Sylvie von Duuglas-Ittu has trained in Thailand and competed over 250 times. When she began training and learning the art of Muay Thai, she admits that she never had any intent to compete. Since beginning training with the legendary Master K in his basement in her hometown of New Jersey, Sylvie has documented every step she has taken in Muay Thai through her own website, 8 Limbs. 12 years and 250 fights later, Sylvie’s journey is an absolutely fascinating one and her goals are big enough to scare anyone. She sits down with Whitney Tuna for episode 8 of A Champion’s Mind.
Training with Master K was an incredible starting point for Sylvie. But in 2010, he suffered a serious health scare and Sylvie decided to honour what he had already shown her and inspired her with by pursuing a career of competing in Muay Thai in the motherland of Thailand. The decision to move to Thailand was heavily influenced by a previous visit to test the waters and Sylvie says once she experienced the training, the food and the people, she knew that she had to live there. It was around that time that she started to document her journey through her website which was funded generously by people who believed in the same path and wanted to follow her on the journey.
The move to Thailand was planned to last for 6 months but so far it has continued on for 8 years with Sylvie still residing there today. After amassing an incredible 80 bouts in her first two years of living and training out of Lanna Muay Thai in Chiang Mai, Sylvie and her husband decided to pack up and head to Pattaya and train at Petchrungruang. A move Sylvie says had a massively positive impact on her Muay Thai career. Whilst her career blossomed, so did her ability to document it. Sylvie was presented with the Awakening Journalist of the Year and the Awakening Fighter of the Year awards. Documenting her training sessions with the legends of Muay Thai in Thailand as well as sharing who they are as people has given Sylvie worldwide notoriety.
Sylvie currently holds the record for the most amount of bouts in Thailand by a westerner. With 250 in the bank already, its impressive to hear she aims to surpass Len Wickwar’s record of 471 bouts before she retires which confirms she has no intention of slowing down anytime soon. So much so, she has a trajectory of fights planned out for the public to see on her website which sees her surpass the record in September of 2028. Sylvie has an incredible journey that she shares with Whitney on the podcast and her idea of what it takes to be a true champion is incredibly inspiring and very well thought out.
Life is bound to bring many battles. For the most part, each battle will have the path to victory detailed from those who have already experienced it. But it’s safe to assume the Covid-19 pandemic is relatively uncharted territory. The regularity we enjoy in our day-to-day lives has mostly disappeared and we are left in the unknown. It’s likely you have asked yourself, when will this end?, how does that look?, what happens to me and what happens to those I care about?. Just reading such questions provokes an overwhelming internal struggle. As we are severely limited by what we know and heavily restricted with what we can do, the rabbit hole just appears to get deeper and deeper. But getting comfortable with the uncomfortable is undoubtedly a familiar feeling and learning from past experience is bound to serve you well. Before you get to the end of the rabbit hole, think about the cost of the rent you pay to your thoughts. We are here now, and like always, we should do the best we can.
Before we were painfully limited to frequenting a low number of locations, exercising from home was considered to be the convenient option. An option that would often send you off in search of an alternative. Most commonly due to a lack of progression and feeling unfulfilled. Hopefully you were lucky enough to find the alternative but it is vital that the memory of such a privilege does not encourage you to let your progress stop. The truth is, exercise has never been convenient. It takes grit, mental strength and a willingness to improve no matter what the surrounding. Pandemic or not, such attributes are completely controllable by you. It has always been that way and it always will be. As the scope clears and you gain an understanding of the length of time the pandemic is going to impact your life, you can start to focus on where you want to be when the norm has returned and what you can do right now to make sure it happens. The fears in your mind can hold you hostage and being proactive is the antidote.
We have an innate desire to learn and grow as regularly as we can and such an action always leads to improvement in many aspects of your life. Though it may look a little different, the opportunity is still present. The ability to refine every technique, to sweat every day, to build your fitness and nourish your body correctly is no longer a 20 minute drive away, it’s as close by and as convenient as being in your pocket. The leadership you need is available and seeking you out to answer all your queries. Staying in touch with your community and staying in touch with yourself has never been easier, nor has it been more important than right now.
Control your foresight and set your target. You were on the right path and it should stay that way. The thought of starting again is enough to motivate you to stay consistent. The hard work you have put in and the progress you have made is rightfully yours and it’s worth fighting to keep. The most important note to make is that the only bad workout is the one that never happens.
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