May 1 will be the 2 year anniversary of me picking up Muay Thai. I don't really do much to signify these things other than taking a few minutes to think about all of the hard work I have put in, and also to consider the future a little. Nothing wrong with patting yourself on the back once in a while for getting to the gym in the crappy snow, punishing heat (no air conditioning at our gym, ever), rain and all the rest.
I truly wish that I had video of myself when I started out. I see a little of that every time we get someone new at the gym and they are going through what I call the "feeling out process". They come in, stand in awe of the advance class members, don't know what to do, where to go, or how even to sign in to the class. Like I was back two years ago.
But the fact is that they are there, giving their free time for their art. Which earns them respect in my book. Until we spar, of course.
I look at my skills and how far they have come and think about how far I have to take them. I have about 4 years left until I receive my black sash, the ultimate achievement at our gym. I should be one bad azz mofo by then. If everything goes to plan. Which, at times, it doesn't.
I have learned a lot about myself in this short journey, and a lot about martial arts in general. And this is all good.
Over the past year I became an assistant coach for the fight team. I have also passed a few tests for my MT curriculum and last Saturday I passed my level 2 pad feeding test. I will soon be the best pad feeder in the whole state, of that I am pretty certain. Last night myself and one of the instructors ran through some drills that would make new people's heads swim - I wish I had that on videotape too. I need to get on that.
Times like this make me appreciate my wife as well. She is the one who takes care of the kids while I am able to make my time commitment at the gym, and for that I am VERY thankful. I tell her on occasion, but can't thank her enough.
I have another test in June, and the fight season will be in full swing here pretty soon. We get a new crop of fighters after that test as well. The head instructor will not let noobs into the fight class, they must have a good base in them first. This is great as I don't want to get hit, nor do I want to waste my pad feeding time explaining to a guy how to jab.
Looking back, I am amazed at how many people wash out of the fighters classes, and the curriculum classes as well. Sometimes a person will leave for 6 months and return. Some people show up once or twice a month. Life does get in the way of martial arts, I suppose.
Things will be ramping up for me before the next test, and I look forward to it. I will pretty much be putting my body into a program not unlike the fighters before a big fight - then I will have that glorious week in July where the gym will close, and I will get to relax, heal, and look back on my last six months of curriculum work. And look forward to the next.