There were moments when I thought: Hey! I want to write a blog post about this! And… nope. I was postponing until the topic was no longer hot, so I decided I will do a long one for spring 2019. Looking back now, I am proud that I really sit down and wrote it, and it’s not even Christmas yet!
Fight in Thailand
I was desperately seeking for a fight in Hong Kong, but I just could not get any. After few months of frustration, I liked all the MMA facebook circles in Asia that I could find, and through that I heard about this competition called K Warrior in Thailand. This amateur MMA event at the end was absolutely great. They did everything so that we, amateurs, could feel like pros. There was music, lights, walk in, public weight ins, stare downs, live stream, commentators… 20 out of 10 would go again!
The problem was, not only it was 4 hours by car north from Bangkok, but I had no team willing to go with me. I found out that Tiger is going, so I was waiting to see who exactly and if they could corner me, too. The time was coming close and I still didn’t know, so I decided I will go anyway. Even if I have to grab a random Thai person on the street and drag him to the cage, “You will be my corner now! Here is my water bottle!”, simply, I was going to have that fight!
Luckily, my coach Y put me together with coach T, who was traveling there from Hong Kong too, with his student, so I didn’t need to hunt for innocent Thai people on the streets. And T turned out to be absolutely great, taking care of me like if I was his own student, giving me endless advices and having everything under control. It was an amazing experience, because I am always a solo, which is finally not possible anymore in fighting, and I got such support that I always wished for.
We weighted in in that morning, and had our two-course breakfast, and then lunch, and were put to bed to sleep before the fight. When we woke up, T collected us and we for the first time saw the cage under the lights and music. It was super scary. I was about to get in a cage for the first time in my life. But I was, for some reason, super happy as well. It was stressful for me even more, because I had not team with me. Later that night I found out that my boys are watching online, and I was really so happy about it. And of course, totally grateful to have T there. During the waiting, I went through different stages: afraid, nervous, calm, regretful, calm, focused, happy as hell. And with that stage it ended. I was waiting to walk into the cage, and T looked at me and absolutely seriously asked: “Are you gonna dance into the cage?” Absolutely not! But that’s the mood I was in.
There is this moment, when you say bye to your corner/coach and go ahead with the check ups. But I was so excited, that I totally forgot to hug T or high five or whatever. So, I simply turned to the cage and kept going, hahaha (sorry, T). When the cutman put Vaseline on my face, under the sights of cameras, he was trying to have a conversation with me, which I really appreciate. It showed how he was trying to relax the amateur fighters, and it was really helpful that moment. He asked me whether I speak Thai, I asked him whether he speaks Czech, and off I went to the cage.
Then it was quick. In the first round, I ended up on the ground on top, which was surprising for my opponent but even more for me. Looking at the video, it seems she tried to take me down and I swept her instead. But I don’t remember a thing. We spent some time on the ground, and there is something weirdly intimate about having your face on the face of your opponent, both breathing heavily and thinking Omg, this is exhausting! And btw, could you please tap?!
I could hear everything that T yelled at me, and he basically pushed me through the entire fight. Especially funny moment was when he shouted: “Don’t worry, she doesn’t understand me!”. And later I realized, that the most difficult part was when he shouted: “Left leg pass!” or “Right knee!” because, you could kill me there, I had totally no idea which one is left and which one is right. After the first round, I felt like this is going to be difficult, but T just stormed into my corner and lift up my spirit, that I was smiling while sitting there. We fought 3x3mins, end I won by points. Before the fight, I complained to T, saying that after the fight I need to eat and I will get some chips. When all was done, T came to me and handed me a bag of chips, “For you”, and I was so touched! CH, his student fought in two fights, winning the first and losing the last, but I was so proud of him. And he is such a great young warrior, that I am really happy to have met him. He is having a big fight soon. The next day we spent shopping on the local market, eating whatever we found, and having a Thai massage. I brought a beautiful trophy to Hong Kong, shielding it with my body the whole flight, afraid I would scratch it. I slept over at Y’s gym for few hours before going to work, and dropped the trophy at the gym staircase… It went into two pieces, but I glued it back 😊
I have also a great memory with my opponent, Suchada Kamwan. After the fight, we took selfies and she friended me on facebook. We sent pictures to each other of our bruises. Women power!
So, I have finished my PhD (yaay), but actually I am just tired. Now, I work in a college, as a programme manager and lecturer. That means I am not in research anymore. I would love to be, but it seems that getting into academia in Hong Kong is impossible. You need good contacts in every job, double for academia and again double for Asia. I met few people here, and they all looked depressed and stressed. Therefore, it seems I will have to sacrifice now my research/academic career for a while, and hopefully one day again in Europe. However, Paul Bowman nominated me for Marie (Martial Arts Research Initiative for Experts), which is a programme in Korea for young researches. My job would not let me go for this 1 month thing, but I was anyway very honoured to be that one person Paul could referred to them.
In April, I went to Moscow to compete at the Kung Fu European Championships. It was the best kung fu event I have been to! Smooth, very well organized, even this time I was quite satisfied with the judges. You could tell there was a huge step forward, that all of us were looking forward to (and I personally thought it will never happen). I took silver and bronze, in a very competitive events (bare hands and nangun), packed with Russian top. It was my personal record! My broadsword, well, do not cut into the competition carpets in front of the judges panel, my recommendation… :D But mainly, I was also invited by Urs Krebs to join his seminar. This Master class focused on the new standards for nanquan, which will be based on either hung kuen or choy lee fut. This class was on hung kuen, and I was invited as an assistant and a representative of the Lam family lineage. I cannot even tell how happy I was about that. And this time I spent some evenings drinking with the judges, our own judge Martin and my friend Martina and I saw the other side of the competition, the very human side of judges and people behind the carpets. One day, when I retire, I will join you there, guys.
Life Coach and changes and injuries
I was actually planning to retire right after that Europeans, but then life happened and some of my plans were ruined. So, I stay in the kung fu competition career for now, actually with a fresh mind and approach, and the next stop is the World Championships in June. After I came back to Hong Kong, I had to deal with what to do next, what and why I am doing now, and how to organize my MMA life. It was a really hard two weeks that got me into a deep bottom, but I made some painful but important decisions to bring me on the MMA phase 2.
I even decided to consult a life coach; I found an online free service and I just had my first session. It took 1 hour and the coach encouraged me a lot, and told me how proud is she of what I have done so far, such as my lonely life in Asia. She told me to treat my trainings as my job, since it is my job and my goal, so I need to do something for myself, except for working out out every day. She said I am too hard on myself. I was happy it was without camera, because I shred some tears quietly. We made a deal that I will spend 1 hour in a bookstore every week, browsing and relaxing. I feel much better after the talk, much less lost. Highly recommend.
I would also be quite happy if my injured ankle finally heal up, but no, it´s stubborn. I have hurt one side of the ankle with a sweep and the other side of my instep with a single leg take down. It has been months and a year… The problem with doctors here in Hong Kong is that they are so damn expensive! So, I will have another check up at a doctor when I´m home in summer. But every wrestling is painful now.
Kung fu students
I am now teaching 20 kids! I absolutely love it. This is my calling. Today we went to the Kung Fu Corner and they performed for the first time ever. It was great, because finally they had the motivation and responsibility to practice at home. We went to the performance together with their parents and friends, some 25-persons group. Legendary!
Living on the island
I have been living in Hong Kong for some 5 years. Last September I have moved to Lamma island, 25 minutes by ferry from Central. It’s awesome! No vehicles, except for few carts, can run on the island, there are kids and dogs running all around, and there is the sea! Sometimes I stare at the night sea, listen to the frogs and think, whether I am on the right path. Definitely I am happier here than in the city, it was too much. I need to travel to work and training, every day, 1 way 60 mins. But it’s totally worth it.
So far for the spring! Summer is here, because I don’t remember when the last time I could open a window. It’s so hot now, that aircon is a must. And it’s just May!
I have been practicing martial arts since 1999. It became the reason for moving to Hong Kong and it guided many of my life decisions. I am addicted to hung kuen kung fu and MMA. Further blog posts are sharing of an enthusiast.
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