As well as training and fighting in Thailand, I also teach English here. This is something I do not only because it funds my stay in Thailand, but because I truly enjoy it.
Teaching fulfills me in a way that I never expected it to. Before I became a teacher, I’d never known what it was like to do a job that I loved. Now that I do, I can’t imagine doing anything else. The fact that it enables me to stay in a country that I love and continue to do the sport that I love is a combination that I feel very lucky to have. I’ve been doing this for a couple of years now, so it feels totally normal to me. However, I often find myself thinking of how great it is. When I see people pass through the gym, I think about how they’ve probably had to spend a long time doing a job they may not be particularly passionate about in order save up to be able to come and experience what I do for a week or so, only to go back to their reality and do the same thing again. Of course, I realise this isn’t the case for everyone, but it is for some, and it makes me remind myself of what a great opportunity I have here, and how I will one day look back on this as the time of my life. That is, if and when I do eventually move on to other things, which at the moment, I have no plan to do.
Just over a year ago, I had my third fight, which took place at Rangsit Stadium in Bangkok on the Queen’s Birthday. I was privileged to have a huge amount of support from my students, who were constantly asking curiously about how my training was going and how I was feeling. To my surprise, a gang of them turned up to watch the fight, which was a great feeling. One of those students, Khun Yu, was particularly inquisitive about why I chose to fight. She and her fellow students knew me only as their teacher, and found it surprising and bizarre that I had some kind of alter-ego as a fighter. For many of them, it was the first Muay Thai fight they’d ever been to, so it was particularly strange for them to see their teacher in the ring. Yu was so intrigued that she used me as a subject for a magazine article that she wrote for the student magazine, UNSHY.
Yu wrote about her surprise at my attitude towards fighting and my lifestyle. More interestingly, she also compared Muay Thai to street fighting, and highlighted the differences between the two in Thai society.
I was very flattered that Yu thought I was interesting enough to write about (if a little startled by the artwork, which makes me look like some kind of zombie alien), and once again reminded that what I do is pretty special. These are the things that inspire me to blog about my journey, to keep fighting, and to keep teaching.
Read the full-sized article in .pdf here: The Fighter – by Yuphaporn Lertsattakit for UNSHY Magazine.
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