Being different.

This week has been a reasonably full week of training and whilst we’re on the subject of exercise and fitness I’ve just rounded things up with a good run. It was a run I meant to do about 3 hours ago, but  then again this was a blog I meant to write at the beginning of the week. I guess me and procrastination are still quite good friends.

All in all, training at the moment is going well, although a few sessions isn’t really the same as 4 or 5 but you know.. hills and valleys, finding the time, balancing stuff out. The usual excuses are never too far away. On Saturday, I headed down the gym for a couple of hours and got some sparring in with a friend of mine who has a boxing match coming up.

It was a good few rounds, and I enjoyed the push as well as the usual Thai sparring and bags and pads that make up the best start to a Saturday you could possibly have. Boxing always keeps me on my toes too. I think it was in the later rounds that I felt myself really switch on, maybe I got caught with a good shot or maybe sparring in the ring got me fired up but either way I did good. And to be honest, my friend is a pretty good boxer too.

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I switched off  but switched on for a little while and I found myself caught up in the moment. Which was good, because I haven’t felt that way sparring for a long time  and it also showed me that the fire that  is reserved for fighting is still very much there. In fact it’s safe to say I think it’s alive and  well. Heart has never really been a problem.

It reminded me that when it comes to fighting it’s important for me to leave the nice guy in the other room. In fact I’d say  it’s absolutely essential for me to be a different person and let the fighter take charge. And over time that’s got easier. When I first started training to fight and  began fighting itself it was the hardest thing in the world. I’ve learnt that you don’t need to be a thug to be a good fighter.Some of the humblest kindest people I’ve met in martial arts are absolutely formidable in the ring. Fighters out in Thailand are living proof that this is true.

You don’t need bravado or ego. I think you just need the will  to succeed and you need to be tough inside, as well of course having a bit of skill too.. but  ‘The will must be stronger than the skill.’ as the late great Muhammad Ali said. Again essentially, I’ve learnt it’s really important to be a different person. I used to find it hard to switch the fighter off some days. Over the years  I’ve realised that he’s there all the time. Especially when I think he isn’t and that’s usually when I need him the most.

The characteristics I’ve developed through martial arts and training as well as fighting I’ve learnt to apply to a lot of my life. To say I’ve been forged into a  better person would be a little ott simply because I’ve never really been a bad one, but over the years Thai has certainly improved my self confidence and self belief as well helped me develop my inner ‘grr’ that had been wanting a voice for years, and was forever pushed to one side. My inner ‘grr’. Ha. I’ll remember that.

Martial arts across the board give a lot back. What is it I normally say about now? ‘the more you put in the more you get out.’ And it’s just as true as it ever was. I think they build character and when it comes to all things Thai, I’ve been taught to be a different person in the ring and a better person out of it.

So looking at the week ahead, I’m hoping it’s even more full of all things martial. In fact, it’s safe to say I hope it keeps me well and truly on my toes. Train hard, have a great week and just like the last time I’ll see you on that road.

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Last week..

Phew! I made it. I guess it’s better late than never and I’ve already reset myself to get back to writing on a Sunday. I’ve still got to get back to writing every day but that’s a different story. No pun intended. I’ve decided to start the day with a run so I’m feeling reasonably sprightly and mildly invigorated. Maybe that’s the coffee. Anyway, it’s training tonight and that’s always a good thing.

Speaking of training last week was officially awesome. I got near on a full week in at the gym and it feels good to be back on the horse. I always notice the difference when I’m putting in the work and I’m sure this week is going to be better than the last, it’s not been a bad summer so far and putting fighting down for a little while has done me the world of good. I’m looking forward to climbing back onto that particular horse a little later on in the year. Good times and some new goals lie ahead.

Despite starting off last week feeling considerably rustier than usual, I finished on a good note and even wound up getting some clinching and sparring in as well the usual. I like the freedom an open gym session gives sometimes because it lets you work on what you feel you need to, which for me is usually everything. But then again, I am my own worst critic.

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We spent a little time last week drilling basic combinations to use under pressure. I’ve mentioned before that I like to remember simple combinations that I know I can use without having to think too much (if that makes sense)and I’m pleased to say last week saw me drilling a couple of new ones. Ones that I knew already granted but ones that I’ve never really thought about using.

Testing them under pressure I was pleased to see that they work and I think I’m going to make a point of continuing to drill them and use them sparring whenever I can. Getting back into the swing of things is of course officially awesome but it’s made me realise there’s still a lot I need to work on. However, I’m getting sharper and I’m still pretty fast when I want to be.

Come the winter I will have taken a year out from fighting and it’s going to be good to see where I’m at and how much things have improved. My left kick is rapidly heading to a good place although frustratingly I don’t twist my hips kicking a pad nearly as much as I do kicking a bag. It’s the little things like that I’ve been focusing on improving and it’s the small adjustments I make that often lead to the biggest improvements. I’m happy with my hands these days too. I hit hard. In fact I hit harder than I used to and that is always a good thing.

I’m going to make a point this week of getting at least a couple of rounds of clinching in as well as usual sparring as I’m feeling rusty and it’s a strength of mine. I’m still just as happy spending time in the clinch. In fact, the fight in the picture above was a clinch war. That one was a draw but a great fight.🙂

Next month I should be heading out to Europe to catch a martial arts tournament as well as have a well deserved break from the norm. I’m looking forward to a bit of  downtime and if I’m really lucky maybe a bit of sun. Taking a back seat till later in the year isn’t a bad thing, but ok I can feel a familiar itch beginning to bubble up again. Fighting. Yeah that’s good fun. Just before I first started competing I watched a couple of shows and thought ‘I’d like to do that’, these days I’m like ‘might as well get stuck in again.’ ha. Good times.

So looking at the week ahead I’m hoping it’s just as martial as the last one. Training is good fun but it’s graft so I’m going to keep doing my best to put my one and all in again because when it comes down to it, I really wouldn’t have it any other way. Have a great week and train hard. I’ll see you on that road.

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Tough.

So this week I’ve managed to get myself to the gym and it was awesome. Next week I’m going to be back at the gym again and I’m sure that will be awesome too. In fact I’m going to make a point of spending a reasonable amount of time getting back to where I need to be again. As always it’s a long road but it’s a good one and I’m glad I’m still here.

I realised just the other day that I’ve been training now for over 9 and a half years. Go me. I never thought I’d be able to stay  focused with anything for this long. Sometimes it’s surprising what you can achieve when you simply put your mind to it. I guess really it’s the same rule of thumb with anything that you enjoy and that gives you the slightest touch of inspiration. You stick with it and you don’t give up. At least, that’s the rule that I apply to myself anyway.

That’s not to say it’s not tough. I stay away from the word hard because I think ‘hard’ is only ever self imposed anyway. There’s a lot of things I’ve encountered in my life I could class as ‘hard’. Fighting, losing fights, getting back on the horse and turning things around in general was never meant to be easy.It was only ever meant to be a challenge. And challenges are only ever as tough as I let myself think they are

If I set a goal no matter what it is I make sure I stay focused with it and I won’t stop until it’s done. Some days I call it determined and tenacious. Other days I call it pig headed and stupid. It’s one of those things, but either way I don’t give up and either way no matter what I always believe in myself and what I’m doing. Besides when the training is hard, the fighting is easy. (At least that’s what they told me.)

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Everyone has their own individual goals when it comes to training and when it comes to all things Thai not everyone wants to step into a ring and compete. There’s many things it gives back to you other than competitive skill. It’s given me focus and made me stronger inside. Tougher if you will.Some days I can feel that reflecting from my core outwards.

In general Muay Thai has taught me a lot about myself as well as learning to respect others, it’s reminded me that it’s important to stand up in life as well as in the ring and rise to the challenges I face on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis. I’d say it’s fair to call that one a life lesson.

Training goals for me are ongoing, and I’ve successfully avoided the trap of achieving ‘this’ much and stopping. I realised a while ago that the journey is something that is always going to outweigh the destination, and although progress sometimes feels like a long road it’s a road that’s always worth travelling.

So looking at next week and beyond it’s really a case of making sure I spend as much time at the gym as I can. The balance I’ve been looking for seems to be asserting itself and things are moving in the right direction. It’s been a good summer so far and I’m looking forward to getting back in the ring later in the year. For now, and just like always.. I’ll see you on that road.

 

 

 

Faster.

Well it’s been a slightly slower week on the ground training wise this in comparison to the week before. In fact, I’ve yet to get myself to the gym but will probably make my way down tomorrow. Life being life I’ve been kept on my toes with everything else bar boxing but I guess sometimes you have to prioritise.

As always when it’s a quieter week training wise I value what time I manage to spend there. I’m aiming to make sure I’m back on track towards the winter this year but I’m enjoying taking things at my own pace and training as and when I can. Training and writing seem to be a little hit and miss at present, so apologies but rest assured normal service will be resumed shortly. “We are experiencing technical difficulties.”

Last week was very much a martial one,  and I found myself with a reasonably full week of Thai boxing finished off with some self defence training to boot which I always enjoy. Just like with anything the more you practice the more it sets in and although that’s currently only happening once a week I’m picking up the general premise.

Mondays have been relegated to the realms of “when I get around to it” for now but at some point Kali is still on the agenda. Like with a lot of people I often find there never seems to be enough time in the day to fit most things in. However, like with everything Thai and with everything else in my life I get there in the end.

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I’m still keeping running on days I don’t make it to training and even on days that I do. At points it seems like a poor substitute but at least I know that I’m doing something. and I’d rather be doing something than nothing. That’s something I’ve found applying itself to a lot of areas of my life.

I made a decision the other day to start bringing in sprints when I can to the runs I do (usually around 4 to 6 k sometimes a little further ) to make things a little more interesting. Not only does running fast get your stamina up it sometimes gets you thinking and reacting a little quicker too. At least I think it does anyway.

When I have a fight coming up I will usually (I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned this before so sorry If I’m treading old ground) pace the fight in my head along my run. “Round 1, Round 2, Round 3, 4” and 5 is the big push. I think I want to get back to that because it makes me push myself and gives me a bit of extra drive to succeed.

Sprint training I’ve found helps with those 10 – 15 second bursts of energy that are  often needed at any moment in a fight, and I find can be essential for me when I need to start putting the pressure on. When it comes down to time spent at the gym I realised a little while ago I’m a lot quicker than I think I am when I want to be. If that makes sense. I started working in short, fast combinations that I knew would work and that I knew I could remember easily. That’s something I want to get back to.

I’ve found however that I’ve got sharper and I’ve got stronger of later. The speeds still there when I want it but it’s something I’m going to work on. Faster is the order of the day.  That’s always a good thing. And technique although it could do with having a little more time given to it at points is on a slow climb of improvement. Bad habits can be hard to break but you know what? I’m getting there and really that’s the most important thing.

So next week onwards it’s back to the norm and no doubt I’ll find a lot more time than this week to be the best I can be. And that’s something I aim for in all things. I thought I’d leave you this week with a little more boxing Pornsanae Sitmonchai (Muay Thai Rocky) vs Superlek. You can see those short sharp combinations I was talking about back there. Although it didn’t go his way that day it was one hell of a fight. Enjoy, have a great week and train hard and I’ll see you on that road.

Muay Thai – Superlek vs Pornsanae, Rajadamnern Stadium Bangkok, 10th September 2014 (Full Fight)

 

It’s getting better.

Like a bus the next blog arrives. Here but ever so slightly later than anticipated. Sorry? Procrastination and me are still good mates but like with everything else I get there in the end. Training this week is actually remaining bang on track and I’m in danger of getting to the gym this evening for the third night running. In fact, things in general are taking in shape and being honest I’m a little scared.

I realised the other day that slowly but surely little by little improvements are beginning to happen with what I do and I’ve found the old sense of focus coming back to training that I’ve been lacking for the last few months. That’s gradually applying itself to everything else in my life so I guess I’m a happy boy. Hills and valleys, peaks and troughs. And after a 6k run this morning to start the day it’s safe to say my fitness is still boss.

A big part of Muay Thai is the sheer grit determination not to give up no matter what and although it gets frustrating at points not training as much as I’m used to I’m finally getting myself back on the horse, and beginning to gallop the right way again. It keeps me sharp mentally and physically, keeps me happy and in general is still worth every minute of my time.

My kicks are improving a lot my hands have got a lot better and my elbows and knees aren’t too shabby either. As well as being good for use in the ring I think your elbows and knees are good self defence tools  so I think it’s always worth spending a bit of time practising them too.

Yesterday we finished training with 20 minutes or so working clinching techniques which was nice to get back to. I don’t spend as much time as I should working the clinch these days but I was pleased to find that like with everything else it’s still there, it just needs to get some rust removed and some WD40 applied to get it up to speed again.

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I’ve started to get my weight a little lower than it was dropping from a depressing nearly 67 kg to 65.4 kg has made me a happy guy. I mainly attribute that bit of extra flab to not training as much as I would normally and letting my lazy side take over for a bit. The running’s helped get the weight down as well. I’ll be even happier when I shave off another couple of kg and start walking not waddling around.

Despite putting off broadening my horizons and training a little in Panantukan and some of the other Filipino arts as well as Thai I’ve decided to stick to my guns and ease myself into that gently, so next week (for real this time ) I’ll get stuck in.  I always get there in the end.

There’s a great video from the Warrior Collective that helped sparked my interest again. It’s interesting because when I watched the first video (see the Panantukan link above) I could see the similarities  with that style of fighting and with  Thai.

I think I’ll get on well with it and I started off my journey with the ‘self defence’ style of martial arts ( a good friend of mine taught me a little bit of this and that and then I ended up at a Ninjitsu school for 6 months off and on or so before getting into my boxing. )and it’s something I’ve gone back to from time to time. I’m a fan of ‘the scruffy arts’ as Geoff Thompson calls them.

Of course, Thais not getting put to the way side but I’m always up for broadening my horizons and keeping my mind open and thinking outside the ring as well as in it.I think when I’m back in the land of where I want to be with all things Thai and otherwise I can really start focusing on the land of where I want to get to.

The journey is often more important than the destination and the learning is always ongoing. I thought I’d leave you this week with a fight I caught on Muay Ties earlier. Inspiring stuff and when it comes to Thailand in October? I’m on it. Have a good week, and just like the last time.. I’ll see you on that road.

Muay Thai- Yodlekpet vs Panpayak 18/7/16

Easy does it.

Well here we are again, and it’s as always it’s good to be able to sit down and write. They say that the mornings are the best time for being creative, and I’m getting closer to the regular Sunday blog I keep talking about. You always have to set goals in life no matter how unrealistic they may seem. There we go. I made me laugh. I hope you did as well.

Although last week only saw me spend a little more time than the week previously at the gym as always it was time well spent. I’m pleased to say the one thing I’ve been keeping on top of is running and keeping my stamina up. I had a little shock (I say little being honest I was mortified) when I stepped on the scales at the weekend and saw I was 66.5 kg.

After the ‘you fat bastard’ moment had worn off it sunk in that I’d put on a little more weight due to my lack of constant training at present and also due to the fact I wasn’t pushing myself as much as I’m used to when running. In short I’d become my own worst nightmare. Fat and lazy.

So I decided from that point onwards (bear in mind this was Saturday) that I was going to shape up, fly straight and basically stop lazing around and get some weight off and train more. Since then I’ve been running the past couple of days on the trot (including Saturday morning) and I’ve dropped about just over  half a kg to a kg at the most. Running is great but some of the weight lost does come back on when I drink water and  also eat to live.

I’m aiming to get to around a respectable 64kg, 63.5 kg walk around weight by the end of next week tops. When I am fighting I always fight light so I don’t want to have to go through the hell of ice baths, 15 km runs with a space man sweat suit on and consistently training with 10 layers on to lose the additional bit of weight needed to get to where I need to be if something comes up fighting wise,( And when you think it won’t something usually does) so I’ve decided to put myself through that hell now. Losing a couple of kg isn’t an issue but 3 or 4 could be, So on that basis I’m pretty sure that by next Friday my middle name will be twiggy.

I’m at the gym as usual tomorrow evening and then Friday and Saturday this week so combined with running I think I can make some headway. Being honest although I’ve not been going flat out with everything my fitness isn’t too shabby and being blessed with a high metabolism should help with the little goal I’ve set myself. That and training with ten layers on.

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Mentioning food back there has got me thinking a bit about my diet. Less time in the gym can sometimes means a little more time in the pub, and Tescos saw me coming when it decided to start selling 5 cookies for a quid so you know every little helps. Cutting out a bit of crap never hurt anyone, and besides in general I eat pretty healthy. Salads and chicken and fish. That kind of stuff.

I think in general I’m going to start pushing myself a bit more in training. Everything I need is there and I’m pretty strong even on an off day. And ok, I do find myself from time to time shadow boxing in the living room. Now and again the kitchen, like one of my old trainers said to me many years ago ‘you take it home with you.’ I think I always will.

So if I run today I’ll throw in some sprints and when it comes to training I might as well turn it up a little and start really putting in some work again. Not that I don’t anyway, but if you fight then you know what I mean. Really I wouldn’t have it any other way. Have a good week, train hard and just like the last time.. I’ll see you on that road.

 

 

 

 

So last week..

So last week I didn’t train as much as I should of done. I don’t really think it was intentional it was just that due to one thing and another I didn’t seem to find the time I usually do. Though that may not be the most positive start to this week’s (or last week’s blog if you want to get picky) it’s given me a little more drive to make sure I get things back on track this week onwards. You know every time I say that to myself something seems to come up.

Last night I had one of those despondent 5 minutes that strikes us all from time to time. ‘I never seem to find the time to train anymore.. I used to train THIS much.. maybe I’m getting… fill in the rest of the blanks here. My Mr negative always seems to an appropriate statement for that in particular. 

But I guess like with everything else if you have the will then you almost always find the way. Sometimes the hardest part is getting to the gym. Well for some of you anyway. My trick of late has been getting the balance just right, but it seems to be resolving itself. Next Monday I have my first lesson of Suntukan or Panantukan.

It ties in with the Kali they teach too and I’m hoping that not only will it broaden my horizons, over time it will give me a little bit more self discipline and focus with training in general. There’s a couple of good causes I give a lot of my time to these days, but I’m going to make sure training doesn’t fall to the wayside.

In actuality I’ve met a fair share of martial folk  recently who also believe social change and making a difference of late. Now that’s inspiring. Journeys take you to different places and it’s a good road to walk down. Just like with boxing I’m sure it’s one I’m going to be on for many years to come.

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One of the things I’ve found frustrating when I intentionally or unintentionally have a little more time out from the gym than usual is a feeling that I’ve taken a step back when I get back into training. Despite the apparent slog to get back to a place I feel comfortable with I’ve gritted my teeth and got on with it, determined just like in the ring not to give up no matter what.

Over the course of time and of course the longer I’ve trained for I’ve realised that although things may seem a little rusty at first, what you’ve learnt  never really goes away. If anything it seems to move to the  ‘here when you want it’ file on the mental hard drive, which is good and also means when I turn up at the gym I have a lot more fun with things than before.

On a good week at present I’m fitting in around 4 or 5  sessions a week and on a bad week, being honest like last week well.. I was only there once. But usually it’s a couple at worst. Things are up and down at points but hey what can I say. I’m a busy person.

You’ve probably noticed by now that I’m pretty adept at giving myself a hard time, so maybe I need to relax a little more and change ‘I must’ to I’m going to (but not make it into a ‘thing’) Either way, regardless of intensity over the course of a week  time at the gym is time well spent. That won’t change.

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In terms of what I want the most out of training at the moment,  I guess I’m still of a mindset that I just want to make sure I’m the best I can be by the end of the summer. Of course, with that sort of attitude comes a lot of commitment and a lot of accountability. I think I need to stop making excuses and put in the work as much as I can, and If I’m not able to get there as much as I should.. well I guess I need to make every session count.

I’m hoping that I’m going to be fighting again late this year (these things are never set in stone) so I think it’s important to make sure as well as everything else I do, I keep myself focused with training and keep focusing on what I want. Really that’s the mentality I keep reminding myself to apply to everything else in my life too.

For now as always I’m enjoying the learning, I’m enjoying self defence training and I’m looking forward to starting something new. From what I’ve been told Filipino martial arts compliment Thai well so I think it’s going to be a good  addition to training and should like everything else give as much back as the time I commit to it.

Everyone’s journey is unique to themselves and I’m just as passionate about my own as I ever was. I’m pleased that after all this time I still find what lies ahead just as exciting as it always has been and although focus of late may of been lacking at points, it’s safe to say it’s still there. So this week and the week after that I’m going to make sure I put it to good use. Have a good week, and just like the last time, I’ll see you on that road.

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