All posts by The Little fighter still has a big heart.

About The Little fighter still has a big heart.

Determined, tenacious and enjoying the journey, 16 fights behind me so far, training for over 11 years and have just taken my first steps back into the ring after 3 years out. I am a former WRSA amateur light weight area champion. These days I fight B class or semi pro Muay Thai whilst defeating my inner demons, coping with martial trials and tribulations and making sure I still love every minute of it.

All good things

Hi. Before I start to make excuses it’s worth mentioning that training over the past week or so has been a little lighter on the ground than I’d like, mainly due to being full of cold. I’ve learnt the hard way a few times when it comes to Thai boxing and germs that training when sick isn’t the way forward.

So, despite a short break (I made it down there twice so at least that’s something )and a despondent week of feeling sorry for myself, this week onwards I’m back on the horse. After all this time somethings never change and really, when all is said and done I wouldn’t have it any other way.

A couple of weekends back I did an interclub locally that went pretty well. I had been out for a pre-birthday night on the tiles with an old friend and it’s always a struggle the day after the night before to do anything even remotely athletic but I saw it through.

I’ve found that I’m getting back to the old me. What I mean by that is that I’m standing my ground a lot more as well as coming forward Although slightly more strategically than my bull in a china shop mentality of fights gone by.  In hindsight, I don’t think it’s ever been that bad. Maybe I don’t give myself enough credit. I have hazy recollections of an old trainer of mine gesturing wildly with his arm from the corner when I wasn’t going forward enough. “In, in!.” that’s the Muay Thai way.

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In a few weeks time, I’m back in the ring for the 18th fight in my up and down fighting career. Of course, I want to win but I also know when I fight I can never really lose.  I think I will always love the combat and I’m going remember to use that as a driver over the next few weeks of training to push myself to be at my very best. It may not be an exam or even a grading but it’s a good challenge and a real accomplishment when you win.

This time around I should be fighting at 63kg and it’s with elbows again but using pads. Last time around I had no idea what to do with my elbows but a lot had to come flooding back quickly. I intend to be a little more prepared for December. We’ll see how it goes. Either way, from tomorrow onwards it’s back to the grind.

Back to the running as well. Only when you compete do you truly understand how important that is. It’s nice to keep fit it’s even better when you get sprints in your life. I think at the moment I’m doing well and it feels like nothing ever really takes too long to sharpen up again, bad colds or not. Here’s to things continuing to move in the right direction in the next few weeks ahead. Being honest, It just seems to get better with time. Have a great week, train hard and I’ll see you on that road.

 

 

 

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Here and now

Afternoon all. it’s been a couple of weeks since I last checked in with you and being honest, I think I’ve just been a little lazy so thought I’d stop by. Having a nice quiet weekend ahead I’m going to dedicate myself to get my writing head on. I may well have to get my running head on too. Training of late has been quieter than usual but sometimes I guess it’s ok to slow down a little.

However, now that’s been and gone I’m pointing myself towards December from next week onwards because all being well I should be fighting again. I trust it to come together and this time I intend to win. I’m hoping next year sees me appearing on shows around the UK so in order to get to that point (I love fighting and I’m good enough to be in the square ring) I need to make sure I start winning again. Yes, it can be done.

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I’ve been thinking recently (without a small violin out) about my last fight and how I felt before I got in the ring and whilst I was in there. There’s no doubt for my first fight back after a few years out it was tough. I enjoyed it but walked out feeling a little shell-shocked and of course disappointed. In hindsight, I think I fought pretty well. It’s not an easy thing to do at the best of times and every fight is a learning experience. There’s a lot of work that needs to be done but I’m confident I can tip things my way. (again)

A friend of mine said to me a little while ago that I always seem very much in the present or the here and now when I fight or even when I spar. I think it’s important to be able to do that and to trust your body to respond with what it knows.. muscle memory is a big part of training no matter what your style or discipline.

On occasion, it’s easy to find the repetition of training with drills a bit of a drag but I’ve learnt to take away what works. A good set of basic skills will get you a long way. Watching some of the top level fighters I’ve come to realize that what wins fights is never anything fancy, it’s quite simply what works at that precise moment in time.

If you see the shot you need, you should take it and I think it’s easy to hesitate and over think a situation. When I’ve done that I’ve found the moment is lost. It’s also easy to fall into a trap of using the same techniques because they work (a fault of my own) so as equally as keeping it simple it’s important to keep it varied. (that’s a work in progress here.) Drilling and keeping yourself in the now will work wonders. Internal dialogue is the enemy of us all.

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When it comes to how I felt before my last fight it’s fair to say I was completely relaxed until the moment I had to really switch on and prepare to step up. Experience is often the best teacher and I put it down to having a reasonable amount of fights behind me. Sometimes, what you’ve won and lost doesn’t matter. Some would say it never matters.

I kept my mind clear and dealt with my nerves well. Here’s some advice. Feel nervous before a fight? don’t think about anything. Shadow, watch the other fighters get ready but never let your nerves get on top of you and always remember when you get in that ring it’s not about what they are going to do to you. It’s about what you are going to do to them.

I’ve found adopting the mentality of translating fear into action or intent goes a long way. Granted I spent a lot of my last fight on my back foot but I like to put that down to ring rust. Once I saw a friend of mine fight after a  break and he was also in a similar position for a lot of the fight. I found when I got back in there I realized what a fantastic and simultaneously tough place it is to be. (The fantastic came the next day. The tough happened at the time.)

I think it’s always been important for me to know that as long as I fight at my very best then I never have anything to regret. I step in that ring to test myself and because, at points, I want to prove myself and no one else wrong. When it comes to my last fight my biggest fear was not performing well. Getting stopped in the first minute. Giving up in round two. Coming to pieces and forgetting my training.

None of that happened and none of it ever will. In that respect, I didn’t lose. I only gained experience. Winning may be a bonus but next time it’s what’s going to happen. Mark my words. Have a great weekend and train hard. I’ll see you on the road.

 

 

 

 

 

Muay Thai reads

Hi! I thought I’d catch up with you all a little earlier in the day as promised. Firstly, thanks for paying so many visits of late to my blog! I know it’s not published as regularly as it should be but I’m doing my best to get things back on track and it’s great to see that ever since it started just after I won an area title (way back in the mists of 2013) it’s grown from strength to strength.

I’ve had some great feedback from you all over the years, the most uplifting being how inspiring people find my writing. If you have to nail this blog down to being anything other than about some random bloke who is pretty average at Thai boxing but has a head made out of metal and balls of steel, I guess you’d say it’s about personal change and development.

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There’s a very different person about to climb in that ring. 

A lot has happened over the years training and fighting wise and as always it’s been a good journey, of course, it’s ongoing. So anyway, whilst we’re on the subject of blogs and what’s out there that’s worth reading I thought I’d mention some of my favourites that are absolutely worth a visit!

So, when it comes to inspiring reads and very informative articles on training and fighting in Thailand one blog that is worth a mention is 8 limbs us by Sylvie Von Duuglas-Ittu. I really like Sylvie’s attitude towards a lot of things and I’ve always had an interest in the journey of female fighters in the Muay Thai world. With 200 fights to her name, I’m like “how have you done that?”. I wish I could get that good.

Which brings me to my second favourite blog under the ropes by Emma Thomas, again there are some really interesting articles and It’s really inspiring for me personally to read about someone who took a leap of faith and ended up doing something what many people out there never have the time or inclination to commit to. I can relate to the jumping in at the deep end approach personally, I still feel that is kind of what I did when I first started competing.

I can remember going to a show hosted by my old gym Sakprasert before I started fighting. At the end of it my trainer at the time grinning from ear to ear asked me if it was something I wanted to do. I said yes, and haven’t really looked back since. I think my main driver for continuing to fight after losing a lot was quite simply telling myself if I can fight then I can win. It’s called tenaciousness. Some may call it stupidity but I don’t listen to morons.

People I do listen to however are people like Muay Thai Scholar  Aaron Jahn, like Sylvie and Emma is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to all things martial and a lot of articles in the blog are generally useful especially if like me, your someone who takes your art home with you.  Not saying that’s something you need to do as I think it’s just as important to be able to switch off and unwind but you know..

Finally, one blog that is well worth your time is Don Heatrick Muay Thai Strength and Conditioning.  It is what it says on the tin and I’ve found the best advice often comes from those who strive to be the best at what they do. Don has achieved a lot with the sport and seems like a great trainer.

I’ve particularly enjoyed some of the articles written about mindsets and approach on his blog, so if you are interested in developing what makes you tick as a boxer as well as the physical side of things it’s worth a visit.

So anyway, that, in a nutshell, are some of my favourites when it comes to Thai and all things martial. (Other than my own blog of course) and I hope you feel even more inspired than you were previously! I should be fighting in the next few weeks but I’ll know more next week so of course, will keep you in the loop. Thanks as always for reading and just like the last time… I’ll see you on that road.

 

 

 

 

This week.

Well nice to see you again. I thought I should check in as this week has managed to get me back on track when it comes to all things martial. I’ve finished off the week on a good note with a run and training earlier and plan to carry on in the same vein from Tuesday onwards as is the norm.

Sadly one of the shows I could have fought on in October got cancelled and although two people from my gym got matched up for the Muay Thai GrandPrix that’s coming up it looks like I’m going to have to wait until December time to fight again.

I’m sure an opportunity to fight on the GrandPrix will come around again anyway and I guess I’ve got more time to get myself ready. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again and again. It’s good to be back.

I’ve started to temporarily cut alcohol out my life ( a detox never hurt anyone you know.)  seeing as my holiday and the week following was pretty boozy I thought it could be a good idea.

Besides, it knocks your fitness and makes you put on weight. As a very old friend of mine once said to me, don’t drink if your fighting. So to build on that, from Monday onwards I intend to get my diet up to speed.

Being honest, it’s really not too bad but I have got a sweet tooth that over the past 8 years or so has turned out to be my toughest opponent yet but it’s not undefeated. Having half a brain I usually eat reasonably healthy too. Even on holiday, there was a lot of salads. There was a fair bit of wine but you know, there was also salads.

Getting back to training this week, I’ve been pleased to find I’ve been a little sharper than usual in sparring and I’m still feeling just as strong as always. It’s a nice feeling getting back into the training and finding that as always it’s all still there.

Martial arts may be a long game but I know that it’s with me for life. I’m keen to start pushing my fitness up from next week onwards and hope that it reflects in my training too.

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This week I’ve noticed some improvements to what I do beginning to creep in and overall its fair to say I feel sharper and I feel faster than I did 2 months ago. As an example, shin blocking body kicks have got better on my left side, leaving me to either get my right shin block up to speed or get better at catching and countering.

An old trainer of mine always said to me my defence would come last. I’ve always found the attack easier which is interesting because being honest, I’ve always had a natural aversion to violence and when it comes to competing I’ve learnt to be a different person when I step through those ropes and my dragon wakes up. I know what fear is and these days I step into it.

I hope the progress I’ve begun to notice over the past couple of months serves me well in the long run  and I know I have a good trainer because once again I really do feel like I’m learning, and most importantly I know that I’m going to get better as a fighter if I stick with it and don’t give up.

When it comes to competing I think I have a lot of experience and the potential to get a little further than I thought I would. Despite not having the greatest of records I’ve achieved a lot so far and I’m better than I used to be. Just like the rest of training, it’s a long game or a long road (whatever you prefer I guess) but it’s something I intend to stick to.

So from Tuesday onwards, I intend to hit the ground running (literally) and to keep training hard and pushing forward. It’s been a good week this week and in general, things are headed in the right direction. But that’s me. Focused and committed in everything I do. After all this time, I still wouldn’t have it any other way. Have a great week and just like the time before… I’ll see you on the road.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s good to be back.

Well. after much procrastination, deliberation, distractions and everything else attached I’ve finally found the time to sit down and write.  It’s good to be back. Training has been a little thinner on the ground the past couple of weeks with holidays and everything else attached but I intend to hit the ground running next week onwards.

From tomorrow morning onwards I intend to start getting my teeth back into my writing project again. As some of you may or may not know I’ve studied with the Open University for many years now.

Reaching the Level 3 modules has been a long road but I’ve learnt a lot and have really complimented my existing IT skills with my studies. It’s always a work in progress but I guess in a way it is another element of personal development that can always be worked on and honed just like my journey through martial arts should always be.

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I decided recently to take a year out from my studies because being honest it was getting too heavy workload wise. Running my own business successfully and practically studying full time was something that made me take a step back and start to balance my ever increasing load more effectively. It ain’t easy being me at points but no matter the adversity or more appropriately challenge I always manage to come out on top.

It’s something that’s carried over into my fighting career well but I guess I’ve always been a fighter inside. It’s how I’ve learnt to never give up and it’s why I’m still determined to stick to my guns and push myself to keep competing, start winning again and remain focused on all my goals.

Granted I let what little hair I have down from time to time but if there’s something to point myself at and something to work towards I feel a lot better than simply training for training’s sake. Earlier on this evening, I reminded myself that it’s ok to doubt myself from time to time.

It’s ok to struggle with fighting, training and anything else that life can throw at me. The biggest challenges often hold the biggest rewards and even when the odds look bleak, and some would throw the proverbial towel in I remind myself that there is still no landrover. I just have to keep going. I absolutely will not give up. Not when I know I can succeed.

I feel that if I keep going on my current path with martial arts and with my life in general,  in 10 years time I’ll look back at this point and smile. I’ll remember that time I doubted myself (again) got frustrated with lack of progress (again) and wondered for a flickering moment if pubs and clubs were a better option than pushing myself to be at my best.

I’ll remember it well because it’s a yet another moment of clarity I need to remind myself of who I am inside and what I can be. I write not because I want to be a world champion but because I want to share a part of my inner with you. I box and I want to keep fighting because I still have a soul. It’s a long journey and it’s a tough one but It’s good to be back. I’ll see you on the road.

 

 

Me time.

Hi. I thought I should check in this evening. Its currently holiday time for me (well for a week at least) and being honest it`s hotter than I anticipated. Like really warm. Like borderline Thailand. I say borderline Thailand, I mean Thailand in October. Even then your looking at 30 degrees plus. Yeah. Borderline Thailand.

It´s good to be able to step out the hustle and bustle of day to day life and spend some quality time with the fam- In fact, it´s safe to say that I´m loving every minute of it. Things at home are good and I love being in the city but I also like water, and sun and new places. I think that´s why when I finally make another trip to the land of smiles I´ll spend a little time travelling round the country.

A good friend of mine is currently in the middle of nowhere having the crap kicked out of him twice a day by some of the best at what they do. I have a feeling when he comes home he´ll have tales of sweltering heat, 10k runs at 6am and why you should always spar light not heavy when playing with those who have probably had at least 200 fights.

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Sitsongpeenong, Phuket, 2014 

It´s fair to say there´s a big difference between how training is in Thailand and how training is here but in comparison we do our best. I miss the intensity and the freedom and always welcome the one to one rounds with trainers. In my current gym we often have “freestyle” rounds on the pads and bags and although it´s important to learn from a trainer it is also just as important to learn what works for you.

After all, we´re not mindless drones blindly doing as we are  told. Martial arts as I´ve said before is an expression of ourselves. Some people say it is your higher self expressing itself. I think when I first started Thai boxing I went into the whole thing as an open book. I just wanted to see where it was going to take me and I was a little lost inside when it came along.

After over 11 years of a never ending love affair it´s safe to say the journey has been a good one so far. I think I´m always going to be committed to training and improving myself and I know full well I intend to fight for a few years yet. It brings out the best in me. Sitting here writing this in the here and now has me missing the gym already.

To make up for it, tomorrow morning I´m going to do a little run to the gym across the way in over 30 degrees heat. I´ll then do some skipping and strength conditioning, weights and a bit of running machine before making the little punch bag that is now my best friend regret it was made. Again. Then I´ll probably have a swim. But that´s me. Out here, taking it easy and chilling out. Getting in some quality me time. Have a great week, train hard, and just like the last time. I´ll see you on that road.

 

Onwards and upwards.

Morning. I thought I should check in. Sorry for the late arrival this week but I got a little side tracked yesterday (I say side tracked I just had a lazy bank holiday Monday) and spent the best part of the day doing nothing. Which is usually how I spend Monday anyway, but you know. (That was a Tuesday joke.)

So, despite this week being shorter than usual I’m going to make sure I stay consistent with training and I keep focused on what’s ahead. I’m still waiting to hear back about fighting in October, I’ve been put forward for 2 shows one at the beginning of the month and one half way through so hope I get matched up. I feel positive about fighting so it’ll be good to step up again this year.

As a preemptive “just in case” I’ve already decided to start sorting my diet out and cut out the bad to replace it with good. I had fun over bank holiday but now officially a booze free zone. I have however managed to keep the running up too and this week onwards will make sure that continues in the same vein though I’ll start going a little further.

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Later today I’m going to try to actually arrive at the gym on time (well a little earlier ) to get some clinching practice in before the main training session starts and I intend to start pushing myself a little harder than the past couple of weeks. It’s not that I don’t anyway but I think it’s going to be worth flicking the “on” switch. Besides, I’d rather be preemptive that anything else.

Speaking of being preemptive in my mentality to fight training I intend  to be preemptive when it comes to fighting full stop I’m starting to get a little better again at being first and have started walking forward more again. I’ve always been a forward fighter so it’s good to know that it hasn’t gone anywhere, and when I put my mind to it I can be just as aggressive as I’ve always been.

I pressure fight and I’ve become accustomed to handling pressure in the ring.  Thai’s like that. It toughens you up inside and out. If you’ve ever seen that film unbreakable then you’ll get what I mean. I think that’s why clinching is something I enjoy doing and is absolutely  is something I want to get good at again (it’s always been a strength )

It’s not easy being a Muay Thai short arse at points although some say it’s made for the little people out there and it means I have to get used to staying close. I’m going to keep working on that and keep building on my inner Mr Nasty. If it means having a hard time sparring that’s always a good thing.

Moving from fighting with kicks, punches and knees  into the clinch is something I need to do more of.  Suffice to say, it’s easy to write about it but the doing can be a different game. Let’s see how things go this week.

In the meantime, I thought I’d .leave you with some Muay Thai action for Tuesday. Enjoy, have a good week and train hard. And just like the last time.. I’ll see you on the road. (The next one’s up on Sunday.)