A Journey to Self-Improvement

This is my self-improvement journey of becoming a first-degree Muay Thai kickboxer. It’s a journey that has changed my life.

My journey in life has not been easy. I have cried many times and have had endless self-doubts and fear of failure; many times, I’ve felt like I hit a solid wall with no way around it. This was further exacerbated when people around me questioned my capabilities and were quick to criticize.

With patience as a virtue, and ongoing persistence, I conquered my doubts and insecurities and managed to eliminate the doubters from the outside. Fear of failure began to disappear; self-confidence, self-belief, and inner strength became the norm of each day.

Many have asked over the years. “Why Muay Thai?” Commonly known as kickboxing. For those who do not know the origin of Muay Thai, it is the national sport of Thailand. It is a fighting technique that was born out of combat reality, structured and based around the science of the eight limbs. Kickboxing uses the knees and elbows, as well as kicks and punches. Almost every part of the body is considered a fair target and may be used to strike an opponent, with the exception of the head. It is officially recognized as a professional and amateur sport, a martial art, and an aerobic fitness program as well as a useful form of self-defense.

Most people perceive kickboxing as being all about fighting, and many critics even call it “brutal fighting.” Rest assured that it is not, otherwise I would not have dedicated the last 15 years engaged in this sport, starting from the very bottom and climbing to the higher end of the ladder. It is a strong and vigorous martial art that teaches self-discipline and self-awareness.

Journey to Self-Improvement

After the early struggles (just like every beginning), I obtained a thorough understanding of the basics. I established a tempo of consistency and dedication, and the will to learn, improve, and succeed. Like every sport, after the initial introductory period, I began moving through the ranks and gradings. Every class became more strenuous, always pushing me beyond my limits and comfort zone. No one said it would be easy. I did not expect it to be otherwise.

Muay Thai kickboxing provided me with an effective, clear, and definitive avenue to focus on other aspects of my life. I learned to have faith and trust in myself and kept pushing, even when I was not sure that I could keep going, or when everyone else around me was critical of my path and objectives. Small victories were won at the end of each class, and at the end of each week. And off course, great accomplishments as well as a personal higher level of physical and mental strength were attained after each grading. This constant upward path solidified my self-esteem and helped me in overcoming adversity of any type.

Kickboxing brings many bruises, but so do numerous other things in life that don’t leave visual scars. Kickboxing assists with building lean muscles and relieves stress. It produces inner and outer strength. It sparked an interest and provided an avenue in taking care of the mind, body, and spirit for me.

Personally, I discovered that when you follow your dreams, your desires, and your passions, life moves more freely, more naturally, and more rewardingly. Opportunities present themselves and doors open; once you know how to define them and how to maximize your gain, it presents an easier path to life and your desired achievements.

Discovering an avenue to pursue this path is the key to success. It was the catalyst to doing what I wanted to, what I felt was right for me, and placing full trust and belief in myself!

About the Author | Jo Lastro

Jo Lastro's passion in life is to help women achieve their goals through exercise and healthy eating, to challenge and motivate them to push themselves beyond their limits or expectations, and to love their bodies in the process. She does not judge, but simply finds what tools are needed for each individual to get to their goal and maintain it. Jo is a professional trainer, as well as a boxing and first-degree kickboxing instructor. 

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2 comments to "A Journey to Self-Improvement"

  • Gen

    What an inspiring story Jo. I’ve only just come to know Muay Thai as my 17 yo son has started it. It truly helps him as an outlet for his ADHD. With the many other benefits you’ve shared it seems like a great sport not only physically but mentally too.
    I’m so glad for your success.

    • Jo Lastro

      Hi Gen, thank you for your lovely words, they are greatly appreciated. I am so happy to hear about your son taking up Muay Thai. It has been proven that people with ADHD, gain more inner self confidence, routine and discipline participating in this sport. It is a sport, where you can be yourself and I wish him all the best from my heart to continue on this journey. xx