I have just lost again this past weekend making my amateur record 0-5. I know it sucks.
Overall its been frustating, especially with a 100% losing record I never felt confident going into my fights. I've been told I am more talented than what my records shows, but at the end of the day thats all there is to show. I disappointed that people supported and believed in me, but I let them down by not believing myself.
I can probably contribute most of my loses due to the mental aspect of the game.
I've never been dropped or really hurt in any of my fights (Lost all by decision).
However, sometimes I question if fighting is really for me. All that hard work, training 6 days a week (barely any breaks) for the past 3.5 years for nothing .... Even though I'm only 22 (23 soon). Were the sacrifices really worth it?
Thing is when I'm not at the gym (it doesn't feel right).
Ask yourself two questions: 1) did you fall in love with Muay Thai because you could eventually write some numbers down on a piece of paper and have the left column outnumber the right column? 2) if your friend, who loves Muay Thai, fights with heart and trains as hard and with as much dedication as you do was considering quitting because of his record, would you advise him to do it? (Note: if the answer is "yes," you're a shitty friend.)
I've bee through some really rough losing streaks. I lost 6 in a row in the US, which was over a year of losing every single fight I went into. I always came out thinking I could have done more, I never was injured, and I always thought I'd let everyone down. It feels like shit. But I kept fighting anyway because I love to fight and every single thing I do in the gym is toward the aim and joy of fighting. I never throw a kick and think "I ought to turn my leg over better because that's how I win." I change the kick because that's how it's done right, because that's what feels good. I wrote about that year-long losing streak in a blog post, "I'm a Loser Baby." And I've had losing streaks again since then.
Above is a graphic of another 6 fight losing streak here in Thailand in 2013 - same number of losses, same disappointment, but because of my fight rate in only took me a month and a half to rack up those 6.
It feels less bad now, but I reckon that's because of two things: 1) I have more practice at losing now; I've lost so many times (34 times, as of right now) that I know how to handle it. Muhammad Ali famously put it this way,
"I never thought of losing, but now that it's happened, the only thing is to do it right. That's my obligation to all the people who believe in me. We all have to take defeats in life."
And 2) I realized that nobody cares as much as I do whether I win or lose. My victories don't define me and neither do my losses. What defines me to me, to the people who train me, to people who pay any mind to my blog and my path out here, is that I keep going. You can lose without being defeated, you know what I mean?
It's a pity to think that all the love you put into what you do, all the pain and fatigue and hours, is reduced down to a record that means fuck all about you. I talked about how I feel about records in this video:
And Emma wrote a great blog post "Does your Record Really Matter?"
Pi Nu, my trainer at Petchrungruang, points out some of the champions at the gym and tells me, "he lost for one year, cry every day." Or, "Before, nobody want him, gamblers hate him." He's talking about champions, fighters who I see every afternoon at training and can watch on TV, read about in the fight magazines, etc. You wouldn't know it now because they grew out of these hard times - sure, they still lose sometimes, but they just kept going through those very long losing streaks. And I reckon it made them stronger. If they'd quit because they were losing, then that's all there would be. What a damn shame.
And I'll tell you something that nobody's going to tell you: you won't feel satisfied after winning, either. You can always do better, always do more, always have put more in. There's no, "well, that was perfect because I did everything right." Winning just feels better, so you can gloss over the mistakes more easily. You win and nobody has anything to say other than "great job" or "congratulations," or "badass." Wins make you look better than you are and losses make you look worse than you are - none of it is a full picture; none of it is an assessment of who you are or what you're worth. But you do have to get your mind right. You do have to believe in yourself, and at the times that you don't (and there are always going to be those times; I have those times) you have to trust the people who believe in you for you.
If you go on Wikipedia and look up Dekkers or Buakaw... those dudes lost a lot. It doesn't matter. It just gets pushed to the side so the work can get done. You're not a bad fighter, you're a work in progress. And that goes for all of us, really.
- Emma Thomas, dtrick924, Tyler Byers and 9 others like this