[Self-doubt] definitely comes with you. You’ve got it with you. But how much voice you give you it or how much space you give it under the circumstances determines how much strength it has in what’s happening in the ring.
Muay Thai may, on the surface, appear to have nothing in common with endurance sports, but you might be surprised…
I was certainly was when I spoke with Sylvie von Duuglas-Ittu for this week’s episode of Sparta Chicks Radio.
Sylvie is an American born woman living in Thailand who currently holds the record for the most number of Muay Thai fights by any Westerner - male or female - which (at the time of writing) stands at 241.
And, much to my surprise, she’s been a long-time listener of Sparta Chicks Radio too!
Sylvie’s very proud husband Kevin emailed me. He mentioned that Sylvie was always talking about the podcast and so he (unbeknownst to Sylvie) emailed me and put her name forward because he thought she’d be a fantastic guest - and he was right!
Since taking up what she describes as a “beautiful sport” in New York, Sylvie and Kevin have since moved to Thailand so Sylvie can pursue the sport on a full-time basis, and chase her next goal; the World Record for the most number of professional fights.
This record of 471 fights has stood since the 1920s!
Now I am the first to admit I’m not into any form of martial arts. At. All. It is honestly one of the few sports I struggle to appreciate, never mind watch.
And while I’m still not a fan, I certainly have a greater appreciation for it after speaking to Sylvie.
In the conversation, we discuss:
* what she gains from listening to the podcast (given she doesn't participate in any of the sports we traditionally cover),
* why she thinks Muay Thai and endurance sports have more in common than you might think,
* how she discovered Muay Thai and why she describes it as a 'beautiful sport’,
* why she (as a woman and feminist) struggles with some of the traditions of the sport (eg, men may enter the ring by climbing over the top rope, but women must go under the bottom rope),
* how she balances her values as a feminist with such a traditional sport and whether she thinks there will ever be equality in her sport,
* what she remembers of her first fight and what she loved about it,
* why she's struggled to give herself credit for the number of fights she's had,
* whether she still gets nervous when she steps into the ring,
* why it's important to "reduce the space" you give your self-doubt and focus instead on the process,
* how to reframe competition (even in the context of sport) as a collaboration that brings out the best in everyone and an opportunity to practice in gratitude,
* how Muay Thai has impacted on her body image, and
* the biggest life lesson she's learnt from her sport.
Notes and resources:
You can watch "Under The Rope" here