The year of 2015 has been an interesting one filled with many new things. Onyx MMA celebrates its first year as Onyx MMA, back from Onyx Muay Thai, I had my first overseas fight, two of our trainers getting hitched, Chocolate's first KO win. However, one thing has remained the same as it has for many years; I am still single.
The gym has proven itself to be quite the haven for budding lovebirds. Case in point, our very own monstrousity ala Strength & Conditioning coach Arab met the love of his life here, at Onyx. It has been a place of romance where newly-weds actually take their wedding photos here, because of how significant their time at the gym was for them.
The gym can also be a great way to meet a new girlfriend or boyfriend. You get to meet so many different people everyday, and you see so much of them, so much more of them that no one outside (of the Onyx environment) could ever see. It is a version of them, and a very raw version that only comes out during hard training, and you are one of the only few people who get to see that side of them.
Sometimes, it is also beyond finding or seeking out companionship. Couples also join in with hopes of finding a new activity that can bring both of them closer. Do I sound like a love guru yet?
Albeit there are still some instances where newer member couples join the gym for the purpose, ends up losing focus during training, and it turns into a session where they spend more time making cutesy gestures at each other rather than training, much to the chagrin of mine and the other trainers.
I don't blame couples for seeing MMA as a potential 'dating' activity. It lets you learn a lot about your significant other (SO). The caveat includes things that you may, or may not want to know. You'd get to see just how ugly your SO can get, physically anyway. To be fair, training at Onyx isn't exactly something you can look pretty while doing. Much less so for those who's probably still struggling through the paces of the training at Onyx. I often get to see members, after their work, in their fanciful working clothes, in their work dresses, shashaying to the doors of the gym. Just moments later, that beautiful image of the corporatised professional quickly melts into a messy picture of sweat and anguish.
The physical outlook aside, the other significant observation from seeing your SO train is the reaction, and how he/she handles being put under grueling physical conditions; being pushed into a situation where they have to push themselves to their cardiovascular and muscular limitations. It is here that you can also see the extent of motivation you as a loved one can give. I admit, and I lament, even though Jack's probably gonna kill me after he reads this; there have been too many a time where the thought of a love once lost has pushed me through training.
The presence of a loved one can make a difference in the desire to train harder, or simply just to remain, and rekindle the fire in this sport/hobby. In the years that I've been around, I've seen fighters who go through a bad breakup before fights lose almost all desire to fight. The words, and their body language alludes a walking corpse, citing the reason for their demotivation being not just because they're sad, but because they have "nothing to fight for anymore".
A committed person to a particular activity may or may not question themselves this in their journey: "Why am I doing this?". For some, it is self-actualisation. For others, it is the very act and effort of improving yourself, for yourself that keeps them going. Constant improvement, to be better. But for people like me, a typical hormonal raging teenage boy, it is for a 'her'.
A disclaimer though, when someone like me says, "I'm doing it for her", I don't actually mean because 'she' asked me to train, therefore I do. It a way of expressing the love, in a cheesy manner that spells out the very thought of importance. "You are so important to me that no matter how grueling training can be, no matter how stuck in the dirt I am, as long as I think of you, as long as I can go home to you, all that pain will melt away."
After I type that last sentence, I know Jack and Phan is probably going to slaughter me.
But the key is the fall back, the pivot, the anchor in my mental grit to be strong. That I have to be stronger, and be strong for her. If I can't be strong during training, then how can I be strong when I need to protect her?
Beyond the mushiness of this, the thought has put me through hours of training, hours of pain. When in pain, we look for comfort, we look for the place in our mind that puts us back to the ground, telling us that it is all manageable, and it is actually okay. The thoughts circle around euphoric day dreams of lost love, memories of moments lost in time, imaginings of things that could have been, regrets that you couldn't keep hold of a good thing, woefully empty and impossible thoughts of, "maybe if I get strong enough, something'd happen between us".
So, despite sounding like a love guru throughout this entry, and if love and SOs hold such significance in my life and my daily ability to function, then why haven't I found the love of my life? Why so, when I'm training/working at a place where I actually get to meet lots of people?
The cool answer that i'd say is that I have no time, because I spend all my time training. Because I love Muay Thai and fighting, and there's no space in my life for a girl.
That is the cool answer. But the truth is much simpler.
I'm just bad at love.