Category Archives: Martial Arts

Round 5.

Round 5. Today after a decent 2-hour sparring session I was thinking about round 5. The session started off at the usual pace, with a good standard of technique and a good mix of experience to keep everyone on their toes. I’m getting sharper and I’m getting faster and my stamina is pretty good. I keep saying that but today it feels more of an accomplishment because I forgot about round 5.

For as long as I’ve competed for now I’ve always been taught the importance of finishing strong. As I’ve also mentioned before I’m a pressure fighter so that means I’m alway forward. In, in, in. This is important for a couple of reasons. The first being my height. Everyone I’ve fought so far bar that one guy has been taller than me.

Even before you start, this isn’t a problem but is the nature of the beast. Staying close and fighting inside the opponent’s range is the order of the day.  You can close that range in a number of ways, but I usually flick my Porsanane Sitmonchai switch and open up with hands and low kicks.

Today I found my range a little more for my Left body kick and was pleased with what happened, I need to change my delivery or way I throw the kick so it’s a less Captain Obvious but I’m training and sparring with people who know me and I know them.I guess that makes me easier to read. Which brings me back to the 5th round and it’s importance. 

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That short guy Dan Tupan. He was a formidable fighter. Sadly retired now. 

Five rounds in the UK are paced similarly to five rounds fights in Thailand. The first two are used to feel your opponent out, although it doesn’t always go that way. And the really important rounds are later in the fight.  I usually try to pick things up from round three onwards and start to let it go a little.

I’m still working on developing my fighting style and these days I catch kicks and teeps a lot more frequently than I have before. It helps me close that range and start to apply pressure. You see, if I’m close I know I can be dangerous.

I’ve always tried to “finish strong”. My cardio and fitness let me attack and attack even when I’m tired. But that’s pressure fighting. I guess some may say, there’s not a lot to us. But what It doesn’t do is make us bad fighters.

Over time and training with some of the people I train with now I’ve seen taller fighters fall back and still score more than I do in a 5th round. Sometimes, I’m still dealing with frustration when they stay out of range but frustration makes me sloppy. So does tiredness.

To win that all-important round 5  I think it’s important I get back to learning how to take my time and find my shots. They are there when I stop looking for them. I landed a couple of body kicks today that caught me and them off-guard. Additionally, we all miss sometimes, the trick is learning to do that and recovering well. Fools rush in and I get that a fighter continuously on the front foot can seem a little desperate and reads easily. 

Today I’ve learnt that what I need to go the distance is there and I intend to remain relentless when fighting. I’ve also learnt that going flat out especially when you’re not doing great doesn’t always give you the best results, but if anything it shows the person in front of you, your heart and determination. Next week, just like this one I’m going to train hard and make sure skill and will start reading from the same page. Even at the tough bits. Have a good week, and just like the last time.. I’ll see you on that road.

 

Deep end.

Hi. Well, it looks like I’ve done it again. For the second week running, I appear to have beaten procrastination. This week, as I anticipated, has been a little lighter on the ground training wise but hey, from next week onwards I’m training 6 times a week again and of course, that’s always a good thing.

Although it feels like I’m picking the ball up where it was effectively dropped towards the end of 2019 it’s good to know that  I can find the time to train and put the work in that I need to. Even when I train a little less than I’d like to its always time well spent.

Of course, I’ve got my sights firmly set on fighting later this year but as I’ve said before there’s a lot of work to do between now and then. I’d like to fight over spring and summer, it’s good to have something to work towards.

Today I read this article by Under the ropes on British Trans Fighter Tara Wolf whom I gave a mention to a couple of weeks back. Fighting brings out the best in people and not giving up can be a lot harder than you think.  Learning something positive like a martial art can change your perspective on a lot of things and it’s great to see someone gaining a lot from it.

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Today, I’ve been thinking about comfort zones and why it’s best to avoid them. like Geoff Thompson says there’s no growth in comfort.  I’ve always been someone who’s been bold enough to take a plunge into the unknown and even if I’ve sunk before I’ve finally swum I’ve got to see what it is I want up close and personal.

By taking this approach I’ve learned to know my fear. What it is, what it sometimes looks like and the lies it tells me to prevent me from doing things I’ve always wanted to do. When I’ve come out the other side victorious or not I’ve been able to decide if what I wanted is really for me.

After a three year break from fighting and after losing my last few fights for my current gym it’s safe to say competing is something  I still want to do this year onwards. I need to get better at it. And ok I didn’t like the home truths my trainers gave me but I’ve done my best to take it in and listen without letting my feelings get hurt and my pride flare-up…  I stretch more, I focus on my technique more. Some days I’m fast but I get sloppy quick.. Like all things, martial  It’s a work in progress.

You know being honest, I feel out my comfort zone sparring with some of the guys at my camp. Some days I look for easy options especially if I have a hard time the round before. The tough part is making sure I’m always training with people that I know will always give me a hard time. If anything there’s only ever growth in discomfort

With anything you want to achieve in life, it’s important to give it a shot when your ready to do so. You learn a lot from failure but you learn nothing from repeating the same mistakes time and time again, although sometimes that’s what needs to happen to truly find your way. If you jump in at the deep end you’ll usually find the waters warm and you’ll want to stay there, and even if you don’t the main thing is that you took the plunge. Have a good week, train hard and just like the last time.. I’ll see you on that road.

Sharp

Evening all. It looks like I’ve finally managed to arrive on time as promised. That makes a change and looks like I’ve finally got procrastination on the back foot. Which is nice. How’s your week been? mine has been a good one. I seem to be finally getting a few things back on track, and work is taking shape for the year ahead.

Despite only training a few times a week the past couple of weeks I’m pleased I’ve stayed consistent and I seem to not only be fast but pretty sharp too. I’ve also noticed that my techniques improving. Which is also nice. In particular, body kicking is getting better but I still need to let it go a bit more and not kick with the brakes on.

However, despite that being a small problem at points, I’ve still got a nice left body developing that I’m going to continue to work on. It’s pretty fast and it’s strong when I throw it properly. The next part is really about working on timing and finding the shot.

There’s some great articles on Don Heatrick’s blog on flow state mental training and mindfulness  that are worth exploring if you have the time. Staying in the now or the present moment is a big part of fighting, as you progress and gain experience I’ve found that it becomes easier and easier to shut the noise off and ignore the distractions.

There’s no time like the present as the saying goes and staying focused and clear-headed under pressure will serve you well not just in the ring but in life as well. I’m remembering to take what I learn and have been taught over time into all other areas of my life too.

Energy flows where attention goes and when you switch off you become aware of everything. 2 minutes last a lifetime in the ring, and even 10 seconds can feel like forever. It’s what you do in the here and now that can win a fight. The past doesn’t matter and the future hasn’t happened yet.

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I’ve found that my focus is not only gradually improving in training but in sparring as well, although this week and the week before hasn’t seen too much due to having a tooth extracted. Ow ow ow. I’m hoping to jump back on that particular horse next week onwards. When I am sparring, however, I’ve found that I’m also improving I just need to make a conscious effort to add in what I’m being taught. I swept someone sparring the other week. I was gobsmacked. it worked.

If Muay Thai is about one thing when it comes to fighting it’s about keeping things simple. Delivering the basics well destroys people. In fact, I’d say almost every attack is designed to destroy the target. It’s a simple, effective and brutal but beautiful fighting system with a lot of depth.

To succeed in the ring and even defending yourself on the street you need to be sharp. I’m not a self-defense expert but I’ve been in a few fights in my life like young guys will do, and I noticed that when I started training not only did I feel good about myself but I oozed confidence. In fact, at first, it got commented on regularly.  Mr “wouldn’t hurt a fly” you know, “that guy” that trouble used to find became someone bullies avoided. It wasn’t how I came across or because I started handing out beatings but more about the aura I unintentionally projected.

I’ve always been an easy-going guy and do my best to be kind to others but it’s fair to say I’ve had run-ins in the past with those types who see kindness as a weakness. I’ve learned the hard way that the streets can be a dangerous place but it’s toughened me up inside. I’ve learned to be a different person when I need to be. That’s a skill I developed through training for combat in the ring.

The sharpness and self-awareness that Muay Thai has given me have put me in a world where I no longer feel afraid and I can walk tall with love and respect for others. I just don’t have those run-ins any more because I’m different now to who I was then. It’s the aura I project. It’s my energy, and it’s something that develops in all of us the harder we train and the better we get.

I’m fine with January starting off a little slower than I’d like and it’s nice to ease back into training at my own pace. I intend to start taking the brakes off from February onwards and know after all these years, it just gets better with time. Have a good week, train hard and just like the last time…I’ll see you on that road.

 

Once bitten

Hi. I thought I should take the time to catch up with you. I hope your week’s been full of all things martial and even if it hasn’t, I hope it’s been a good one. After a couple of weeks of post-Christmas blues, I’ve finally decided to pull my finger out and get training again. Even though this week has only seen a few sessions they’ve been good ones so on that note here’s to the week ahead!

I’ve come away from the tail end of Christmas feeling motivated. That’s unusual for me as it’s January and January usually gets me down. In fact, it’s probably my least favourite month of the year other than it’s spottier more irritating little brother February.

I think motivation this month has come from a few different sources other than myself. When you see people get bitten by the Muay Thai bug for the first time and they’re all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and full of “I want to be a champion” that can be liberating. It makes you sit up and remember that you too were once like them.

When you fall in love with an art it becomes you. It becomes all you care about for a while and whenever you can you take it home with you. The boundless enthusiasm and energy to commit to martial arts aren’t for everyone but once bitten forever smitten as the saying goes.

That’s why when a friend of mine who is currently in Thailand training with the awesome Nong Toom decided to step up for the first time I couldn’t help but raise a smile. When she told me she wants to keep training and keep fighting and get better and better at Muay Thai I couldn’t help but grin from ear to ear.

Tara Nong Toom Gym you have a big heart. It’s even bigger than mine as she is a trans fighter from the UK and is getting the recognition she deserves. That’s liberating. She’s Just taking her first steps into our world. Welcome and enjoy the journey.

It’s great to see Tara is building links with some good people in Thailand and I’ve heard she’s found a good camp to train with in the UK. I won’t go into that here but as soon as I heard the name a third smile emerged. They’ll push her and put her through hell but world champions have come out their doors. I believe in my friend. I hope she has many fights.

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When I see people regardless of where that at with any discipline they train in doing their utmost to be better than who they are I feel motivated to do the same. It’s very easy to become complacent and comfortable with where your at in your chosen art but ultimately you’re only ever going to hit a glass ceiling unless you push yourself.  Besides, if you think you can or you think you can’t your probably right.

I guess that’s why for me I need to train as much as I can and as regularly as I can. It never comes easy to me but I’m getting better. I want to fight again this year but that will happen when it happens. In the here and now I need to make sure I make progress with what I’m being taught. Besides, if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.

I’ve learnt over the course of time, over the wins, over the many losses and over the draws that what I’m looking for at points what I’m chasing has always been inside of me anyway. It’s just taken a while to learn how to switch it on but now that I have, now that I’m remembering how to again I think the year ahead is going to be a good one. If I want to stay inspired I only ever have to look at myself.

I thought I’d leave you this week with some food for thought from the awesome Geoff Thompson on comfort zones because it’s totally true that you’ll never find any growth there.   Have a good week, train hard and just like the time… I’ll see you on that road.

 

 

 

 

2020

Hi. Nice to see ya. I hope you had a good Christmas and new year. Mine was truly awesome. Which was nice. Now that we’re on the tail end of the holiday season and the dust is just about settled I thought it would be good to round up 2019 and look at the year ahead.

The one thing I don’t do when it comes to New Year is make many resolutions. I ask for good things to happen and accept that I need to make changes to get to where I want to be. New year, new you is a myth designed to sell gym memberships and diet plans. It shouldn’t take a specific day of the year to inspire you to work towards new goals. That should be an ongoing process.

Whilst away for Christmas (Sunny Spain with the fam) despite the snacks, wine and general Christmas cheer I made a point of keeping my fitness up with a lot of runs. In fact, as of today, I’ve not trained for nearly 2 weeks so this week to make up for it, I’ve run a couple of times too.

It helps shake the food and booze off and at the very least means I won’t gas out when back at the gym in the week.  I’ve always been big on my fitness and cardio when it comes to Muay Thai and I can’t see that changing in the year ahead.

Training wise I finished last year ahead putting my pedal to the metal just to see if I still could and slowed down a little before we wrapped up for Christmas. It was good to see I’ve still got the dedication and focus to commit to training that I was at one point fearing I was losing.

Although I’ve lost my last few fights (both in 2018 and 2019 respectively) it’s good to be able to put things into perspective this year and say yes this is still something I want to do and get good at doing.

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There is more to Muay Thai than just competing but hey if you love fighting then it’s not really possible to lose and if you can commit to it then just keep doing it. Besides, I know that the balance often tips. Especially if I commit to training a lot and keep working on my flaws.

I’m hoping to head out to Thailand for the 3rd time in the latter part of 2020 but I’m also looking forward to heading out to Europe over the summer to catch a couple of shows out there too. All in all this year, I intend to be an internationalist and a jet setter. Between you and me I’d love to go the the mighty Kronk gym in Detroit at some point in my life. But there’s lots of things I’d like to do. Energy flows where attention goes as they say.

Speaking of energy and despite a 2 day new years hangover it’s nice to feel ready to get back into the thick of things next week onwards. I want to spend January working on my fitness remembering that my fitness let me down drastically in my last fight as did my overconfidence.

I’d talk about it more but I wasn’t impressed. I let me down so to make up for this I intend to stay humble, train hard and get myself ready. My trainers will say when.I want to make sure I fight a few times this year and win. I need to work hard at the gym because it’s never been an easy road to be on. Only a good one. Fortune favours the bold. 

Finally, I intend to continue to broaden my knowledge and skill as a martial artist. I’m enjoying learning bits and pieces from other systems but would like to find another art to compliment Thai boxing. I’ve always had a soft spot for Kali Arnis and would like to learn some of the older styles of Muay Thai.

I want to be able to pass my knowledge on to others so want to focus a lot on helping others in and out the gym. I guess I want to be more selfless. Sometimes I feel selfish.  Thai boxing and martial arts have really forged some solid friendships over the years so I want to make sure I remember that there’s no I in team. As cliched as that sounds. Without good coaches and a good corner, I wouldn’t have achieved half the stuff I have!

I guess you could call some of the above new year’s resolutions if you wanted to but in actuality, they’ve been on the agenda for a while now. Let’s make sure they happen in 2020. In the meantime, train hard, happy new year, and just like the time before…. I’ll see you on that road.

 

 

 

Long road

Afternoon all and happy Monday. It’s nice to finally find the time again to catch up. Sorry, I’m late. Like all good bus drivers, I get there in the end. Training as always this end has been going well although I have to admit I’ve started to slow down a little as we get closer to the end of the year. I’m putting that down to feeling Christmasy.

Despite that, I’m enjoying my time at the gym and I’m already excited about what 2020 may bring. As it stands with exciting things happening at my current camp and a new relationship beginning with old friends at another I think I’m going to be spoilt for choice!

This year, despite it’s up and downs has been a good one training-wise. I’ve dropped the ball and picked it up again, considered very briefly putting it down for good and carried on as normal. I’ve listened to what’s been said to me despite not wanting to hear it and do my best to improve. Slowly but surely I’m getting there but as always it’s a long road.

And at the end of the year, I’m happiest knowing that I’ve got the capacity to put a lot more time and effort into my training, in fact, I’ve started to take it seriously again. Last week, I even caught myself trying something new in sparring which was a nice surprise. It’s just the little things sometimes that help build a bigger picture and give me focus.

Despite having a rocky return when it comes to competing I’m still keen to keep fit, keep active and keep fighting and hope that next year more opportunities arrive. I’m happiest when I’ve got some positive goals to work towards and think I can currently achieve my personal 6 month time frame of making the improvements I need to fight again. It’s a tough martial art and a tough sport and I need to work hard to be at my level best.

My focus is improving in lessons and I’m enjoying the freedom of open mat sessions. I still need to work on my mindset a little more. As Sitsongpeenong would say “stand your ground” when under pressure. Don’t give an inch and never back down. Like everything else. that’s a work in progress.

I’m looking forward to my last week of training before Christmas and the new year and intend to make it a good one. It may be a long road but it’s one I still love, and just like the last time, I’ll see you on it soon.

 

Forward.

Hi. It’s good to catch up as always and most importantly it’s nice to be back on my regular Sunday slot. Now I feel like a talk show host or radio presenter. How’s your week been? mine’s been good. Training a lot as always, finishing the week off marginally injured from a few knocks in sparring but doing well. I’ve been slack with running this week so intend to play road work catch up from Monday onwards.

Over the weekend I’ve been thinking about how I can start developing myself in training more than I’m trying to already. I think at the moment I’ve got a solid game plan and it’s nice to train with people at varying levels of experience. I keep pushing myself and I know that I need to start doing a little more than I am already to really improve.

A while back now it was said to me that I’m never really going to change immensely as a fighter but I know the one thing I can do is build my skills and get better at my style of fighting. That style although unique to me is pressure fighting. People call me a forward fighter. I guess I am and always will be.

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I noticed sparring this week that I’m getting the level of aggression I need to fight like this back and at points, I do some good work.  I also noticed at points I’m hesitant and sometimes I need to bide my time and stand my ground rather than rush in unchecked. On Saturday I played around with holding my position with a tricky boxer who kept out of range all the time. Sometimes it’s fun letting them come to you to see what you can do.

Earlier on in the week, I sparred with a more experienced fighter that I kept a very aggressive pace with. I did with a few people in fact. Eventually, I got swept and caught a few times but hey. Sometimes you have to work. Even if you miss, even if you get caught you can’t let it phase you and you have to keep fighting.

I’m well aware I need to work on timing and look for my shots more. Sometimes I get frustrated and give my game away. This too will pass and I guess I’ll remember that fighting is about being in the moment.   I’m finding that the constant critic is getting less vocal the harder I train.

I’m still taking time at home now and again to try to improve my hip mobility but this week I’ve not done it as much as I should so next week I’ll do more.  Slowly but surely I’m getting my head back in the game again and these days when I walk into the gym I remind myself to leave my troubles at the door.

If I’m thinking about work and general life stuff I switch on from the moment I walk up the stairs. It’s not perfect but it’s improving.I’m getting my focus back. If I want to step up again it has to be 150% or not at all.

Next weekend is my birthday but to remain consistent and most importantly disciplined large one or no I’ll do my best to catch up with you again next Sunday. Same time same place?. Great. It’s a date then. I have Grammarly on standby. I thought I’d leave you this week with a little of one of my favourite fighters, yep you guessed it Pornsanae Sitmonchai turning up the heat when it counts the most. Train hard, fight easy and just like the last time.. I’ll see you on that road.