bad it was, and she said it’s nothing. I was glad to hear that until Denis said it looks like shit and he could see white stuff in my elbow. Gross.
I was too much of a chickenshit to check my elbow so I haven’t seen it for three weeks. Twice a day, I would go back to the pharmacy and have it cleaned out. The infection got pretty bad as they found a rock wedged in there three weeks after the accident.
Joining a camp for one whole month, I didn’t actually start training until about 10 days after the incident. I was definitely one of the oldest in the camp and I was probably by far the worst too. I was extremely uncoordinated. Although I was uncoordinated, my fitness level was okay so I did train with them every morning from 7 to 9 am and from 4 to 6 pm. My elbow was still fucked up. The fall has taken a huge chunk out of my elbow. Now there is still nerve damage so I never learned to right elbow properly. Still, the experience completely changed my life.
After Muay Thai camp, I went back to London to grab a few things before relocating to Berlin on March 1st. London is my favorite city to live in. As soon as I got to Berlin I joined a Muay Thai gym. I even bought a bicycle so I can get to the gym easily. Although I was still one of the slowest in the gym, I kept going every day. I had purposely set up my life around training by then. Somehow something inside me changed. The routine at the gym in Thailand inspired a new me. I wanted to be an entrepreneur then so I can focus on living, instead of working.
When I got to Berlin my life was completely revolving around Muay Thai. Although I was still partying until sunrise some of the days (haha. Who are we kidding? It was more like 3 nights a week as I lived across the street from Warschauer Strasse. It was also near the famous clubbing district RAW). I was unable to find a long-term home in Berlin so I kept on traveling east. I visited my friends in Poland. I trained in Warsaw, Kyiv, Kraków, Cluj, Budapest, and over 25 different cities in 2018. 2018 ended up being like a gap year for me. I traveled and trained. In hindsight, I’m so glad I did that as now it’s difficult to travel with a worldwide pandemic. I am so grateful to have done that.
When I was in my full training mode, I even trained in Chicago for an overnight stopover. All I did was sign up for a bank account and train Muay Thai. Muay Thai altered my life as my identity completely changed. I went from someone who was a quitter to someone who was too stubborn to quit.
I’m not even sure how it all happened. I don’t know if it was the routine or seeing my improvement. Having all those flashbacks of PTSD helped me refocus. But I was starting to become a different person
Finding Muay Thai in January 2018 was one of the major pivot points of my life. Now three years later, I still train even though there are lockdowns. I train by myself in the snow at the park. When it’s too cold to train outside, I train at home. I found an apartment that’s on the ground floor so I can train in my room when it is too cold to train outside.
My identity completely changed, even my Instagram handle is Alice.Loves.MuayThai. I am no longer a quitter. I can do anything that I want to do and I’m doing it. I’m not sure if it’s going to be the same with every sport but I’m glad that I found Muay Thai and I found myself.
One of the lessons that I’ve learned is that it doesn’t matter who you’re comparing yourself to. What should matter is you’re comparing yourself to yourself. Whether you’re better than yourself yesterday or whether you’re improving day by day. We are staying stagnant. The reason why I don’t like the word stagnant is that it reminds me of pools or puddles of water that are dead and gross.
I’m grateful for every instructor who is patient with me. Even though sometimes we don’t even speak the same language. It was fascinating to train in the middle of nowhere in Kyiv. When the trainer spoke in English, they sounded Thai. That is because they learned their English in Thailand. I couldn’t believe it. I could hardly take them seriously. It was the weirdest thing ever. The other crazy thing is they trained at the same gym that I trained in Thailand, such a small world.
Muay Thai altered my life as my identity completely changed. I went from someone who was a quitter to someone who was too stubborn to quit.
“Whether you think you can, or think you can’t. You are right.”
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