I’ve cornered a lot of fighters during my journey into Muay Thai. I’ve helped a lotta fighters get ready to step into the ring. However, this one was different. This one was unique. 9 and 11, respectively were the ages of Justin (right) and Gio (left). I’ve cornered many fighters but never anyone who was not at least considered a teen.
I was nervous and excited at the same time. Stressed and confident at the same time. Nervous and stressed because I did not want to disappoint the parents. Excited and confident because I could see how much these kids really wanted it. It….not as in winning, It as in experiencing the rush of being in the ring, and being able to let go without fear. I’ve seen MEN and WOMEN completely break down before a fight, not these kids. On the contrary, they were so relaxed, calm and eager to go on. Little Justin was having conversations and making jokes with me in the back room as if we were just hanging out at the gym after Muay thai class. Gio was a little bit more reserved. I felt like his motivation was to make his parents proud.
Both ended up fighting skillful, tough opponents who were bigger than them. Neither of them backed down. At the end, both hands were raised. Well…..technically all fighters’ hands were raised because in this particular event, there were no winners, nor losers. Well….In my mind at least, everyone came out as a winner. The courage it took to step in the ring alone will always make them winners in my eyes.