Journey to the West - Overcoming Distance for Training
I travel to the west daily.
Mondays to Saturdays, and sometimes on Sunday.
I live in the quiet town of Pasir Ris. It will take me 34 mins to drive, 1hr 50 mins by public transport, and 6hrs 8 mins if I walk from home to Onyx.
I do it almost daily, without fail. Many of my family and friends don't understand why.
It has been 18 months, since I did a crazy decision - settle for a gym in the west of Singapore. I used to train in a muay thai gym in the central, and I used to work in Outram. It was all good and comfy, no need for long train rides, no need for journey from the central to the west, and back to the east!
You might be thinking that "aiya, you work at Onyx, you bo bian what.". But I did not start off in Onyx as a employee. In fact, for the first 6 months or so, I was actually a member until a strange occurence made me re-think my career choices. Even so, I'm willing to bet that most people take traveling time into their consideration when choosing a job.
When I was a member (or "civilian" as Jack likes to put it), I worked at Outram, and travel to Onyx 3 to 4 times a week to train. I knocked-off at 6pm, and rushed to the gym to make it in time for the 8pm Muay Thai class. Training, as you know, lasts until 10pm or later. Usually, at 10ish pm, i start showering, and start my journey back to the east. I would normally reach home at around 1230am, and get ready to wake up at 6am for work again. I admit, it was tiring.
But I was happy.
But why Onyx? Why not other gyms that is so much nearer, more convenient, and doesn't impede on my social life?
I start recollecting my previous training experiences. Prior to Onyx, probably like some of you, I trained at a couple of gyms, and eventually settled down in one that was pretty central. Over time, and as I progressed, I realised that training wasn't as motivating, and I got lazy to push myself further. The group of us nak muays searched for a new gym.
I wanted to finally be able to try Onyx. Over the years of training, I've seen them in action, often from the audience seat at local events. I'm not a fan girl, but during then, some of the Onyx fighters impressed me, and I always looked forward to their fights. Henceforth, when the stars align and since we were all looking for a new home, I made sure we tried Onyx.
I signed up straight away after my first trial class. I was a trial once upon a time too! My first class with Onyx, was taken care by Phan. If you know Phan, at first glance he didn't look very trainer-ish to me, and coming from my previous gym, I was abit doubtful of a non-Thai padholder. At the trial, I was so impressed with this non-Thai padholder, it opened my sights about padholders. Over time, I got to know Phan alot more, and came to realise that he had come under the tutelage of a very very strict Thai coach (Kru Saner) for extended periods of time for Muay Thai and Muay Boran. Even till today, Phan recalls that Kru Saner was always very critical of his padholding skills, and he would often get truck loads of reprimand whenever he didn't perform. With Kru Saner, it was always a school of hard knocks.
Phan padding a fellow Onyx fighter.
Over time, as I spent time with the Onyx family, I started to realise the totality in which I willingly, and unknowingly plan my obscene traveling time to train in the west. I love that fact that I get to meet my brothers and sisters at the gym everytime I come. The trainings, I hated them, but i crave for it every single time. The trainers; my trainers, they took care of me. It did not take long, before Onyx fused fittingly into my schedule and my life.
There is still an element of truth that I still get sick of the distance and long train rides, my ass hurts from sitting in the train sometimes. These days, I appreciate the "alone time" to catch up on my thoughts, my social network, watch some crazy YouTube videos, or just research more into martial arts. But the training time I have is precious, and I will not let traveling distance stop me from getting there, training hard, and becoming better. I get reminded, that I should never take any training time at Onyx for granted.
Sure, we all sweat bucket loads when we're here. But for me, regardless of the amount of shit I've had throughout the day, I know I'm truly free and happy when I'm training.
Like some of my brothers at Onyx put it,: Onyx is not the question, Onyx is the answer.