Mental resilience key to boxing success

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Will Singer (author), ABIS Richard Cordell (photographer)

Topic(s): HMAS Stirling, Submarines (SSG), Martial Arts

Leading Seaman Marine Technician Submarines Joshua Day displays his Muay Thai boxing championship title belt and trophies in the HMAS Stirling Gymnasium. (photo: ABIS Richard Cordell)
Leading Seaman Marine Technician Submarines Joshua Day displays his Muay Thai boxing championship title belt and trophies in the HMAS Stirling Gymnasium.

One submariner is taking Navy’s mission to fight and win literally by spending his off-watch time training for his other passion, Muay Thai boxing.

Back-to-back tours hasn’t stopped full-contact Muay Thai boxer Leading Seaman Marine Technician Submarine Joshua Day from training at least two hours a day regardless of being at sea or ashore.

“I discovered the combat sport of Muay Thai boxing while trying to get fit after an ankle injury while playing hockey, and I haven’t looked back,” Leading Seaman Day said.

“I have done three back-to-back deployments with various boats throughout Asia and managed to maintain my training tempo during those trips.”

Flexibility and persistence are key to his success, keeping his motivation high for both work and sport. The increase in fitness has benefits across the spectrum with life at sea requiring physical and mental stamina to be able to make the decisions needed under pressure in conflict.

“Stripping my body-fat to meet the agreed weight class involves using my smarts to manage my diet and nutrition even while at sea.

“I reduced my weight from 102 to 77 kilograms,” he said.

The HMAS Stirling-based submariner’s fighting achievements during his two year career have been his recent win of the ‘Fighting for Autism’ title held in Queensland against a pro-fighter as well as achieving seven wins without loss.

The professionalism and self-discipline he is used to in the Navy were exactly the attributes needed for a successful training regime.

“I have a strong mind-set and strive to train longer so that I’m fitter than my opponents,” Leading Seaman Day said.

“The mental game wins the fight and mine is an advantage because I don’t chase knock-outs, I remain patient and I wait for the openings to strike while leaving my emotions out of the fight.

“My physical and mental training at sea has helped drive my mental resilience to push myself to train harder,” he said.

It seems endurance, determination and toughness are useful both at work and in the ring, with submariners having long deployments away from home and needing to rely on their small teams to overcome challenges without a lot of external support.

Leading Seaman Day said it helped to have small targets to reach for to avoid being overwhelmed by the tasks needed to achieve results long-term.

“I set my goals fight-by-fight and have an end-goal which is a shot at the State title.

“Muay Thai is a strategic combat that involves discipline, patience, thought and weighing up risk – it’s certainly not an all-out brawl.

“I analyse each opponent’s strengths, weigh-up the risks then use strategies to strike at the right time.

“My fighting has taken me around Asia and I have recently returned from a six week trip from Thailand where I stayed and trained at a traditional Muay Thai camp.

“My motto is: ‘don’t count the days, make the days count’ and ‘work hard in that moment’,” he said.

It sounds like every minute is counting for this determined Leading Seaman.

“My family is my inspiration and I like to be an inspiration for my daughter,” he said.