Best Intentions.

Training this week has been pretty light on the ground, from dog bites to October colds it seems that every man and his dog (believe it or not no pun intended) has seemingly done their level best to keep me out the gym. Despite the latter I’ve still managed to get some time in so I guess really that’s the main thing.

I’m going to hit the ground running next week and intend to spend Tuesday to Friday evening training hard, and hope that it stays in that vein (with the occasional Saturday thrown in for good measure) for a while. There’s a big difference between hoping to do something and intending, and like with everything else it’s intention that’s the key.


Intention plays a big part in most things in fact it plays a part in  everything  I want to achieve in my life and has always served me well when it comes to training and fighting. I’ve found it’s also been a big factor in overcoming nerves or that old friend of mine, fear. (I think it’s a friend of most with a heart and a soul.

I always do my best to take what I learn and what I’ve learnt in training and competing and apply the same attitude to other areas of my life so if I say I’m going to do something, then I’m going to go out and do it. From time to time, it may get procrastinated over and side tracked but these days 99.9 of the time it gets done. And procrastination is starting to take a back seat too. (except with keeping this blog up to date and making sure I write more.. I will overcome and all that stuff.)

I can remember changing my mentality when it came to competing from focusing on a fight to focusing on winning. A friend of mine popped round in the week for a beer and a chat, and the subject of fighting came up. We got talking about fight mentality and it made me remember something an old trainer of mine told me. “Your not just going to fight.” he said. “Your going to win.”

It wasn’t until I was walking home that evening after training that it really sank in. “I’m not just going to fight.” I said to myself. “I’m going to win.”. I said it again. “I’m going to win.” I think at that point, after what had probably been an eternity the light bulb truly switched on. I had always gone into fights with the intention to win but with a lot of nerves and anxiety to deal with too.

When I started just to focus on success not just on the challenge that lay ahead, my intention became sharp, clear and ultimately focused. When it comes to fighting I’ve learnt to focus not just on the person in front of me  but more on what I want.

I guess how we deal with nerves much in the same way we deal with failure and are always unique to us, but for me focusing on what I want like it’s already in the here and now produces the best results. Self doubt can often be crushed by an overwhelming desire to succeed and that applies to no matter what situation your in. Fear can be smashed in the same way too. And the best way I’ve found to deal with that, is to put yourself in front of it because it’s only ever false evidence appearing real.

So looking at the week ahead, I am as always looking forward to leaping back onto my proverbial horse. There’s a lot I have to do and getting training up to speed and consistently on track has become less of a priority and more of an intention. And that’s the triple truth. Have a great week, and just like the last time.. I’ll see you on that road.

How you come back.

Last week at the gym was as always a good one, but what wasn’t so good was getting bitten by a dog last Friday on my finger. I guess it was my own fault because I love animals and I just wanted to stroke him as I walked past.

He’d had a hard time in life and so gave me a warning bite, so here I am today moaning for what seem likes the hundredth time about my bloody finger. There’s a photo I took earlier I shared on my Facebook that I’m going to spare you but suffice to say it’s been painful but I’ll live. (Just about)

Needless to say that’s most certainly going to affect the weeks training ahead, so despite going for a good run earlier I’m going to take this evening off and hopefully clamber back on the horse for the rest of the week. I think even if I was missing several fingers I’d still find the will and the way to make it to the gym.


I think we all pick up injuries sustained in training or otherwise from time to time, and the nice thing about Thai is that I’ve usually found a way to work around them if they aren’t too life threatening, and I’m not about to turn into a zombie due to a multi-coloured finger nail. (Sorry) It’s most certainly the sensible option to rest up and heal, but if your anything like me you’ll never like to stay away for too long.

I realized quick quickly with training and with fighting (in fact I’m still realizing )that like with the rest of  the little inconveniences and the occasional hard ball life throws at me it’s important to be able to adapt to the situation and the circumstance. I guess really that goes back to the fundamental rule of being able to cope under pressure.

In the fight in the picture above (a draw ) I was under a lot of pressure. He was a tough fighter and it was a clinch war. I came out of it wishing I’d done more than draw but grinning from ear to ear. “Good fight. Good fight brother” I said a couple of times when the ref held our hands up in unison.

Being honest, it was one of those fights where although I’d worked hard I wished I worked a little harder. I still came away feeling that I’d done my best and as I spent the majority of the fight knee deep in clinch I was pretty pleased with how I’d fought. A lot to lot learn but another step forward.

I guess really that was the main thing. Besides, I thought I nearly stopped him with my knees in the 3rd or 4th. Wearing him down staying locked up in the clinch had let me get some decent knees straight into his ribs. It’s a good feeling when you feel someone buckle a little. A voice yells “I’m winning!..until you get some back.


I’ve always had trouble dealing with hands when it comes to fighting. People seem to enjoy trying to rush me, so I’m pleased that over time my clinch has got a lot better. As well as my jaw. That always helps. I’ve never been knocked out fighting but I have been stopped a couple of times. That sucks, but toughens you up as well. I guess you adapt to that too.

If I’m coming across as a little too seasoned today I can only apologize but some days I feel it. I’ve had some tough fights and I’ve learnt a lot from them. I’ve learnt to adapt and I’ve also learnt what does and doesn’t work for me. I have been and always will be my own worst critic but I think these days there’s a little more experience sitting here than before.

I’m pissed off that training is probably going to be hindered for the next week or so because of another injury but I guess that’s life. We get given these things to test us from time to time so I guess it’s down to me how I deal with it. I just need to remember not to attempt to jab under any circumstances and I’m sure I’ll be fine.

On the plus side of things it means I get to work on my cross. I like that punch. It’s awesome. Not everything has to start with your hands anyway. They don’t call it the art of eight limbs for nothing.

So I guess that’s it from me until later in the week. I thought I’d leave you all with a bit of Muay Thai from my favourite fighter.. A bit of pressure never hurt anyone. Oh and I might be fighting in December.🙂 So anyway,enjoy, train hard and just like the last time.. I’ll see you on that road.

Sangthongnoi vs Pornsanae – New Lumpini Stadium, 10th October 2014






There’s more to it than this.

Last week I wasn’t at the gym as much as I would of liked to  have been but never the less I was training and that really is the most important thing. I’ve said that a lot recently but I guess in a way it kind of reinforces the fact for myself, so I feel better about being slack than I did five minutes ago. Onwards and upwards as they say.

I got a text this morning off my friend who has just recently taken up boxing and has been brave enough to start testing himself in interclubs. He seemed a little disheartened that his first one hadn’t gone as well as he’d hoped it would and that his nerves got the better of him.

I smiled because your nerves never go away. When I first started fighting  my nerves used to be terrible. Sparring with your friends is very different from fighting on a show, and even interclubs are very different from sparring with your friends. What made me smile even more is that he isn’t giving up and is giving it another go in a few weeks. Once bitten forever smitten as they say.

I used to love Thai interclubs. I don’t really do them any more (At my last count I had done well over 30) but I constantly put myself out of my comfort zone because I wanted to see what I could and couldn’t do under pressure. And being honest, it was good fun and pretty exciting. My old trainer in Bournemouth used to have a rule (and he probably still does) that you had to do at least seven interclubs before you were asked if you would like to fight for the gym. I think I ended up hitting the 15 mark before I stepped up for real.


 Interclub no4. Don’t ask. (2009) 

What made me a little sad about my friends message was that he started off by saying he’d lost his first interclub. The one thing I’ve always been told about them is that it’s a stepping stone and a good way to gain experience before you step up for real.

Granted things can get a little feisty sometimes (me and many others from my old gym are likely to remember that little bout pictured above for a long long time.) but like with most things it usually comes together, and besides you get to experience what it’s like being in front of a crowd as well as fighting someone you don’t know and don’t train and spar with on a regular basis.

My first interclub left me feeling elated. All I did was kick the lad’s leg again and again and clinch now and again (old habits seem to die hard round these parts) but it left me wanting more. And more, and more… well you know the rest so far anyway. My second interclub, ha well that wasn’t too great. But that was how I met a gym I trained with for nearly four years… and I got to find out what having a cracked rib was like.

Just like with fighting at a competitive level there’s nothing you ever really “lose” as such and you only gain experience. And ideally some good (although sometimes not so good) memories. I’ve always been a very reflective person so have never really had a problem with assessing how well I’ve done and bench marked against where I am now. I’ve found that just by setting myself the goal of wanting to be the best I can be, I’ve achieved more than I ever expected I would. Self improvement is always a worthy cause.

When I’ve come off the back of a loss I’ve found that I’ve usually learnt a lot more than when I’ve won. At points it’s felt like I’ve come back even more determined to succeed than before. How we deal with nerves, stress, pressure or fear in all it’s myriad forms I guess is truly down to the individual but I think it’s really important to transform that natural fear into “go out and get em” fire.

And if it’s an interclub you need to remember to be respectful and keep it on a level. Mismatches and losses do happen (When I first moved here I was the on the receiving end of a horrendous mismatch that took a long time to get over so I know how it feels) but regardless of what happens on the day, it’s important to remember it’s how you come back that makes a difference and it’s an awesome feeling when you come back and win.


Although winning  is what the goal of fighting or competing  should always be, I’ve learnt over time that really there is a lot more to it than just that. Regardless of the result If I’ve stepped up and been the best I feel I could be then I know there is certainly nothing to be ashamed of. And even if I haven’t been at my best (and that’s happened on a couple of occasions) I’ve learnt from it and I’ve come back stronger. I apply that learning thing to practically every single area of my life. In short, I’m always learning.

I might feel tougher inside and out than I have been before but I know that it’s a long road and I hope in a few years I’ll look back and  read this and smile, because I’ll still be training. I might even still be fighting. Who knows. Either way I do know one thing. It’s a great journey to be on and I’m still loving every minute of it. There’s more to it than this. Thanks as always for reading. ..I’ll see you on the road.






Win some, lose some.

Just recently I saw a friend of mine who had just come off the back of losing a boxing match. He’d told me that the fight had been a mismatch with his opponent coming in a good 3 or 4 kilograms heavier than his own weight of 60. From looking at the short video I could see the difference between the two fighters was apparent.

He gave it his all and was unlucky enough to get caught with a hard shot that ended the fight. It’s one of those things and in any combat sport can happen. Listening to him talk about what happened in the ring, going over the situation I could hear the frustration in his voice. I’ve been there myself and it’s not the best place to be. In fact sometimes it can be a very tough place to be, and it can stay with you for a lot longer than you’d like.


Losing my first few fights was pretty tough. In fact it was really tough. I had hoped at first that the sting of defeat would lessen after losing my first couple and when I finally landed a hat trick for all the wrong reasons, I unsurprisingly felt a little deflated. In fact, I felt small and the runt of the litter in a gym that had a reputation for producing tough fighters with good technique. I didn’t know if this was how most people felt about defeat but I knew that I didn’t like the feeling. In fact, I hated it.

Why fighting was taking so long to come together for me and others just seemed to have that certain ‘it’ was beyond me. ‘It’s a learning curve’ were words that often repeated like a broken record in my mind as I replayed the fights over again. Some days, a fifteen minute walk back to my flat would last a life time.

I found the hardest part of training from fight number three onwards was pushing myself to get back to the gym after another defeat. If Id’ known then that I would have to lose seven fights in a row before I won my first I’m not sure if I would of stayed in it, but as it stood what I was developing more and more was an understanding of competing and myself in the ring, I was also gaining some good experience and even though I’d only been fighting at an amateur level I’d had some tough fights.

In fact, I’d often heard it mentioned that fighting at an amateur level could be a lot more grueling than anticipated as fighters were often wanting to make their mark and move onto bigger and better things. I didn’t really think like that. I just wanted to win and it was a case of proving to myself that I had what some thought I was lacking, and besides despite the crushing nerves, the unrelenting training sessions and the weeks of low self esteem following a loss I loved the fight. It brought out the best in me and was something I never ever thought I would do.

When you’ve been at the bottom for what feels like forever, getting to the top of your game, of any game can seem like an almost unachievable goal at points. At least it did for me anyway. I’ve always found the will to succeed has been a driving factor in anything I set my mind to and fighting has been no different. It’s tough at the top (not that I’ve ever really been right at the top) but it’s even tougher at the bottom.

In fact, picking yourself up from any kind of defeat in or outside of the ring requires a lot of self belief, determination and focus. It also requires being around the right people, and luckily for me I’ve always been able to draw inspiration from those standing next to me on a bag rather than just from those fighters with their names up in lights.


I guess when you want something so much its all your focusing on, you can make it happen. I can remember becoming so accustomed to losing that winning almost seemed something that other people did. “It’ll tip mate.” One of my trainers told me one day. “It always does for people that train all the time.” The words gave me some solace but didn’t make the work that lay ahead any easier. It was a long road to be on and only seemed to be getting longer.

When it finally tipped for me I was caught off guard and completely elated. As always it had been a close fight. I was fighting virtually last on the show, it was close to eleven at night and I had been waiting for felt like forever. Right from the word go I was tired but right from the word go I hadn’t given up. Something had happened half way through the fight, It had suddenly shifted from the familiar feeling of impending loss to a small voice I had never heard before telling me I was winning. It must of been that that made me push harder than I had before.

It wasn’t the tidiest of fights but the result was something to write home about. It inspired me to keep competing and from there I won again. I did good, but then again I put in the work. I can remember training twice a day at one point for my area title fight  I wanted it that much. I’d always been told to stay hungry and I made that a rule of thumb.

On reflection, I’ve wondered if losing has given me more drive to succeed than winning has at points. It’s certainly made me push myself more than I thought I could and the hard time I give myself can often bring out the best in me. There’s a lot more to fighting than wins and losses but then again there’s a lot more to me than what I do in a boxing ring or gym.

I’ve learnt more about myself over the past 5 years or so of competing than I thought I would. I may of slowed down a little of late but the drive to spend more and more time at the gym is creeping back, and this week I’m pleased to say I’ve been there more than the week before. I don’t think the passion for the sport /art is ever going to diminish and I’m hoping I get back in the ring this year. It’s a tough little world and it doesn’t come easy to some. When I say some I mean that it doesn’t come easy to me. But then again, the best things never do. In the meantime have a good week, train hard and always keep your head up. No matter how “hard” it gets. I’ll see you on that road.





Actions speak louder.

Last week training was.. well it was ok. I’m currently carrying an injury in my right shoulder. I’ve pulled something major and it’s not been too great for the past couple of weeks but it’s slowly on the mend. Needless to say it’s affected training but the main thing is I’m still there. Well as much as I can be at present. Luckily, whenever I run into one of life’s little hurdles it very rarely gets in the way for too long. Everything changes after a while. Especially the bad stuff.

Other than  a niggling ache in my right arm things haven’t been too bad of late. There’s been a lot that has been keeping me busy and I’m hoping this week I manage to spend as much time as I want to at the gym. Even when things start to feel a little too much I’ve taught myself to load balance mentally and carry on as normal. It’s kind of similar to fight training. It’s really kind of a pressure test to see how much I can give. Just like with that I just keep going.

I’ve set a goal this week onwards of getting writing back on track. My writing project has been gathering dust for the past few weeks. In fact, the last time I picked it up was at the beginning of August, but every time I write I remember why I started and things just seem to flow the way they’re  meant to. I should be giving this blog more attention than I currently am. Goals. I’ve always been a big fan of them. So I’m hoping with all things martial and otherwise, this week I’m back on the horse.


I’m noticing that as usual the year seems to shooting past much faster than I’d  like. I said a couple of months ago I’d really like to fight again in the winter and I’ve still got that in mind, but with that decision comes a big commitment and that of course is the training. I’m pretty sure I can pick up the pace when I need to and as soon as a little bit more regularity emerges I’ll start thinking about that a little more seriously than I am at present. Again it’s another goal to work towards and one I know I can achieve.

Looking back at recent decisions I feel that I’m in a better place than about 4 months ago. There’s reasons for that, but that’s a story for a different day. As always I keep going, and as always I’m getting back to enjoying training just for the sake of enjoying training. I feel free, but then again I’ve never liked being told what to do and prefer to have that freedom on tap.

Although training isn’t quite exactly where I would like it to be at present the exciting thing is that it’s still there. In fact, everything I’ve learnt that is in a continual cycle of improvement may not always be perfect, but it’s  still always “there”. It used to feel like a struggle to get back into the swing of things or back on that proverbial horse I mention so much but these days things feel a lot more natural than they did before. I’m hoping it stays in that vein for many years to come.

So when it comes to goals and things that lie ahead in all things martial and otherwise. I guess it’s the actions as always that speak the loudest, but from now on I’ll  make sure that the words don’t come second place. In the meantime train hard, have a good week and I’ll see you again Sunday and as always.. I’ll see you on that road.




Pressure test

So another Sunday has arrived, and I’m finally sitting down to get this blog of mine up to speed. I think I spoke to you last earlier in the week?… you’ll have to excuse me but sometimes I feel a little vague about these things so thought I should double check.

Although things have  been lighter on the ground training wise this week than last I’ve still most importantly found the time to train, and I was pretty pleased to note that the option of training all week is ever present. Where there’s a will there’s a way and I’m happy just to have one gym to train out of. Financially it makes a lot more sense and avoids anything that might amount to gym politics too. I can’t stand gym politics.

Either way, I’m happy and still looking forward to getting back to it next week onwards. I’m not sure if it’s because I’ve not been training as much as usual  this week or because I decided to put on my infamous (it’s infamous to me and that’s all that matters) blue tracksuit top to train in to get to a bit of weight off, but this week things have felt a lot tougher.

After 4 or 5 rounds of sparring at one of my sessions this week I was pretty tired and I’ve always prided myself on my stamina. Luckily the ability to just keep going doesn’t seem to have left so I guess my fitness isn’t that bad but this week has equated in a bit of graft.

Then again, I’ve been going out a little more than usual of late so I might put that down  for a couple of weeks and have a detox. Alcohol other than being generally bad for you, is a great way to knock your fitness. But I’m  sure you know that already.

When I’m having one of those moments training it’s usually a good push and tells me quite quickly how much I can give when I really need to. I think the trick with Thai is fundamentally having the ability not to give up no matter how tough it gets in there.

Video 3 0 00 28-11

I’ve had fights where I’ve gone through hell and back but I’ve still kept going. Even when I’ve been  on the back foot, I’ve found that sheer grit and determination has often helped me either see things through to the finish or on a few occasions tip the odds in my favour. When your sucking on canvas with a crowd baying for your blood (I’ve been there a couple of times in the past) getting up can be the hardest thing in the world. If you do make it up then you have to try and recover what you lost.

My last fight (towards the end of 2015) saw me come back stronger to the point a few people said I won. I’ve found that the drills I’ve been taught in training and the combinations I’ve found work for me are always tested when I’m under pressure. It’s not really the techniques  I remember but  what my body remembers that I find are the most effective under pressure. Muscle memory as it’s called is crucial when your getting a push.

There’s been a few occasions when I’ve been training hard for a fight, I’ve flaked out after a tough session at the gym only to be suddenly woken up by my left kick (it’s always the left ) trying to give the duvet a dead leg. I guess that’s when you know it’s finally sinking in.

I’m pleased I’ve had the summer off. It put things into perspective and it’s nice just being at the gym and not thinking about when the next fight is all the time. As a paradox I’m looking forward to hopefully making a return later in the year. Ha a return… well you know, it’s good fun.🙂. Unless your getting filled in. That’s not so great.I promise to think positive from here on in.

Even though I find it’s important to be able to cope under pressure, it’s just as important to be able to keep the pressure on when your fighting. I’m still of the mindset that the later rounds are the most important (I know this is the general attitude in Thailand) and as the saying goes its not how you start but how you finish that can make or break a fight. And I think that really applies to whatever level you fight at.

I think next week onwards I’m going to focus a little more on picking my stamina up a little and switching my Mr relentless head on, although this week I’ve started to make myself stand my ground a little more and make people come to me if their taller.

It’s kind of working but I still need to get my speed up with my counters although a few aren’t too bad. Walking forward never hurts anyone ideally other than the person in front of you, so I’m pleased that little bit of courage is still there too. Courage is one word for it anyway.

It’s been good catching up with you as always, and I thought this week I’d leave you with another fight.. this time one from way back when. Rungravee vs Seooi. It was the 6th time they fought and you’ll see what I mean by keeping the pressure on/ coping under pressure. Anyway, enjoy, thanks for stopping by and just like the last time.. I’ll see you on that road.

Rungravee vs Seeoi VI






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.


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.