Starting Muay Thai at the age of 37…What is it like to start a combat martial art? Am I crazy?

I started out life athletic. I was lucky and tried various things, soft ball, volley ball, tennis, swim team, and water polo. I had the traditional tiger mom, that wanted me to have a sport, have straight A’s and play at least one instrument. Tiger Mom: a strict mother, who stereo typically is Asian, rules with an iron fist, pushes her kids to succeed in academics, music, and sports. She uses tough love, strict rules, and discipline to force her children to succeed. What ever bad or good she did, I have a drive to do well, and be the best I can be.

Swimming was what stuck. I loved swimming and the feeling of the water. I loved the feeling of getting better at a skill and seeing it in my competitions and winnings. I loved how my muscles felt after an intense day of training. I loved it all. My strokes were 200-meter Butterfly, and 500-meter Free Style. As you can see I am a distance athlete, and always have been. I swam through part of college and then life happened. I stopped doing it and during my early 20’s I stayed pretty much the same. But always that drive to be the best at everything I do.

Fast forward to 28 and having my first child. I let my body go after stopping swimming. I did not take care of it, and I did not do any exercise. When I was pregnant I was told not to start a new workout routine, and since I had not been doing anything before pregnancy. That meant I could keep my sedentary life. I don’t need to explain that I became soft, my cardio was shit and I did not care because I had my new little one, and another one on the way only 9 months after my first was born.

Fast forward again to 37 and I am 3 years 6 months into my fitness journey. I have been lifting weights as well as running. I feel because I started off as an athlete I was better able to get myself a schedule and set myself goals to strive for, then execute. Repetitions, cardio ladders, burning muscles, and sore delayed onset muscle soreness (D.O.M.S.) is all normal and expected.

My husband the love of my life, an introvert, handsome, amazing father, and computer geek, that did not do a day of workout in his life. Decided he wanted to start getting healthier. He started running and about one- or two-months in. I am not certain the time frame I was not keeping track of his workouts only mine. He said he was interested in checking out this gym. My curiosity had me asking 20 questions. Because if it can interest him there had to be something to it. To my surprise he wanted to try out Muay Thai. I was shocked, and impressed, and super supportive. I did not have a desire at first to try it. I was squarely ensconced in my routine of running cardio and Heavy Weight Lifting. I was happy to have him have something to investigate and look forward to doing.

For two weeks his love for it burned so bright, he would come home buzzing. Telling me the things he learned, how hard it was, and how even though he was tired he was so jazzed. I laughed as he went through the learning process, about gassing, body confusion/muscle confusion, and his D.O.M.S. He would say wow I did not know it would hurt this much but also how much I just look forward to doing it. For you see he did not understand why I regularly went to the bench and did a super set to fatigue and would hurt the next day, then do it again. There is a high, an adrenaline that you get when doing it and a satisfied exhaustion that takes over your body when you ask it to do that hard thing and it comes through.

I was intrigued as to what would get my husband to go and keep wanting to go. So I decided to check it out. I was hooked after the first class. The energy in that gym was fantastic. There was no judgement at my inability to do the things they were asking. Yes, I am strong, yes I can lift heavy weights but this was a completely different skill set. Asking different things of my muscles.

So now I have been learning/practicing Muay Thai for 9 months. I started April of 2018. I love it, and I sit here right now slightly sore from last night’s class and know tomorrow morning I will be a little sorer than I am now. Then I will go to another class that afternoon and will loosen up and start the muscle abuse all over again.

What is it like to start Muay Thai, a combat martial art, at the ripe old age of 37?

What is Different:

  1. Frequent D.O.M.S. – I feel D.O.M.S more frequently than before. For me I feel it about 24 hours after my workout. It seems for husband it’s more like 48 hours.
  2. Joints hurts – When I first started my joints hurt a lot more now it seems to have evened out.
  3. Stretching – Stretching is more fundamental to my survival now, than it was when I was teens to early 20’s. If I don’t stretch well I will pull a muscle.
  4. Exhaustion – I am exhausted but still have to deal with my kids, household chores, and work. =)
  5. Supplements- Pre workout drinks, B.C.A.A.’s (Branch Chain Amino Acids), and caffeine, are really helpful.
  6. Muscular Skeletal support – Glucosamine, and Chondroitin are also helpful.
  7. Muscle gain, and weight loss – not as rapid as before.

What is the Same:

  1. The muscle burn is the same at any age – at least for me.
  2. Cardio has bounced back fantastically
  3. D.O.M.S. seems to resolve itself in the same amount of time as before. – As I mentioned before I will be slightly sore the day after, late the day after or early morning second day I will be sore, but it will be a non-issue after second day concludes.
  4. The satisfaction of learning how to move your body, get it to do what you want.
  5. Tired satisfying exhaustion after an intense workout.
  6. Team comradery  

What is New:

  1. Bruises – So many bruises and having to explain to my customers that I am ok and not battered. I did it to myself. I am training in a martial art.
  2. Being amazed at the power of my body at my age.
  3. People being impressed that I am learning this amazing art form.
  4. Confidence – I am surer of my actions, and I know I can handle myself if for some reason an altercation happens.
  5. Coming into myself – you see when I had my kids, they were my world, I did not do anything for myself, and I lost my sense of self. After 9 years I did not know who I was any more. I was their mom. I loved them. But I was not the same as before.
  6. Getting hit, punched in the face, kicked – Not as scary as it was before. Still getting used to it, but much more used to it now.

I would be leaving something out if I did not say that the thought that I am too old to start something like this has not crossed my mind. I worry that maybe people are laughing at me. But then I find myself in the gym, and I forget all that. I am at a place I love, doing something I love. I will keep doing it till I can’t any more.

So yeah, I am much older now than when I was swimming. I let myself go for a while but decided one day to pick up the reigns and untangle all this mess. I have a family, and a rich full life. I have a hobby? No… A sport?… Maybe… I have a new love, and it is Muay Thai. I am growing and learning and will continue to do so. At this point in my training I am third prajioud or armband/orange armband. (Armbands are similar to belt system in many other martial arts.) That means I have passed three tests. The armbands have a tradition of being given to the fighters for good luck. Now we are honored to have our Kru give it to us. I have risen in the ranks. I have surpassed some of my fellow gym mates. I am amazed that I have gotten this far. I will keep going and keep learning. I will…

Thank you for reading this far again. I am amazed anyone reads my blog. I started this blog just as a place to put my thoughts down. I seem to be able to unpack everything inside my head when I put it on paper. As always talk to me, leave a comment and have a wonderful day.

Next Blog: Kali melts my brain but I love it!

13 thoughts on “Starting Muay Thai at the age of 37…What is it like to start a combat martial art? Am I crazy?

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