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, 17 fights behind me so far, training for 12 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.

Always learning.

Hi. I thought I should check in once again before Sunday draws to a close and Monday has landed. This week has been a good week of training. I think being honest, it’s always been a good week of training.

Despite having a nagging knee injury that doesn’t want to seem to put itself to bed at present things, in general, are seemingly heading in the right direction. I’m enjoying Thai and also K1 which this week had some boxing thrown in for good measure. Going back to my knee injury,  I made the incredibly daft mistake of running 8.5 kilometres in Addidas Gazelles (as my old running trainers were finished) a few weeks ago.

Suffice to say my knee hasn’t been too happy since but hey, maybe I pulled something as it was my first long run in a while although ‘that’s not appropriate footwear’ didn’t seem to help things. Thankfully, when it has a day or so rest it usually settles down and is slowly getting better. Being honest,  when I’m training I barely notice it but when I do, it’s mostly when we’re practising catching teeps and yanking someone’s leg to get them off balance. Yeah. I noticed it earlier alright.

Tomorrow is a day off the gym then it’s back into the mix for the rest of the week. Having the capacity to choose between 4, 5 or even 6 sessions truly is a thing of awesomeness and I’m sure that if training and fighting were all I had to do as a job  I’d be in my element. I’m still a firm believer in making the gym my second home.  It may not come easy but the best things rarely do.

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Always learning. 

I’m starting off next week on the right foot with a 3-hour Thai session Tuesday evening. Wednesday evening could see me delve into a bit of boxing and from Thursday onwards it’s Thai and K1 goodness. Next Sunday I might even train in the morning and then again in the afternoon. I like freedom combined with commitment. It’s awesome.

From every session here on in, I’m making sure I’m engaged from the moment I walk through the door. As long as the on switch is flicked “on” I know that I’ll work hard. There’s a lot of work to be done to improve my technique, but when it comes to sparring I’m getting sharper and I’m faster. And besides, my techniques not horrendous it’s just some things could be better. Life’s like that. It’s never going to be perfect.  Some things I do good. and some things I do bad. But here I am.

I’m feeling gradually more and more confident about fighting again next month. The nerves haven’t really gone away but are just a quiet noise in the background. The other fighters in my gym put me through hell sparring. They really do. I hope that when I walk away a winner again I remember to say thanks. I’ll say it even if I don’t. I’m finishing this week off with some free weights and sit-ups. I try to do 150 sit ups a day and I don’t always remember to do them.. it’s getting there though. But, I remember what fighting is. I remember. Have a great week. I’ll see you on that road.

 

 

 

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Be aggressive

Hi. As always it’s nice to find the time to drop in for a weekly catch up on all things martial. This week, just like the week before has been a good week training. I started off the week with a little K1 to keep me on my toes (or the balls of my feet) and from there I headed into Tuesday for a decent 3-hour Thai session, starting the evening off with an hour PT with my fight trainer Dave “Da bull”  Wilmot of Team Tieu fame before my usual couple of hours training.

I’m lucky enough to be able to have access to someone like Dave as a coach and appreciated the adjustments he told me I need to make whilst stressing the need to be forward with everything I do be it stepping into my shots or standing my ground. I realized on Tuesday that not only do I still need to relax a little more in training but I need to focus on pressure, speed and volume as well as aggression.

Rolling into Thursday I already noticed that I was sharpening up a little despite feeling sluggish,  too slow and terrible sparring the week before. I’ve made sure that this week I’ve kept my running up to compliment my training and the past couple of booze-free weeks has started to pay off. I’m feeling fitter and my body is starting to say thanks.

Despite my legs being slightly demolished after sprints the past couple of runs, it looks like running is going to help the weight come off too. I’m currently walking around at the 63 mark and want to be down to 62 or 61.5 kg by the end of next week. I’m switching on and I’m noticing that the on switch is lit. That’s always a good thing.

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My biggest problem of late has been finding the aggression I know I’ll need in there. Despite me deciding to have a slightly shorter week training wise this week ( finishing Thursday ) as I intend to up the ante tomorrow onwards and train practically all week (5 days out of 7 from here on in) I feel accomplished.

Sparring although not outstanding in comparison to last week, was marginally better and I’m getting past the “I don’t like being hit or kicked hard, I don’t like the pressure” I was semi-complaining to myself about the week before. It may be only natural to baulk at physical confrontation but I’m pleased this week the fighter in me has decided to tap me on the shoulder and remind me of who I am inside. It’s been a while since me and him caught up and he’s still good company.  Besides, If the training is hard the fighting will be easy. That’s always a given.

When it comes to developing (or maybe redeveloping) my Thai boxing “grr” in training I’ve learnt over time that aggression in Muay Thai isn’t Saturday night outside the chip shop punch up venom and it’s not to be looked at through rose tinted spectacles either. It’s brutal, it’s calculating and it demands you be at your very best. An angry fighter is almost certainly destined to lose.

There’s a big difference between responding to an attack and reacting to one, just like there’s a big difference between attacking with intent or bouncing around the ring with your guard around your ankles screaming “I’ll have you!” Ok, maybe that’s an exaggeration but you know what I mean. It’s important to switch on and fight with intent and not let emotions get in the way.

I intend to keep developing my inner Mr nasty over the next month or so,  so I can walk away the victor in April. I’m on my opponent’s home turf so one thing he absolutely will not be doing is coming to play, and from what I’ve seen of him so far it looks like I’m in for a tough fight.  Being honest, every fight is tough. I don’t think I’d have it any other way.

For now, that’s pretty much all she wrote. I hope your week starts off on a good note when it comes to all things martial. I know that mine will. Train hard and fight easy. Good luck with all your fights and just like the last time…  I’ll see you on the road.

 

Me myself and I.

Hi. It’s nice to have caught up with you again as promised. How’s your week been? How’s training been? maybe I don’t ask you that enough. When it comes to all things martial for myself I’ve plodded through the week, as usual, slowing down a little before 6 weeks of real graft begins. I’ve got a lot of work to do but I guess I’m looking forward to it, so starting from Monday night I’m going to start putting my foot down on the accelerator. Ha. I’d forgotten how hard that could be until Thursday arrived.

I spent most of sparring getting what can most politely be described as a shoeing.  I’ve always been the first to give myself a hard time over fighting before anyone else does so I spent the majority of Friday sulking over the fact that practically everyone I sparred with put me through my paces. Eventually, I realized that when it comes to competing and fight training, in particular, that’s the way it has to be.

I think I’m still carrying my last fight around with me and spent some of yesterday watching some of my old amateur fights on youtube from a few years back which being honest was good for my soul and most importantly my fighting spirit.  In the midst of what had seemingly been over 24 hours of self-criticism, a light had appeared at the end of the tunnel.  I remembered that I can actually fight when I give it my all and most importantly I can win.

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I found myself getting to that point, eventually through sheer persistence by following my ‘obsession’ (my vocation if you will) with competing and with Muay Thai ‘mercilessly’. I realized that if I was good enough to fight I was good enough to win and by changing my mentality to focus on winning and seeing beyond the fight itself victory finally emerged and I tipped it. And when I got my first win everything changed.

You see, at points, I had just focused on getting through the fight and victory had always seemed just out my grasp. Rose tinted spectacles off for a moment, I think it got to a point where I just got sick of losing all the time and suddenly realized I had to work harder in there than I had before. Not that I had ever not done my best but, you know.

Over time I’ve come to realize that when it comes to me and competing I’m only ever up against myself. It’s always been me myself and I in the ring and out of it. And it’s down to me to put my one and all in again. There’s no point in giving myself a hard time about having a hard time in sparring.

As I said earlier, it’s the way it should be. It’s Thai boxing, as an old pal whose sadly no longer with us once said to me “it’s not a tickling contest son.” I think I’ll remember that over the next month or so of training and focus on what I want the most. Nothing in life comes easy, especially when it has the biggest reward. Have a great week, train hard and just like the last time.. I’ll see you on that road.

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There are still hills and valleys.

Evening all. Ok, ok I know, I’m a day later than anticipated but be assured,  I won’t let standards slip again. Besides me and punctuality are still getting to know each other.Just recently I’ve found myself entering what could be best described as the long dark tea-time of the soul when it comes to all things martial. I ended up spending at least twenty minutes bickering with myself whilst simultaneously getting ready, heading out the door, getting on my bike and pedaling (whilst muttering to myself) to training last Friday.

Just before I left I had to say out loud “the hardest thing about training is getting there.” That affirmation kicked me up the arse enough to get my stride on and my head in the  game for an hour. (It was only an hour. Not forever.) As it stands I got a good bit of training in with some friends who have just come back from Thailand. It’s fair to say it was worth every minute of my oh so precious couch potato time.

In my infinite wisdom, last weekend I decided to run 9k or thereabouts in trainers that quite simply aren’t built for what felt like a  half marathon. Legs and calves still aching from the 8 and a half k I had done a few days or so before that I ended up jogging and limping, stopping and walking my back to civilization from the always pretty riverside hell I had just put myself through. I’m pleased to say it was worth every minute.

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Me back in the days when I moaned less and just got on with it. 

One thing I’ve also noted of late is that the road less traveled may be a good one to be on but being honest at points it out and out gets on my nerves. Just recently I’ve had days where nothing is easy and nothing flows. The basics feel difficult and I feel rigid and slow.

When that happens I get frustrated with myself and when I get frustrated with myself I manage to successfully forget that the best way to do something is just to do it and never think too much. I’ve got bigger on shutting out the chatter and staying focused of late so I need to make sure that actions always speak louder than words. Talk is cheap and Mr negative can run a marathon. I’ve seen him but I wouldn’t want to be him.

I guess it goes back to switching on as soon as I walk through that gym door. At the moment I can do that by focusing on April. Every minute in that gym is an opportunity to work on what I need to. There’s a lot of work to do between now and then and I’m pleased to find myself sharpening up a little in sparring.

Rather than giving myself a hard time when I have a hard time (the way it should always be) I need to push through it. When I don’t feel that I’m getting anywhere I usually am and when I can truly feel the grind I know I’m in the right place. Sometimes people throw the proverbial towel in when things get tough. I’ve learned that there is no land rover In fact, over the years it’s also become my mantra.

There are still hills and valleys but there are always going to be hills and valleys. It doesn’t come easy. But when it does come I know that it’s mine to keep. So here’s to training hard and fighting easy. Here’s to running 10k runs and sprint training that makes me curse every second of it. Here’s to the grind. It’s good to be back. Train hard and fight easy and just like the last time.. I’ll see you on that road.

 

 

Changes

Hi. I thought I’d take the time to swing by this evening to catch up about all things martial. When it comes to training this week things have been good. I managed to fit in a 8.33k run this afternoon before the last session of the week. I’m back on track training wise and will be putting my heart and soul into the next couple of months as I’m fighting on April the 13th in Birmingham.

The guy I’m fighting comes from a good camp ( K Star legacy) and his trainer is the former world champion, Damien Trainor. My trainer has said to me my opponent is fast and he’s good. Speed and volume are what I need to be ready for.

I’m reasonably nervous and I’m pleased it’s happening at an early stage. I once watched an old friend of mine destroy a lad who had around 15 or 16 fights and my friend was only on his 4th or 5th. You never know what’s going to happen until your fighting and you should never underestimate anybody.

I intend to start to pick up the pace next week onwards and really want to make sure my fitness improves before the end of the month. I’m fighting at 61kg (my regular fighting weight.) and haven’t really got a lot to drop but have already decided to clean up my act when it comes to diet and cutting out alcohol.

I’d rather get my head in the game at an early stage and build up the training between now and April than tell myself I can start focusing from March. I’m pleased I’ve got a 6 or 7 weeks training before the next one and intend to make the most of it.

I’m currently limping slightly due to an injury to my knee I either picked up running or training earlier so hope it settles down before Tuesday. I’ve noticed a bit of blackish bruising on the inside of the leg so I think I caught a low kick in the wrong place earlier today. You live and you learn. It’ll right itself.

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Recently in training, I’ve been thinking about (and talking about) Muay Thai economy of movement  I think this is important for me to “get” right now because I want to improve what I do massively and I’ve spent some of this week not be able to do anything other than see the flaws. I want to get better at using my movement to close people down and to deliver shots faster and with more power. I can see that my body kicks literally go round the houses so I want to change that.

It was pointed out that my cross is losing power as I’m winding it up so I need to change that. I need to get my right hook better because it’s hitting the guard of whoever I train with so I need to change that too. I need to pivot my lead foot more on my left roundhouse all the time so I need to remember to do that too. It’s been one of those weeks. It has, however, as always been good. You can’t beat learnings.

Earlier on in the week, I told my trainer I find Thai boxing quite “hard” and being honest, I do at points, but I realized after I said it that if I find it “hard” then there’s something I’m missing. It was never meant to be easy. I just have to keep going. I’m looking forward to fighting again in April and having that to focus on should help me make me the hard bits better.

I don’t think I’ll ever become a totally different fighter but I do think I can become a better one. I want to be at my best for April and I want to win. It’s a long road to be on but it’s a good one. I’ll see you on it soon.

 

 

Always a good thing.

Evening all, I thought I’d take the time to catch up before Monday arrives in all its glory. Well.. maybe not glory. There’s never been anything glorious about Mondays and tomorrow is no exception.

I’ve managed to spend a reasonable amount of time at the gym this week although I’ve been still shifting the last of the flu out my system which has meant despite putting in work, I’ve taken things reasonably easy and not pushed too much.

Next week onwards I intend to turn things up a little more starting tomorrow off with a decent run first thing. I spent some of my time training today thinking about footwork as well as practicing it which was as always a good thing. Seeing as its the foundation of what we do it’s good to focus on the body mechanics and basics from time to time.

A solid foundation and a decent set of basic skills makes a good martial artist regardless of your discipline, and like with all forms of combat staying light on my feet is pretty much the order of the day.

Thai footwork  isn’t always easy to pick up and there are always different variants  Just recently, I’ve been giving Yodkhunpon’s ‘gallop’ a try (see Sylvie Von Duuglas-Ittus video on the subject) as a way to close the distance between myself and taller boxers.

I think I’m going to start practicing it daily so I can get good at it and I really like the way it helps you close distance and cut the ring off fast. As Sylvie says footwork training is “work you can do completely alone” and as I’m still the kind of guy that takes it home with me I think I’ll have fun working on my movement. After all, it’s a big part of my fight game and I want to make sure I’m at my best next time I step up.

I’ve also spent some of this week thinking about the range of attacks and why on some days I seem to spend the majority of my sparring time missing shots I should be landing. I guess the key is not to think too much and to believe in myself enough to know I can land the shot. A lot of it comes down to closing distance and being patient enough to find my range as well as the moment.

Some days I find what I’m looking for, other days it seems to always be just out my grasp. I don’t think there’s ever anything that constitutes as “perfect” doing this but what I  I do know is that practice often helps. If I believe in myself the rest often follows.

4d56d911a004b16b9ba7fa7c41df0e32becbb918It’s good to practice movement drills with a training partner so I hope next week I can use some of my sparring time just working on footwork under pressure. Pressure tests are always one of the better ways to learn and anything that doesn’t go the way I want it to I can just take home with me and work on it some more. The path to self-improvement is always full of learnings and the martial ones are the best.

I like to think by deconstructing myself at points and going back to basics I can develop who I am as a martial artist and I’m confident that little by little I’m getting better the more I train. Of course, time helps with a lot of things and it takes a long time to get good at anything but life is like that. The best bit is that after just over 12 years of training in Muay Thai I love it just as much as when it was brand new. And that’s always going to be a good thing. Have a great week, train hard and just like the last time.. I’ll see you on that road.

 

 

It’s what’s inside that counts

Hi. I thought I should take the time to drop by despite having spent the best part of the week coughing, wheezing and sneezing my way through life. Yep, it’s flu season here rather than launch into a full-blown rant about how ill I’ve been, I’m pleased to say I’m well and truly on the mend and as of next week will be back on the proverbial horse.

Despite the reason behind why it happened a week off from training this week hasn’t necessarily been as painful as I expected it to be. In fact, it’s given me a renewed vigor for the week ahead, and with a fighting focus being very much on my agenda from now until the next time I step up I’m looking forward to hitting the ground running (literally) from next week onwards.

When it comes to training I’ve always found it’s essential to adopt the right attitude and to stick with it no matter how hard it gets. Peaks and troughs occur in all walks of life and over time I’ve learned to take the rough with the smooth and to keep fighting. Never giving up is the order of the day.

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A great fight and a draw from 2014.  I could have won it if I pushed a little more… no regrets, however. Not one. 

When talking about what makes a champion Muhammad Ali once said: “the will must be stronger than the skill”. Of course, as Ali acknowledged himself it’s essential to have a good set of skills (it’s not a tickling contest and if your not ready to step up or haven’t been training hard enough it’s a certainty you’ll learn the hard way) but Thai boxing first and foremost (for me anyway) has always been about graft. Whether you be in the ring or on bags or pads you always have to work. You have to have the heart to keep going no matter how hard it gets.

Heart, however, although important (it will never let you down and is always there when you need it the most ) isn’t always something alone that can win fights…although sometimes it does.

I sometimes find myself up against tricky fighters sparring.  I’ve fought a couple over the years too. Being honest, I always get annoyed with tricky fighters. They can make me work and not get anywhere at all for my efforts, but I’m learning that if I take my time, and try to pick my shots I can still turn it on and give someone something to remember me by. Skill and will often shake hands when I relax and remember to do my best.

My last fight has left me wondering in a way what I’m missing these days but I’ve come to realize what I’m looking for has never really left. I remember who I can be when I really put my mind to it. When I don’t think I’m doing well I am doing well and I’m pleased I train with a team that can really push me to be at my best.

There’s a lot I need to improve before my next fight, but what’s been there all the time should never be dismissed or forgotten. People have called me a warrior in the past. I’d like to get to know him again, because after all.. it’s what’s inside that counts. Have a good week, train hard and just like the last time.. I’ll see you on that road.

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