Gentle as a lamb.

Hi. It’s nice to catch up as always, and as we approach the end of week 1 of Lockdown 2 (and what a good name for an action film that is) it seems that not much has changed. The city may be a little quieter (but not that much quieter) more people seem inclined to wear a mask walking down the street (although many still don’t) and the gyms may unfortunately be closed (again) but life as always continues as normal.

Personally, I’ve not let myself be drawn into the conspiracy nonsense theory around the pandemic because being honest, there’s been problems with the government for years there has been massive social inequalities in this country for years and it seems that a lot of people who need something to get paranoid about have jumped on a bandwagon laden with snake oil salesmen and the far right. It’s really not for me. I don’t think it ever will be.

At times like this, it’s important to remain grounded and level headed. There’s lots to be angry about at present and if your going to do that, hey that’s great just make sure your energy extends into real world activism beyond the safety of your keyboard and most importantly make sure your energy flows into the right places. There’s plenty of wrong out there to right.

When it comes to all things martial I’m glad that this week I managed to catch the last couple of sessions before the gym shut it’s doors once again. I hope it’s going to only be until the beginning of December but as with the rest of the year so far, it’s safe to say anything could happen so on that basis I’ve decided to make sure I keep on top of running, home training and all that good stuff you can practice without the need for a gym, training partners and a load of kit. Besides, my sofa cushions make a great makeshift heavy bag and my cross will still make orphans of your future children.

In fact, I’ve spent a lot of time working on that and my left body kick on the heavy bag of late. There’s a knockout punch sitting there but being honest, I think there always has been. My left leg has never let me down and I doubt it ever will, in fact over the past month or so it’s got consistently better and stronger. And faster. Which is really when it comes down to it what you want. In fact, I’ve broken the habit of stopping when I kick and I can now kick through the target without having to put too much thought into the process.

It can be really easy to overthink techniques just like it can be really easy to overthink situations in sparring or even in the ring. Sometimes, the best results emerge when I switch off. The samurai used to call this moment “Mushin” or “empty mind” I’ve read some call it flow state, but either way what it means is ignoring the mental distractions and focusing on the here and now. After all, there’s no time like the present. When you can switch the noise off the world is yours.

Mindset as well as technique is something that be practiced intentionally or maybe unintentionally in home training, running or even when doing something as simple as a making a coffee. Being an observer allows you to detach from a situation and let’s you respond accordingly. Additionally if you’ve experienced a fight slowing down when your opponent throws something at you, you’ll understand what presence is. You are 100% in the moment and don’t respond with emotion. In fact, you don’t let emotion get in the way at all. Some of the best fighters answer back with pure venom but never like it’s saturday night outside the chip shop.

I spend a lot of my time on the bags focusing on not just speed but power but that’s never an out pouring of aggression. It’s getting better because my technique is, and if you deliver something as directly as possible you will always get the best results. I think over the next few weeks I’m going to make sure I keep working hard in training as when the gyms open again I want it to be like I never left. I want to make sure that I’m still sharp still focused and still committed to what I do. But that’s me. Goal setting. And after all this time, still as gentle as a lamb and as fierce as a lion. Have a great week, and just like the last time.. I’ll see you on that road.

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