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My Muay Thai Training Diary: Staying Motivated

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Welcome back to my online diary documenting my very amateur experience training in Muay Thai. If you missed the previous entries on Bloody Elbow, read them here.

You'll have to forgive the somewhat introspective nature of this week's training diary. When I started this diary, I wanted to keep an accurate account of where I was in my training, and this week finds me a little unsure of myself.

It's been a year and a half since I first started training, and I've come to a tough spot in any endeavor. I've now been at it long enough that it's not fresh and new every time. Early on, every day brought a new challenge or new technique, but now many days I work on improving the skills I've already learned without adding to new things. That's obviously a very important part of training, but it's a bit less exciting every time. At the same time, I have not yet been at it long enough that it's all become totally ingrained for me.

I started thinking more about this yesterday after training. We worked a lot of kicks yesterday, and I noticed that quite often, I neglect to turn my hips over when kicking. When I catch myself doing that, I am able to immediately correct it and the kicks significantly improve. So on the one hand, the fact that I can properly execute the technique, as well as spot my error is very satisfying. But on the other, the fact that I still have to think and work at it so hard is frustrating.

The end result of all this? A feeling of... maybe dissatisfaction is too strong a word, but that's the idea. There's that sense that progress is not going as well as I had hoped, that I am either stagnating or (worse) regressing. And that's not a pleasant feeling.

Now, having said that, I know there are two significant factors at play here. First, it's summer, and here in Chicago, it's been a REALLY hot summer - so hot that the gym has been closed on a number of days. That has made working out tough at times. Second, I've been in this place before with other activities, and I recognize it for what it is - a phase. And as a phase, I know I can push through it and get past it to the other side.

In the meantime, I'll keep willing myself to train, keep focused on those details, and keep doing my part to let these feelings go before I step onto the mat. With those tasks in mind, I know things will get back on track - I just hope it happens soon.

Question of the week: Have you ever reached a similar point in training? How did you motivate yourself to keep pushing?

Video of the week: Nice use of the ropes here - many fighters don't take full advantage of the ring (or cage) when they fight, and this is a great little technique to help. I especially like the knee follow-up he shows at the end.

I train under Andre Madiz at Conviction Martial Arts, 4430 N. Western Ave., Chicago, IL. If you are in the Chicago area, come join us, and be sure to say hello.