Reframing the fight.

Hi. It’s good to catch up with you as we agreed last week. I decided to make good on my promise and get this blog of mine back to its usual spot in mine and your life. Here we are again you and me. As always it’s good to be here. In fact, it’s great. Training this week has been a little hit and miss for me due to a nagging injury in my right shoulder but that seems to be a lot better than it was two days ago.

Like a lot of people I have a tendency to work through or around my injuries rather than taking time to rest up and let them sort themselves out, but as I’ve got older and dare I  say it a little wiser I’ve found that slowing down ever so slightly when your body is trying to tell you something is usually a wise move.

In the past, I’ve even found myself back at the gym within less than a week of fighting the weekend previously and only when kicking heavy bags have I noticed that yes ok my shins are officially tenderized.. Sometimes it pays to give yourself a chance to heal. Taking that into consideration, I’ve still managed to train a few times this week so I guess that’s always going to be a good thing.

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You know just recently I decided to start playing around with some NLP techniques (it means Neuro-linguistic programming by the way. Last time I told a friend that he said same to you. How’s the family? )  I learnt way back in the mists of 2010. In fact, I was introduced to NLP way before that by an old friend of mine who is a master practitioner as well as a martial arts expert.

On both occasions It came along at the right time in my life and being intrigued, I decided I wanted to learn a little more. At the time I invested in ‘Introducing NLP’ by Joseph O’Connor and John Seymour because I knew that just like with martial arts it was going to be an investment in myself.

I decided to revisit the book just recently and realized I also have another book relating to the application of NLP in sports ‘Sporting Excellence’ by Ted Garratt that I also intend to get my teeth into when I find the time.

Just like before it seems that NLP has sparked an interest in me and has arrived apparently at the right time, and so I’ve found myself practising some of the techniques I haven’t used for a while. One of which is reframing. In terms of that particular technique, it’s worth a google but I’ve been using it to change the way I look at situations relating to training in this instance fighting.

When it comes to winning and losing it’s very easy to live in a negative bubble or state about competing if things don’t always go your way. I’ve found before that despite carrying on as normal when it comes to thinking about my next fight it’s very easy to let negatives outweigh positives. I found this used to happen a couple of weeks before I boxed and when I realized what was happening it seemed that I was setting myself up to fail. This happened until I didn’t want it to happen any more.

So just recently,  I haven’t just started thinking positively I’ve started proactively reframing my beliefs about myself when it comes to competing and training. I’ve started to move away from I don’t want to happen and towards what I do want. I’ve started to see myself as already having won my next fight and I draw from past experience on how that feels to help make it a reality in the making. I make it so real I can step into it. To remember what that feels like. To remember that I can win.

I’ve thought about how winning not just benefits me but those around me. I’ve seen my body kicks getting better and better and I’ve set a date in the diary for what I want to happen. In terms of fighting right now, I’ve pointed myself at next March. I guess for getting everything else up to speed that could be a good date too.  I’ve reinforced my frame with some solid intention to boot.

NLP is a deep subject for one blog and I’m no expert but I hope this gives you a little snippet of where I’m at right about now and I hope it gets you thinking. It’s something I intend to continue to revisit for what’s left of 2018 and into the newness that is 2019 too. Of course, working with yourself can be rewarding but working as a team always produces the best results so next year I intend to get networking. I’m sure as with all things martial this new journey will be a good one. Have a great week, train hard and just like the last time… I’ll see you on that road.

 

 

 

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Mindset.

Afternoon all. I’ve got here a little later than planned but it’s good to be back. I have a tendency to arrive late at most things these days including training. It’s something I’m intending to change from today going forward. My trainer said to me yesterday that fighting takes discipline (ok so I do totally get that but maybe recently I haven’t been as disciplined as I’ve been in the past) and that being a part of a team means not walking in late and choosing to warm up on my own whilst everyone else is doing exercises. To be fair, I was expecting a bit of rebuke as I have a tendency to work on my own standard time and at points can be so laid back  I’m almost horizontal.

If gyms are microcosms of life one thing Muay Thai teaches you very quickly is that we’re all the same in and out the ring and no one is better than or treated differently from anyone else. It also taught me that a little humility goes a long way and when your coach tells you off for things you shouldn’t at this stage be told off for it’s worth taking it onboard. Besides, when it comes to fighting a fighter has to work with their trainer and their teammates to get the best results. 

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Anyone who thinks Muay Thai “is all about respect” (let’s be honest, we’ve heard that before from the egos in gyms) is probably a ridiculous little authoritarian who deserves very little themselves. Mutual respect and friendship develop with your trainer and your team over time. It was nice yesterday evening to get a message from my coach saying “sorry if I was hard on you but sometimes that’s my job” Likewise, sorry if of late I’ve taken your patience for granted. I’ll pull my finger out and be at my best. I mean that. When it comes to fighting, like in the rest of my life it’s nice remembering I am never alone.

You know It’s funny because I’ve been thinking about focus a lot of late. Like most people in life, I often have varying plates to spin and the trick is really obtaining the right balance. Sometimes it’s easy to carry the outside world into the gym and it’s very easy to find yourself distracted. Of late I’ve started to try to switch off the internal dialogue and focus on the here and now. Being a human being I’ve found that this takes practice but it’s getting there. Sparring and fighting are the times I usually find myself in the moment so I want to start bringing that into drills.

I think just staying present and attentive all the time especially after a long day is never easy but you know if you want to get good at something you have to be at your very best. Right? Cut out the distractions and feed the focus. I find when I’m fighting this happens naturally. All I can hear is my corner and the rest is muffled background noise. I get tunnel vision.

I think next time I’m fighting I’m going to use that tunnel vision to go through the person in front of me. To get to that point again it’s going to take a team effort as well as a lot of graft from myself and I’ll make sure I remember that in the future.

I find myself caught up a lot at present in procrastination due to that plate spinning thing I talked about a minute ago. I want to be able to take charge of a few different areas of my life and it’s good to know that when I need to do that the right situations and people often present themselves. I’m going to remember to take the energy from training and apply it to all areas of my life and hopefully get the work-life balance addressed, keep my dedication to what I do and feed my focus.

Speaking of working days I’ve got a lot to get done before the end of the day and it’s been nice taking a pause to get my blog written. Sorry, it’s a bit late. (Again.) I’ll make sure that improves from here on in. Have a great week, train hard and as always.. I’ll see you on that road.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Never giving up.

Hi!. It’s nice to be back so soon after a slightly longer than usual pause. If you follow my twitter account you’ll see that earlier this week I attempted reverse psychology on myself to get my blog written on Tuesday. Unfortunately, it didn’t work which has meant I’ve successfully managed to put off writing until now. I need to start giving it a lot more of my time again, primarily because some say I’m quite good at it. Which is nice.

I’ve got some big training and fighting goals already lined up for 2019 one of which is to head overseas again and this time hopefully compete. Of course, before next summer comes around I want to make sure I’m back in the game at the beginning of the new year.

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As I’ve said before it’s good to be back and if this year has shown me anything, it’s that when you put your mind to it you can achieve anything you want. It’s a simple case of believing in yourself enough to keep striving for it.

Despite being another year older on Saturday I still feel that there’s a good couple of years of fight left in me and I’d like 2019 to be a year where I get a reasonable amount done. As it stands, I’m still going to be training when I’m 60 and the longer I keep training the better I’m going to get. It may seem glaringly obvious but when I’ve hit a slump (peaks and troughs) it doesn’t always seem that black and white.

Recently I’ve found inspiration to keep boxing no matter where I look. I feel that I’ve really improved a lot as a fighter since the last time I got in the ring and I also feel that the experience I have so far is really going to stand me in good stead in the future, and it’s toughened me up inside.

Even nerves before fighting have changed. A week or so before nerves will pay me a visit for 2 or 3 hours then nothing again. I usually deal with them by shadow boxing. I’ve got a big living room. On the day it’s just mentally getting ready for fighting, right before I start my walk to the ring there is a brief flare-up but that changes into the fire very quickly. Just by thinking it I become it. Exciting eh?

Of course, I’m still not technically marvellous. I get things wrong. I need to work on my focus. I don’t always remember drills. Some days I can’t get stuff I should know by now right, I doubt myself and don’t think very much of myself. I don’t stretch enough. My hips don’t twist like they used to when I first started boxing. Injuries take longer to heal. I don’t run enough. I don’t run far enough. I really hate having to take two steps backwards to take two step forwards but I love what I do, and because I love what I do I know the journey is not only with me for life but totally worth every minute.

I have a little dream that I am going to get good enough and win a couple more fights and get myself a British title before I retire. I feel inspired and I know I can do it because I’ve done it before. Of course, the journey doesn’t stop there but it would be something I could put on my CV? Something to tell my kids about (when I finally get around to having some) maybe. I also intend to get myself out to Thailand again in 2019 and as I’m in South Africa at some point next year I think I’ll train out there again too.

Despite this week being lighter on the ground training wise than I’d like (my birthdays coming up as I said) I’m looking forward to getting stuck in, as usual, this evening. I may even push the boat out and go running today and tomorrow morning. I’d like to make sure I’m doing that 3 times a week again on top of training. Like it or not.

If 2018 was the year I finally made it back I want 2019 to be the year I start winning again. I want it to be a year I remember forever. In the meantime, I guess I need to get on with the rest of Thursday. Run and training later as I said. I’ll see you on that road.

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Closer than close.

Afternoon all. Despite being once again full of germs (which isn’t too great as I’m meant to be fighting next Sunday) I’ve decided to sit down and whip this blog of mine into shape. I just took the time to take a brief look at statistics and it’s always nice to see people still visiting, checking in and reading what I have to say. I’ll do my best to get it back to appearing once a week again from here on in. Procrastination is still an adversary.

So moaning aside, I thought this week I’d talk about something I meant to write about a couple of weeks back but for one reason or another never did, which is, of course, fighting in what some call the pocket. If your a short arse like myself you’ll understand what I mean and most importantly you’ll totally understand the damage we can do when we get closer than close.

Next Sunday I’m going to be fighting with elbows again (albeit with pads on) and of course, when it comes to fighting with elbows as well as knees, I need to think in terms of being up close and personal. It wasn’t until earlier on this afternoon that the first lot of pre-fight nerves decided to pay me a visit which is good because being honest I’d be wondering when they would stop by, luckily I know how to deal with them and instead of letting them get on top of me I let them flow into intention. Which is always a good thing.

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I’ve found in sparring recently that I’ve started to come forward a lot more again and next week what I don’t intend to happen is to spend the majority of the fight on the back foot. It’s safe to say that although I can hang back a little at points when I need to I walk into the person in front of me. Which is what really, Muay Thai is about!

Of course, there’s a lot more to fighting than walking into your opponent but you know every little can help, and an aggressive fighter is often an intimidating one. I think I needed to switch on more in my last fight but I’ve put a lot of that down to ring rust so hope this time around things will be different.

Fighting close or “in the pocket” short distance and in range for all my attacks is something that takes time to get right but it’s getting there. I’ve noticed I’m throwing body kicks a lot more and although not always technically perfect, they usually aren’t bad and it feels good when I land them. Low kicks, of course, have always been a favourite of mine and I can rely on them for stopping power when I need to.

It’s a given that short fighters always have to close distance quickly but there are varying ways to do that I won’t go into too much depth about here. A lot of it can come with developing a degree of ring craft and understanding how to close your opponent down and keep them under pressure. One of the tougher parts of Thai is keeping your attacks constant if like me you do your best to pressure fight.

Taking a note out of the mighty Ronnie “machine gun” Green’s book I’m currently thinking in terms of “upstairs-downstairs” or high and then low attacks. One of my stumbling blocks is that I rely on the basics a  little too much and should really keep my attacks perhaps a little more varied. If it works then it works but it’s important to not be predictable.

Before I start giving myself a hard time it’s fair to say that I’m looking forward to fighting again next week and I want to finish this year on a good note. The week ahead is going to be a monster push to make up for a just about OK week of training but I’m confident I can do it and instead of just going to fight next week I think I’m going to win. See what I did back there?  here’s to the road ahead. And as always, I’ll see you on it soon.

 

 

All good things

Hi. Before I start to make excuses it’s worth mentioning that training over the past week or so has been a little lighter on the ground than I’d like, mainly due to being full of cold. I’ve learnt the hard way a few times when it comes to Thai boxing and germs that training when sick isn’t the way forward.

So, despite a short break (I made it down there twice so at least that’s something )and a despondent week of feeling sorry for myself, this week onwards I’m back on the horse. After all this time somethings never change and really, when all is said and done I wouldn’t have it any other way.

A couple of weekends back I did an interclub locally that went pretty well. I had been out for a pre-birthday night on the tiles with an old friend and it’s always a struggle the day after the night before to do anything even remotely athletic but I saw it through.

I’ve found that I’m getting back to the old me. What I mean by that is that I’m standing my ground a lot more as well as coming forward Although slightly more strategically than my bull in a china shop mentality of fights gone by.  In hindsight, I don’t think it’s ever been that bad. Maybe I don’t give myself enough credit. I have hazy recollections of an old trainer of mine gesturing wildly with his arm from the corner when I wasn’t going forward enough. “In, in!.” that’s the Muay Thai way.

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In a few weeks time, I’m back in the ring for the 18th fight in my up and down fighting career. Of course, I want to win but I also know when I fight I can never really lose.  I think I will always love the combat and I’m going remember to use that as a driver over the next few weeks of training to push myself to be at my very best. It may not be an exam or even a grading but it’s a good challenge and a real accomplishment when you win.

This time around I should be fighting at 63kg and it’s with elbows again but using pads. Last time around I had no idea what to do with my elbows but a lot had to come flooding back quickly. I intend to be a little more prepared for December. We’ll see how it goes. Either way, from tomorrow onwards it’s back to the grind.

Back to the running as well. Only when you compete do you truly understand how important that is. It’s nice to keep fit it’s even better when you get sprints in your life. I think at the moment I’m doing well and it feels like nothing ever really takes too long to sharpen up again, bad colds or not. Here’s to things continuing to move in the right direction in the next few weeks ahead. Being honest, It just seems to get better with time. Have a great week, train hard and I’ll see you on that road.

 

 

 

Here and now

Afternoon all. it’s been a couple of weeks since I last checked in with you and being honest, I think I’ve just been a little lazy so thought I’d stop by. Having a nice quiet weekend ahead I’m going to dedicate myself to get my writing head on. I may well have to get my running head on too. Training of late has been quieter than usual but sometimes I guess it’s ok to slow down a little.

However, now that’s been and gone I’m pointing myself towards December from next week onwards because all being well I should be fighting again. I trust it to come together and this time I intend to win. I’m hoping next year sees me appearing on shows around the UK so in order to get to that point (I love fighting and I’m good enough to be in the square ring) I need to make sure I start winning again. Yes, it can be done.

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I’ve been thinking recently (without a small violin out) about my last fight and how I felt before I got in the ring and whilst I was in there. There’s no doubt for my first fight back after a few years out it was tough. I enjoyed it but walked out feeling a little shell-shocked and of course disappointed. In hindsight, I think I fought pretty well. It’s not an easy thing to do at the best of times and every fight is a learning experience. There’s a lot of work that needs to be done but I’m confident I can tip things my way. (again)

A friend of mine said to me a little while ago that I always seem very much in the present or the here and now when I fight or even when I spar. I think it’s important to be able to do that and to trust your body to respond with what it knows.. muscle memory is a big part of training no matter what your style or discipline.

On occasion, it’s easy to find the repetition of training with drills a bit of a drag but I’ve learnt to take away what works. A good set of basic skills will get you a long way. Watching some of the top level fighters I’ve come to realize that what wins fights is never anything fancy, it’s quite simply what works at that precise moment in time.

If you see the shot you need, you should take it and I think it’s easy to hesitate and over think a situation. When I’ve done that I’ve found the moment is lost. It’s also easy to fall into a trap of using the same techniques because they work (a fault of my own) so as equally as keeping it simple it’s important to keep it varied. (that’s a work in progress here.) Drilling and keeping yourself in the now will work wonders. Internal dialogue is the enemy of us all.

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When it comes to how I felt before my last fight it’s fair to say I was completely relaxed until the moment I had to really switch on and prepare to step up. Experience is often the best teacher and I put it down to having a reasonable amount of fights behind me. Sometimes, what you’ve won and lost doesn’t matter. Some would say it never matters.

I kept my mind clear and dealt with my nerves well. Here’s some advice. Feel nervous before a fight? don’t think about anything. Shadow, watch the other fighters get ready but never let your nerves get on top of you and always remember when you get in that ring it’s not about what they are going to do to you. It’s about what you are going to do to them.

I’ve found adopting the mentality of translating fear into action or intent goes a long way. Granted I spent a lot of my last fight on my back foot but I like to put that down to ring rust. Once I saw a friend of mine fight after a  break and he was also in a similar position for a lot of the fight. I found when I got back in there I realized what a fantastic and simultaneously tough place it is to be. (The fantastic came the next day. The tough happened at the time.)

I think it’s always been important for me to know that as long as I fight at my very best then I never have anything to regret. I step in that ring to test myself and because, at points, I want to prove myself and no one else wrong. When it comes to my last fight my biggest fear was not performing well. Getting stopped in the first minute. Giving up in round two. Coming to pieces and forgetting my training.

None of that happened and none of it ever will. In that respect, I didn’t lose. I only gained experience. Winning may be a bonus but next time it’s what’s going to happen. Mark my words. Have a great weekend and train hard. I’ll see you on the road.

 

 

 

 

 

Muay Thai reads

Hi! I thought I’d catch up with you all a little earlier in the day as promised. Firstly, thanks for paying so many visits of late to my blog! I know it’s not published as regularly as it should be but I’m doing my best to get things back on track and it’s great to see that ever since it started just after I won an area title (way back in the mists of 2013) it’s grown from strength to strength.

I’ve had some great feedback from you all over the years, the most uplifting being how inspiring people find my writing. If you have to nail this blog down to being anything other than about some random bloke who is pretty average at Thai boxing but has a head made out of metal and balls of steel, I guess you’d say it’s about personal change and development.

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There’s a very different person about to climb in that ring. 

A lot has happened over the years training and fighting wise and as always it’s been a good journey, of course, it’s ongoing. So anyway, whilst we’re on the subject of blogs and what’s out there that’s worth reading I thought I’d mention some of my favourites that are absolutely worth a visit!

So, when it comes to inspiring reads and very informative articles on training and fighting in Thailand one blog that is worth a mention is 8 limbs us by Sylvie Von Duuglas-Ittu. I really like Sylvie’s attitude towards a lot of things and I’ve always had an interest in the journey of female fighters in the Muay Thai world. With 200 fights to her name, I’m like “how have you done that?”. I wish I could get that good.

Which brings me to my second favourite blog under the ropes by Emma Thomas, again there are some really interesting articles and It’s really inspiring for me personally to read about someone who took a leap of faith and ended up doing something what many people out there never have the time or inclination to commit to. I can relate to the jumping in at the deep end approach personally, I still feel that is kind of what I did when I first started competing.

I can remember going to a show hosted by my old gym Sakprasert before I started fighting. At the end of it my trainer at the time grinning from ear to ear asked me if it was something I wanted to do. I said yes, and haven’t really looked back since. I think my main driver for continuing to fight after losing a lot was quite simply telling myself if I can fight then I can win. It’s called tenaciousness. Some may call it stupidity but I don’t listen to morons.

People I do listen to however are people like Muay Thai Scholar  Aaron Jahn, like Sylvie and Emma is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to all things martial and a lot of articles in the blog are generally useful especially if like me, your someone who takes your art home with you.  Not saying that’s something you need to do as I think it’s just as important to be able to switch off and unwind but you know..

Finally, one blog that is well worth your time is Don Heatrick Muay Thai Strength and Conditioning.  It is what it says on the tin and I’ve found the best advice often comes from those who strive to be the best at what they do. Don has achieved a lot with the sport and seems like a great trainer.

I’ve particularly enjoyed some of the articles written about mindsets and approach on his blog, so if you are interested in developing what makes you tick as a boxer as well as the physical side of things it’s worth a visit.

So anyway, that, in a nutshell, are some of my favourites when it comes to Thai and all things martial. (Other than my own blog of course) and I hope you feel even more inspired than you were previously! I should be fighting in the next few weeks but I’ll know more next week so of course, will keep you in the loop. Thanks as always for reading and just like the last time… I’ll see you on that road.