Determined, tenacious and enjoying the journey, 19 fights behind me so far, training for over 13 years and have just taken my first steps back into the ring after 3 years out. Which has ironically been put on hold yet again due to a global pandemic.
I am a former WRSA amateur lightweight area champion and K1 Champion. These days I fight B or C class Muay Thai whilst defeating my inner demons, coping with martial trials and tribulations and making sure I still love every minute of it.
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Hi. It’s good to catch up once again. I hope you’re enjoying the weather and that you’re having a great summer. Mine has been good so far, and it’s been nice remembering how to put things down and enjoy myself again.
I’ve just come back from a well-deserved break in Spain to see my mum. The weather was Thailand-level hot with temperatures soaring into the early forties some days so as usual I focused on my road work and enjoyed swimming every day during my stay.
Tragically a friend of mine and valued member of Bristol Copwatch’s core team passed away this week. Ahmed Fofanah was a strong black man, dedicated to holding the police to account, He was also an amazing dad and loving husband and my thoughts are with his equally amazing wife Martina and children during this difficult time.
Navigating the loss of a friend and the loss of my own father whilst supporting my mum may seem like quite a crux to bear but as always I’m taking it in my stride. I’ve become stronger over time and know when I need to put down what I can’t carry and give myself time to breathe.
My own legal battle against Avon and Somerset Police is ongoing and I’m currently in the process of building a strong claim to justify them paying me the compensation I am owed for a serious DPA breach. I shouldn’t have to justify it but the police are notoriously racist as well as corrupt here, and the treatment of POC in comparison with our white counterparts is quite frankly not only disgusting but outright scandalous. Ahmed could see them and I can too. In relation to what the brother went through you can learn more here. In both instances, the police must be held to account for what they have done.
It’s fair to say I’m carrying a lot right now but as I’ve already mentioned I know how to put it down. I know what I want and I know what I need and really that’s the most important thing. After what seems like a long period of hiatus work is also springing back to life, and I had a very positive conversation whilst away about a new PM contract that will run ideally alongside my business with no clash between the two.
Although life can be tough life is also getting better and better. I was training 6 times a week before I headed out to Spain and I intend to continue in that vein from next week onwards. Training is of course truly awesome but there’s also a lot more to me than that. It’s a part of my life however that will always be there and is a good stress buster and area of focus to put my energy into. Muay Thai gives a lot back to me and always will do.
I feel at the moment that I’m slightly older and wiser than a couple of months ago but I look and feel very young inside. This is because believe it or not I’m happy being me and I keep myself in good shape. A recent guestimate was an early 30-something and as your early forties might as well be your thirties at least by my logic anyway, I guess it’s all gravy.
Speaking of keeping in shape and training I’ve got more of that lined up for this afternoon. There’s a self-defense class that’s on just after open mat so I’m helping out with that too, other than that I’m looking forward to some much-needed John time this evening. I miss my friend just like I miss my dad but everything I do in my life and volunteer work honours both of them. Here’s to a great August. Have fun, train hard and enjoy the sun. I’ll see you on that road.
Hi. It’s good as always to check-in. This week unfortunately is a gym-free one due to me not only coming down with a pretty terrible cold on Monday but also testing positive for covid. Despite 3 vaccinations it still managed to sneak its way in but I guess I was never immune anyway. Thankfully, I’m on the mend and even my cough has decided to make its departure.
Illness aside including road traffic accidents all is well in my world. I’m going to be training again from next Tuesday onwards and I’m sure next week should see me getting back into sparring too. There are some big shows coming up over the summer and although it’s very easy to get weighed down with setbacks I think if I put in some work at some point I might get a shot at fighting again. Even if I don’t that’s ok too. I’m off to Notting Hill carnival next month with good friends so that’s also something to look forward to.
This Sunday and Monday I’ve got a nice run out to the woods near me already planned and I need to make sure I start working on my stamina more as of late I’ve been pretty lazy with running. I train a reasonable amount although I need to train more and I’ve been procrastinating a lot about running. it’s all a part of what I do as a martial artist and a fighter so I need to make sure I’m making the effort. I’ve also cut down on alcohol. There’s a lot of chest-beating locally and I can’t help but smile when I see local “lads” playing hairy eyeball, I know full well a 100-yard sprint would no doubt write them off for the best part of a week.
However, to me, it’s just water off a duck’s back. I’ve got too many positives in my life to allow room for idiots. As one of my trainers said to me I need to remember to check in with myself more. It’s not me it’s them but I’m a lot more emotionally intelligent and wiser these days than I used to be. Training is something that has always helped give me focus and balance in my life so I’m looking forward to getting back to it from next week onwards.
When it comes to training itself there’s a lot I need to work on but hey it’s improving. Bag work can have a limited shelf life so testing what I know is something I’m looking forward to as well as building on my current skills. The nice thing about sparring is that it’s like riding a bike, it never goes away and the same applies to fighting. It’s very familiar territory, even if there’s rust there I know it and it knows me. We’re old friends.
When it comes to bag work I work on my basics but also work on counters and simple but effective combinations. I seem to spend a lot of time focusing on my power but it’s nice to know when I need it my speed is there too when it comes to hands and low kicks at least. I’ve spent some time of late working on turning my cross into a knockout punch by taking a step forward. Sometimes I follow up with a straight knee off my lead or a low kick.
My left body kick is strong but needs to be a lot faster, and I’ve started working on moving around the bag to focus on getting off the centre line and not being such a static target. I hit and kick hard and from what I’ve been told my knee game is strong. I need to spend more time drilling them from next week onwards.
As you can probably tell, I’m currently missing the gym. Maybe I just need to rest up and let my body heal from the injuries it’s sustained of late. It’s very easy to push too hard when really your body is telling you otherwise and slowing down for a brief pause never hurt anyone, what’s a week these days anyway? Tuesday soon come. I guess for now that’s all she wrote. Have a great week, train hard, and just like the last time… I’ll see you on that road.
Hi. It’s nice to catch up once again. I thought I’d take the time to sit down and write before heading to training for an hour or so. It’s open mat today but unfortunately due to a very serious road traffic incident a couple of weeks ago I can’t spar at present. If you follow me on Twitter ( I have 2 accounts one for work and one for the rest of my life ) you may well have seen some photos of a very nasty head injury that occurred after my drink was spiked when I was out a couple of Fridays ago.
I still have absolutely no recollection of events that bothers me because I hate not being in control of myself. All I can remember is leaving my final pub of the evening unlocking my bike and then that was it! I woke up in hospital. I was fairly drunk but not to that kind of level. The doctor noted in the morning that my pupils were dilated and asked me what I had taken. I used to have a drug problem, Muay Thai actually helped me beat it and I no longer do drugs at all so was very surprised to discover this had happened. I also couldn’t stand without stumbling and had to stay in observation for several hours before being discharged.
“I’m in BRI i don’t know what happened. Cops have my bike. I think it was a hit and run in st George. My phone is smashed up and I’m covered in blood”
In the past couple of weeks I’ve gone from the guy above back to this guy below. To be completely honest I’m very lucky to be here. Having had a couple of near misses in my life already (I’m only 43 and still a young man) I’m always greatful for my physical and mental toughness. It’s an inherited characteristic off my beautiful father. He was an athelete and sportsman for many years, and ok I get it from my amazing mum too.
New headphones, and I’ve even dusted off very nice Diesel jacket that makes me feel nice..
I’m disappointed that I can’t spar at present but I’m also incredibly pleased that I train with such caring people who are not only very good at what they do but value me not just as a fighter at the gym and martial artist but as a person too. I don’t know everyone that well and there’s a lot of new faces these days but my trainers and some of the Muay Thai stalwarts I’ve trained with for years have all expressed their concern about what happened and where I’ve been headed of late. As one of my trainers said to me this week “just because its healed outside doesn’t mean it’s healed inside”
That struck a cord with me for a couple of reasons. Not only because I’m recovering from serious concussion and head trauma but because last month saw me travel through some of the most intense periods of grief I’ve experienced since we lost dad. For all intents and purposes all is well. I’m fine. But I’ve not been ok and at points everyone was my enemy. No one understood me, and the young man who was utterly traumatised by the police and criminal justice system was in charge and he was so very very angry with all of you, because none of you ever cared and none of you know what the police did to him and how he could never forgive himself for what happened to his life and how much he hurt people he cared about.
At points I sat and cried. I remembered old girlfriends who used to curl up close to me when I was hurting and tell me it would be ok. I remembered my parents telling me to get councilling and I remembered how the young man just navigated all of it and somehow picked up the pieces and made a new life. I remembered the kid who got stopped and searched for riding on the pavement and realised that he still needs a voice. Most of all I remembered the young man because when he looked in the mirror he didn’t even recognise the person looking back at him.
These days he knows who he is, what he wants and what his life has taught him and who he has become and he looks in the mirror and always smiles because he looks so young and his dad is just looking back at him. He’s proud to be on the path he’s on and I’ve promised not to leave myself behind again. I spend a lot of my spare time helping people fight for justice but as much I fight for them I’m still learning that I’m worth fighting for too. It’s a work in progress and the confident and brave guy I’ve become wants to sit in the driving seat again.
“Take your time” is what I was told about sparring this week. I don’t heal as fast as I used to but I’m still a fast healer. As well as working on my body I’m spending a lot of time working on me too. Alcohol can be my worst enemy and in times of grief it takes no prisoners. I’m learning moderation or abstenance at points is key. I’m really keen to fight again when I’m ready because I will usually stop drinking for around 6 weeks or so. Maybe I should do that anyway.
I’m also coming to terms with the fact that the police have utterly traumatised me through stop and search, surveillance and harassment over the years. Yesterday I asked myself my younger self if he could ever forgive them for what they have done. He looked up at me and said “They used to stop and search me for riding on the pavement.” I cried and said welcome to the Copwatch. These days I make my peace by helping others. I know mum and dad are proud of me. Community activism rocks.
Training has helped me navigate and understand a lot of what has happened in my life of late. There’s a strength Muay Thai has brought out in me that I never knew existed. There’s a focus and sharpness it gives me the more I train. I’m learning once again to respond and not react to situations. I’m checking in with myself more and today I woke up smiling knowing last night I had a nice evening. I even got a lift home that probably avoided round two at BRI. (That was a joke, and thanks for looking after me NHS.)
Although I’m heading back to me I know I’m on the right path. Things are flowing and moving in my favour. The signs that I have seen and that will come are clear. evident and direct. Here’s to the rest of the summer and winning all my fights in and out of the ring. Have a great weekend, train hard and just like the last time.. I’ll see you on that road.
Hi. It’s great to catch up with everyone once again. It’s been a long time and I shouldn’t have left you. So how are things with you? things are good with me and always I’m zooming forward relentlessly into all my challenges, never really pausing, and doing my best to be a force for good.
I realised yesterday that I need to spend a bit more time giving myself John time and allowing myself time to not only continue to grow but to heal from the loss of my dad. I’ve coped as well as I have by keeping busy and with personal fights for justice as well as supporting others on the sharp end of abuse of power taking up quite a lot of my free time at present spending some quality time at the gym is more welcome than ever.
To be honest, I need to be training more and I’m looking forward to picking things up again properly from Monday onwards. I’ve also decided to have a well-deserved alcohol break. It’s really easy to spend a lot of time at the pub during the summer but I think I’ve forgotten I can do that without drinking alcohol, and besides, there’s more to summer than pubs and nightclubs.
Next month I’m expecting Avon and Somerset Police to do what they should have done last month which is admit liability to a DPA 2018 breach and pay me well-deserved compensation money. They are probably the most corrupt and morally bankrupt police force I know of other than the Met but they aren’t invincible. As I keep reminding myself justice will come and as always I remain utterly unshakeable. When fighting for truth and justice the rule of thumb is never ever give up. The same rule applies to helping others do the same.
I’m not sure at present if I have enough capacity to consider competing again this summer but as my trainer Dave said to me the other week, never say never. He also said I need to improve a lot of things including flexibility (my nickname is bendy McGee so I really don’t know what his problem is) and generally just improve what I do because he won’t put me in the firing line again unless he feels that I’m ready for it and that I’m likely to win.
A couple of years ago I would have taken this sort of conversation very personally but these days I know it’s better to be realistic and set my goals and work towards them than jump into it again all guns blazing having really learned nothing from the time before and besides if he wasn’t a good trainer he wouldn’t have had that sort of conversation with me which being honest wasn’t anywhere near as melodramatic and serious as it seems writing about it.
I’d like to compete again and at least win a couple more fights but also I know that I’ll be training for many years yet and fighting is just a small part of the journey I’m on. For some people, it’s where it begins and ends but if you are a hard-nosed Muay Thai stalwart who at best is like me just above average in ability tough as old boots, and determined to zoom forward relentlessly regardless of the opinion of bullfight critics and most importantly you love what you do and are just utterly determined to get really good at it, you’ll know that what we’re doing out here is learning a very deep and rich martial art system. It’s a lifelong journey. If you have a good background in Thai you’ll go a long way.
I’ve been training out of my current gym for over 5 years now and it’s good to be training at a camp that pushes you to be your best and sets its standards high. Most importantly it’s great to be training with people who really do care about what’s going on in your world and are very supportive when you need them to be. That means a lot to me so as always thanks so much for checking in from time to time.
Despite it being Thursday I already have that Friday afternoon end-of-the-week thing going on but as work, is pleasingly incredibly busy I guess for now that’s all she wrote. Seriously, though I need to get back to it. There’s never enough time in the day, but I promise to remember to make more time for myself. Tonight I’m in Weston Super-mare with the formidable Bristol Copwatch presenting a workshop and talk on the cops and stop and search for the Racial Equality Network at a nice space called The Other Place. If you’ve never caught me getting stuck into the man you truly are missing out so try and get yourself along!
As we were talking about bullfight critics a moment ago I thought I’d leave you with this incredible little poem that inspired me way back when, when I lost all my fights bar a few.
“Bullfight critics ranked in rows Crowd the enormous Plaza full, But he’s the only one who knows— And he’s the man who fights the bull.” Domingo Ortega
I guess it’s for everyone who zooms relentlessly into everything life throws at them. Train hard and just like the last time… I’ll see you on that road.
Hi. It’s nice to catch up with you all once again, I’d normally apologise mainly to myself but I guess also to you for not writing for the past few weeks however, I’ve been busy with public speaking, workshops and last week’s holiday seeing family in Spain. I’ve also been spending time focusing on myself and what I need as well as want in my life.
The training I’m pleased to say has remained consistent as ever, it’s the one constant that’s always there and it gives a lot back to me. I think it always will do. Although this week has been not as busy as the week before last I intend to hit the ground running from Monday onwards. After all this time I still wouldn’t have it any other way.
I got my running up to speed last week too. I actually ran almost every day, near where my mum lives there are just stretches and stretches of road that in over 30 degrees heat can really push you. Running in the heat means you build your stamina and after every run, I finished off with a super refreshing swim in the pool.
Getting back into the swing of things this week has been good and I’m more than aware that training has been part of the healing process helping me navigate loss and the grief of losing my father late last year.
For the first time in many months since returning from Spain to see my mum, I felt like I’m heading back to myself and most importantly I feel stronger. There are a lot of beautiful memories I have of dad and just this morning I found myself sitting in the bath laughing at one of them. I didn’t feel sad I felt happy to hold such a thing close to my heart.
Grief emerges at the strangest of times and manifests in the strangest of ways and martial arts has given me my focus to see it, understand it and give it the space it needs. I woke up just the other morning sitting bolt upright I said “dad” out loud. For a moment it felt like he had popped his head around the door but he filled the whole room. Just for a couple of moments to make sure I was ok.
I didn’t feel the wave of sadness I anticipated instead I felt slightly bemused and almost blessed that whatever stopped by had given me its attention. Maybe it was him. Either way, it feels good that in my own way I’m taking the first steps to move on whatever that looks like anyway. Training is helping me to navigate this as I’ve said as is my work in the community.
When it comes to that I know how proud he was of me for founding a monitoring group and that I’m helping others in my community, just like I remember how proud he was of me for winning an area title way back in 2013/14. I was fighting a lot then and it was the same year I headed over to Thailand for the first time to train.
That old energy and hunger for the ring are returning and I’ve still got my sights set on fighting again this August. We shall see. There’s a lot of work to do between now and then but I’m not resetting and starting again, instead if I can commit to it and I’m offered a shot I’ll be picking up from where I left off. Muay Thai has helped me turn my life around. It’s helped me become a force for good in everything positive I do.
It helped me prove the police wrong in their definition of me and most importantly it helped me prove myself wrong. It showed me that when it comes down to it this is what a winner looks like. It showed me that I can do anything when I put my mind to it and just like my daddy, I can walk tall and stand strong.
I’m planning to hit the gym hard this week coming and make sure I put in the work. The future in many areas of my life looks positive and when it comes to ongoing legal battles I’m confident of success. It’s good to have put everything down for a week last week and it’s even better to be able to do that when I’m back home in Bristol too. I know how to give myself time and space when I need to rest and heal, but for me, part of that process is the Muay Thai grind. Have a good week, train hard, and just like the last time, I’ll see you on that road.
Hi. It’s nice to catch up again so soon after the last time we spoke. I hope all is well in your world, things are certainly improving in mine. Despite police attempts to wear me down in the vain hope, I drop my data protection breach claim against Avon and Somerset Police, I’m pleased to say all is well.
The lengths “rogue” police stoop to attempt to protect themselves is not only concerning it’s outright laughable. I guess it is what happens if you are not white and fight for your rights, in fact, it came as little to no surprise for me last week to discover the revelations that the police had waged vendettas against black people in the past. In fact, it’s safe to say that they still do and these are the people that are meant to protect us? You tell me.
However, the biggest revelation for me is yet to come when I receive my NCTPOC SAR on 27/5/22. Finding out what the problem is can be a daunting task but toughing it out and pressing forward is the best recourse, especially when legal remedies are available.
I’m comparing my current journey through community activism and police monitoring more frequently than not to my journey as a martial artist and Thai boxer. Both take a lot of strengthening, resilience, and courage to succeed at and ultimately win through. Mr never gives up still I am pleased to say never gives up in or out of the ring, especially when it comes to the subject of injustice.
The determination and resilience I’ve built as a fighter and martial artist over the years have only ever really built on what has been inside of me and I guess what I inherited from my amazing mother and father. Like with martial arts this current journey is a long one and I am confident this time around I’m going to win.
The growing confidence I have in myself is something I’ve developed not just through Muay Thai but through public speaking which is a new journey that I’m really really enjoying. It runs in the family as one of my dad’s sisters my auntie Blossom often spoke loudly and publically about the apartheid system my family and of course other South Africans vehemently resisted.
I can only imagine what living through those years was like. I’m immensely proud of my father and always will be. He’s where I get the majority of my bravery from and when it comes to being brave and staying in it I’m pleased to say I may if I work hard, improve and listen have another opportunity at fighting again this summer which is pretty exciting if it takes shape because I want to win. It was very casually mentioned to me last month and I put in the work and I’m improving so can only hope for the best. I’d like to see what I can do again.
Speaking of putting in the work and staying brave I better cut this one short as I’ve got a 4000-word assignment to finish for my Open University degree tomorrow. This is the year I get my bachelor’s degree. I’m on my last module. It’s looking like I’m going to pass which is, of course, amazing, however like Geoff Thompson says there is no landrover. When it’s done and I am at the graduation ceremony I’ll know I’ve won and in terms of the rest, have courage dear heart. It’ll work out just fine. Have a good week, train hard, and just like the last time.. I’ll see you on that road.
Morning all. It’s good as always to catch up once again, training this week has as always been good and although at points it’s tough I feel that I’m learning and like most things in life it’s not always an easy process. At the moment I keep incredibly busy with volunteering as well as focusing on my working life and as such I’m doing a lot of public speaking, workshops, and events for Bristol Copwatch.
I wrote a while back about taking legal action against Avon and Somerset Police for a 2018 DPA breach. I’m pleased to say the case and claim have taken shape and the police have until the 4th of June to admit liability. I am of course represented by the formidable Bindmans LLP actions against the police team.
The police of course have not taken things at all well. But when it comes to the general public taking a stand over misconduct and malpractice they very rarely do. I’m still pretty much convinced what has happened has been solely vindictive in its nature just like the original wrongful and malicious prosecution of 2018.
In terms of that, I’m pleased to say that the Criminal Cases Review Commission is assessing the case and conviction to see if it can be taken back to the court of appeal. I’ll know more in the next couple of months. It was also good news to see the Information Commissioners Office uphold my complaint against Avon and Somerset Police.
They said “We have considered the issues you have raised with us. Based on this information, it is our view that ASP has not complied with their data protection obligations.” The ICO will by now have written to the police about the breach and their information rights practices.
“We have told them they should now take steps to ensure that:
rectification requests are appropriately responded to within 1 calendar month; and
subject access requests are responded to within 1 calendar month;
We have also asked that ASP review your request to have your PNC record amended to reflect the findings of the court, and to provide you with a response to this.“
Of course, we know that my PNC information in its current state is inaccurate, unfair, and unlawful so it’s going to be very interesting to see what the police’s response is to both the letter of claim and ICO decision in a couple of months. I am of course still funding raising via CrowdJustice.
I’ve been on the sharp end of police harassment for some time due to my ongoing fight to clear my name, something Avon and Somerset Police have consistently denied but from my work, as a volunteer caseworker for Bristol Copwatch I see the same patterns of harassment emerging with other POC who take a stand against police wrongdoing.
Whenever people, in general, take a stand against the police or the state whether it be through community monitoring groups, public speaking, or just doing your bit by going on a march we will always get the police’s attention, but it seems that Avon and Somerset Police are particularly malicious and vindictive in their treatment of black and brown people more so when we decide to fight for our rights.
Yesterday Bristol Copwatch held a small event at the Malcolm X Community Centre in St Pauls with Co-POWeR a University research project that is investigating the impact of emergency power policing on black and brown communities during the lockdown. We also held a stop and search workshop.
Although the event was fairly quiet (we are still getting to know St Pauls and understand the long and volatile relationship the community has had with the police here so kind of expected it) we were generally surprised to see area police turn up to check out what it was exactly we were doing. The police not only walked directly into our space for the afternoon but decided to park up outside the venue keeping a watchful eye on the entrance until finally driving off.
The monitoring group I am a founding member of respects all views on policing but we maintain a healthy distance from direct relationships with the police as it erodes trust in the communities we support. I personally have supported POC who have been through hell and back due to racist cops. It’s really hard for me to want to have any kind of engagement with the police when they consistently treat us so very badly. I know others in our core organising team feel very much the same.
What’s interesting is that after our event we headed to an anti-repression talk not far from the community centre and were monitored through our journey by local area police. Why is it that in white communities in Bristol this sort of attention to any event just does not happen? do the police feel so utterly threatened by a community event in St Pauls happening that they have to attempt to harass the organisers and intimidate the public from even walking through the door?
We had no more than 8 people in the Malcolm X Community Centre yesterday afternoon and yet still the police put pressure on us. When I was in Oxford two weeks ago the workshop myself and a fellow Copwatcher presented was busy and also monitored by the police. We’ve noted in Oxford that the police are keen on shutting down community organising if they can.
From my point of view as an organization, they feel threatened by anything they cannot have control over. This is an autocratic and authoritarian policing strategy and we need to resist it. It’s clear that if grassroots organising happens in areas they deem to be a problem (black and brown communities) we by default become “a person of interest.”
When we headed to the event held by anti-repression groups such as Bristol Defendant Solidarity and ABC we were made to feel very welcome, but then we were made to feel very welcome by the lovely staff at the Malcolm X Community Centre too. Today I’m very angry that the police attempted to create the perception that Bristol Copwatch must of either a) been up to no good. or b) was working with the police yesterday afternoon.
Co-POWeR we know felt very much the same about attempted police engagement and understand how important trust relationships are with communities like St Pauls. I respect the fact that some feel to monitor the police effectively you must build relationships with them (I strongly disagree and feel that this affects a monitoring group’s ability to critically analyze them as an organisation )but I also feel that had the organisers of yesterday’s event at MX all been white we wouldn’t have received the extensive attention we did.
I have been on the sharp end of racist policing a lot of my adult life and know what it looks like in action. I’m hoping that in the next couple of months I see a few things start to be put right. In the meantime, of course, I’ll keep campaigning. Next month I’m on the Bristol Radical History Group’s speaker panel at “Set the people free” talking about mobile fingerprinting and PACE stop and search. Following that, I’m with fellow Copwatchers at the awesome Bristol Transformed festival hosting a workshop on dealing with the police.
I’m a firm believer in taking a stand when it comes to injustice. In the cold light of day, I see the police for what they are and I know that I’m doing the right thing. The last bit of training for the week is going to be a welcome stressbuster this afternoon. I still hope that you can see me. Just remember to stand up and just like the last time… I’ll see you on that road.
Hi. I hope you’re enjoying the Easter break and that all is well in your world. Despite planning to head to the gym this afternoon I’ve been defeated by my Saturday hangover which is a shame as I’ve spent literally every day this week bar today training. It has been good and although I still need to step my running game up again I feel that I’m benefiting from the extra push I’ve decided to give myself. More of the same is ahead next week onwards, and of course, I know if you don’t run then you don’t fight so I intend to step things up on that front too.
The past few months have been tough primarily due to navigating bereavement and it’s good to finally feel that I’m ready to start letting life head back to its normal pace. I think I’ve been doing that anyway but there are days when I just don’t want to do anything at all. My mum is pretty much in the same place as me and we talk every day and often video call in the evenings.
I think training has helped me get through what seems to have been the worst bits if that makes sense and volunteering has also helped keep me focused. I’m getting the volunteer and paid work balance right once again and I actually just finished opening letters that have been sitting in a small lonely pile for weeks and weeks and weeks.
Easter break as well as training has been awesome so far, and it’s been nice to get out into town over the weekend as well as have a good couple of nights of decent music and good company. You can’t beat dancing to chase the blues away.
Training wise I’ve got back to a good level of consistency I just want to try and get to open mat sessions a little earlier. And sort my time keeping out. I’ve also broken the bad habit of kicking with my foot instead of my shin. When you get put under a lot of pressure( I get to be put under a lot of pressure in sparring at points but I’m an experienced fighter it’s really to be expected.) )it’s also understandable to want to stay at a safe distance but kicking out of range isn’t really the way. I’m making myself stay close and stay in if I can.
This week I did some good stuff clinch wise and it’s an area of training I really feel I need to focus on. One of my first trainers called it an art within art and I’ve always found that to be true. I’m working on ways to shut down taller fighters so do my best to catch kicks and counter quickly, if there’s a lot of pressure from hands clinching is a good way to stop them, you just need to be brave enough to take the bull by the horns. Besides, when we’re that close we’ve got our elbows as well as knees.
Looking at Muay Thai from a self-defense perspective knees, elbows and clinch are half-decent tools to have in your arsenal, unless of course, you run into a knife in which case as Geoff Thompson once said pick up anything that isn’t nailed down and throw it at them then run. I’ve only ever been in a situation once in my 16 years plus of training where I had to defend myself and my training was there for me when I needed it the most.
I say once, going back a few years I was the victim of a racist attack. Three of them jumped me and one had to hit me with a bike lock to come anywhere close to hurting me. I was drunk at the time and had I been switched on and sober I don’t think firstly I would have ended up in the situation in the first place and secondly, I would have defended myself with vigor. I stayed on my feet, however. My friends the next day all came over to see me from Easton in Bristol and were generally amazing.
But that incident aside, I’ve found that bullies including racist ones got a lot warier of me when I started martial arts, not because I walk around with my chest puffed out but because it’s about how you carry yourself as a person. It’s about the aura you project. As I said towards the beginning of today’s blog I feel stronger in myself as I carry on the long path of healing from loss. I actually feel how I did when I started this martial journey of mine and there’s an inner toughness that’s growing inside of me again. I believe in putting others before myself. It’s a characteristic I’ve inherited from both my parents but in particular my beautiful father. I have a lot to thank him for and I know he was always proud of me and all my achievements.
I’m back at the gym tomorrow afternoon and Monday morning has got first run of the week written all over it. Enjoy the rest of the Easter break. I’ve had the best Easter Sunday of nothing ever and my hangover is now at the time of writing just about gone. Dancing and good times are fun but Muay Thai is importanter. Here’s to the week ahead and just like the last time.. I’ll see you on that road.
Afternoon all, it’s nice as always to catch up and I hope that all is well with you. Despite having last week off from training as I was away in far from sunny Spain (red sand rain, miserable weather but good company) it’s been nice to get back into the swing of things at the gym and of course, I intend to keep things heading in the right direction.
Training has been going really well, and I’m enjoying my time there. Although I was away last week I still managed to get some running time in and it’s the one area I feel that I need to be a little more consistent with here. The last training session of the week is looming and when I get back I’ll have to make sure I finish the week off with some quality stamina building.
The thing is, I’m just lazy about these things and forget a half-decent run is literally on my doorstep. I’m looking forward to it already. Training is however improving my fitness as well as my ability but that’s the way it should be. I train 5 times a week again these days but this month intend to step it up to 6 from time to time. It’s good to push a little harder sometimes just to see where it gets you.
As I’ve got older I’ve noticed injuries take a lot longer to heal, old fighting injuries creep back in from time to time but in general, I keep on trucking. I’ve decided that competing is something I’ll focus on for as long as I’m fit enough and competent enough to do so but I know there’s more to Muay Thai than just stepping in a ring.
Right now I’m loving the confidence boost and general sharpness training regularly is giving me again. It’s just procrastination I still have to beat, which is one of the reasons it’s taken me so long to get around to writing my blog. Other areas of my life I want to improve I just put the same energy into as well, but you know something? Life isn’t always about self-improvement. Sometimes life is about just being comfortable in your own skin and being you.
Being emotionally intelligent is really the order of the day and I find that training helps me be less reactive and assess situations and people with a lot more clarity than before. It’s easier to manage my emotions these days than a month or so ago. I guess that’s part of the healing process I’m going through at present. Everything changes.
I feel a lot more confident about stepping back into the ring if the opportunity arises again than I did last year and as another fighter said to me it’s about picking up from where I left off. Not reinventing the wheel. I’d like to fight this year and of course, have told my trainers that too. We shall see. I still enjoy combat even if it is only sparring at present.
Speaking of gyms, sparring, and training the last session of the week is rapidly approaching. I’m maybe going to focus on bag work today as a preference but might have a little spar too. Have a good week, train hard, and just like the last time… I’ll see you on that road.