Basics

Hi. I thought I’d take the time to sit down and catch up with you. Training wise this week has as always been a good one. I’m pleased to say that in fact, all is well. I feel a lot better in myself than I have done over the past few weeks. Most importantly I feel a lot stronger. There’s a lot to focus on at present but little by little it’s getting easier to put it down, so I can get back to basics.

I’m start to sharpen up a little on pads and bag work plus sparring is something I’m enjoying. For the first time in a long time this week I’ve stepped into my gym and left everything at the door. It’s literally happened every time I’ve started training. Learning to switch the noise off is never an easy task at the best of times but when I’m training I am perpetually in the present moment. When my thoughts start to drift I focus very briefly on my environment.

“The mat is blue.” has become a trigger for me to shut down the chatter and concentrate or maybe not concentrate on what I’m doing. I’ve laid an anchor and when it drops I feel awake and in the game. Today during our Sunday open mat session I found myself stalking my pad holder like I’d stalk an opponent in the ring to close them down.

My footwork is getting better and my aggression is coming back. We worked through a long 4 minute round before swapping and it was a good 4 minutes. She’s a good pad holder. I feel that around 3 to 4 weeks ago I was going through the motions with training and wasn’t really “in the room” as such. This week has felt different. This week has felt better. I’m very pleased with me.

I’ve written a lot during the course of this blog about staying in the present moment and why it matters. Mindfulness to me, is just as important outside of training as it is inside. Early today I shared an important piece of writing on Twitter about being the observer. It’s also known as the silent witness. I’ve begun to start practising walking and riding meditations. As a good friend of mine once said to me “see what you notice”. Just observe and let the thoughts wash over you into nothing. They have no power.

It’s an important skill to master because as martial artists it lets us respond rather than react. Looking at situations where we need to defend ourselves it lets us detach from emotions and deal with a problem whether it be on the street or in the ring. Some of the beauty of Muay Thai is the switch from calm to venom. Every shot and every counter attack is always in the now. As I’ve said, it’s there for us when we need it the most.

Over the course of the next week I’m going to spend a lot of my time working on presence outside of the gym. I’m not perfect and from time to time I react to day to day life encounters. I realised an hour ago that I just don’t need to. Microaggressions and antagonisms only have power if you give them power. It’s not like I face them every day but where of late I have had a rough time of it I’m well aware I can fire up inside quickly. There is no problem unless it’s a problem. I hope I have to say no more than that. The biggest goal for me training wise at present is about taking the energy, focus and peace from the gym home with me and applying it to all parts of my life. After all, as a trainer once said to me, it’s mine to keep. Until the next time, train hard and fight easy. I’ll see you on that road.

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