inspiring women, lani wendt young, pele wendt, samoa writer, sleepless in samoa, the road to the ring

The Road to the Ring.

Welcome to the first in a new series of weekly posts where i profile :


This week’s powerhouse of a woman is none other than my little sister, Pele Wendt who is currently training in a muay thai camp in Thailand for her very first kickboxing fight. Pele was always a feisty and fiery sister. All of us siblings couldnt stand her were a little jealous of her when we were little because she was a sickly baby who grew into a sickly, skinny child that ALWAYS needed extra attention, special food and special treatment. Pele grew up to be a strong, successful and driven individual who is not afraid to take the path less travelled. One of the first Samoan women to become a chemical engineer, she has always gone in search of new life experiences that will challenge her. My sister has no ‘comfort zone’. And she is not afraid to walk alone. As a person who cannot even begin to imagine catching a bus to an unknown location without my family – I have great admiration for my sister’s strength and courage. Read about her journey to the muay thai ring here and her other adventures around the world at her blog: Intrepid Traveler. (and check out her amazing abs as she kicks the heck out of a sparring bag). Meet my little sister – and be inspired to take on some new life challenges of your own.

The Road to the Ring (and my very 1st fight) has started.

I figured I might as well set a lofty goal of jumping into the ring (at least once!) and putting into practice some actual Muay thai which I have been doing for awhile now.

It’s already hard. And its going to get worse. But I gotta ‘Train hard to fight easy’.

Yes, training is tough, the fatigue wears you down and the stress levels due to excess cortisol in your blood make it hard not to burst into spontaneous tears at random times during the day.

My spirit has been fragile these last couple of weeks – one day after getting a painful shin kick, I stormed out of the session, straight into the gym shower to hide where I promptly burst into tears thinking ‘what the heck am I doing this for?!’

And while lying on the shower floor feeling miserable for myself, I had an ephiphany. Why, it was only one year ago that I was battling 40 knot winds sailing out of San Francisco on my way to Jamaica and throwing up for 3 days straight.

So how hard could training 4 hours a day be?? Damn hard.

Besides training twice a day, (which includes running, technique, sparring and torturous kick pad sessions), I’m also running hill sprints in the evenings. (i love hill sprints i love hill sprints i love hill sprints!)

Bruises? Too many to count. They aren’t even worth talking about anymore. My body hurts. Everywhere. You might as well call me a hobbit because some days I can barely walk.

At training, I hide from bad-ass girls who I think will kick my ass. And then when I get thrown in the ring to spar with them, the trainers yell out ’SAMOA! Go light, light, light spar only’ while the other chick proceeds to kick and punch me with as much force as she can muster. And I mutter darkly under my breath about how I’m SOOO not the person she wants to meet down some dark alley someday….

So what keeps me going?

My obsession with the sport and my goal. My music – my playlist includes numerous repeats of ‘eye of the tiger’…..(how typical) and my trainer. My trainer rocks. He is the bees knees. He’s had over 300 fights. And despite his limited english, he teaches me techniques which will help me avoid getting injured and elbowed in the face on Ring Day.

So come follow me and let the Journey begin. Chok dee!