What is Beauty to You

It is difficult for most to associate the word beauty with a sport that is seen as brutal.

Finding the balance between the ideals of beauty and our ambition is a struggle. Body shaming has long been a part of professional female sport. What is beauty anyway?

By definition, beauty is a combination of qualities, such as shape, color, or form, which pleases the aesthetic senses, especially the sight. However, beauty is such a broad term, translating to something different for each individual.

What is aesthetically pleasing to one person, may not be to another.

Some quotes found on social media regarding professional female athletes are “too muscular”, “Beautiful”, “Her muscle will turn to fat when she retires”, “looks like a man”, “her muscle defines her hard work”.

As a muaythai fighter, male or female, your beauty is constantly judged. Judgment is passed based on your physical appearance. The length of your hair, your height, physical build and body fat percentage. Therefore, rated as attractive or not.

Recently, after posting an image of what I thought was a beautiful kick, I had keyboard warriors attack my physical appearance. Rating my beauty based on their aesthetics preferences.

She commented “You have lost your feminine essence and you are too muscular”

Fortunately, the beauty that this person admires is not listed among the judging criteria in muaythai. I’m an athlete, not trying to be a Victoria secret model. I build my forte so as to achieve my goals. I’m a feisty mix of strong and feminine. I can pack a punch and wear a dress with elegance.

My trainer, Andrew Parnham, posted a photo to social media highlighting that each individual athlete is built in order to excel in their chosen sport.  My physique is required for successful performance.

Amanda Bingson, an American hammer thrower, said “my legs aren’t bulging out, they’re just dense. My body shows that athletes come in all shapes and sizes”

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Yet, 80% of female athletes feel pressure to look a certain way.

Justin Adsetts, a personal trainer and body builder, commented “The public only see images of athletes in their peak condition. They fail to realize that these athletes can only maintain this shredded form for short periods for competition.”

Coincidentally, beauty and muaythai can coexist. As a fighter, your beauty may also be judged based on the aesthetics of your technique and fighting style. Typically, a beautiful fighter might not be the one that is physically attractive, in your opinion. Rather, the one who displays the ideal bio-mechanics while executing a particular movement. The beauty seen in muaythai is what sets it apart from other fighting sports.

When asked what the beauty of muaythai is, Charlie Avery says “It teaches respect in an out of the ring”.

Beauty has evolved over time and differs with various cultures and the vast perceptions of the world. Beauty has been described and depicted through pictures and concepts penetrating our minds. Yet it is quite simple… Beauty is happiness and an individual preference.

It’s the images and moments that inspire and represent the most distinct and remarkable attractiveness of our souls. Moments we feel free, proud and alive.

What is beauty to you?

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Yolanda Schmidt
Yolanda Schmidt, from Sydney, NSW is the Australian national champion in Muay Thai. In addition, she is a two-time bronze medalist at IFMA world championships. She is also a teacher at Menai High School in Illawong, NSW. Schmidt is a regular contributor to FIGHTMAG, where she covers women's kickboxing and Muay Thai.

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