You would never guess it looking at Mia Kang’s swimsuit spread in Sports Illustrated, but the 28-year-old spent most of her younger years constantly worried about what others thought of her.
Fast forward to 2018, and Mia now works as a swimsuit model for top magazines all over the world. There is even more. She took part in her first Muay Thai professional competition in 2017.
Mia has developed a strong passion for Muay Thai over the years, which isn’t particularly surprising considering the fact it was the art of eight limbs that transformed her into the confident woman she is today.
“I’m actually one of the most insecure people in the world and I just hope by sharing my story that a lot of people – a lot of young girls – won’t have to go through what I went through,” Kang explains. “I now nourish myself in a completely different way. I know how to fuel my body. I honestly don’t care what size or weight I am.”
Mia isn’t the only person that has found self-confidence through martial arts training either. It comes naturally when you consistently go to the martial arts gym and put in work. Progress in Muay Thai, or any other martial art, comes slowly.
A few techniques might be easy for you to pick up, but the bulk of the things you learn at the dojo take lots of practice to master. Every class you attend, you will be taught a few techniques. With time, you end up with a mental arsenal of moves that you can execute at will without even having to think about them.
It is your growth as a martial artist that gives you confidence because it teaches you that you can accomplish any task you put your mind to.
“I remember the day when I looked in the mirror and felt secure with myself,” Mia explains. “I was happy and confident for the first time in my life.”
Mia likes to keep herself busy when she is not flying all over the world for photo shoots or firing kicks at a heavy bag. She’s earned herself a master’s degree in Finance and Financial Law.
With her Muay Thai debut now behind her, Mia says her preparation for the event took her to a completely different level as a person. It even helped her give up her life-long chain-smoking habit.
“The workouts were so intense I just forgot I smoke,” Mia added. “It’s high-intensity training and you just train, eat and sleep. I’d never had muscle before. My body completely transformed. I have been a size zero and a size 14 and I’d never ever felt comfortable in my own skin until I found fitness and health through Muay Thai and honestly I am just so comfortable with my body now. However it continues to evolve, I can just embrace it as, honestly, I have never been so happy with who I am.”
The thought of competing as a professional fighter didn’t even cross Mia’s mind during her first couple of years training. She simply liked the physical nature of Muay Thai and the encouragement she was getting from her peers and instructors.
That was enough to light a fire inside her.
Now, Mia looks to takes things to the next level. She wants to be a role model for others who are dealing with self-esteem issues like she once was. She says her increased dedication to Muay Thai as she prepares for her professional debut has taken her confidence to a completely new level.
She particularly enjoys the intensity of her sparring sessions.
“When you are standing in front of an opponent, you have to have 100 percent self-confidence – not 95, not 99 but 100 percent belief that you have the ability to beat that person,” she says. “You can’t explain it until you do it. It’s a real ego check. There are times when you get the s*** kicked out of you and you wonder what the hell you are doing. But it builds so much strength inside you. It’s an amazing journey that Muay Thai takes you on.”
Mia won her professional Muay Thai debut, knocking out her opponent, Nong B, during the third round of their contest. She now plans to compete in mixed martial arts.
“The first thing I said was ‘I want to do it again’,” Kang said about her victory. “I’m not completely happy. I didn’t reach my full potential but no fighter does the first time.”
Martial arts are increasingly being used as a form of unconventional therapy for people with low confidence and anxiety issues.
Your confidence levels will naturally grow as you progress through the ranks. That will eventually lead to you seeing yourself in a completely different light. The new friends that you meet at the dojo will serve as a support system that’s always there to motivate you when feelings of self-doubt start creeping in.
There are also many other essential benefits that you get from training a martial art like Muay Thai. Some of these include:
- Improved flexibility
- Improved balance
- Improved endurance
- Reduced fat levels
- Increased energy
- Reduced stress and anxiety
- Improved sleep
- Improved self-control
- Ability to defend yourself
You have everything to gain and nothing to lose when you decide to start your martial arts journey. Give martial arts a try by signing up for a complimentary trial class today!
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