Category Archives: Martial Arts

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.

1510393_10152825651091246_6443692427402817818_n

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.

 

Advertisements

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.

10334460_10152199382513731_1041001601405992775_n

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.)

 

Free

Morning all. I thought I should check in after a brief Thursday pause and a well deserved run. Albeit shorter than usual. It’s nice to be able to find time to do that and on top of that I’ve also got a well deserved break coming up beginning of September for a week or so. It’s good sometimes to be able to step outside the hustle and bustle of every day life and take stock of what’s ahead martial and otherwise.

But that’s me. Always reflective and most importantly always learning. When it comes to all things martial training is a constant that I don’t even have to contemplate any more. I’m always there. I’ve made the gym my second home. It doesn’t make me perfect but it does mean that I’m going to continue to develop as a martial artist and I’m always going to strive to learn more and build my skills.

I reflect quite often on the rest of my life too. I’m happy being me. I’m socially conscious and very much dedicated to doing the right thing. My moral compass points in the right direction. I’m a free soul. The one thing I love about martial arts is that we don’t have leaders.

As my first trainer said to me “I can only ever show you the way.” it’s about an individual expression of ourselves. I’ve learnt to make martial arts my own and I never try to be anyone else other than me. When I fight I feel out my comfort zone.  When I fight I feel free.

muay-thai-wallpapers-3

Martial arts has helped me changed a lot in my life. And through martial arts I’ve learnt to leave the past behind too. In the here and now, all that matters is the present and all I can ever do is strive to be better than who I am. As a paradox I love who I am. I always will. Things are different and these days things aren’t just good at points they are amazing.

Competing and training is one of the best decisions I have ever made and I’ve had some of the most exciting times of my life in the square ring. Win or lose it’s always been my Rocky moment. See? I’m missing it already. And as I said a minute ago, when I fight I’m free and if your free inside there is nothing anyone can possibly do to you to ever take that freedom away.

I’ve met some amazing people through this journey of mine so far and there’s lot more I want to do. A good friend of mine is currently in Thailand training and has already suggested we head out there next year. I think that’s going to be a given. It’ll be my 3rd visit. I should be fighting again in October and that’s something to work towards too. As always I believe in myself. That won’t change any time soon.

I hope to head out to Europe next year and hopefully this time box out there too, in hindsight I’m glad I shook the rust off on familiar territory. Someone I trained with whilst I was there has had 37 fights. In general, they are really good. It’s nice to meet good people who do the same thing I do. Martial arts helps build bridges and is often empowering for people who feel powerless. It’s not always about stepping in a ring. There’s a lot more to take away.

The rest of this week is of course filled with training and that can only ever be a good thing. I’m looking forward to having a week of down time in early September. I don’t think I’ve stopped since the last time I’ve stepped up and I hope that I can come back with my eyes firmly on the next challenge. If I can be the best I can be then I know I’ve won. Have a good week, train hard and just like the last time.. I’ll see you on that road.

33584hd

 

 

 

 

 

What’s next?

Evening all, as always it’s good to catch up. It’s been a great week training starting off on a “why am I still finding this so hard?” and finishing on a positive “absolutely getting my groove back” yesterday. I was hoping to train this afternoon but today no one wanted to play with me so I’ve settled for a good run this morning as a suitable end to the week.

My gym’s moving to larger space soon I was told yesterday and there’s to be more opportunities to train in the week which should make us a lot more of a full time gym. (Their words not mine.) As it stands, I really enjoy what we’ve got a present and I can still train 5 times a week when I need to.  Either way it should be an exciting transition and I’ve got everything crossed for being able to train twice a day.

It’s been hot enough this summer to practically be Thailand why not take the mentality as well as the weather. (And they say climate change is a hoax.) I’m still waiting on my next match up (September 50/50 )and it’s also exciting to have been put forward for Muay Thai Grand Prix too plus another show in November.

Out of the 3 on the cards I’m confident Da Bull will find me someone to box, and besides having more time to get ready is never a bad thing. It’s great to be back in the swing of things and it’s even better to have some challenges to point myself at. And of course  I want to win the next one too!

39071461_275896949669009_3403535035440037888_n

My home of over 2 and a half years and where I spend a lot of my free time. Some things don’t change. They just get better. 

Whilst we’re on the subject of winning it was on Thursday this week that I decided to pull my finger out mentally. Tuesday I felt I could feel the beginnings of a slump, I was gearing myself up for writing a melancholy blog on the trials and tribulations of glass ceilings and the constant martial struggle I face to punch through them…

I was preparing to write a heartfelt ramble about my fight against my inner critic and so on and so forth. Luckily, I discovered on Thursday (and for the rest of this week following) that when I put my mind to it I can still

Walk forward and keep the pressure on. (Reverse is so last Tuesday.)

Attack with speed and deliver some power in my shots.

Generally rumble it and maintain a good defense.

In fact, I finished training yesterday feeling sharp, tired and positive, wondering what “what’s next?” “what do I need to do better?” as always with Thai there’s a lot to work on and without letting Santa’s little whinger take hold I know my own short comings. I intend to continue sorting them out at the gym (and occasionally round the kitchen and living room) next week onwards.

I’ll also make sure I’m running a few times a week again as my shin has finally sorted its life out. It feels a bit tougher and I love kicking stuff and people with it so I’m pleased. I have always had shins like Robocop. It’s nice to have them back. I’m already looking forward to clambering back on the horse next Tuesday onwards .

I thought I’d leave you all this week with a fight I caught earlier on today Seksan vs Superbank  from earlier this year. It’s pretty easy to sit in awe of fighters at this level but it’s always worth remembering the amount they train to get to the top of their game. There are no half measures just dedication and practice. After all, if you want to be the best you can be you have to put in the work. Have a great week, train hard and just like the last time… I’ll see you on that road.

 

 

Stand your ground.

Morning all. I’m running slightly later than I planned with my blog but here we are again and always, it’s nice to see you. Last week as is the now the norm was packed full of martial goodness. In fact it’s become the norm again for me to train 4 times a week so this week I’ve decided to turn things up a little more and see if I can train 5.

I’m meant to be fighting again in a month and I’ll know for certain this week. I’m really hoping everything comes together as it should. It does mean pushing my planned holiday this summer back a little if needs be  but hey. I can cope with that and if for whatever reason things don’t come together as they should then warmer climates for 10 days or so ahead this month too. Either way it’s a winner.

Speaking of winning I’ve been thinking about that a lot of late. Yesterday, I mentioned the fact I should be fighting next month to a good friend of mine who watched my last fight. He asked me if I was going to be more aggressive next time round and I immediately said yes. You see, it’s been on my mind a lot of late. I need to work on my Thai boxing “grr” again.

Heart-picture-muay-thai

now that’s a grr. 

When I put my mind to it, (or maybe I don’t) I can be quite single minded in the way I fight. I’m determined and I keep the pressure on. Last time round that only really happened towards the end and it felt like I spent the beginning finding my feet again. Afterwards, I said I felt a little shell shocked. That’s the difference between sparring, interclubs and competing for real. It’s brutal and you have to put a different head on in there.

I think I absolutely stepped in the ring with that head in place but I’d forgotten how tough it is in there. I was nervous just before but I felt calm and happy to be doing what I was doing. I put that down to experience. The shell shocked feeling I don’t think will return. I put that down to ring rust.

The one thing I love about Muay Thai is how respectful and generally friendly most people are to each other. We all know that it’s a tough style of fighting regardless of the level you box at. Enemies in the ring are usually friends afterwards. That to me is what martial arts should be about when it comes to any form of competition.

I’m going to spend the next month or so working on my fire and aggression as well as everything else. There’s a big difference between anger and responding with venom. I’ve seen a few angry and frustrated fighters lose fights. When you keep the pressure on but do absolutely everything with intent that can be a different story.

That happened in my amateur title fight in 2013. I learnt how to flick my “on” switch and took my opponent to pieces. Despite having coming a long way since way back when, I’d like to get back to that mentality in the ring.   Sparring partners may get to know me over time but it’s the best place to practice my Mr nasty.

I’m hoping the next month is all about fight training for September so I intend to step in the gym later today with my fighting head on. My fitness is good and I’m keeping my running up. Despite having to work around some sore bruising in my left shin (no injuries he said. ) I’m confident that I’ll head straight into the next one with the right mentality, better technique and the will to win. I thought I’d leave you this week with some classic Muay Thai venom from Rungravee and Seeoi

I love watching fights like this and I think there’s always something to take away from them. In the meantime, and as always have a great week, train hard and I’ll see you on the road.

 

 

 

 

Heart.

Afternoon all. I thought I’d check in on time this week as among  many things currently my time keeping could do with a lot of improvement. Maybe I’m being too hard on myself, or maybe it’s post fight blues. I wouldn’t say I’ve been down about losing this week as I have just got on with it as normal but I would say I’m disappointed I didn’t fight as well as I could of.

On the plus side of things my opponent was a good fighter and I don’t think for one instant I should of expected anything easier. I learn a lot from tough fights and I’ve spent some of this week working on range for my left body kick.It’s a good kick when it lands but I often throw it willy-nilly. Practicing a kick on a bag or pads or even in a training drill is one thing but delivering it under pressure is another.

However, persisting to succeed is always the order of the day when it comes to all things Thai and I’ve spent a lot of time practicing that kick body and leg so I’m sure it’ll come right and be there when I need it the most. On reflection of last week I think I spent too long waiting to attack instead of letting it go and just going for it.

I also spent far too much time on the back foot, so this week I’ve started thinking about standing my ground again and staying in range and closing distance.   

There was a few other things that happened that I really wasn’t happy with, losing my footing (to be fair one slip) and getting a teep caught pissed me off but that just means I need to spend more time working on stance and balance.

In fact, I’ve come away with a lot to think about and a lot to work on before the next one. Being a good fighter is about being the best I can be but technically I think its about having a strong foundation or a good set of basic skills. If I can rely on the basics under pressure then I can come back strong. But here I am again giving myself a hard time.

Every time I remind myself I’ve spent a long time away from the ring or I’m getting the rust off again It feels like I’m making excuses. It’s easy to let that lead into a lot of should of, could of would of’s. It’s easy to worry about the bullfight critics. It’s easy to listen to Mr negative who I’ve consistently proved wrong for over 11 years. And it’s very easy to forget I’ve achieved a lot and brought a lot of good into my life through martial arts.

37877667_261798094412228_4785140458814701568_n

So here we are again  you and me. There’s a lot I want to achieve with martial arts and as always it’s a long road. I’m pleased I can look at myself as a fighter and realize what I need to improve. I’m pleased most importantly that despite the bashed up left shin (no injuries he said ) and annoyance at myself for not fighting like I thought I would (ha) that I still love what I do. Because let’s be honest for a moment. When it comes to the opinion of my inner “bull fight critic” it’s safe to say that zero fucks are given.

As always I’ll  just keep going, keep training, keep fighting, keep smiling and start winning. (again.) In the meantime, I’ve got an hour or so of power ahead this afternoon to finish the week off and I’m already looking forward to training next week onwards. Turns out the little fighter still has a big heart. Have a good week, train hard and I’ll see you on that road.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hi. It’s Good to be back.

I thought I should catch up with yourselves today to give some feedback on what was fight no 16 last night and my first appearance in the ring in (I think) over 3 years. It’s a long time to spend away from fighting but I’m glad I made it back. It’s been a long time. 

Today, I’m feeling slightly less bashed to pieces than I expected. I had a slight limp due to my right thigh aching this morning. That’s gone. My left shin was a little tender. That’s sorted itself out. The only aliment seems to be a croaky baron Green Back (Come on you must be a danger mouse fan?)type voice from getting a jumping knee into the throat.

At the time I really felt that I was taking a hammering at points, but having watched the video I’ve seen that despite suffering from a serious case of ring rust it wasn’t really that way at all.

As my trainer said to me this morning you are always your own worse critic, and despite feeling a little shell shocked for the rest of the evening after the fight was over it seems that I did actually fight quite well at points. A few people have fed that back to me too.

37596216_256872254904812_6331560755342606336_n

About to start a Warm up shadow before the next one.. 

I weighed in the day before the show at 63 kg or just over causing my opponent to have cut a little weight. We were fighting under B Class Muay Thai rules with elbows to the head allowed but we had to wear elbow pads.

Knees to the face were also allowed, and being a short arse is probably why I caught one in the throat in round 5! It took a second to register before I realized I couldn’t breathe properly and panicked a little spitting my gum shield out. I did get a count but I was still up for seeing the fight out to the bitter end.

37578958_256872221571482_7525328494151073792_n

Feeling strong..

There was a few moments last night where I really seemed to put things together but I spent a lot of the fight kept  on the back foot by a more aggressive fighter. There doesn’t seem to have been a point when I was in real trouble but I can see why he got the win. It was well deserved.

Saying that, I asked at the end if I could of won a round and everyone seems to agree I fought best in 4 and 5. In fact in round 4 something to switch on in my head. I’d forgotten what it’s like to be under that kind of pressure so it took a little adjusting. Next time I’ll remember to throw caution to the wind. Despite that, I wasn’t filled with dread or fear but it took me some time to settle into things.

I moved well and stepped off well but really should of come back more than just a few times with a good response although I think again maybe I fought a little better than I thought I did. I still need to work on close my range, and really getting my hips into body kicks. Low kicks aren’t bad and my hands are good but I think I was a little too hesitant at points. Putting it together in there is still as hard as it always was but it’s getting there.

I need to remember to work on my clinching and not to just take it when the knees are coming in or anything else for that matter. I need to always have an answer and to remember to be first. Before I stepped in the ring when I was warming up with my trainer I felt quite sharp and I felt strong. I felt on the back foot in the fight itself but think I did my best.

The moments where things came together and where things just worked show me that there’s still something left in the tank and that if I can still fight then I can still win. I believe in myself and I know the rest will follow.

As my trainer said to me it’s not ever going to be Baukaw or Sanchai but it’s about being the best you can be and that’s all that matters. Despite not feeling too sure this morning if I want to fight again I think now that I’m here I might as well stay for a while.

Besides I’ve missed you. We’ve spent a lot of time together you and me. It won’t get any easier and I don’t want it to be. I’ve never been one to look for short cuts or easy options. I want to keep fighting so I know I have to just keep training and keep improving  especially if I want to keep fighting a notch up from what I was before.

I guess really I want to see what I can achieve here.  I may be a little rusty, a little shell shocked and a little 30 something but here I am. It’s good to be back.. because when the dust has settled, the fight has finished and the training’s done (temporarily anyway ) I wouldn’t have it any other way. Have a good week and here’s to the journey. Thanks to my corner team for being awesome, thanks to Mike for a good fight and thanks as always to Eagles gym for having me. I’ll see you on the road.

Elbowfest4

My “million dollar baby” photo via Da Bull. Thanks for every little thing Dave. (We’ll work out a fee for the photo next week.) I’ll be on time from here on in.