Having been born and raised according to the Chinese traditions of my conservative family, we were quite familiar with martial arts in general and had gathered up tidbits during our schooling years, during our schooling and from the other sources of knowledge that are almost commonly available to children and young adults.
In fact, martial arts are something I grew up with since I was born in a traditional Chinese family and it is common trait of the Chinese that they identify quite closely with martial arts, Kung fu and connected disciplines.
And, we Chinese claim a proprietary sort of traditional right to discuss and be knowledgeable about the nuances of almost all martial arts. And, it was almost as if Kickboxing was in your blood and its finer points were embedded in our personalities like second nature.
And, the reasons were not very far to see; my father not only knew it, he was a reasonably good Kick boxer and quite well known too. So, it was a question of pedigree and automatic assimilation as far as the superior skills of Kickboxing are concerned; and, that was not the end of it, even my grandfather was a known Kick boxer. So, I had the right credentials as far as lineage is concerned.
But, this is a discipline which is never popular as a particularly suitable sport for girls; that was the traditional belief in most parts of the world and, with many people, it still is though perceptions of women’s participation in male-dominated bastions is not the same any more. Ladies too have evolved over the times and the taboos or out of bound areas of yesteryears are no more applicable.
Very rarely girls would be really interested; I was interested since a very early age. I was blessed in this aspect since I had a readymade arena in the form of my house where I had 24×7 access to highly accomplished and trained fighters in the form of my dad and brother who I would keep challenging every now and then throughout the day.
As I always fought with my brother and our dad, they were initially very careful to ensure that I did not really get hurt but they would just use of all sorts of pushes, kicks and slaps while fending off all my attacks. They would laugh uproariously with each slap or tackle when I lost my balance. Infuriated and humiliated, I would start to cry while making fiendish and highly violent attacks but the result was always the same.
The cycle was a never ending one with me attacking, getting my ass kicked, renewing my attacks and ending up humiliated. But, that can be called a christening by fire. My childhood was providing me all the training that would stand me in good stead when I took on the sport seriously later on.
In particular, my dad he would play with us, train us in newer moves, kicks and defensive maneuvers which was a sort of disciplinary practice; but, he would never let us win. I would always end up crying and getting upset with him and he would say, “Come on. Do you give up so easily?”
I was only a little girl then. Mom would smile from ear to ear while saying, “Stop making her cry.”
I think that’s what spurred me on to go on and make an impression to earn his admiration, both as a father and coach; also, my ego kept on making me want to prove him wrong all the time while leaving no room for failure.
I did not do judo or Karate as he did; instead, I went for Muay Thai kickboxing. I loved going to Thailand and go on training camps. What I loved the most was I had the looks of a girl, a soft target for this robust and rough sport but my technique was as good or better than many guys and, to top it, the childhood skirmishes with my family had imbibed in me lightening speed of movements. And, I could safely claim that I was, maybe much faster as I was fast and light.
I simply loved it. I used to have so much anger in me in my early teens and early 20s that I did not know what to do with it. I didn’t have a clue as to what I should do with my flagrant anger; so, it got directed at the most obvious and only activity which I was involved with those days, Kickboxing.
Kickboxing was the only outlet for me; and also the best way for me to relieve my anger, stress, pain, depression. It gave me a lot of confidence and I know for the most why I love it so much, it was the thing that brought me to the ‘meditative moment’ like nothing else. It simply translated to this, “If you don’t pay attention, you may get kicked in your head.”
I would train so often and so religiously that I came to a stage that it was the only thing I was doing daily or that I enjoyed in my life; I couldn’t think of anything else whether I was sitting, getting ready, having a meal, lying down or walking.
Kickboxing was my breads and butter and the obsession of all my waking hours as well as the only subject of cove very violent dreams. It took absolute control of me, my mind and my body; and I? I just allowed myself to get submerged in the deepest part of the pool that was kickboxing; you couldn’t have pried me apart with a Katana.
When I had done a good four hours of training, I would be happy the whole day! The gift of youth, your cardiovascular strength is endless. You just don’t feel tired when you are doing what you love. The rest of my day would be a happy, calm journey once I had done that.
I was repeatedly doing the same kick, the same punch so often to create muscle memory, to have that reflex when someone throws that punch at you. At the same time what I love the most is that when you train your body to respond in a certain way, and there is more than one option available to you, you have a millisecond to decide whether to perform a different response. In this millisecond, you will also have to configure yourself to presume what response the opponent is anticipating. Frankly, it is always nice and heartwarming to spring a surprise and watch its effect both in their reactions and expressions.
I used to teach as well since it was my greatest passion of all time and quite amusing too; people were paying me to get their ass kicked, literally. What better job could there be? At the same time it was very pleasing to see people getting better results from all the trainings; I used to feel proud of myself and pleased enough to want to pat my back. I felt like I had arrived.
I always had a big fascination with what our body can do and how our brain tells us all sorts of lies about what things we can do and what we can’t. I have seen that in many clients of mine and in myself too. Especially, the older you become the more you think of all the injuries that may happen if you are not careful.
We all need a guide, a teacher in life to guide us, lead us to where we want to be or where we see ourselves going because sometimes we are not sure how to get there. So it is important that we let other people guide us.
We also need to realize and understand, when the time comes to change a teacher; and, it should be implemented as soon as possible, once the realization sets in. In effect, we should never get hooked up on one style and direction; we need to experience the different philosophies, schools of thoughts and systems. No teacher or school can give you the complete knowledge or training that is available in this world. Only by changing teachers can you really know, and decide, what fits us the best and most aptly.
Sometimes, when I am in a reflective mood, I delve deep down in my memories and experiences to decide what it is that drives man to all these activities. I keep ruminating regularly whenever I have the time to be one with myself and try to marshal my thoughts without any biases and or angles keeping my mind still.
Passion doesn’t really exist. Find something you like and do it many times, as often as you can, so often that you become reasonably good at it; and, just out of constant regular practice, you will find that, eventually, it will become a passion.