Category Archives: Muay Thai

Fifteen.

Happy Wednesday all. It’s good as always to catch up. Lockdown and national health crisis aside I hope all is well with you and yours and that in your own way you’ve managed to keep your training consistent. You know, it’s not easy staying motivated when gyms are closed but if you take your training seriously and want to keep your tools sharp it’s important to do so.

During this lockdown I’ve spent slightly more time running than during the first, but it’s also a little tougher to stay motivated and home train. To combat this, on occasion I’ve broken up runs with bursts of shadow boxing by the riverside ( I’ve got a nice little route that takes me down by a river and out to woods near my pad.) I’ve also started sprinting a lot more, whilst sometimes quite vocally keeping myself motivated. But that’s just me. I get bored when I can’t box so I look for new ways to keep things interesting outside the gym. It’s either that or stagnate.

At home, I’m starting to get more into my shadow again as well as press ups, sit ups and weights. Despite telling myself I’m going to train on x day or x times a week I find myself more in a place where I train as and when I want to. Being honest, I currently miss the gym. Lockdown here is probably the strictest yet so its debatable how soon we’ll get back to doing the things we love the most. This February, I will of been training in Muay Thai for 15 years. It’s been a long road so far that’s not been without its ups and downs and my journey into fighting started way back in 2010.

My ‘ram muay ‘ at Bristol Thai’s Broadplains show way back in the mists of 2010 fighting for Sakaprasert gym Bournemouth. I lost on points but many people told me I won.

Like with all journeys it’s been a good one and being honest, I don’t think it’s over just yet. At 42 years old I’m still in good shape, still young and just as determined as I always was. Most importantly I’m better than I used to be and have a reasonably amount of experience in the ring. There is one thing I do know and that it’s not going to get any easier and than in fighting years 42 classes me as an old fighter.

I hate thinking like that. It seems self defeating. negative and pessimistic but it’s an inescapable truth. It doesn’t mean I’m any less capable than a guy in his 20’s it just means I need to fight smarter. I need to get used to conserving my energy and really find my shots. I’m getting a little better at doing that but it’s also taking me a long time to get used to standing my ground again under pressure.

Most of the guys in my gym are a lot heavier than me (although I’m usually walking around at around 65kg ) and this means I will usually have a tough time sparring the more experienced fighters if they turn it up a little but that’s the way it should be I guess. The main disadvantage I have is not being able to spar with people who have had more fights than me.

Although there’s better fighters than me that train out of our camp we’re pretty much fresh faced when it comes to competition. I’m sitting on 19 fights with only a few wins a couple of draws and 2 titles under my belt. (i fought the same guy under Muay Thai and then K1 rules and beat him twice.)

Although I’ve lost more fights than I’ve won I feel I’ve leant a reasonable amount along the way. Some days it feels like I’ve learnt nothing at all but sometimes it feels like I’m improving in leaps and bounds. There’s more to Muay Thai ironically than fighting so even when this part of my journey reaches it’s conclusion (some think it has I’m confident there’s still fuel in the tank) I know I’ll be training for many years to come. In fact, I know I’ll be training when I’m 60.

If Muay Thai has taught me one thing over the years it’s that when I put my mind to it, I can achieve anything and when I want something enough I bring it to me. It’s also helped me fundamentally reshape and restructure my life by giving me enough focus and discipline to break a cycle I once found myself in.

As a young man I was often stop searched by the police, and being mixed race found myself racially profiled from the age of 16 years old, even before I did anything wrong. Without going into a lengthy tirade it’s fair to say I’ve been through the justice system and it didn’t fix me.

You see, there is a fundamental truth about stop and search policing and that’s that it’s racist to it’s core. The law is not meant to punish you for an indefinite period of time and police are not meant to consistently harass you on this basis. In the end I fixed me with a little help from Muay Thai.

I started training at the age of 27 and shortly after that my last stop search occurred in my home town of Portsmouth. I’m writing a book about my life experiences and how martial arts helped me turn my life around. As Geoff Thompson would say I’ve been round a few corners and as he would also say write about what makes you uncomfortable. Go to the dark places. It’s where healing starts.

When it come to the rest of the year and training I’m not sure what it holds simply because no one else is. It’s fair to say we’ve started off 2021 in exactly the same place as we started 2020 but I have faith that things will begin to improve over the next couple of months. Doing what we do isn’t an easy path at points but just like in the ring I’ve learnt to adapt to what is currently being thrown at me.

I think I’m going to try to work out a more structured training approach until the gyms reopen and do my best to keep busy with shadow and fitness. Last Sunday I spent the best part of the day training and also finished by teaching in an online class. It was a good day. Here’s to many more like them. I may miss the heavy bag but for the first time in a while, I’m starting to miss the ring too. But here’s me nearly fifteen years old. Isn’t that something? They used to say I’d never make it to twenty five. Have a good week train hard, and just like the last time.. I’ll see you on that road.

While you’re here

Hi. I thought I’d take the time to catch up as promised so while you’re here, now is as a good time as any to run over the pros and cons of 2020. It’s an emotional topic for many in and out the gym as we saw our entire world turn up side down due to the global pandemic that is COVID-19. I’m not a champion of “muzzle” speak nor am I someone who takes a stand against vaccines, but I agree with the consensus that the government here has consistently failed working class communities for many years. (I’ve known this since around the age of 15 though. Ssh! tell no one!)

For me here in Bristol, life continued on as best as normal could be during the first lockdown period but of course, the most frustrating thing for many of us was not be able to train at all. If like me your someone who trains most days of the week (it’s not a way of life it’s just my hobby, I’ve been in it for nearly 15 years now and I love every minute of it) you no doubt feel my pain. Especially if your still in a tier 4 area! (I’m not going to call them zones. I nearly did back there. Let’s move on.)

Despite set backs like, not having a gym to train out of many of us pressed onwards keeping each other motivated with home training suggestions, running tips , videos from some of the best and ok, maybe now and then we decided to play catch up to do a little bit of what we love the most, literally in our own back yard!

I was pretty impressed with Sylvie’s COVID19 Muay Thai Vlog and most importantly I was motivated, in fact her Diselnoi knees became my “Sylvie knees” and I also spent some time drilling elbows from one side of the living room to another!. I also used this time to get into a bit of strength conditioning on free weights and kettle bells, plus good old fashioned sit ups and press ups. Other than home training I spent a lot of time running. It was therapeutic despite the lockdown. I’ve always enjoyed running and intend to keep things moving in the right direction.

As we headed into the summer months, we saw a global uprising against the police triggered by the brutal and horrific murder of George Floyd. We’ve been here before and It’s always the most tragic events that spark a collective flame in a community. Let’s be honest, the world knew that once again the police were the catalyst, a flash point if you will for an uprising against their brutality and seemingly never ending racism.

The welcome resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement globally was quite frankly awe inspiring as was the US resistance across the country to yet more horrific acts of violence by the state against protestors and the global call to demand an end to structural and institutional racism. (Trust me, as a mixed race black guy who’s been on this spinning globe for 42 years I can tell you for nothing, these problems exist and are absolutely worth fighting to dismantle.)

In Bristol, a 10,000 strong BLM rally and march became global news as the statue of infamous slave trader Edward Colston was torn down by the people and ended up going for a swim in the river close by! Speaking in front of 10,000 people was an amazing and powerful experience especially when I uttered the immortal words “We remember Mark Duggan!” We will never forget him, or anyone the police have murdered in the UK.

Speaking on the day Colston came down has led into several more appearances at All Black Lives Matter in Bristol, and as always I’ve focused on what’s wrong with British policing as well as my own personal journey of police harassment and trauma gained on the way. This is one of the reasons that I’m now a member of a local cop watch and police monitoring group. Thanks to ABL for hearing my voice last year. I’m glad it was well received. It’s been inspiring to see such strong demonstrations and marches around the country over the course of 2020 despite the inherently racist policing of BLM that reared it’s ugly head but being honest was of no surprise to any of us. Keep fighting for change and keep pushing. This year it really matters.

Of course, whilst all this was happening and at points the world seemed like it truly was burning, the gyms reopened. And of course, I was still training as well as writing this little blog of mine. I think as Muay Thai students, fighters and martial artists as a whole there is very little we let get in the way of our focus. Despite it looking less and less likely that anyone was going to fight in the year I kept focusing on little goals to keep myself motivated.

Bag work, pads when we could, sparring when we could and just keeping our training consistent was really the order of the day. When something like COVID happens, you learn quite quickly how committed people are to staying in it. Home training can get side tracked but even if training is socially distanced shouldn’t we all still be there? Of course, this year I’d like to fight again, and this year as well I intend to head out to Europe to catch up with some of the awesome tournaments I missed in 2020. Let’s hope things improve for everyone.

As we headed into the end of 2020 things absolutely seemed to get worse before they were getting better with a new mutation of the coronavirus emerging but of the months leading towards the end of the year the one constant in my life has always been there for me, and that one constant is Muay Thai. It’s given me a gift to put my energy into good causes and projects as well my own life and my business. ( Self employment is tough at the best of times but hey we made it through!!)

When you learn to channel your energy into positive outlets good things happen. I guess over the course of 2020 that’s really what I did and I guess that ultimately that’s what I’ve always known. When it comes to all things martial it’s fair to say that although I’m far from perfect I’ve been getting better technically for a while and I’m still hungry. I intend to stay hungry and rise to all the challenges ahead, in and out the ring. Because as the Nomad says. life is similar to it. Happy new year, train hard and just like the last time.. I’ll see you on that road.

Keep fighting.

Hi. it’s good to see you. I hope all things considered that you had a nice Christmas. If like myself you weren’t able to spend time with your family due to tiers and travel restrictions then be assured that I’m just as pissed off as you are. Thankfully, (at least for the time being) I’m able to head out to see my nearest and dearest in January of 2021. I guess having two Christmas celebrations next year isn’t necessarily a bad thing and in a small way makes up for the autocratic incompetency of the UK government.

Training wise things have been getting better and better for a while. I’ve managed to keep a good level of consistency up with time that’s always well spent at the gym and although it’s taken a while I’m starting to improve, of course there’s a lot of work to be done. I need to not chamber my left body kick because that’s strong and I need to keep my hands higher. Perseverance of course is key but so is noticing my mistakes and working on removing them.

it’s easy to get lazy on bags and I think that’s what created some of the problems I’m seeing emerge at present. There may be no wrong or right with technique (Well there is, but let’s not forget it’s an expression of who we are and how we develop our own unique style) but getting sloppy at this point is something I need to be mindful of. Its better for me to keep it tight and stay focused then get lazy because you know, bags don’t hit back.

Despite a brief Christmas shutdown the gym opens again tomorrow so I’m looking forward to getting my teeth into a pre 2021 piece of Muay Thai action. As always I’ll give it my everything and I hope that when we’re on the tail end of this thing in 2021 we get back to doing what we love the most without fear of infection or of any of challenges that emerge in and out of our camps. Train hard, fight easy, have an amazing new year and just like the last time… I’ll see you on that road.

Good Wolf

Hi, it’s nice to catch up once again. Earlier on today I had a great opener for this week’s blog spring to mind. Unfortunately, the moment has passed and what that’s told me is that when I start to formulate the good stuff, I need to act on it straight away. There is always time to sit down and write despite my excuses. In fact, I need to make sure I’m doing a lot more writing.

Of course, excuses aside I have been generally busy, but it’s been a good kind of busy and a large part of that busy has been spent down the gym, in fact I’m even getting into my running again. Training may be a little different at present but hey I’m pleased I’m training. The more you put in, of course the more you get out.

I’ve put a lot of energy the past few weeks into my business and of course into my work as a police monitor. I’m a member of a grass roots police monitoring group and community project taking shape in Bristol and being honest, helping others is just as rewarding as training and fighting, like with all things martial it takes up a lot of my time but the best projects always do. We’re a small team but we’re growing in capacity and are getting a lot of coverage, support and interest!

Its nice to be able to focus my energy into different areas of my life and to keep training itself consistent and balanced. I also study with the Open University and being honest need to get my head into my studies next week onwards. As long as I’m focusing on the right areas of my life things generally seem to go my way. As Geoff Thompson says “everything that happens to me is good” and is always a learning experience.

As we head towards the end of 2020 its fair to say it’s been eventful and of course not without it’s challenges when it comes to training. 2020 for me has also been an exciting time and there’s nothing that I regret. In fact I’ve learnt a lot more about myself in the past 6 months than I have in the past 2 years of my life. Writing is still a favourite thing, training is still second nature and public speaking has become my new favourite thing. I feel confident that I’m going to step into 2021 in good spirits, undefeatable and focused and ready to fight again. As someone said to me at training this afternoon, it’s good to have goals to work towards.

Next week sees my just about last week of training before the Christmas break and I’m already looking forward to heading out to warmer climates for the festive season. Of course, this means I’m going to have put myself through actual martial hell before I wrap up for the year. On this basis alone, I think it’s best to make sure we catch up next Sunday so I can let you know how I get on. Despite it’s best efforts, procrastination will not defeat me. Have a great week, train hard and just like the last time.. I’ll see you on that road.

Home

Hi. It’s good to catch up with you all once again.. as always I’ve been pretty busy but want to try to find a little more time to write than I have of late. Writing as well as training can be therapeutic and it’s nice to let the creative juices flow. My dad is a writer as well as a former stage actor and a teacher so it absolutely runs in the family.

When you find your natural bias it’s important not to let it fall to the wayside. You might find it easy to pick up again but I guess if you want to get good at anything you just have to keep doing it. Speaking of dad it was his 90th birthday this weekend, having lived through and resisted apartheid, he started a new life here met mum and of course the rest is history. His life experiences and journey are something worth writing a book about. He’s my hero and on my best day I wish I could be more like him.

But that’s me, I often draw inspiration from those closest to me and when it comes to training its pretty much the same. I’ve never had an issue with looking at those who have made it to the top of their game or become legendary fighters such as Muhammad Ali as inspirational people but as this is my journey I want to be the best I can be. I don’t want to be like them.

The attitude, mindset and achievements of world class athletes is certainly something to aspire towards but there’s a big difference between aspirations and putting people on pedestals. Something I strongly disagree with, and not wanting to be like them doesn’t mean I can’t learn from them and much closer to home learn from people I train with every day.

Those people who find it hard and who struggle, and those people I see get consistently better even though it doesn’t come easy to them are the biggest inspiration for me. They are the ones who will be in it for life because right at the beginning they gave their all. That’s relatable.

Of course, martial arts isn’t all about inner journeys and battles against the odds it’s fun as well, and if you don’t find it fun then it’s worth considering doing something that is. Who knows, maybe your art will grow on you. You just have to stick with it and give it time. If you do you are also my hero. Just do me a favour and remember to take it home with you. It’s yours to keep forever.

When it comes to taking Muay Thai home with me I’m still shadow boxing. running and keeping myself as sharp as I can before the gyms reopen once again. At the moment it looks like Lockdown 2 is finishing here at the beginning of December so being the eternal optimist that I am when it comes to all things martial, I’m looking forward to spending some quality time with the heavy bag between then and the Christmas break. Whilst the rest of the world burns and society collapses “I go back inside and I tighten my own game”. (Ok maybe that’s a bit melodramatic.)

2020 has been a tough year for all of us but it’s good to see so much positivity about keeping training up at home and staying focused. If you are wondering what you can do to bridge the gap between now and the gyms reopening it’s worth looking out for online or home training sessions some of which you’ll find, have actually been out there for a while. You can always find motivation when you need it the most and its always worth practicing what you know already because tools need to be kept sharp! I guess for now that’s about all she wrote so in the meantime train hard stay focused, stay motivated and just like the time before.. I’ll see you on that road.

Gentle as a lamb.

Hi. It’s nice to catch up as always, and as we approach the end of week 1 of Lockdown 2 (and what a good name for an action film that is) it seems that not much has changed. The city may be a little quieter (but not that much quieter) more people seem inclined to wear a mask walking down the street (although many still don’t) and the gyms may unfortunately be closed (again) but life as always continues as normal.

Personally, I’ve not let myself be drawn into the conspiracy nonsense theory around the pandemic because being honest, there’s been problems with the government for years there has been massive social inequalities in this country for years and it seems that a lot of people who need something to get paranoid about have jumped on a bandwagon laden with snake oil salesmen and the far right. It’s really not for me. I don’t think it ever will be.

At times like this, it’s important to remain grounded and level headed. There’s lots to be angry about at present and if your going to do that, hey that’s great just make sure your energy extends into real world activism beyond the safety of your keyboard and most importantly make sure your energy flows into the right places. There’s plenty of wrong out there to right.

When it comes to all things martial I’m glad that this week I managed to catch the last couple of sessions before the gym shut it’s doors once again. I hope it’s going to only be until the beginning of December but as with the rest of the year so far, it’s safe to say anything could happen so on that basis I’ve decided to make sure I keep on top of running, home training and all that good stuff you can practice without the need for a gym, training partners and a load of kit. Besides, my sofa cushions make a great makeshift heavy bag and my cross will still make orphans of your future children.

In fact, I’ve spent a lot of time working on that and my left body kick on the heavy bag of late. There’s a knockout punch sitting there but being honest, I think there always has been. My left leg has never let me down and I doubt it ever will, in fact over the past month or so it’s got consistently better and stronger. And faster. Which is really when it comes down to it what you want. In fact, I’ve broken the habit of stopping when I kick and I can now kick through the target without having to put too much thought into the process.

It can be really easy to overthink techniques just like it can be really easy to overthink situations in sparring or even in the ring. Sometimes, the best results emerge when I switch off. The samurai used to call this moment “Mushin” or “empty mind” I’ve read some call it flow state, but either way what it means is ignoring the mental distractions and focusing on the here and now. After all, there’s no time like the present. When you can switch the noise off the world is yours.

Mindset as well as technique is something that be practiced intentionally or maybe unintentionally in home training, running or even when doing something as simple as a making a coffee. Being an observer allows you to detach from a situation and let’s you respond accordingly. Additionally if you’ve experienced a fight slowing down when your opponent throws something at you, you’ll understand what presence is. You are 100% in the moment and don’t respond with emotion. In fact, you don’t let emotion get in the way at all. Some of the best fighters answer back with pure venom but never like it’s saturday night outside the chip shop.

I spend a lot of my time on the bags focusing on not just speed but power but that’s never an out pouring of aggression. It’s getting better because my technique is, and if you deliver something as directly as possible you will always get the best results. I think over the next few weeks I’m going to make sure I keep working hard in training as when the gyms open again I want it to be like I never left. I want to make sure that I’m still sharp still focused and still committed to what I do. But that’s me. Goal setting. And after all this time, still as gentle as a lamb and as fierce as a lion. Have a great week, and just like the last time.. I’ll see you on that road.

After a slightly less extended absence.

Hi. It’s nice to catch up as always. After a slightly less extended absence than the last time round it’s nice to find the time to sit down and write this blog of mine. Training at the moment is on hiatus until the beginning of November due to my overseas trip to see the fam, which was it has to be said absolutely worth it and I really enjoyed spending time with my truly amazing parents.

The weather as well as was top with temperatures well in the late 20s some days and I’m hoping it stays that way over Christmas. Of course, 5 days out the country dependent on where you travel results in 14 days quarantine when home and despite being absolutely fine, I’m pissed I’m not training for a week or so yet.

It’ll be good to hit the gym hard when back because being honest, although home training is beneficial it really isn’t the same as training with others. There is as always lots I can and need to work on so although I’ve not hit the home training over drive button I’ve fallen back into the habit of shadow boxing my way round the flat and I take some time out here and there to focus on weights, shadow, situps etc and Ittu wall knees as a coordinated “thing” for 40 minutes or so.

Out in Spain at my parents place I spent some time the day before I headed home doing some light shadow on their roof. There’s a lot of space up there but now my mum thinks Thai boxing is noisy and I should only practice it at the gym. Oh well. 🙂 She used to be a Judo player back in the day and my cousin out in Canada trains in BJJ and has also trained in Muay Thai. I’ve got martial arts in the family which is nice. I guess that’s where my passion comes from.

Of course, during the next week or so I’m going to make sure energy keeps flowing the right way and I’ll work on what I need to although one thing is certain and that’s that I’m absolutely getting better. I find it a lot easier to put combinations together and there’s a lot of stuff sitting there that’s now second nature. The hardest bit when you have an unwelcome break from training at the gym is staying focused until your back so I’m pleased I’ve got a lot to work on.

I’ve found when it comes to focus mine is absolutely improving although now and again I have moments where I falter it’s getting easier and easier to stay present and “in the room” which is going to bode well not only for training but for fighting next year. While the rest of the world burns and society gradually collapses there’s me, wanting to make sure I’m at the right level for my 20th fight whenever that may be.

Mindset is absolutely key to martial arts of any description so I’m pleased that despite the minefield this year has been for many of us I’ve stayed determined not to give up and to keep my training consistent whilst doing my best to improve. As always, it’s been a good journey and I guess experience has taught me that good things really do come to those who work hard despite the wait. I may publish another blog tomorrow as I’m keen to get the creative juices flowing again, but in the meantime I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this one and just like the last time… I’ll see you on that road.

After an extended absence

Evening all. It’s good as always to catch up, and I hope all is good in your world when it comes to all things martial. This end, it’s been consistent and training as always is going well. I’ve got a small break coming up for a couple of weeks from next Wednesday but it’s going to be good to have a pause, spend some quality time with family and remember that there is more to life than just endless rounds on the heavy bag,

We’re training sensibly and obeying social distancing rules at my gym, but it’s good to get pushed within the shorter sessions that fill up the week, and the longer Saturdays and Sundays that are always worth while. I’m pleased to say I’m upping the ante when it comes to technique and everything seems to be on a slow but gradual path of improvement. It’s going to be a challenge keeping things at the right level during a couple of weeks out but I’m confident I will. I know enough these days to take it home with me and focus on what I want to improve.

I’ve always stayed committed to whatever I want to achieve in martial arts and I’m starting to feel confident enough in myself and competent enough technically to consider fighting again next year onwards. I’ve been aware for a long time now that the next time I fight anyone my standard is going to need to be above average to really succeed but hey I put in the work, I think more about what I’m doing and what I need to improve than I did a few months back and I’m pushing myself. That’s really what counts and although progress is slow right now it feels like a constant.

These days the gym often comes as a welcome break and a good way to relax after a long day. It’s nice to set training goals outside of the ring and if my goal is at present is improving I think I’m on the right track. Despite a heavy cold a week or so ago my fitness has sprung back to its old self and I managed to spend a reasonably consistent close to 6 minutes on the bag yesterday with no break. I’ve always been a work horse and I’ll continue to be one for a long time yet.

For once I’m not fearing rust developing after a short break and I’m confident when I’m back beginning of November I’m sure I’ll hit the gym hard. In fact, I’m confident it’ll be like I never left at all. In the meantime, I’m looking forward to a decent Tuesday session and from there spending time with the best people in my life. I’ll check in with you all again next weekend. ‘The Little Fighter with a big heart’ is officially 6 and still has a global following. Go me.

Nearly 14 years on I’m just as in love with Muay Thai as I always was. (I started training in Muay Thai way back in 2007 and have been training in martial arts as a whole for over 15 years.) Thanks for the years of support of my blog and thanks for letting me my share my journey with you. I’ll see you on that road.

Rising.

Hey. Nice to catch up once again and I hope your day has been a good one. I’m sitting here feeling marginally burnt out from the week of training but it’s a good kind of burnt out. My legs feel sore from kicking and not enough stretching, my shoulders and neck ache a little from ending up in the clinch a few times sparring and I swear that my shins feel more prominent and tougher than they did on Monday.

Today was my “I’m tired and I want to go home” day, even though I wasn’t really training on the heavy bag for that long. It’s been one of those weeks, like the second week of fight camp where one day feels lacking and far from perfect but the next day is fire. Hills and valleys, peaks and troughs. “That guy” has popped his head up from time to time to tell me to quit the moaning and to get on with it. And to keep my hands up. And sort my balance out. And to kick quicker. And not to chamber my kicks. I think he’s a fren. At the very least, he’s an ally. It’s been a good week.

I’ve found myself pushing through the ongoing grind because I want to get good. In fact, I don’t just want to get good I want to get really good. It’s a never ending goal that’s forced me to wake up to a few home truths but to remember that at no point did anyone tell me any of this was going to be easy. If you want to be the best you can possibly be you have to put in the work, and remain relentless in everything you do. Like Rocky once said “that’s how winning is done.”

And when you learn how winning is done you come a little closer to understanding the sacrifices you have to make to get the most out of your chosen discipline. Fighting isn’t for everyone. It’s brutal in there. If you don’t give it your all then you shouldn’t be climbing through those ropes at all. When you lose a few fights in a row it’s hard to not fall into the trap of a self fulfilling prophecy, one that means your opponent has won even before your gloves are on and you’ve started your walk.

It’s hard to push through the fear of failure and just focus on the here and now, and the person in front of you without expecting to lose. For a while you can be downtrodden by those feelings and that fear. When you finally decide you want something enough to prove yourself wrong is when it tips. When just another fight becomes you vs you and you have to prove yourself wrong is when it tips, because if your good enough to get in that ring and fight well..even if you lose, then your absolutely good enough to win. You have to remember that and hold onto it even if things get tough. They inevitably do and will. You have to want it more than they do.

There is a fighter in each and every one of us, and they are made in our gyms but live inside of us. If you want to find out who you really are then step in a Thai boxing ring for five rounds. Who you are and who you think you are reveals itself in record breaking time. If you have the heart then you can be a champion. I should know. I would dearly like to know what that sort of achievement feels like again before I retire. I think maybe that’s why I’m so utterly pig headed and head strong about my art right now. There’s a fire in my eyes again, and there’s a dragon rising. My fighters back. It’s like he never left. I’ll see you on that road.

Practice never makes perfect.

Evening all, it’s nice as always to catch up. I hope your week has been a good one and that training along with everything else is heading in the right direction. I’ve managed to spend the best part of the week at the gym and being honest, despite having peaks and trough moments all is well and things I’m pleased to say are moving forward . As I’ve said many times over the course of this blog the more you put into all things martial, the more you get out, and it’s nice to feel like I’m making progress but I guess that’s to be expected. I train hard and if I wasn’t heading anywhere good then what would be the point?

Just like with all things in life with all things good things come to those who don’t wait but quite simply go out and get it. When it comes to martial arts this doesn’t mean trampling on others to get to where you want to be (I’m totally against that type of thing ) but setting goals and working towards what you want to achieve. Let me give you a couple of examples.

I’ve spent the past 5 or 6 weeks working on my left body kick. Some days it’s very good, some days it’s not so great but I do know that ultimately it’s only ever going to get better. I keep chipping away the problems I run into with the kick and have slowly corrected my errors, being honest if I wasn’t able to do that after over 13 years of training there would absolutely be something wrong.

Today I noticed a similar problem occurring with my guard and the kick and I thought I’d beaten. I noticed my arm trailing into my thigh and pushing the kick slightly downwards. It was actually ruining a really nice body kick, that now has got so strong the heavy bag practically runs away from my left shin. Everything else was fine. I was up on the balls of my feet, my hips were rotating well and I was chambering it a hell of a lot less than I did the week before last, but the guard wasn’t happening. My arm seemed to be trying to pull across to help fire the kick off and swing at the same time. Argh.

I spent a good 20 minutes today trying to fix a newly occurring problem with my technique and finally finished off understanding what was happening and acknowledging that despite it’s faults it’s still pretty good. It’s very easy to allow bad habits to develop doing this so I’m pleased I identified the issues and fixed it the best I could. It’s my goal to get this kick to the top of it’s game because my left low kick destroys people and I want my body kick to smash ribs. It’s not Muay Thai unless you kick through your opponent so I’ve started aiming my kick a couple of inches past the heavy bag. The issues with my guard started to right themselves towards the end of the day, but there’s a lot of work to be done.

When I was sparring yesterday in our Saturday open mat session I actually landed good old lefty into my partner’s ribs. “Good kick John!” said my trainer, which lifted my spirits. I’ve spent months really struggling to match taller opponents either kicking my ribs across the gym or trying to kick me in the head so to finally start to come back with a strong body kick is an achievement for me. After this inspirational moment I then managed to nearly kick the other guy in the nuts twice. A little voice said “I hate to be that guy, but you need to come up on your toes more. Don’t be lazy.”

I’m going to spend some time next week working just on body kicking in sparring. It’s great practising it a lot on the bags but bags don’t hit back. It’s one of my main goals at present and although practice will never really make perfect I know that inevitably it’s going to bring about vast improvements. There’s been many other good things happening in training of late that have kept me motivated. Someone commented this week I’m getting a lot stronger, and I know I hit and kick hard. I’ve got a lovely left body shot developing followed by a heavy right low kick that works time and time again in sparring and that I love practising, and I’m getting a lot better at catching body kicks and countering with knees as well as catching teeps to get my opponent off balance!

These are things I have drilled and practised so many times over the years but I think because ‘that guy’ reminded me if I want to fight again and win I need to get good, I’ve decided to consistently work on the basics and stuff that I know works and lets me close the distance, as for running?… well I had a couple of nice runs this weekend. I need to step it up but every little helps! I’m going to keep pushing myself at the gym because I want to get better. Ultimately that’s my goal and one day I would like to teach people what I know. There’s still fuel in the tank but looking at my longer term training journey beyond fighting these days isn’t just exciting it’s downright inspirational. Have a good week, train hard and just like the last time.. I’ll see you on that road.

All good things come to those who never give up.