Happy Wednesday all. It’s good as always to catch up. Lockdown and national health crisis aside I hope all is well with you and yours and that in your own way you’ve managed to keep your training consistent. You know, it’s not easy staying motivated when gyms are closed but if you take your training seriously and want to keep your tools sharp it’s important to do so.

During this lockdown I’ve spent slightly more time running than during the first, but it’s also a little tougher to stay motivated and home train. To combat this, on occasion I’ve broken up runs with bursts of shadow boxing by the riverside ( I’ve got a nice little route that takes me down by a river and out to woods near my pad.) I’ve also started sprinting a lot more, whilst sometimes quite vocally keeping myself motivated. But that’s just me. I get bored when I can’t box so I look for new ways to keep things interesting outside the gym. It’s either that or stagnate.

At home, I’m starting to get more into my shadow again as well as press ups, sit ups and weights. Despite telling myself I’m going to train on x day or x times a week I find myself more in a place where I train as and when I want to. Being honest, I currently miss the gym. Lockdown here is probably the strictest yet so its debatable how soon we’ll get back to doing the things we love the most. This February, I will of been training in Muay Thai for 15 years. It’s been a long road so far that’s not been without its ups and downs and my journey into fighting started way back in 2010.

My ‘ram muay ‘ at Bristol Thai’s Broadplains show way back in the mists of 2010 fighting for Sakaprasert gym Bournemouth. I lost on points but many people told me I won.

Like with all journeys it’s been a good one and being honest, I don’t think it’s over just yet. At 42 years old I’m still in good shape, still young and just as determined as I always was. Most importantly I’m better than I used to be and have a reasonably amount of experience in the ring. There is one thing I do know and that it’s not going to get any easier and than in fighting years 42 classes me as an old fighter.

I hate thinking like that. It seems self defeating. negative and pessimistic but it’s an inescapable truth. It doesn’t mean I’m any less capable than a guy in his 20’s it just means I need to fight smarter. I need to get used to conserving my energy and really find my shots. I’m getting a little better at doing that but it’s also taking me a long time to get used to standing my ground again under pressure.

Most of the guys in my gym are a lot heavier than me (although I’m usually walking around at around 65kg ) and this means I will usually have a tough time sparring the more experienced fighters if they turn it up a little but that’s the way it should be I guess. The main disadvantage I have is not being able to spar with people who have had more fights than me.

Although there’s better fighters than me that train out of our camp we’re pretty much fresh faced when it comes to competition. I’m sitting on 19 fights with only a few wins a couple of draws and 2 titles under my belt. (i fought the same guy under Muay Thai and then K1 rules and beat him twice.)

Although I’ve lost more fights than I’ve won I feel I’ve leant a reasonable amount along the way. Some days it feels like I’ve learnt nothing at all but sometimes it feels like I’m improving in leaps and bounds. There’s more to Muay Thai ironically than fighting so even when this part of my journey reaches it’s conclusion (some think it has I’m confident there’s still fuel in the tank) I know I’ll be training for many years to come. In fact, I know I’ll be training when I’m 60.

If Muay Thai has taught me one thing over the years it’s that when I put my mind to it, I can achieve anything and when I want something enough I bring it to me. It’s also helped me fundamentally reshape and restructure my life by giving me enough focus and discipline to break a cycle I once found myself in.

As a young man I was often stop searched by the police, and being mixed race found myself racially profiled from the age of 16 years old, even before I did anything wrong. Without going into a lengthy tirade it’s fair to say I’ve been through the justice system and it didn’t fix me.

You see, there is a fundamental truth about stop and search policing and that’s that it’s racist to it’s core. The law is not meant to punish you for an indefinite period of time and police are not meant to consistently harass you on this basis. In the end I fixed me with a little help from Muay Thai.

I started training at the age of 27 and shortly after that my last stop search occurred in my home town of Portsmouth. I’m writing a book about my life experiences and how martial arts helped me turn my life around. As Geoff Thompson would say I’ve been round a few corners and as he would also say write about what makes you uncomfortable. Go to the dark places. It’s where healing starts.

When it come to the rest of the year and training I’m not sure what it holds simply because no one else is. It’s fair to say we’ve started off 2021 in exactly the same place as we started 2020 but I have faith that things will begin to improve over the next couple of months. Doing what we do isn’t an easy path at points but just like in the ring I’ve learnt to adapt to what is currently being thrown at me.

I think I’m going to try to work out a more structured training approach until the gyms reopen and do my best to keep busy with shadow and fitness. Last Sunday I spent the best part of the day training and also finished by teaching in an online class. It was a good day. Here’s to many more like them. I may miss the heavy bag but for the first time in a while, I’m starting to miss the ring too. But here’s me nearly fifteen years old. Isn’t that something? They used to say I’d never make it to twenty five. Have a good week train hard, and just like the last time.. I’ll see you on that road.

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