I had to let this one cook a bit before I got around to writing it.
In one of my not-so-great decisions, I got to get in the ring and fight almost two years ago. As most of you know, it didn’t go so well, considering I was about as unprepared as you could be in terms of conditioning, weight, and ability(that unimportant thing). A few months after that, I got a taste of actual muay thai from Mark Beecher, who’s a well-known pro trainer, and his brother Primo, who’s on record as saying that we’re all idiots, but at least we’re HIS idiots. I was just blown away by how much both of them knew about it and kind of surprised at how much I wanted to go learn more from them. Or, as Tryn put it, “That’s odd, the Irish generally have never known anything about recreationally clobbering people.”
Right. So in a bit of serendipity, it turned out that Primo’s gym was no more than a 5 minute walk away from the house of some very good friends. In fact, I’d actually been in the liquor store in the plaza the gym was in, and if I’d bothered to walk another 100 feet, I could have saved myself a lot of wasted time with the other jokers in Rochester. But I didn’t, and much like my romantic relationships, the failures at least taught me what I WASN’T looking for.
So I did a few free classes, signed up immediately after the trial was up, and here I am a year and a half later. It started with “Wow, I can’t believe how much of this I’ve been doing wrong, the fight team here is kind of terrifying”, and ended yesterday with a pretty emotional farewell to the fight team that I’d managed to work myself onto. All of my blood, sweat, failure, and success between has been one of the greatest times of my life. I started as a sloppy mess of a fighter whose only distinguishing feature was wearing a leather trenchcoat(it’s actually a duster, but that never would have stuck). I leave with a group of people who, in every way but biologically, have become my family in a way I’d never have expected and would never trade for anything.
Hell, you guys even won Tryn over. After that first fight, stupid diet, and bad weight, she didn’t want me fighting again, and I couldn’t even argue much. And she certainly hadn’t even entertained the idea of training herself. But again, here we are a year later, and she’s just started talking about how she might want to work up to sparring and how much she’s looking forward to getting shiny new gear for cheap when we get to Thailand.
What else can I say? I love you all, and thank you for everything. I hope I make you guys proud over there.