Please Stay on the Path

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By: Jenine Pilla

If you have trained with me at 8 Limbs Academy, you probably know me as the positive one, the cheerleader who loves a good Taylor Swift song and a corny dance between pad rounds. While it might be hard to believe, this is not how I’ve always been. Quite frankly, it is the complete opposite of how I lived my life until I found Muay Thai, more specifically 8 Limbs.

Let’s scoot back a few years, to before I started training. You would most likely find me at a bar or a show in the back with my arms crossed, pouty look on my face, probably rebutting everything you say with a negative comment. For most of my life, I never really looked on the bright side, or any side that didn’t involve me angrily ranting about something until my face turned blue. 

Then I found Muay Thai. 

This sport has given me many things, body awareness, confidence, a physical outlet, a supportive community and close friendships, sweet biceps. But it is easy to say that the most important thing I have gained from this journey has been a positive attitude. 

This positivity has blossomed from rigorous training day in and day out, the calm of repetition, the fluidity and poise of Muay Thai itself. I find comfort in the slow and steady growth of my abilities and no longer compare myself to anyone around me, just to the person I was the day before. 

As a fighter, my journey in the sport has been far from linear. I have experienced long bouts of injuries, crappy circumstances that have stood in the way of many opportunities and I have lost a few scuffles with my own mind and confidence. The only thing that keeps me in the game is the support from my teammates and coaches and a positive outlook. 

I used to think it would be far easier to blame something else for these setbacks, to cross my arms and pout and to just give up and move on. But I have learned that it is keeping a positive perspective and “come what may” attitude that can turn the crappiest of experiences into a lesson of something greater. 

The positivity I have gained from Muay Thai has permeated into every aspect of my life and has made me a better fighter, coach, friend, co-worker, partner, daughter and person, and for that I am forever grateful.