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Fight the Panic

Many of us, I’m sure, have felt the fear or panic set in with this pandemic. For me, it was when the governor announced the mandate that all gyms must close.  

Questions of: “What does this mean? How long will this last?” flooded my mind. And as the last two weeks of March trickled on and nearly 15% of my member base had to hit pause on their monthly dues as a result of their own financial concerns, the mounting panic of the very real financial impact led to the nauseating question of “What if I can’t cover the bills?” and “What if I lose my dream in this pandemic?”

The interesting thing about panic is that it elicits a freeze, fight, or flight response as a result of the fear. 

While in true emergency crises, we don’t often get much time to choose our response as it tends to be instinctive, a pandemic provides us with a little more time to choose our secondary response.  

I could freeze in response to the mandated closure; taking no real action, but rather,  just sit, hope for the best and wait to see how it will end. 

I could take flight or run away and have my actions driven by fear (*ahem, toilet paper hoarders).  

Or I could fight. 

It only seems natural that as a Nak Muay, the only real answer is to fight — not because Muay Thai is a combat sport, but because of what I have learned from my participation in Muay Thai. 

The members of my gym know that I strongly encourage almost everyone to spar and/or take a fight at some point in their Muay Thai journey. Sparring and fighting teach us so much about ourselves and often replicate the freeze, fight, or flight response we will undoubtedly experience at some other point(s) in our lives.   

Participating in sparring or a fight forces us to think under pressure and to move — I mean you could freeze, but that would get ugly quick. Sometimes we run. Sometimes we stand and exchange. But every time, we are forced to think under pressure as someone is closing in and attempting to hit us! 

As we spar and fight, we must take in information and make decisions quickly as to the best course of action going forward. Sometimes we get it right — avoiding danger and sometimes we get it wrong — often bringing about more panic. This again forces us to control our emotions, reorientate ourselves, evaluate information, and adapt to the situation.

The more familiar we are with the freeze, fight, or flight response, the more clearly we can think under pressure and minimize the panic we feel. 

In the last three weeks, I’ve watched numerous coaches and have myself, chosen to fight to save our gym — not because it’s a business, but because it houses an art and people we love and refer to as our family. We’ve learned technology at record-setting speeds and adapted to try and keep our art and connection to these people alive. 

But it’s not just us as business owners, we’re all going through this freeze, fight, or flight response. 

I hope that during this time, you’re choosing to fight for something too.

Maybe it’s to save your own business or dream or that of a beloved employer. 

Maybe your fight is to use this time to finally do that thing you’ve always wanted to do — learn something new or prepare to launch a new business when this is over.  

Maybe it’s time to invest in you — to work on those health or fitness goals.

Or time to invest in others — your family, your spouse, your children, your community. 

Now is the time. 

Now is your time.  

Whatever it is to you… fight for it.

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