Stepping backward to move forward

It’s been way too long since my last post. I have made Dan promise to keep me in check; blog once a week. Since I haven’t written in a while, I have to go backward to move forward. So much has happened that, too much has happen to not go back and share.
In my last post I was supposed to be writing about my 2nd fight and my thoughts before my 3rd. Well, the 3rd fight didn’t happen and I never got to detail my 2nd.
2nd fight: I’m just going to skip to the good stuff.

The fight was at my gym. This meant I didn’t need to show up ridiculously early and I could relax at home. I made my protein snack, which was a delicious almond butter chocolate protein mix of awesomeness, and packed up my bag carefully, including my arm bands my trainer had given me and a red bull, a much needed red bull. I had tried out staying up late the night before my fight with the idea I would sleep all day.
I didn’t sleep all day.

I was tired, but I was relaxed and the red bull would give me just the kick I needed. We headed to the event around 6, put our stuff down and walked around a bit. Dan got me fried bananas for after my fight and he got some dinner, some fried mussel thing he absolutely adores. We went back to watch some of the kids fight and boyyyy, I am glad we did. We witnessed probably the best fight to ever happen in Thailand.
Possibly, probably, the best fight to happen in the world.

There’s an adorable boy who “trains” at our gym. He’s so quiet and unassuming; Dan didn’t even recognize him in the ring. He runs sometimes with the others and skips around the gym, sometimes jumping around on the tires. I think I’ve seen him do pad work twice. So there he is, in the ring. The bell rings and he is off, running away from his opponent. Keep in mind… this is a ring. He was literally running in a circle. His opponent was baffled. He clearly didn’t know what to do, so he chased him. The frustration was evident on his face. The kid from my gym kept running and every so often would turn around and kick his opponent. It wasn’t so much he was actively kicking his opponent as his opponent was running into his leg because he was chasing him. At one point his opponent looked to his corner with his hands in the air, like “what do I do?” The crowd was hysterical; no betting, no loud uproars, just pure enjoyment. The kid from my gym ended up winning by TKO. The run, turn around, jump and kick technique put his opponent away in the 3rd.

After the comic relief, Dan thought it might be a good idea to go up to the camp house, away from the crowd to relax. I stretched out on two chairs put together to make a bench and tried to relax. I decided to munch on my snack. I was scheduled to fight second to last, an hour and half or longer wait. So by munch, I mean devour. I ate the whole thing and it was good. I’m an emotional eater. I was nervous and to calm my nerves, I ate. And ate. And ate. After finishing my snack, I put my hat over my head and tried to rest. A few minutes pass and we hear…. “Dan come to the ring. Dan, Dan, come to the ring.” Okay, weird. The gym owner was one of the announcers and one of the only other people there that could speak a little bit of English. We usually have no idea what’s being said at these events and now all of a sudden we hear Dan being called down to the ring. Dan thought it could only mean one thing; he was going to be asked to fight. He was not happy about the conversation he was about to walk into. I smiled at him and put my hat back over my head.

A bunch of the kids from my gym started coming up to the house and then one of them whipped out the card and started pointing to it, repeating “Jenn-eee, Jenn-eee.”

Let’s pause for a minute.

When I first started training at this gym, I told them my name was Jill. Somehow this became Jenny or Jenn-eeee. I rolled with it a bit too long. There was another girl there who came and watched, sometimes trained, whose name was really Jenny. Everyone was really excited we had the same name. I didn’t want to offend anyone now and when it was first said I really did try to correct them.

“Okay, Jenn-eee.”
“Uh, Jiiiilll.”
“Okay, Jeeell.”
Big smile:

“Okay, Jenny.”

Before my first fight, Dan finally said something again and everyone got it. I don’t know what it is. Everyone understands Dan. Me? Nothing. So everyone now knew, Jenny’s name was Jill or Jeeell. And original Jenny was again the lone Jenny.
Jenny, real jenny, had stopped training because she injured, possibly broke her leg. This was maybe 3 weeks before my fight. This is important knowledge.

Now that the Jenny/Jill debacle is clarified, we can continue.
I’m sitting there smiling and I think I even threw a thumbs up. I was confused as to how the hell Jenny was going to fight after just coming off a broken leg and not training, but hey, this is Thailand. I nodded my head at the kids still pointing and saying Jen-eeee, Jen-eee. Wow, they’re worked up. Then some of the moms came over. And then I saw Dan quickly approaching.

I’m up.
Apparently, you can now just call me Jenny.

There had been a change in the schedule and I was literally, next. The match in the ring was already into their rounds and I didn’t even have my shorts on. I heard and read about how fights in Thailand change all the time and things get whacky, but I hadn’t experienced it yet.

I jumped up to get ready. I started to go over to the bathroom and one of the moms motioned to me to actually change. Oh yeah, I guess now would be the right time to put my Thai shorts on.. you know.. before I get in the ring. I went back to my bag, grabbed my stuff, and changed in the bathroom. I walked down to the ring area and tried to see if my opponent was ready.

Yup. Yup, she was just about ready.
And I almost walked down to the ring without putting my shorts on.
I’d say she was a little more calm, cool, and collected than I was.

I didn’t have time to warm up or really get a Thai oil massage, so Dan threw some oil on me while my trainer wrapped my hands. I remember an ice situation occurring. I’m not sure who was involved or where the ice was going, but no one could find ice. Money and buckets were being tossed around while I tried to focus on the fight. I wasn’t going to be able to listen to my kickass i’mgoingtogodosomemuaythai playlist, I wasn’t going to be able to shadow box, I had to pee (again), my stomach was full, and my opponent was already in the ring.

“Dan, Dan, please bring your darling to the ring. Jen-eee, Jen-eee, where are you?”


As my trainer was wrapping my hands, he tried to give me bits of advice. Now, this is right before I am getting up to go physically fight someone. He told me something along the lines of “She’s better.”


She’s better than me? You’re saying she’s better than me and I am about to go fight her… and you’re siding with her? Come again?
Dan looks at me and sees the uncertainty start to cloud my eyes. He assures me that is not what he meant to say, he means she’s better than your last opponent, but to remember she might be better, but you’re better, too. He reminds me I’m strong and capable, and have improved since my last fight.

I felt slightly better.

It felt like a dream. I didn’t feel… ready. I felt pushed and pressured, not confident. I tried to shake these feelings as I climbed into the ring. I focused.

Wai Kru, focus. I start sealing the ring …


Wait, what? Seriously,

that must have been a mistake.

“Jen-eeee. You hear me???”


This can’t be happening. Is someone really talking to me over the loud speaker while I am sealing the ring?
The gym owner was indeed talking to me, directly. I am SO positive this doesn’t happen to Thai fighters. Again, no one else spoke English, so he knew only I would be understanding.

“Jen-eee, if you win, mon-eeey. You win, you get lots of mon-eeeeey.”


Thank you.

Back to the Wai Kru.
After we both finished, we were called to the center of the ring to take pictures with the people who bet on us. Photo shoot just before we fight. No biggie. We go back to our corners and get ready.

1st round:
Felt each other out. I had been a bit nervous with throwing kicks, so I just threw one to get over my 1st kick hump. It wasn’t very good, but I got over the hesitation. She had a cocky swagger, just like the last girl. I tried out the swagger and quickly realized it was not for me. I smirked after a kick that landed and just felt like an idiot. Back to straight facing it. Knees. I went for a lot of knees. And I just looked at the video again, looks like I went for an elbow, too. She landed a pretty solid kick that I forgot about until Dan asked how my leg was after the fight. I didn’t remember until I saw the bruise, even then I really didn’t know when it happened until just now… when I watched the video, again. I remember this fight being WAY more concerned with protecting my head. I did NOT want to walk away with a migraine.

2nd round:
I was more confident. I wanted to land more combos and try more things. Now, I wanted to do these things, but I didn’t .. really. I kneed and tried to sweep her. I wanted to catch her off guard and get her on the ground. Lots of knees.

During the 2nd & 3rd:
I didn’t have my red bull. Um, I’m kind of tired. And that ice you’re pouring on me is kind of cold. I actually shivered and Boonlong, a kid from the gym helping my trainer corner me, laughed at me as I shivered in the middle of a fight.

3rd round:
She came out hard, but I felt I was getting to her. She sped up her pace and for a moment, I got caught in her rhythm. I remember consciously thinking, wait, what, why am I doing this.. slow down, Jill, relax. I can even see the moment when I watch the video. Pretty cool because during my 1st fight I’m not sure I had any other thoughts besides, keep going and why won’t she go down.

4th round:
I stuck my glove out to her. She tapped it, hard, and immediately kicked. OH OKAY. I threw a couple knees and then started a little elbow war. I could see she was getting tired. The idea that she was tired, made me magically “untired”, so I knew I just had to keep constant pressure and she’d break. 30 seconds later, she did. I thought it was a standing 8 count and was walking over to the other corner when I heard Dan say 2-0. The ref grabbed my hand, spun me around, and pointed me in the direction of a camera. I did an awkward fight pose thing and went over to give respect to my opponent and her corner.

So, that’s it for fight number two.

My next opponent. 😉 He won his fight that night, too. 

One thought on “Stepping backward to move forward

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