7 Years on the Run
I left England in 2011.
Adventure called but honestly, I was having a bad time in my home town and believed ‘no reason to stay was a good reason to go’.
I drifted but no matter where I ended up, I felt something was missing. Even though, I felt free and will always cherish this part of my journey as a martial artist. I was lost, often comparing myself to a wandering Ronin without a master.
I was always in adrenaline, looking for the next fight or new training camp and couldn’t stay in one place. Basically, I didn’t trust myself to stay still as if my bad habits would catch up with me.
In 2018, following a financially crippling year of training between Sydney (AU) and New Mexico (US) to save my MMA career. I transitioned into Muay Thai.
I focused solely on succeeding in this which meant moving again, this time to Queensland (AU) and establishing Boonchu International Muay Thai Gym as my base camp.
When I stopped running, I started winning.
As Ryan Holiday states, 'A life of restlessness is not what we’re after. A life filled with endless activity… in the end, it is nothing. That’s not where meaning comes from' (Holiday, Can you be still? 2020). In this blog, Holiday echoes Lucretius's comment 'Thus ever from himself doth each man flee.'
My experiences of travelling and training in different places were not meaningless but the road life perpetuated fleeting connections and restless energy. I was constantly setting up then moving on just as I was getting the lay of the land.
I used to think this behavioural pattern prevented me from getting stuck in stale situations. In reality, I was caught in a surface level survival cycle, unable to develop in my career and personal life.
To become a World Champion involves more than training hard for a fight camp. It requires consistency in all areas of day to day life and a different kind of endurance; the mental strength to endure the everyday ups and downs.
To build a legacy like my new coaches Wayne and Angie Parr, I needed to stick it out in one place long enough to invest in the community and own my Martial Art.
I became involved with young families through my work and started volunteering in the community too. This helped me open up.
By living with the Parr's and following their blueprint for success in the world of Muay Thai, it gave me the skills and confidence to chase down State, East Coast and National titles. These combined efforts created a strong foundation.
"What more can you ask for but to be real? To fulfil one’s potential instead of wasting energy on actualizing one’s dissipating image” (Lee, Striking thoughts, pg 173).
I had changed jobs and moved inter-state again in the pursuit of my dream. As the people around me were winning at the game of life by starting families and buying houses. I felt a chip on my shoulder start to develop with age; even though I saw winning fights to climb the rankings akin to being promoted in any career.
I had to make peace with my journey to become a World Champion, taking longer than I had anticipated. Regardless of past experiences on the international circuit in MMA. I still believed, I could become the person I set out to be.
'Kilalanin mo ang iyong sarili. Igalang mo ang iyong sarili'.
-Know yourself. Revere yourself.
To know yourself is a confronting and challenging undertaking, involving many sacrifices. I have preserved, using Martial Arts as my vehicle to better understand myself. I will be sharing some of my stories and lessons from the never-ending road to self-mastery.
In her timeless classic, Margery Williams prepares her young readers for this life long journey, “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.” (Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit, 1922).