Fighting Oneself （拳击自己）
Original article published in 联合早報 (Lian He Zao Bao) on 17 Nov 2015. Below is a best-effort translation by Onyx MMA.
In the atypical fashion when friends gather, we'd chat and go at length on anything and everything. The conversation pieces can range from world events to the individual hobbies. In one such gathering, I found out that a buddy of mine have been learning Muay Thai for some time. It quickly don onto me that he actually looked more radiant, fitter, and alluded a sense of health and well being. I dropped a few praises left right centre at his new outlook, to which he gladly and readily accepted with glee.
Like a seasoned maestro, he encouraged me to find a sport and stay passionate with it. While I was brushing it off, he commented that I was burying myself in work and was beating myself up. I disagreed, and retorted that I always remained active, and I had always gone crazy and enjoyed myself thoroughly with all the multitude of exercises or activities that I do.
He shook his head in disapproval.
"Passion, is beyond the short moment of fun and madness, but a loyalty to what you enjoy."
His words weighed heavily, and I reflected deeply. In the fog of my memory, I pin point traveling as the only hobby in which I stayed loyal to. No other items came to mind. It cast a slight hint of doubt in me; that I had not truly stuck loyal to the things that I liked. It solidified my resolute to search deeper, and search wider, for more things to like, and to be truly passionate and loyal to these things that I liked.
As a start state, I decided that I'd follow him to a class in Onyx.
What was originally meant to be a passing by lesson, became a lesson that I didn't want to end.
I reached the gym, but not entering it. Whilst I took the approach slow, the overwhelming and overflowing aura of dominance and strength from the gym became apparent to me. In all honesty, at that very moment, I was stunned, rooted, and a little fearful of this aura creeping out towards me. It made every step towards the doors of the gym a tremedous effort.
Analytically, this feeling was akin to the first time I did sky diving, like the first time I went on a roller coaster ride. To feel as though the next step that I took was "it", and it would send me into the dark abyss of the unknown.
While I lament, the sound of my heart beat became louder. I am familiar with this sound; the clarity of my heart beating, as though a guiding rhythm for the next step, and the next.
I looked onto the rest of the trainees jump relentlessly on the skipping ropes for warm up, as I did as well. The simplicity, and the purity of this simple action of jumping, continuously, struck a chord in my heart. It made me rethink the usual swimming and running that I've been doing, and realised that when compared to these people who's warming up on the ropes effortlessly, what I did previously were probably child's play to them.
In the one and a half hour of training, the feeling of vomitting and my heart exploding were scheduled every 15 mins. My pores were out of control, and was emitting large amount of sweat fluids. My body transformed into an atmosphere of rain, showered down with huge and warm sweat beads. The sweat shower never stopped, but the training, and the aura of learning to be better never stopped too. Strangely, it made me not wanting to stop as well.
Every trainer smiles gently, and repeats the same 2 words that has little or no meaning: "Good. Continue.". My limbs no longer recognised me as their master. They moved and heeded, instead, to the words of the trainers. I began to wonder, if Onyx was actually a magical land, where the trainers were all wizards enchanting the trainees with spells, and where the mind of the individuals are lost with the powerful words of the trainers.
Alas, even until the very end of the class, and even after the trainers cooled us down, I still had not come to terms that I had actually done, and completed the class in totality. It made me realise, what it meant to complete something, and what it truly meant to complete something thoroughly.
I've always thought that I did my tasks and duties with due dilligence and accord. But after this class, I realised that I was merely putting in effort blindly, and that there's still a distant gap from doing it to the best of my ability. I realised, deeply, that the "me" before this class, had never really done anything to the fullest extent of my capability.
Fighting, is not just striking the punching bag in front of you, nor it is defeating a faux enemy. It is about defeating the fortress of presumptuousness in yourself.
Read the original piece in Chinese below!