A Lesson in Badassery
From a former muay Thai cage fighter
By Jaclyn Roof | March 30, 2019
You have probably had that moment when you come across someone and think, “Man, I wish I could be as successful [or as confident or, quite frankly, as badass] as that person! What are they doing that I’m not?” Unfortunately, you might never know.
But what you do know is that they have something you’re craving in a way that causes you to re-evaluate where you are in life, who you are in life … or if you even have a life.
What else you don’t see: The ton of work he or she put into becoming that person. For most, it didn’t happen overnight. It didn’t come easy. And it wasn’t handed to them with a guaranteed victory.
What did happen was failure, embarrassment, guilt, exhaustion, frustration, and tons of picking up the pieces and carrying on. And how do I know this? Well because, I’ve taken my own journey to unleash my inner badass in a way that I never would have thought possible.
A little over a year in to training my overweight and low-cardio “mom” body to get into better shape, my trainer and coach told me that they had a cage fighter looking for an opponent in a higher weight class. They asked if I was interested in making my fight debut. I laughed … and then I said yes. I’m not sure that I thought about what I was committing to, quite honestly.
I had always been an athlete, but as a 35-year-old mother of two, with no cage-fighting experience whatsoever, the thought of doing things my body never thought possible so I could step into a locked cage and fight was a major turning point in my life. Call it my ego, call it my pride, call it my crazy brain craving something more challenging … whatever it was, that decision to go for it meant more than I would ever even begin to understand at that moment.
What it meant was hours and hours of training each and every night during the week, then stumbling into my home, barely able to move, and crashing on the couch while trying to give my husband insight into the grueling workouts that I was putting my body through. It meant crying in my minivan in the gym parking lot, running on treadmills (which I had always refused to do) and — as I was fighting Muay Thai-style (often referred to as the “art of eight limbs” for its use of fists, elbows, knees, and shins to fight) — getting punched, kicked and kneed in all areas of my body.
The night that I fought was the day before my late dad’s birthday. I wore the name “Daddy’s Girl” on my fight shorts. As I watched my teammates complete their turns, I paced, listened to music, and prayed that I wouldn’t get hurt too badly or — as the first and only female fighter from my gym — be an embarrassment to my team. No pressure, right?
I waited for my turn and soon took to the hallway to do my walkout. I remember my coach, my trainer, my husband, and my teammates there with me. But after that, I don’t remember much of anything. I didn’t hear my walkout song. I didn’t hear the hundreds of people cheering or booing at me (take your pick). I didn’t hear them tell me it was time to get into the cage. Honestly, I don’t even remember stepping into the cage or hearing my name announced.
However, there was one distinct thing that I do remember: the sound of the cage door locking behind me. I remember that loud click and knowing that it heralded the moment that I would learn whether or not all of those months of training and sacrifice had been worth it. I knew also that I couldn’t turn back because I couldn’t rely on my trainer to pick me back up if I fell. I couldn’t rely on my husband to hold me up when I felt like stopping.
I realized that it was time for me to decide whether or not I could rely on and value myself enough to endure getting punched in the face, kicked in the legs or head, and still hold my own against an opponent 15 years younger than myself. It was the longest, yet shortest, 6 minutes of my life.
The best part: I didn’t win. You read that right. I didn’t win, and my hand wasn’t raised at the end. Nevertheless, at the end of that fight, my entire being understood that I was walking out of that cage a total badass, even moreso than I had been going in.
Don’t look at me and think “Well, of course shecan feel like a badass — she decided to lock herself in a cage and get beat up in front of people.”
It doesn’t have to be that for you.
What is your extreme? What is your big thing that keeps punching you in the face and knocking you down that you need to finally lock yourself in for and take care of, once and for all? Once you figure it out, simply do the work! A wise person once said, “If you limit yourself to what’s comfortable, you deny yourself of what’s possible.”
With that in mind, here’s how to be your own kind of badass:
Belief: That you can be who you want to be, despite fear. Not according to what others have told you or what your fears continue to tell you, but that you have it in you to face your fears in life, giving you unstoppable confidence.
Alignment: That you have a main vision in life and you are able to find and acquire the resources necessary to get there, in order to be the most untamed version of yourself.
Determination: You can define and own your personal core values, providing you an unshakeable foundation upon which you can stand.
Assertiveness: You can feel and communicate where boundaries are necessary in your life, leading you to be the most unapologetic and authentic version of yourself.
$$: Knowing your worth, what serves you and how you best want to invest in yourself and your future, putting you at the most unashamed level you have ever been.
And what does this lead to? The most BADA$$ version of you. A version that this world needs, this world longs for and this world craves on every level.
Nothing more. Nothing less.
I will leave you something I heard just recently: “You have nothing to prove, only something to share.” I wholeheartedly believe that you have your own version of what a BADASS is. It’s time to unleash that beauty into the world. Love, light, and badassery!
Roof, a former Muay Thai cage fighter, is a “Beautiful Badass Leadership Coach” who runs various in person workshops & retreats as well as online programs and courses. She currently resides in Traverse City. www.jaclynroof.com