Category Archives: Muay Thai

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.

 

 

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

Liberation

This week has been a good week. I think some of that is due to a Saturday in the sun that resulted in a trip to the museum which was nice.  I took in everything from dinosaurs (dinosaurs are awesome.) to Chinese art pieces from many years ago to a bit of Banksy and even put my anti-colonialist hat on whilst taking a look at the Benin Bronzes,  stolen by the British many years ago from Benin palace in West Africa. Here’s to then being returned to their rightful owners soon.

I was also fortunate enough to get myself down to the Palestine museum in town which is always a very educational and very sobering experience run by some good people that believe in helping others.  My kind of people. They are in fact so nice they gave me a lovely slice of melon when I left and I’ll have to catch up with them soon. The Palestine museum is an important place in the city and covers many different elements of the ongoing fight for liberation. 

What was really inspiring was reading how Palestinians train in and practice Parkour and how it’s become their vehicle to freedom.  It has also become one of self-expression teaching those who practice it that nothing is impossible.

“The idea of parkour is to “find your own way”, and failure became a victory in itself; proof that you’ve tried and learned. The lines blurred until all obstacles in their lives became walls, waiting to be overcome. With renewed fervor, they attempted to better their lives, elsewhere and outside of Gaza.”

The above quote strikes a cord. When a cord is struck I remember that many people are on the same mission as me and it’s inspiring to read about those in the most unbelievably hostile of environments who keep resisting any way they can. Besides, when it comes to all things martial finding your own path is the order of the day. Liberation through sport makes us free. One of the ways I find my own personal freedom is through Thai boxing.

I’ve learned a lot through failure and I agree that it can become a” victory in itself.”I know that if I wasn’t learning I’d be doing something wrong. Of late in training and in day to day life I’ve been working on shutting down the internal dialogue and have done my best to stay in the here and now. Today I spent some time when running focusing only on the run. The sound of my feet on the concrete, the trees and the plants around me and the water in the river.

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I know I am not my thoughts but thoughts can get in the way of a lot of things sometimes. When it comes to my training they can mess with my flow and make me doubt myself and what is already ingrained and inside of me. When it comes to fighting thoughts can affect how I fight and how I feel about competing before I step in the ring. It’s important in this respect to keep my mind clear. To stay focused. To remind myself of who I am, to be more like the Palestinian parkour players and always resist and push through the negatives.

I’ve noticed that when I’m fighting the noise switches off and I’m only ever-present. I want to be able to apply that skill to the rest of my life. The past is always the past and the future hasn’t happened yet. What happens in the ring over 5 rounds can change in instant and I know inside that what happened minute ago is irrelevant when compared to the last ten seconds of a fight.

Training, focus and mindset is something that I’ve come to realize is a big part of fighting. I think from next week onwards I’m going to start to shut down the inner critic so I can be at my best before the next opportunity comes around. When the voice stops I’m a little closer to being truly free. Have a great week, train hard and fight easy. I’ll see you on that road.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Closer than close.

Hi and good evening. It’s good as always to catch up and I hope all is good in your world when it comes to training and everything else in between. I’ve just got back from training which was as always awesome finishing with a few not too shabby rounds of sparring and a narrow escape from 83kg left roundhouse. You live and you learn and I’m already looking forward to getting stuck into the last bit of training for the week.

These days I’m training around 4 or 5 times a week which is from my point enough for me to start to make progress. I’m itching to fight again and I’m hoping some good stuff happens over the summer. I’ve made sure that training includes a few runs a week and it’s helping me keep my weight at a respectable walk around weight of  63.4 to 64 kg. That’s a good thing because when the next one comes around I won’t have to drop much at all. I usually fight between 60-63 kg. 61 is where I feel the most comfortable.

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Tuesday this week has also been a lot of fun training wise. I spent some time at the end being reminded sparring that it’s important that I stay in range.  When I get in I need to remember to stay in and to keep close. Being a short fighter the worst thing I can possibly do is play a range game with a taller opponent. Fighting at the range I want isn’t easy, it takes courage to work inside your opponent’s range but not only does it help me find the shots I want it also closes my opponent down too.

I have a tendency to enter rock em sock em robot mode and instead of sticking and moving just sticking. If I’m going to fight with pressure I need to make sure I stay a threat and I change my angles rather play a game of tit for tat. If your fitness is good and you are tough it’s possible to win a war of attrition but it’s better I guess to give your opponent a hard time and make sure your defense is solid too. Like everything else, it’s a work in progress but I can feel myself getting better and I hope it’s going to serve me well next time I compete.

I’ve also started to try to improve the guard on my left body kick as I’ve noted as have other people that my glove keeps catching my thigh as my arm swings. This fucks the kick up and pushes it down into the ribs rather than up and through. Ok, it still hurts someone but it’s not the kick I want. When I break it down and concentrate it comes together. All my inner whinging about flexibility and my lack of it may have a small element of fake news attached, and again when I find my range I can land that kick. When it lands properly it can stop people. I need to keep working on that as well as twisting my hips more.

My low kicks have always been my strength when it comes to Muay Thai so working close range means I get a chance to use them even more than I do already. The right kick is the one orthodox fighters never see coming and when it lands it does a lot of good. My left low kick is my battle axe. Nuff said. I’m going to spend more time drilling them both on the bags to get them sharper than they are at present.

Finally, I think it’s important I step my clinch game up. I need to spend a lot more time working the clinch in sparring but it’s a strength for the little people. Too tall to knee the ribs? knee the thighs. Bring them down to size, then knee the ribs. I love the knee bag in my gym and I’m making it my friend.

With fight number 20 firmly in my sights, I intend to keep putting in as much gym time in as I can. 4 or 5 times a week training for me equates to progress. When good things happen I’ll be ready.  The more I put in the more I get out, which really means the more I train the better I get. It’s not rocket science it’s just relentless dedication. After all these years I really wouldn’t have it any other way. Train hard and fight easy. And just like the last time.. I’ll see you on the road.

 

 

Martial goodness

Hi. Sorry, I missed you Sunday but I’ve been busy. Yeah, that old chestnut. Still, it’s nice to catch up as always and I hope your training has been as good for you as it has been for me of late. Last week, just like the week before was a good one when it comes to all things Muay Thai.

Starting from the top, I hit the ground running and trained hard all week as I was hoping to fight overseas last Saturday, despite my original matchup having pulled out a couple of weeks before I felt it was wise to keep the momentum up and as always to just keep going. I actually finished training on Thursday night feeling pretty good about myself and a lot more prepared than I had been for my previous fight.

I’ve started throwing in lunchtime training sessions with a pal of mine in between days in the week when I’m training at a regular structured class. This has allowed me to invest more time into my gym time and I think it’s beginning to pay off. I finished the week feeling sharp and with a feeling of self-confidence that always bodes well. I’ve had a reasonable amount of fights so far and I’ve decided to let experience take the steering wheel rather than self-doubt but I’ll come to that in a minute. 

On Friday I flew out to Europe for a tournament hosted by a good bunch of people who train hard and have what I consider to be the right attitude about many things in life. It was good to meet the Freedom Fighters crowd as I had heard good things about the camp and the show.  On Saturday morning I got some decent gym time in and hit the pads and bags for a few rounds before the show started later on in the day.

Although I wasn’t fighting, I enjoyed the show immensely and had fun cornering someone for their second K1 fight. I’ve noticed that there was a good atmosphere and a friendly crowd.

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Overall I thought the standard of fights when it came down to the K1 bouts were pretty good. Cornering someone can be exciting too and although we lost on points it was a close fight and at one point I am sure we were absolutely winning. It left me looking forward to fighting again myself and a little frustrated that I didn’t get the chance to step up on the day but I have a feeling they’ll be other opportunities to compete over the summer.

The day finished with a  good old fashioned knees up (not to the face)  in the evening  I managed to drink so much I’m pretty sure I  fell over more than once and woke up on Sunday morning, not at my most spritely for the awesome Pete Irving’s 3-hour long Muay Thai seminar in the afternoon. (The first hour truly sapped my life force but I recovered it (I think) for the remainder.

We focused mainly on countering kicks with catches, sweeps, and strikes and although it got quite advanced it was a lot of fun. We also finished the session off working from the clinch, practicing some throws and sweeps. I think if someone is heavier than you it doesn’t mean you can’t throw them. You just need to make sure you get your technique right. I absolutely need to spend more time working on my clinch game! It used to be a strength of mine and I’d like to get back to that again.

Earlier on in the day at the end of my training session, I’d had a good chat with a trainer from Hamburg way about fighting and winning and losing. When you fight regularly winning and losing become less relevant simply because your fighting. You learn to cope with losses and just come back stronger the next time around. Winning is great but a deeper lesson is learned sometimes in defeat. Fightings not for everyone and it’s a tough world in there but a good challenge. 

I want to get a lot better at it so I think I need to stop giving myself a hard time about fight records. We all go through ups and downs it’s how you come back that’s the most important. And besides, if you’re the best you can be your only ever going to come first place.

You can probably tell at the moment I’m missing the ring but I’m hoping this week will give me a clearer picture as to when fight no 20 is going to be. I’ve decided to set myself the modest goal of getting to 30 fights before I decide on what to do next. I’ll always be training and if I get some good results getting to that point I’m sure I’ll continue in the same vein. Never say never. Only say never give up.

This week should see another decent week of training ahead and I’ve already started with a decent couple of runs. Thanks again to Freedom fighters for their welcoming attitude and hospitality,  It’s training in a little while so I better get going but whilst you’re here do the take the time to read about the current situation at Rozbrat which is their home and a fantastic social center for many from all walks of life. From my point of view, we all deserve our place on earth. Keep fighting the good fight friends, train hard, and just like the last time.. I’ll see you on that road.