What’s next?

Evening all, as always it’s good to catch up. It’s been a great week training starting off on a “why am I still finding this so hard?” and finishing on a positive “absolutely getting my groove back” yesterday. I was hoping to train this afternoon but today no one wanted to play with me so I’ve settled for a good run this morning as a suitable end to the week.

My gym’s moving to larger space soon I was told yesterday and there’s to be more opportunities to train in the week which should make us a lot more of a full time gym. (Their words not mine.) As it stands, I really enjoy what we’ve got a present and I can still train 5 times a week when I need to.  Either way it should be an exciting transition and I’ve got everything crossed for being able to train twice a day.

It’s been hot enough this summer to practically be Thailand why not take the mentality as well as the weather. (And they say climate change is a hoax.) I’m still waiting on my next match up (September 50/50 )and it’s also exciting to have been put forward for Muay Thai Grand Prix too plus another show in November.

Out of the 3 on the cards I’m confident Da Bull will find me someone to box, and besides having more time to get ready is never a bad thing. It’s great to be back in the swing of things and it’s even better to have some challenges to point myself at. And of course  I want to win the next one too!

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My home of over 2 and a half years and where I spend a lot of my free time. Some things don’t change. They just get better. 

Whilst we’re on the subject of winning it was on Thursday this week that I decided to pull my finger out mentally. Tuesday I felt I could feel the beginnings of a slump, I was gearing myself up for writing a melancholy blog on the trials and tribulations of glass ceilings and the constant martial struggle I face to punch through them…

I was preparing to write a heartfelt ramble about my fight against my inner critic and so on and so forth. Luckily, I discovered on Thursday (and for the rest of this week following) that when I put my mind to it I can still

Walk forward and keep the pressure on. (Reverse is so last Tuesday.)

Attack with speed and deliver some power in my shots.

Generally rumble it and maintain a good defense.

In fact, I finished training yesterday feeling sharp, tired and positive, wondering what “what’s next?” “what do I need to do better?” as always with Thai there’s a lot to work on and without letting Santa’s little whinger take hold I know my own short comings. I intend to continue sorting them out at the gym (and occasionally round the kitchen and living room) next week onwards.

I’ll also make sure I’m running a few times a week again as my shin has finally sorted its life out. It feels a bit tougher and I love kicking stuff and people with it so I’m pleased. I have always had shins like Robocop. It’s nice to have them back. I’m already looking forward to clambering back on the horse next Tuesday onwards .

I thought I’d leave you all this week with a fight I caught earlier on today Seksan vs Superbank  from earlier this year. It’s pretty easy to sit in awe of fighters at this level but it’s always worth remembering the amount they train to get to the top of their game. There are no half measures just dedication and practice. After all, if you want to be the best you can be you have to put in the work. Have a great week, train hard and just like the last time… I’ll see you on that road.

 

 

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Stand your ground.

Morning all. I’m running slightly later than I planned with my blog but here we are again and always, it’s nice to see you. Last week as is the now the norm was packed full of martial goodness. In fact it’s become the norm again for me to train 4 times a week so this week I’ve decided to turn things up a little more and see if I can train 5.

I’m meant to be fighting again in a month and I’ll know for certain this week. I’m really hoping everything comes together as it should. It does mean pushing my planned holiday this summer back a little if needs be  but hey. I can cope with that and if for whatever reason things don’t come together as they should then warmer climates for 10 days or so ahead this month too. Either way it’s a winner.

Speaking of winning I’ve been thinking about that a lot of late. Yesterday, I mentioned the fact I should be fighting next month to a good friend of mine who watched my last fight. He asked me if I was going to be more aggressive next time round and I immediately said yes. You see, it’s been on my mind a lot of late. I need to work on my Thai boxing “grr” again.

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now that’s a grr. 

When I put my mind to it, (or maybe I don’t) I can be quite single minded in the way I fight. I’m determined and I keep the pressure on. Last time round that only really happened towards the end and it felt like I spent the beginning finding my feet again. Afterwards, I said I felt a little shell shocked. That’s the difference between sparring, interclubs and competing for real. It’s brutal and you have to put a different head on in there.

I think I absolutely stepped in the ring with that head in place but I’d forgotten how tough it is in there. I was nervous just before but I felt calm and happy to be doing what I was doing. I put that down to experience. The shell shocked feeling I don’t think will return. I put that down to ring rust.

The one thing I love about Muay Thai is how respectful and generally friendly most people are to each other. We all know that it’s a tough style of fighting regardless of the level you box at. Enemies in the ring are usually friends afterwards. That to me is what martial arts should be about when it comes to any form of competition.

I’m going to spend the next month or so working on my fire and aggression as well as everything else. There’s a big difference between anger and responding with venom. I’ve seen a few angry and frustrated fighters lose fights. When you keep the pressure on but do absolutely everything with intent that can be a different story.

That happened in my amateur title fight in 2013. I learnt how to flick my “on” switch and took my opponent to pieces. Despite having coming a long way since way back when, I’d like to get back to that mentality in the ring.   Sparring partners may get to know me over time but it’s the best place to practice my Mr nasty.

I’m hoping the next month is all about fight training for September so I intend to step in the gym later today with my fighting head on. My fitness is good and I’m keeping my running up. Despite having to work around some sore bruising in my left shin (no injuries he said. ) I’m confident that I’ll head straight into the next one with the right mentality, better technique and the will to win. I thought I’d leave you this week with some classic Muay Thai venom from Rungravee and Seeoi

I love watching fights like this and I think there’s always something to take away from them. In the meantime, and as always have a great week, train hard and I’ll see you on the road.

 

 

 

 

Heart.

Afternoon all. I thought I’d check in on time this week as among  many things currently my time keeping could do with a lot of improvement. Maybe I’m being too hard on myself, or maybe it’s post fight blues. I wouldn’t say I’ve been down about losing this week as I have just got on with it as normal but I would say I’m disappointed I didn’t fight as well as I could of.

On the plus side of things my opponent was a good fighter and I don’t think for one instant I should of expected anything easier. I learn a lot from tough fights and I’ve spent some of this week working on range for my left body kick.It’s a good kick when it lands but I often throw it willy-nilly. Practicing a kick on a bag or pads or even in a training drill is one thing but delivering it under pressure is another.

However, persisting to succeed is always the order of the day when it comes to all things Thai and I’ve spent a lot of time practicing that kick body and leg so I’m sure it’ll come right and be there when I need it the most. On reflection of last week I think I spent too long waiting to attack instead of letting it go and just going for it.

I also spent far too much time on the back foot, so this week I’ve started thinking about standing my ground again and staying in range and closing distance.   

There was a few other things that happened that I really wasn’t happy with, losing my footing (to be fair one slip) and getting a teep caught pissed me off but that just means I need to spend more time working on stance and balance.

In fact, I’ve come away with a lot to think about and a lot to work on before the next one. Being a good fighter is about being the best I can be but technically I think its about having a strong foundation or a good set of basic skills. If I can rely on the basics under pressure then I can come back strong. But here I am again giving myself a hard time.

Every time I remind myself I’ve spent a long time away from the ring or I’m getting the rust off again It feels like I’m making excuses. It’s easy to let that lead into a lot of should of, could of would of’s. It’s easy to worry about the bullfight critics. It’s easy to listen to Mr negative who I’ve consistently proved wrong for over 11 years. And it’s very easy to forget I’ve achieved a lot and brought a lot of good into my life through martial arts.

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So here we are again  you and me. There’s a lot I want to achieve with martial arts and as always it’s a long road. I’m pleased I can look at myself as a fighter and realize what I need to improve. I’m pleased most importantly that despite the bashed up left shin (no injuries he said ) and annoyance at myself for not fighting like I thought I would (ha) that I still love what I do. Because let’s be honest for a moment. When it comes to the opinion of my inner “bull fight critic” it’s safe to say that zero fucks are given.

As always I’ll  just keep going, keep training, keep fighting, keep smiling and start winning. (again.) In the meantime, I’ve got an hour or so of power ahead this afternoon to finish the week off and I’m already looking forward to training next week onwards. Turns out the little fighter still has a big heart. Have a good week, train hard and I’ll see you on that road.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hi. It’s Good to be back.

I thought I should catch up with yourselves today to give some feedback on what was fight no 16 last night and my first appearance in the ring in (I think) over 3 years. It’s a long time to spend away from fighting but I’m glad I made it back. It’s been a long time. 

Today, I’m feeling slightly less bashed to pieces than I expected. I had a slight limp due to my right thigh aching this morning. That’s gone. My left shin was a little tender. That’s sorted itself out. The only aliment seems to be a croaky baron Green Back (Come on you must be a danger mouse fan?)type voice from getting a jumping knee into the throat.

At the time I really felt that I was taking a hammering at points, but having watched the video I’ve seen that despite suffering from a serious case of ring rust it wasn’t really that way at all.

As my trainer said to me this morning you are always your own worse critic, and despite feeling a little shell shocked for the rest of the evening after the fight was over it seems that I did actually fight quite well at points. A few people have fed that back to me too.

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About to start a Warm up shadow before the next one.. 

I weighed in the day before the show at 63 kg or just over causing my opponent to have cut a little weight. We were fighting under B Class Muay Thai rules with elbows to the head allowed but we had to wear elbow pads.

Knees to the face were also allowed, and being a short arse is probably why I caught one in the throat in round 5! It took a second to register before I realized I couldn’t breathe properly and panicked a little spitting my gum shield out. I did get a count but I was still up for seeing the fight out to the bitter end.

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Feeling strong..

There was a few moments last night where I really seemed to put things together but I spent a lot of the fight kept  on the back foot by a more aggressive fighter. There doesn’t seem to have been a point when I was in real trouble but I can see why he got the win. It was well deserved.

Saying that, I asked at the end if I could of won a round and everyone seems to agree I fought best in 4 and 5. In fact in round 4 something to switch on in my head. I’d forgotten what it’s like to be under that kind of pressure so it took a little adjusting. Next time I’ll remember to throw caution to the wind. Despite that, I wasn’t filled with dread or fear but it took me some time to settle into things.

I moved well and stepped off well but really should of come back more than just a few times with a good response although I think again maybe I fought a little better than I thought I did. I still need to work on close my range, and really getting my hips into body kicks. Low kicks aren’t bad and my hands are good but I think I was a little too hesitant at points. Putting it together in there is still as hard as it always was but it’s getting there.

I need to remember to work on my clinching and not to just take it when the knees are coming in or anything else for that matter. I need to always have an answer and to remember to be first. Before I stepped in the ring when I was warming up with my trainer I felt quite sharp and I felt strong. I felt on the back foot in the fight itself but think I did my best.

The moments where things came together and where things just worked show me that there’s still something left in the tank and that if I can still fight then I can still win. I believe in myself and I know the rest will follow.

As my trainer said to me it’s not ever going to be Baukaw or Sanchai but it’s about being the best you can be and that’s all that matters. Despite not feeling too sure this morning if I want to fight again I think now that I’m here I might as well stay for a while.

Besides I’ve missed you. We’ve spent a lot of time together you and me. It won’t get any easier and I don’t want it to be. I’ve never been one to look for short cuts or easy options. I want to keep fighting so I know I have to just keep training and keep improving  especially if I want to keep fighting a notch up from what I was before.

I guess really I want to see what I can achieve here.  I may be a little rusty, a little shell shocked and a little 30 something but here I am. It’s good to be back.. because when the dust has settled, the fight has finished and the training’s done (temporarily anyway ) I wouldn’t have it any other way. Have a good week and here’s to the journey. Thanks to my corner team for being awesome, thanks to Mike for a good fight and thanks as always to Eagles gym for having me. I’ll see you on the road.

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My “million dollar baby” photo via Da Bull. Thanks for every little thing Dave. (We’ll work out a fee for the photo next week.) I’ll be on time from here on in. 

 

 

 

 

Sky’s the limit.

Morning all. I’m fighting in 4 days time. That’s this Saturday. It’s my first fight in over 2 years and it’s all I think about when I wake up. I even found myself fighting the duvet over the weekend in my sleep. Muscle memory is a funny thing, so’s what rests in your sub-conscious.

Just recently I had a dream where a version of myself (before this gets too weird I’ve talked a lot about my inner critic during the course of this blog and that’s who I met) tore me to pieces about fighting. From what I remember, I took the lengthy rant in my stride and even used it to take some pointers. When your effectively getting a bollocking off yourself that’s not an easy thing to do.

In the real world training has been going well. Weights coming down, fitness is good and nerves have managed to get me not just once but at least twice in the past week or so. How do I feel about it? a glass case of emotion is how I feel about it.

Butterflies start my heart beats a bit quicker and my mouth goes dry. But as my last fight was so close and I’d drawn and then won the two prior to that I feel motivated to succeed and I believe in myself. It’s good to be back.

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And besides, when it comes to nerves and fear I’ve learnt to make them my friend. Recently I’ve shut down the internal dialogue as best I can. The past is the past, the future hasn’t happened yet. All that matters is the here and now. I’ll be present and focused when I’m fighting  and I have a top notch corner. I remember how to turn fear into fire. I love the combat.

This week is my last week of training before I step up on Saturday and I intend to make sure its a good one. I guess I’m a little nervous about fighting with elbows despite having pads but I practice them a lot at the gym. The length of the fight isn’t a problem. I know how to pace myself and how to keep pressure on.

As soon as I step back in the ring I’m sure I’ll feel at home and I’ll fight not only with everything I’ve got but most importantly I’ll fight to win. I’ve never been one to let hard work go to waste.

So it’s training and a quick weight check later followed by a run Wednesday as well as a more training tomorrow and Thursday and finally finishing the graft with a light run on Friday. All being well,  this will equate to a job being well done before stepping up at the weekend. I only ever make these kind of moves when my heart’s in it. I guess the sky’s the limit. Have a great week, train hard and “chok dee” for all your fights. I’ll see you on the road.

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Softening the sharp edges.

Well, it’s another warm evening here and it’s been a good night training. I’m planning to start tomorrow morning with a decent run before yet another busy day with work. I seem to flow from marginally busy to flat out very quickly, but of late I’ve kept on top of training. In fact it’s fair to say that I’m training all the time again and really with what I should have coming up and what I want to achieve this year I guess that can only be a good thing.

Running is never easy in the heat but its good to find its improving my fitness little by little and I’m enjoying adding sprints into the mix. In fact I even went running with a bag full of weights after training last Saturday. That was good fun and a good push. Besides if you don’t run, then you don’t fight

I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again. In fact I’ll keep reminding myself of that fact till I’m blue in the face. It’s a long road and good stamina is essential. Sometimes it can make or break a fight. That aside there’s a few things I want to improve this week. I guess if I went into the ins and outs that would be giving my game away. I can still fight well  and that’s the main thing. The rest comes together when I least expect it to. It’s not easy but it was never meant to be. It’s good to be back.

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I’ve been practicing walking meditations of late to work on focus. It’s very easy sometimes to let the internal chatter get louder than you’d like so I do my best to stay in the now It shuts down the internal and often external chatter and distractions in a heart beat. It’s always interesting what I notice.

If your looking for a little guidance here outside of what’s in the link above. Ask yourself what your next thought is going to be and you’ll understand what I mean. Too many people these days lose themselves in smart phones and other devices. It’s amazing what you notice when you switch off and look.

Before you think I’ve decided to venture into the world of self help, staying in the here and now is an important part of my fight training. I’m big on mindset and focus when it comes to combat itself because fighting used to terrify me. Sparring as much as possible not only gets me sharper physically it helps mentally too.

Cutting out the mental chatter helps me focus on the task at hand. Even when something happens that catches me off guard  it means I stay calm and I stay focused. I stay present. The past is the past and the future hasn’t happened yet. When it comes to fighting or anything else.. all that matters is the here and now.

Besides, I’ve always competed with myself because there’s no one similar so that means I’ve always aimed to be the best I can be and not what others tell me I should be. Sometimes that means no matter what I do it’s never enough. I guess nothing is ever really finished.

Getting myself training regularly again has been a tough battle but I’m hoping with new goals to point at the sky is still going to remain the limit. I’m looking forward to another week of martial goodness and still have my sights firmly pointed at mid month. I’ll know for certain later in the week.

So with running back on track, training getting better and a tough week at the gym ahead. “It’s true that the more you put in the more you get out.” I said that once. Being honest, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Have a great week, and just like the last time.. I’ll see you on that road.

 

 

 

 

On the way back home.

Well, apologies again for arriving a little later than anticipated but as always it’s good to find the time to sit down and write. Despite the mild cliff hanger I left you all on last time, (and getting it out the way at an early stage) unfortunately the lad I was meant to be fighting pulled out with a knee injury a few days before I flew out for the show. These things when it comes to all things martial do happen, and I wish him well and that he’s back on the horse soon.

That aside, the event in itself was excellent and I had a whale of a time and even caught a Muay Thai seminar with Pete Irving  the next day.  I’m hoping that next time an opportunity like that comes round I get a shot at it. Speaking of seminars this week, despite being full of Thai as is currently the norm yesterday I did something a little different and got stuck into some excellent Tai Chi self defense.

I’m a big fan of what some people “scruffy arts” and if you thought there was nothing to Tai Chi you would be completely and utterly wrong. It breaks bones and destroys people. It does it with a lot of finesse too. It’s good to keep your mind broad when it comes to all things martial and it was good to be able to take something away, and of course the same applied to the Thai seminar too. Martial arts has been and always will be an investment in myself.

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So after a good run today (5k with sprints) and feeling my fitness improving as well as weight gradually coming off I’m feeling well and truly motivated to focusing on what lies ahead. I’m pleased to say when it comes to what lies ahead  I should be getting matched up for a show a little closer to home than the last one next month in sunny Wales. (And it better be sunny.) I’ll know a little more over the next week or so but it’s a good feeling knowing I’m absolutely committing myself to training again and that little by little I’m heading back home.

Of course, between now and then there’s a lot of work to do and a hell of a lot of graft ahead but as always I’m looking forward to the push. You can’t beat training when there’s something to point yourself at. Training goals are important, but fighting goals are awesome. There’s still something left in the tank and it’s good to find the time again.

When it comes to martial arts I’ve always been very much an open book but as I’ve trained I’ve learnt to find what works and what doesn’t reasonably quickly. I’m quite pleased with sparring at the moment in particular, and I think I’ll keep practicing what I know I can use well and build on. Maybe I still need to open up a little but as long as it’s effective then it’s a big thumbs up from me.

The trick is not to become predictable  so I’m spending a little more time thinking about range and waiting for the moment. A good Thai fight can often escalate into a series of increasingly brutal counter attacks with both fighters doing their best to become the aggressor. I think it’s important for me to stay sharp and keep the pressure on but not throw kicks for the sake of kicking and to keep looking for the openings. (something I’m getting better at.)

So, as you can probably tell I’ve got my game face on at present when it comes my training and everything else attached. The old saying “never give up” always rings true and as long as I’m facing the right direction, all I have to do is keep walking. Have a great week, train hard and I’ll see you on that road.