Our JAI fighter tryouts last Saturday went amazing.
Not because everyone who tried out boxed, kicked and clinched like a pro and didn’t even break a sweat during the fitness test. No. Because of the amazing love and support which greeted them while they were trying out.
As to why we hold the fighter tryouts? And do we think they are necessary? Yes we do, and here’s why:
- Gives the fighters deadline to work towards
- Set a standard for all JAI fighters to meet before they even are considered to fight
- Ensure that the promoters and the fans get to watch a fighter who is well prepared (and will put on a good show)
- Give them a taste of what it’s like to work under pressure in a crowd, albeit in a safe, supportive environment
- Let’s us know if they are ready to step into the ring for real!
Our fighter tryout participants were graded out of 10 on:
- Boxing skills
- Clinching technique
- Heart/JAI (More about Heart here)
The fighters started out with a a hill run and sprints led by Richard, and when they came back, they were greeted by almost a full-house of JAI nak muays, there either to provide their bodies for sparring support, or simply to lend their voices for vocal support!
The fighters finished their warm-up with 300 knees and then geared up for:
- 10 rounds of Muay Thai sparring
- 2 rounds of Western Boxing
- 10 non-stop minutes of clinching
- 100 kicks on each leg
By the time they got to the 100 kicks, there was no denying they were exhausted. But they didn’t complain when they were commanded to dish out the kicks, before they could even catch their breath.
It’s hard to say no, when you have a crowd of supporters cheering you on. And it was rousing to see the whole gym count down the final 20 kicks together.
Let’s face it. Fighting CAN be a lonely sport, because when you step up in the ring, everything rests on your shoulders. Sure, you corner, trainers and team mates and supporters are surrounding you, but in the end, it’s up to you to decide the outcome.
But in the lead up to a fight, the fighter is far from a lone wolf. No matter how much desire, will or time the fighter spends on preparing, in order to reach their full potential, they need to have the support of people who want to help them reach the same goal.
Outside the gym, it could be friends and family, providing emotional support. But inside the gym, is where you’ll find like-minded people who understand that training hard for weeks on end in order to punch and kick someone for a few minutes is one of the most important journeys you can make.
And when it comes to fellow fighters, the need is two-fold. Not only do they need emotional support from the fellow fighters, they need bodies who show up hour after hour, day after day, for them to practice their skills against. A good team consists of not only current fighters, but also those who may not have the time or desire to fight, but are willing to put their bodies on the line to help their team mates achieve their goal.
This mutual respect and desire to see a team mate reach their full potential can show itself it many forms.
- Making it a priority to train with them
- Giving them feedback on areas which they think they can work on
- Being completely honest with them – especially if they think they are heading off the narrow path
- Being accountable and present – whether it is at sparring, training, or on the fight night.
Cos it may take a village to raise a child, but it takes a community to make well-balanced healthy fighters.
Now let’s hear it from the fighters themselves:
“Walking in just after 9am after the run, it was nothing short of inspiring and pleasing to see so many people padded up for drills. The people who sparred to the crowds cheering encouragement after Su said 100 kicks each side is something I’ll never forget. So appreciative of the support shown on the day. Wouldn’t have been able to do it without them all!”
Thanks to everyone that came out to support us for the tryouts! We could not have done it without you all! I was blown away by the tremendous amount of JAI Nak Muay we saw warming themselves up ready to beat us up on Saturday morning. Special thanks to our Trainers who kept pushing us in class and making it so challenging yet enjoyable. Also thanks to Su-Lin for organizing everything to make it possible for us to chase our dreams! Looking forward to training even harder with everyone. JAI! JAI! JAI! #1!
When I returned to JAI after the morning run and fitness testing I was very much surprised by the number of people who came to the gym to support us. I want to say a big ‘thank you’ to all of them because their effort allowed us to show our skills and techniques”
“I walked in to the smell of thai oil and the thunder of what sounded like 1000 shins on the pads ready to destroy us and I actually felt so happy to see the whole gym packed full of supporters to help push us through our limits, cheers to everyone that came down and helped out!”
A special thanks to all our photographers and videographers, Big Charlie, and of course our wonderful nak muays and supporters. See you for round two in Auckland next Saturday!