Still my friend.

oThis week has a been a truly great week of training. In fact, it’s been better than great it’s been awesome. Months of telling myself I need to start training how I used to has finally led into me training how I used to. It’s the best thing that’s happened martially in while.

So here I am after an all too common leave of absence from blogging to have a brief catch up about my favourite thing. Some might say it makes us exceptional, and as long as I’ve been training for I’ve learnt it’s only ever false evidence appearing to be real.

Fear can be a funny thing. It takes a lot of different shapes and appears in a wide variety and never a garden variety of forms. Earlier this week I had a couple of tougher than usual rounds of sparring, rather than asking the person in front of me to take some power out I decided to suck it up and carry on as normal. Inevitably, I got caught with a great shot. In fact I got hit so hard I felt my head turn.

I think it was at that point I felt my expression change and something somewhere inside decided to switch itself on. I’m not the first person I know of this happening to and being honest it shouldn’t really take a bit of punishment to create a trigger but ok, sometimes it can help.

Thai has toughened up my mentality over time but being honest  I’ve always been tough inside.  Life at points has hit me hard. Sometimes I’ve hit the pavement harder.  Sometimes I seemed to attract negative situations and people. Some of my more street savvy friends would say I was too soft. Too kind to people. Others would tell me not to change.

Either way, It’s fair to say I’m a survivor and I know how to get back on my feet and keep fighting. In the ring the last part has at points been in every literal sense of the word. I remember reading Geoff Thompson’s accounts of how he faced his fears and feeling inspired by what I read.

He was scared of spiders I’ve always been terrified of spiders. He was afraid of violent confrontation and I’d never been a big fan. I could relate to what I read but what inspired me about him was the way he stepped into his fear.

fairtex-gym

My trainer in Bournemouth told me once before I started competing that fighting wasn’t for everyone. He said it was brutal.  I still decided to step up to the challenge, and I found that once I stepped into my fear everything changed. I fell in love with competing even though for a while all I did was lose. It showed me a part of me I never knew existed and he was a brave soul.

He had the heart of a lion and would never give up. He looked fear square in the face and said “do your worst. You don’t scare me.” I’m blessed enough to have him back in my life today. I hope you get to see him again soon. Before you wonder if the voices in my head are running amok, let me explain. It goes back to something my dad said to me when I moved to my current stomping ground. “You have to be a different person.”

It’s was strange because it was something that had recently come up in discussion with my trainer before I left his gym. We had talked like we often did in his cafe, about boxing life and whatever might come up at the time. “You can’t be a nice guy in the ring” he had told me. It was agreed then that I’d have to be a different person when it came down to fighting. And of course, I’d have to not give up.

You see I’ve realized that until I put my “fighting head” on, nerves, anxiety and everything else attached would literally kick the shit out of me before a contest. Right up until the point I stepped in the ring. If you’ve ever experienced an adrenal dump or even a caffeine crash you’ll know what I mean. You spend hours so highly strung that your friend fear borrows the good stuff and refuses to give it back.

What’s worse is it’s all over your face. Your trainer knows, the other fighters know and knowing they know only makes it worse. I went down this road a few times competing before I finally learned how to start to switch it on when it was needed and could ignore  the negative chatter in the meantime.

Just recently in the gym I’ve spent some time focusing on just that. Shutting up the inner critic and focusing on what’s in front of me.  It’s important to stay grounded and be aware of what’s happening around you as well as focusing on what’s in front of you. I still really need to get some focus back and get my fighting head sharper. It used to be better than it is right now and I think if I keep the momentum up with training it’ll get back to a good place a lot faster than I anticipated..

You know, Some days I’ve felt angry when it comes to fighting. I’ve felt like people expect me to lose. The small bunker full of wankers determined to ruin any chance I have of getting back to a part of me I wish I’d never left behind are only my own doubts and fears doing their best to keep me in check. When it comes down to it it’s really up to me to prove the bastards wrong. Like I said earlier on, fear takes a lot of forms.

Next week I’m back in the mix and hope that things remain in the same vein. I’ve trained hard and I feel energized and just about ready to keep pushing myself in everything I do. The key is to take the energy and put it  into the good places in my life. I’m lucky enough to have several..there’s a fire in my eyes again. Have a great week and train hard. I’ll see you on that road.

 

 

 

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