Courage.

Evening all,Here we are again you and me. Sorry I’ve arrived later than anticipated but as always it’s nice to see you again. It’s starting to get warmer here and at the moment it’s the sort of warmth that manages to hang around until the evening.

It’s quiet where I live at night. In fact it’s so quiet it’s a good time to reflect or to think of nothing at all on the reasonably long walk home. Some days the latter is always the better.

I think I spend more time these days writing on Twitter than I do actually writing this blog so I think it’s about time I changed that around. It wasn’t until earlier today when I watched this pretty inspiring lecture (sorry Geoff) on procrastination did I realize that the time I’ve been moaning about not having for writing, training enough, fighting and so on has suddenly been given to me once more.

I had to make a decision to put one part of my life on hold (again) so I could start to get the other bits right. I’ve studied with the Open University for many years now and the perpetual ground hog day I’ve found myself in with the last year or so of study has found a way of successfully catching me off guard a couple of times now.

You have to take it seriously, just like you have to take fighting and training seriously or else your just not going to do it. Being honest  I think yet again I took on a little too much so although stepping back wasn’t the easiest thing to do it really feels like it was the right one. I’m back in the mix in 12 months time. By that time I’ll have my first book published and my business will have become a multi national. Just you watch.

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I’ve never been afraid to admit my flaws and it’s true there is a gift in every situation we encounter in life. Because that is all we ever have. Situations. I think when I stepped away from this particular one I realized what I was looking for had been there all along. And on that basis, for the past couple of weeks I’ve been training 4 times a week again. It’s looking like this week I’ll be back up to a healthy 5.

And I should think so too. Besides, I’m fighting in under a month. I’m running (though not as much as I should be ) and I’m getting sharper. I need more though. I need to add a little more. I don’t see the point in procrastinating and telling myself I’ll do this in 6 months I’m looking forward to getting back in there now. You are never too old when your heart is big and I’m a good fighter. I like pressure.

So despite checking in a few days later than planned it’s nice to touch base with you all. It’s been a half decent week training so far, and there’s tomorrow night and the weekend to go yet too. Then there’s the running. I don’t feel nervous at present because at the moment it doesn’t feel real. I’ve been out for a little while and I can’t wait to get back in but I don’t feel the usual nervousness that gets me about now (or is it next week)  and I can’t help but wonder why that is.

Trust me when I’m  back in the square ring next month it will feel nothing but real. Fighting is brutal full stop but in the ring you don’t have anywhere to run. You have to stand your ground and show that person who you are.

Fighting is also fun. It brings out the best in me and I love the challenge. I always step out the ring a little bigger than who I was. “Good fight mate good fight!” Yeah I miss that.. And the nerves. And the tunnel vision And the courage it takes to stand your ground and fight. I’ve missed being a fighter.

So for the rest of this week, It’ll be more of the same. Training harder and starting to push a bit more. As the song goes “If you don’t know me by now, you will never ever ever know me at all.” Have a fantastic week and train hard. I’ll see you on that road.

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Back on track. (because it’s still a long road.)

Well, here we are again you and me. It’s been a crazy past few weeks and It’s felt like at points I’ve never really had any time to myself. If you’ve wondered if my blog had dropped off the face of the planet for good, I’m pleased to say it’s back. It’s back and it’s pissed off it got put down for so long. Writing is therapy.

So, what’s new with me in the world of all things martial? Well, quite a lot. I’ve finally managed to punch through the glass ceiling and get myself matched up to fight overseas in June. I’m pleased to say my trainers said ‘ok’ (cheers Dave) and people at my camp seem pretty supportive.

I’ve been through the grinder a little emotionally with a few things of late, but not letting irrelevant morons, pathetic self pitying trolls and general losers (luckily none of whom exist at my current camp but turn up in walks of my life ) grind my gears too much it’s good to be gradually heading back in the right direction. Bullying takes many forms and bullies regardless of who they are have always been and always will  be small pathetic little people who inevitably dig their own holes.

Whenever you feel at your lowest they suddenly appear to try to either play games or kick you when your down. Or do both. Either way like Public Enemy said. Your gonna get yours. I had to mention those kind of people because when we stand up they become afraid.

So here we are again you and me, and here I am. Standing up again. In June of this year I have my 16th fight on the cards. I’m fighting under IMFA rules  5 x 3 minute rounds, anything goes or Thai rules  Which is what’s called “A” class here. We just have a little bit of padding (luckily no head guard).  It’s going to be a good way to get back into the swing of competing. I feel ready to turn it up a notch again. I keep saying it to myself over and over. It’s good to be back.

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I’ve got 4 and a bit weeks to go before I fly out to fight, a bit of weight to drop, a lot of running to do and training to focus on. I’m pleased to say the alcohol got thrown out the window on Sunday. I already feel healthier. Pretty soon my body will start saying “thanks” as is it’s custom. Just like they did with the Bionic man, I can rebuild the fighter in me. He’s never left. This time round he’ll win all his fights.

I’m hoping to continue in the same vein when back home after the next one but it’s better to focus on what’s ahead rather than the next 6 months. I’ve never really set fighting goals other than winning (that took it’s time) but I think I’m out to shake the rust off and most importantly be the best I can be. Which of course, means smashing the person in front of me. I can do it. I have heart. I’m a better fighter than way back when. And I’m tougher inside and wiser too. It’s good to be back on track and as always it’s a long road. I’ll see you on it soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alrighty then.

Well, it’s nice to be able to catch up even if it’s taken a little longer than I’d like this time round. I’ve been busy. Yeah I know. Same old same old, but seriously though I have. Training hasn’t been too bad of late and I’ve found myself leveling out at a few sessions a week.

It’s been good to be able to remain consistent and I’m thinking I’ll really start to pick things up again next week onwards. As Friday is a always a little lighter on the ground work wise and everything else in general I felt it was an appropriate moment to sit down and get some writing done. Besides, that Friday feeling is over rated anyway.

So how have things been going of late? well, to be completely honest with you busy. I’ve been running my own business now for nearly 3 years and over the past 8 months or so  it’s started to take shape. With that and everything else in my life it feels at points I barely find the time for myself anymore. Luckily, I know that I’m not alone. I also know that slow and steady will often win the race. Every day strugglers often get the goods.

I’m pleased to say I’ve still kept the same goals I had at the beginning of this year when it comes to all things martial and although at points the horse seems very adapt at galloping away from me I’m utterly determined to  climb back on it. Where’s there a will there’s a way and of course.. me.

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Next month I’ll be shaking a bit of rust off for some friendly non competitive fun which in turn I’m hoping gets my head back in the game to step back in the ring for real. It’s going to be good to see where things are at under a bit of pressure. Keeping it simple as always is the order of the day.

I’ve still got my sights on heading overseas over seas this year to compete but it’s not looking massively likely at present. Weight and experience is proving to be what is commonly known as a ball ache but I’m confident that my trainers here can find me someone in the meantime I’m keeping my ear to the ground regardless.

The rest of the weekend looks like training which is always a good thing. I’ve been pretty slack with running of late so might have to start with a decent one to kick off the day then it’s training over the weekend too. As I said a minute ago.. Where there’s a will there’s a way. Have a good weekend and just like the last time, I’ll see you on that road.

 

 

 

Only if your heart’s in it.

Evening all. Like the bus that finds itself arriving on time because the previous driver got sacked for general tardiness, my blog’s arrived back in it’s usual Sunday spot. Well that’s nice. 🙂 This week unlike last week has been full of martial goodness. That’s awesome.

Despite not running as much as I’d like this week I think I’m going to get it back on track next week onwards. I keep reminding myself that if you don’t run you don’t fight. It’s important to adopt the right attitude with everything I do. But, training this week has been good.. 4 sessions beats two hands down  and it’s already looking like it’s panning out the same next week too. That can only ever be a good thing.

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about whether or not I really have the commitment to get myself up to a decent level for fighting again and as with all things Thai a lot of it comes down to heart.

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You need to be prepared to firstly put in the work and most importantly not give up no matter how tough things get. If you can’t commit to the training then you’ve as good as lost. So instead of making excuses I’ve decided to put my heart into boxing again as well as everything else. Just recently I spent some time reading Don Heatrick’s excellent Muay Thai strength and conditioning blog.

What was quite inspiring for me was reading that after a 2 year fighting break and at the age of 40 Don became a British champion. When you read about people like Don making one hell of a comeback in one of the toughest martial arts on the face of the planet you can’t help but wonder what you can achieve when you put your mind to it. Another great fighter and someone who got back in the ring after some time out is Pete Irving. Not only did he get back in the ring, he got back in the ring in Thailand and won.

Both of those situations are for me, affirmation that I can achieve what I’ve been aiming for, for  well over a year now and I understand that if I can get back in the ring and fight  then I can get back in the ring and win. I don’t want to be the greatest I just want to be the best I can possibly be. Like my old trainer Sert used to say me in fight training “there’s still something left in the tank.” Yes it can be done.

So when I look at next week onwards I know the road ahead is going to be tough, I know there’s going to be put downs, critics, procrastination galore and weeks when I feel like outright giving up and heading down the boozer but what I want absolutely outweighs all of that. I’ve made sure I’ve spent a bit of time sparring in the ring again recently and at one point it was just me and that space.  I still absolutely feel at home. There’s a fighter that’s rising up again after all this time away and he’s grinning. Have a good week and be the best you can be. I’ll see you on that road.

 

 

The air up here.

Well, it’s nice to check in with you all again. I thought I’d say thanks as always for checking in with my now less regular than I’d like blog. You must of had a slightly less exciting than usual Easter because I had a lot of visits. That’s always good to see. Although I keep aiming to get writing back on track it keeps taking a back seat in comparison with everything else I have to get back on track.

But you know the best thing is little by little I’m winning. Like Rage against the machine once said ‘we gotta take the power back’ and I’m pleased to say that I finally think I am. I managed to fit in a 6 or 7k run earlier today which is a good thing seeing as I ran yesterday too although I admit not quite as far. As it stands, I may even go running tomorrow and then it’s back to the gym in the evening.

Looking at the week ahead I’ve already got 4 sessions mapped out this week although maybe mapped out a little more cynically than usual. It seems that every time I plan to get stuck in, something crops up that keeps me away from the gym and then I’m back here again. That aside I’ve still managed to get in a little time over the past couple of weeks. That’s always a good thing.

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I think it was yesterday evening I realized that I’m starting to get bored of pubs and night clubs again. There’s a limited shelf life for me when it comes to doing the same thing everyone else does week in and week out. Setting myself new training goals and getting myself fighting fit is always something that’s worth working towards although it’s a little harder when you don’t have anything specific to point yourself at.

I’m currently waiting to hear back on fighting overseas around June of this year and I’ve decided it’s more than likely going to be something I’ll choose to do if I have the opportunity. I’m well aware at the moment I need to be training a lot more to consider competing again but hey there’s April to get up to speed in and May if required can be a on switch moment.

I’m hoping there’s some opportunities this year that arise with my gym too. I certainly feel ready to fight again I just need to put in the work. I think in all honesty I’ve been mentally preparing myself for the past couple of months. I miss the combat and I get bored easily otherwise.

When it comes to fighting I completely accept that I’m going to have to take the rough with the smooth. I’ve had a reasonable amount of fights, won a few, drawn a couple and lost more than I’d like. That however  was then and this is now. I can never start from scratch but I know I can fight to win and I’m confident I’ll achieve what I want next time I’m up.

People can often work in numbers and statistics and at points I  let that get me down. I think I mentally have an explanation lined up to be given another chance that I would really love to bin. You see when I start to reflect on statistics I find myself forgetting that every fight has been an experience unique to me and numbers on a sheet of paper don’t do each situation anything close to the justice it deserves.

Most importantly, win, lose or draw I’ve learnt from each fight I’ve had and taken something away. It’s made me tougher and life itself over the past couple of years has made me a lot stronger than I have been before. I refuse to return to an old version of myself because he no longer serves me. Either get to know the new me or get the fuck out.

I think Geoff Thompson pretty much hit the nail on the head  a while back when he talked about the air  getting thinner  the higher you get. For a while now I haven’t really had that sensation. I haven’t felt out my comfort zone when it comes to martial arts for well over a year now and I sincerely think that is absolutely a bad thing. The only solution is to for once, stick to my game plan and keep working towards my goals.

There’s a lot of bullfight critics out there but there’s only ever one person who fights the bull. Let’s see if this week pans out the way I plan it to. I don’t ever give up. Even at the hard bits. Have a good week, and just like the last time.. I’ll see you on that road.

Fencing.

Evening all. I thought I should stop by to let you know how things are going and mainly because as always there’s a lot going on with me. Training is slowly edging itself back on track despite a good few weeks of practically nothing bar one or two sessions here and there and I’m thinking positive about next week onwards.

I’ve set summer time this year latest as a realistic goal to be back up to speed by and still have my heart set on fighting overseas. It takes a lot of courage to step in a ring and compete and what I’ve developed in and out the ring have always made me walk tall. In fact, there’s very little these days that frightens me as most of my detractors and oppressors imaginary or not, are much smaller than I am.

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Fear, a friend of mine and a subject I’ve written about at length over the course of this blog often rears it’s head at the most unexpected of times. If you’ve ever been unfortunate enough to find yourself in violent or at the very least confrontational situations outside of any competitive or training environment you’ll be all to familiar with my friend and I guess yours. Learning how to manage it and how to use is however what makes people like you and me exceptional.

A while back, I wrote about situational awareness and how is this something that I think it’s important to develop on a day to day basis.  Fundamentally, it goes back to flow state or staying present. Just recently I caught up with an old friend and the subject of being present came into the conversation.

He told me that he sees me as a person who is very much in the here and now when it comes to fighting, training and otherwise. I guess in a lot of respects I can be but like with everything else it’s a work in progress. The one thing I do know and that I’m very proud of is the guy that used to from time to time get  shoved around, attacked verbally and at points physically is long gone.

He was never a bad person and he’s always been incredibly brave but when push came to shove more often than not he got in the way. To finally get around him I’ve decided to develop an out of ring “on” switch. For me, and it doesn’t mean it’s the same for you (my old trainer rubs his nose with his glove before a fight vs me banging my gloves together as an example) is what Geoff Thompson calls the fence.

The fence not only allows for control of a situation but is also a great way to manage fear and turn fight or flight into fire if needed. These are skills that I’ve had to develop when competing and I think it’s just as important to work on them in day to day life. Being aware of your surroundings (spatial awareness) and being aware of your situation can serve you well and despite being a reasonably good judge of character I find it just as easy as the next person to find a smile or handshake disarmingly friendly at points.

If you have a good heart you’ll usually see the good in people. Sometimes you need to read between the lines. I’ve found that practicing what’s known as a walking meditation has helped immensely with staying in the now and it really is surprising what you notice when you learn to switch off. These are skills that I do my best to apply at the gym and something that happens naturally when fighting. I’m always present and the noise stops.

I see fencing as a kind of call to action but I think that it’s something that can serve everyone well who wants to learn how to defend themselves outside of a gym or ring environment. Fear as I’ve said is the mind killer and I know that if I can stay in charge of what’s in front of me than I’ve got more than a fighting chance.

i thought I’d leave you this week with a little more Geoff Thompson from way back when. He’s always been a martial artist and writer I’ve found particularly inspiring and is one person who absolutely knows fear  In the meantime, have a great week and just like the last time.. I’ll see you on that road.

 

Off switch.

Well, here we are again you and me and as usual I’m late.  You know since the last time we caught up I’ve still been struggling with doing things not just how I want to but how I should do. I think I’m going to stick to my guns however and keep focused.

It does take time to get things back on track but it’s getting there. Load balancing has never been an easy task but it’s doable when you put your mind to it. And speaking of putting my mind to things I need to start paying attention more in training. I think I’m picking things up well at present. Not everything but there’s a lot that works.

Focus, especially when I’ve had a long day isn’t always where it should be. I’ve always been a bit of day dreamer and I internalize a lot and it’s easy to find myself drifting a little when I should be paying attention.You see the thing is when I relax and really enjoy what I’m doing, things more often than not get a lot easier than they were the minute before.

When I put the frustrations out my head of needing someone to be sharper with the pads, and I forget the bad day I’ve had work wise, I let go of the stress of Open University course work I keep running away from, forget about the bills and everything else that lies ahead, when I let all of that fall away and focus on the here and now things get easier. And I realize I’m getting better.

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Keeping myself in the moment or the here and now (which is where we should be all of the time but often finds ourselves caught up in the past or worrying about the future) keeps my mind empty enough to let my body do what it needs to. I know I need to be training more than I am at present. I can feel it every time I kick, every time I hit something. My body tells me so I keep focusing on getting better and little by little It’s coming together. It just needs a bit more time every week..

Well, being honest it needs a lot more but that, like everything else is a work in progress. Now that’s something I’ve not heard myself say in a while. Why it can only be a good thing. So as I get ready for the rest of Wednesday morning, contemplate how far I’m going to run at some point today, worry about my degree, workflow and everything else ahead.. I think I’m going to remember that now and again it’s ok to let things fall away. I think I’m going to remember to be still. Because here I am. And there. Right there. Is the voice.