Category Archives: Muay Thai

Comfort zones and the burden of familiarity

Afternoon all I thought I should check-in as promised. Of late I’ve been busy and as such, that means I’ve not found nearly as much time for writing as I’d like. But hey, here we are again you and me and as always it’s good to be back.

Last week, unlike the week before, was incredibly quiet training-wise. Less can often be more and slowing down from time to time never hurt anyone. This week, however, I’m back on the horse and looking forward to another week of martial goodness.

I’ve decided to spread my wings a little and start training a little further afield as well as at my current camp. Of course, my loyalties lie with where I’ve trained for over 3 and a half years (I think it’s closer to 4 these days) but me being me I always need to be able to put in the work to make sure I’m progressing.

Although the standard and state of play at my current gym is good it would be nice to train and spar with people that have a good amount of fight experience behind them. I have enough of a tough time with some of the folk I spar with at present but I want to make sure I keep pushing myself so if that means stepping even further out comfort zone then so much the better.

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And that’s the problem I always seem to face doing what I’m doing. Comfort zones, Familiarity. I need to get better at this but some days I’m happy where I am. I tell myself I need to train 6 times a week 5 minimum but some weeks like last week make excuses and barely scrape past 1 or 2 sessions. (Being honest, last week was a bit of a glitch in the matrix but you know what I’m talking about.. right?)

I’ve found that routine although important in martial arts can allow for static to develop in myself if I don’t find ways to push myself. It’s why I love fighting so much because it always gives me something positive to work towards. Even on my worst days, I try to find a goal. Something I want, or something I need to work on other than my strengths. At the moment, everything feels tough but that’s a good thing because I know I’m learning.

I find myself pep-talking myself if it’s just me on the bags these days and making myself do more if I stop halfway through a 2 or 3 minute round.. it’s something I noticed when I trained in Thailand. Every day we would finish with 200 knees. If you stopped in the set you would be told to start again and do 300. It’s that sort of mentality I want to get back to because it’s that kind of training that makes me tougher inside and less prepared to give any quarter in the ring.

I’ve discovered that fighting is 90% mental and when it comes to myself there’s always something left in the tank. It’s very easy to shut down under pressure and not cope but understanding that pressure is where you develop your skills and your coping mechanism isn’t as easy to accept. We look for the easy way out a lot of the time but being courageous enough to fight even when it seems that’s all is lost is what in my opinion defines us as martial artists.

There’s more to our art than facing off in that square ring but I’ll be honest when we do it brings out the absolute best in us. I’m looking forward to training hard this week and stepping a little further out my comfort zone than I was the week before and it’ll be fun seeing how much I can push myself, in the meantime have a good week, train hard and just like that last time.. I’ll see you on that road.

 

 

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That’s a given.

This week, just like the week before, has been a good one when it comes to all things martial.  I’ve found myself training 5 times a week again which is of course for me, where things need to be to make real progress. I’ve got a couple of runs in this week and next week intend to step to my game up to start turning my fitness up a notch.

I ended the week’s training earlier feeling a little burnt out but I guess that’s just part of getting used to training all week again. It’s nice because as soon as I start pushing myself I want more, and when I want more of what I already love doing I know good things are happening. In and out the ring we always have to work hard.

Just recently, I got thinking about fighting (being honest, I’m always thinking about fighting), I’ve found over time that Muay Thai training is a road of hills and valleys and peaks and troughs, of ups and downs and highs and lows. No matter what I feel is improving something else always needs to be worked on. I guess it’s the same in many other martial arts both competitive and non-competitive. I guess being honest, It’s the same in anything. Practice never makes perfect but persistence and determination are kings in the goal-setting game.

Muay Thai
Muay Thai boxing at Lumpini Stadium. Muay Thai/Thai Boxing Bangkok Thailand March 2003 ©David Dare Parker /AsiaWorks Photography

It’s not always easy to be able to translate what I learn in training and drills into what happens in sparring and fighting and I think I’ve become a little stuck in my ways in how I fight. I totally get that my last couple of fights have not really been at the level they should be by now (according to my standards which are probably tougher than yours) so I want to keep pushing myself in training to not only toughen up but to fight a little smarter.

I’m getting better at delivering pressure and I’m getting faster but I need to make sure I’m bringing more of my training into the ring. At the moment it feels like I’m getting better but I don’t always feel tidy. I rush in when I shouldn’t and still become a little bloody-minded when I should be countering more.

Looking back at my area title fight from 2013   I’d like to get to a vastly improved version of that determined aggressive version of me. At the time, People told me a different fighter was in that ring that evening. I think he’s still kicking around in here and he just needs a bit of a push to come out to play again. I believe in myself enough to know that if I put in the work good things happen.

I think I moved away from the amateur fighter a little while ago. I don’t think it’s arrogant of me to say that as I’ve got better since last time around. in order to keep on moving ahead, I need to make sure I train hard and remember that it’s a given that hills and valleys are always going to be out here on the road. Train hard and I’ll see you on it soon.

 

On my best day.

Hi, I thought I’d take the time to check-in. I know, I know.. we said Sunday and it’s now Wednesday. What can I say? Muay Thai may be the king of all martial arts but procrastination is next in line. ( Don’t even get me started about monarchies.) This, week like the week before has as always been a good week training. I’m enjoying being able to throw in a little extra bit of training on the occasional lunchtime because as we all know the more you put in, well.. the more you get out.

Just recently I watched my first fight back after a few years out.  Although it’s far from perfect it was good to see that despite everything I put up a reasonable fight over 5 rounds. In fact, I actually fought better than I have the last couple of times I’ve stepped up. That was 2018 and now is now and there is no point in dwelling on what has been and gone. I’ve got more courage and heart than any bullfight critic out there. Fighting doesn’t come easy but I’ve got a lot better since then and I can hold my own in that ring.

On my very best day, I can win. I realized the other day that sometimes I find myself comparing myself subconsciously to other fighters and expect a lot of myself, which is why when I look at myself through a microscope as a boxer I can feel disappointed. On those days, my worst days I forget I’ve achieved a lot. I forget that every time I step in the ring I’ve already won.

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I remind myself of my failures and deny that I’m improving. I wish I could be better but don’t think I ever will be. I let limiting beliefs control my narrative and shatter my dreams. I forget that the little fighter has always had a big heart and a will that cannot ever be broken. I forgot that I’m getting faster, I’m getting sharper and I’m getting stronger and that I’m still hungry. At 40 years old I still can’t get enough.

You see, fighting is like writing. When I relax and let it go, relax and let it flow it all comes together. But like with anything these things take time. Do I feel like I’ve stepped back in time? that I need to lose and lose until I finally get it right? I try not to because that’s me asking a prophecy to fulfill itself and my future hasn’t happened yet.

You see just up until recently.. on some days, I’d tell myself I’m never going to be an amazing fighter. Some days all I seem to be good at doing is beating myself up whilst simultaneously forgetting how tall I walk on my best day, forgetting how the first time I walked up to the ring it was my Rocky moment. Forgetting how as soon as my foot touched the canvas I’d already won.

That’s why just recently I’ve decided to start focusing on being my best. On putting my back into my training again and pushing myself to be the best I can be. It gives me focus and most importantly it gives me joy. Just like winning does, just like losing does, Just like fighting does. Because it’s more than just a tally of wins and losses and draws. It’s part of who I am. I am on a Muay Thai quest and I will be for many years to come.

The rest of the week ahead is going to be another good few sessions of graft. I need to make sure I run more this week. I need to make sure I sprint more this week. I need to start eating right, get a couple of kilograms of bone idleness shifted. I need to remember to be the best I can be because it always produces the best results. I’ll do my best to check in with you on Sunday until then have a good week and train hard. I’ll see you on that road.

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When facing the right direction..

Evening all, I thought I should check in with you before I head to the gym in a little while. Sorry, I’ve been quieter than usual but I’ve been so busy of late that I’ve not had the time to sit down and write. I’m hoping this week that things return to its usual format so, for now, let’s put a date in the diary for Sunday this week. Don’t be late.

Training of late has been heading in the right direction. Although I’ve been wanting to put in a little more extra time than usual I’ve found myself levelling out at around 3 sessions a week which, I guess is ok but I’m hoping to turn things up a notch again this week onwards.

The world of work has as always been keeping me incredibly busy hence the unintentional writing break but all things in my life usually find a balance and I think the playing field is going to level itself out from here on in. Plate spinning has never been my favourite thing but I’m rapidly learning how to get better at it.

I’m sitting here watching the minutes shoot by until I need to get myself out the door to make training on time whilst simultaneously preparing myself for the monumentally busy day I have tomorrow. Despite feeling decidedly unmotivated about both I know that as always I keep pushing forward. As the saying goes if we’re facing the right direction, all we have to do is keep walking.

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On Sunday last week for the first time in a long time I had the opportunity to let rip on the bags and do you know what? it really did feel good. I decided to let it go and when I did that I realized that I’m hitting harder and getting faster than I was before.

It’s very easy to unleash hell on a bag it’s not always as easy to do that on a fellow human so let’s see how sparring goes this week and next. I want to spend more time in the week ahead working on my clinch game. I think it may still be a strength of mine so I’d like to get back to that.

It’s looking like I should be fighting again towards the autumn and then I hope again in the winter. I’ve got a lot of work to do but you know what? the more I train the better I seem to get. Funny that hey? In the meantime, I’ve got my beady little eye on the clock and still have a million and one things to get done before training, so I guess for now that’s all she wrote. Have a good week, train hard and don’t forget to check in as usual on Sunday. In the meantime and just like the time before.. I’ll see you on that road.

 

 

Harm’s way

Hi. After a slightly longer than planned absence from writing this blog of my I thought it would be good to catch up. So here we are again, you and me..it has as always been a good week training. I’m pleased to say I’ve managed to get running back on track this week, but as is always the way I haven’t trained as much as I’d planned to. However, not to be perturbed I’ve decided to put my back into it once again next week onwards. But you know what? sometimes it’s ok to slow down a little. Here’s to next Tuesday.

At the moment I’m enjoying getting a little bit of pressure from some of the people I train with and being honest it’s good getting a push from time to time. A push doesn’t mean kicking chunks out of each other because let’s be honest, no one learns anything at all, and when we’re on the same team we shouldn’t be competing against each other but learning from and helping one another.

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Competing in any combat sport teaches you how to how to deal with fear and self-doubt quickly. A good way to learn to deal with that fear is to spar a lot and then maybe take your fight game into the interclub world before stepping into the amateurs if that’s something you want to do.

It’s good to practice putting yourself in harm’s way and it’s just as important to spar with people that treat each other with respect and keep the pressure at a level that works for everybody. I think it’s easy to let nerves and hesitation get in the way of action in sparring and of course, fighting too. Being first is just as important as it’s always been to me, after all, he who hesitates is lost. I’ll remember that next time I’m fighting.

I enjoy pressure testing myself in the gym at points so next week I’ll start turning it up a little again. I’m hoping to fight again soon so want to spend the last of the summer working on what I need to and look forward to the autumn bringing in some new opportunities to test myself. It’s taken a good couple of months to get over a confidence knock from losing my last couple of fights but I’ve started training more and more and feel that I’ll be ready when the next one comes around.

I thought I’d leave you this week with some Muay Thai goodness from Muay Ties, a classic fight from way back when Pornsanae vs Kwankhao . He’s always been my favourite fighter because he’s always been fierce and determined to win, and when he loses he just comes back stronger than before. Sometimes when we look at others we can see a little bit of ourselves in them. Stay inspired, train hard and just like the last time, I’ll see you on that road.

 

 

A whole lot to say

Hi. I hope things are good with you and that life, training and everything else is playing nice and most importantly going well. Things are good here but boy is it warm. When it comes to training the heat makes everything ten times tougher than normal. Despite planning a holiday to Thailand later this year if things continue in a similar vein I don’t think they’ll be a need. Don’t tell me climate change isn’t real.

I’m pleased to say I’ve spent a decent amount of time training this week and I also managed to fit in a couple of runs too. Despite not always finding the time to sit down and write I intend to get that into shape next week onwards. I’ve only got a few months before Open University starts again and a manuscript to finish between now and then.

When it comes to said manuscript it’s been on my mental “to-do” pile for far too long. The agenda and reasons for writing it remain the same as the first I started and I’m confident that it’ll inspire others. With training, work and everything else in between it’s not always easy to find the time but as always I’ve got a whole lot to say.

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Part of the challenge and being honest part of the fun of being a writer and a martial artist is always striving for improvement at what I do. It’s very easy to get weighed down with negativity and less than constructive criticism of myself but hey, if I was perfect in both areas then there would be no point? Besides, no one is ever perfect and every technique I learn I have to drill to get right if I want to get good at it. It’s the same with me and writing. The more I write the better I seem to get.

The difference is with writing is that everything just seems to flow, like those moments in training or fighting when I put the moment together. When I don’t write I  miss it just as much as I miss being in the gym or the ring some days and when I do write good things seem to happen.

My book, by the way, is going to be called “The last of the good guys” and it’s about my journey through Thai boxing and how martial arts helped me turn my life around. Like many people in life, I’ve been around a few corners. I’m hoping by sharing my experiences and my journey I inspire others.

I’m never going to be a world champion or a European champion but I do still have dreams of being an area champion again. I think the dedication and focus to get to a point where I can fight for something like an area title is slowly creeping back into my life. I always seem to find the time to train. We’ll see if I get anywhere with that. I probably need to win some more fights first.

It’s funny how quickly I can doubt myself but for a moment back there potential showed me that goal. Just like potential can show me finishing my manuscript and getting it “out there.” Anything’s possible when you put your heart and soul into it. Here’s to proving me wrong again. I’ll see you on that road.

Rocket science.

Hi. I thought I’d take the time to sit down and fit a bit of writing into my life this evening. That, like everything else, is always a good thing, and besides fashionably late is still better late than never. Last week training wise was good but not quite as busy as I would have liked so this week I’ve decided to turn it up a notch again. Pushing myself is always fun and in this heat, it’s hard graft.

Training so far hasn’t been too bad and it’s good as always to find the time to fit in sessions at lunch and runs after work. It’s kind of my camp to let me use the space too, I guess I’m one of those people who always wants to put time as much time in at the gym as I can. It’s a tried and tested way of getting good at stuff.

I’ve got my sights set on fighting towards the end of August and ideally whenever I can over the rest of the year too. Putting in the work always produces the best results and these days gym work looks like training  5 days a week, with the road work leveling out at a few times a week.

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Sitsongpeenong 2014 

When I was training earlier on today and I think the heat had something to do with this (it’s pretty humid and hot here) I felt a little sluggish and a little slow at first but when I relaxed and found my rhythm things resolved themselves quickly. I spent some time focusing on big power shots and noticed how strong my cross has got and how much my left body kick is coming on. Last night on the pads after I’d warmed up a little it seemed to be pretty fast, I just still need to get a little more torque on my hips to get the kick going right through the target.

My cross, on the other hand, hits straight through its target and finishes two or three inches behind. I want to make it into a knock out shot. I’ve seen myself knocking someone out cold with that shot so many times I know sooner or later it’ll happen. In the meantime, I’ll keep working on making that moment my reality.

Visualizing what I want be it winning my next fight by KO or just getting better at what I do goes a long way.  I learned a long time ago it’s important to shut out the chatter and focus on what I want in the ring and at the gym. When I work hard I attract the right situations and people to help me get to where I want to be. I’ve learned over time that we manifest our own destiny. It’s not rocket science.

Getting back to the physical I’ve accepted that I need to work hard to improve and that I’m far from perfect. I feel confident enough to say that I can win more fights and I can keep competing for a good couple of years yet if I want to. It’s down to me to make the decision as to how long I fight for because it’s not about wins and losses. It’s about discovering I’m someone I never thought I could be and developing that someone into a force to be reckoned with in that ring. Besides, I know and you know I’ll be training in 30 years time.

No doubt You’ll find me on a bag somewhere, someplace. It’ll be on a sun-kissed beach that never wants you to leave and I’ll be just as free then as I am now. Because really when all is said and done, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Have a good week, train hard, and just like the last time… I’ll see you on that road.