Category Archives: Muay Thai

Where progress lives

Hi. Sorry, I’m a little later than anticipated but as always it’s good to catch up. I hope Monday fairs you well and has been a productive start to the week. I never seem to get on that well with Mondays. I spend half the day not doing too much then about 4 hours taking work seriously. The internet like life is full of distractions.

Training at the moment is still heading in the right direction (being honest, I don’t actually think there’s a time when it isn’t ) and I’m slowly picking the running up again. Last weekend I headed down to a gym I trained at way back when and got some sparring in with some old training pals.

Everyone there like at my current place is at a good level so it was nice to see how I fared against old and new faces. I seem to be improving I’m pleased to say, so next year as is the  plan intend to get myself fighting again. With the support of my gym of course.

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I’ve been Thai boxing for nearly 13 years now and although it’s taken its time things are starting to come together more naturally for me. I’ve also found that my flexibility is improving a little. I put some of that down to having to kick a little higher than I’d like with most people, and the majority down to actually listening to my trainers for once and practicing mobility stretching at home.

I think I still need to do a little more in sparring,  but my cardio is ok and I can keep the pressure on when it counts. This week I intend to start trying some sweeps in sparring and all that good stuff. I need to work on ways to close the tall and dangerous down and make it so they don’t want to kick me anymore.

I’m also going to start spending time working on my mindset a little more and keep that aggression switch on. I’m sharp at present so want to use that to my advantage. It’s a long road and as always all of the above is a work in progress. When a friend of mine told me many years ago it takes a long time to get good at martial arts he wasn’t joking. I still have a lot to learn.

I think it’s important at present to find people that I know are going to push me to be at my very best and a change of scenery from time to time can keep that particular landscape varied and challenging. It also means I can put in a good amount of work in every week. Next time I fight I’ve decided to train 6 times a week for it. Whenever that may be. In the meantime, I’m doing my best to match that training regularly because I think that’s where progress lives.

Training and fighting require a lot of self-discipline so it’s good to find myself heading back towards the right places. Next on the agenda is getting my hit and miss timekeeping sorted out. Procrastination is still my enemy and as the saying goes sometimes the hardest bit about training is getting there. On that note, I’m currently putting off the rest of Monday evening so for now, that’s all she wrote and just like the last time.. I’ll see you on that road.

Catch up.

Hi, nice to finally find the time to catch up with you and I hope all is going well in your world when it comes to all things martial. Things as always are moving in the right direction here. Yesterday training, (in fact just like last weekend ) I was pleased to find that I’m getting sharper as well as faster.  There’s always room for improvement but my technique seems to be getting better so I guess the hard work is paying off.

At this stage, that’s really what I want and there are a couple of contributing factors, the first and for me, the most important being is that I’m training a lot again and when I train a lot the better I seem to get. Last weekend saw me do my first interclub in a while locally at the awesome Bristol Punch Up (You can find out a little more about them in the link) and I also had a go at reffing a few K1 bouts which was a new experience for me and something I really enjoyed.

It’s nice to see some new clubs emerging in Bristol and what’s even more inspiring is that the “left” gym ( anti-racist, feminist and non discriminatory at its core, but open to anyone who sees humans as humans ) concept seems to be spreading around the UK, taking inspiration from awesome camps such as Freedom Fighters, White Tiger Muay Thai and others in Europe.

There were a few gyms who came last week (Red Corner and Brighton Left Hook to name a couple  ) with fighters all at different levels of experience and the matchups were very good. Well done to all who took part!

I made the mistake of having a night out on the tiles the day before so my first bout wasn’t as lively as my second (I was reminded that hangovers and combat sports don’t mix. I’ll stick to the golden rule from here on in.)   but my second wasn’t too bad at all. I came away from the experience deciding that I need to do a few more inter clubs before I step back into the square ring again. It’s a confidence booster and gets you used to the pressure.

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I want to be ready to fight again within the next 6 months and think if I keep moving forward in the direction I am at present it’s absolutely going to be an achievable goal. When it comes to training unless your goal setting your doing it wrong. Besides, the journey isn’t going to stop when I finally decide to stop competing. Muay Thai is a complete system and there’s a lot to explore.

In terms of exploration of the martial art, I train in I’m keen to get back into some decent clinch work so starting this week I’m going to train with some old pals of mine just clinch sparring. It’s nice to have all areas of what I do up to speed and I enjoyed a clinch seminar I went to at the end of the interclub last Sunday hosted by Pete Irving. It was good to work basics and there were a couple of new things I learned too.

I’ve put myself in a position where I can now train 6 days a week if I want to, and like a kid in a sweet shop, I’m starting to feel a little spoilt for choice. It was good to catch up with Sweatbox here last weekend, I like the new gym! it’s been a while since I paid them a visit! 🙂 equally, I’m enjoying training in the mornings as well as evenings at my current camp “Knock n roll” (It’ll always be Combat Warriors to me)  too.

At the moment my heart is telling me “just train” so I go out and put in as much as I can. Investing in myself has always been my favourite thing, and besides an early December break is planned so I need to make the most of the last few weeks of the year. (Although I’ll no doubt find the time overseas too.)

I’m hoping the rest of the week continues to head in the right direction and of course I need to make sure I keep my running up to speed. You don’t run then you don’t fight as they say… So, as Wednesday afternoon rapidly heads towards Thursday morning I’ve realized I’ve got a load I need to get done and being honest I could talk to you forever about this journey of mine. Let’s catch up again on Sunday. I promise not to be late. Have a good week, and just like the last time… I’ll see you on that road.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sooner than you think

Hi. Finally, I’ve found the time to sit down and write this blog of mine. As always it’s good to catch up and I hope Monday sees you well. I hope of course when it comes to all things martial that training is going well.  I’m pleased to say that things are moving in the right direction this end. Consistency and volume are staying at a decent level but there are lots of other improvements I need to make in the short term. I hope when I do, they have long term benefits.

I was looking forward to fighting in December but as I mentioned a few blogs ago I was expected to have made some improvements between then and now and because my trainers aren’t happy with me fighting again until I do, it looks like the next one will be next year.  I’m confident I’ll be back in the ring soon and being honest, I can understand why my coaches have got reservations at present.

A while back, I would have taken the decision not to let me fight in December badly and although I know I can look after myself in there and I’m tough to boot but at the moment I need to start pushing myself to get better than what I am. It’s fair to say that at present I would not have an easy time.

I’ve had 19 fights so far and I know that it’s not going to get any easier. Experience is one thing but so is personal development. Besides what’s the point in learning something if you’re not going to make an effort to put what your being taught into practice? when one of my trainers sent me an angry text saying not only am I consistently late to his class but that I’m not making progress and I lack discipline I took it pretty personally.

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Dave wrapping my hands at Elbow Fest Cardiff summer  2018. My first fight back after 3 years out the ring. Ironically, I fought better on this show than I have in my last 2 fights. 

Sometimes, I take a lot of things personally. But that’s just me. It wasn’t until a couple of days later that what was said to me sunk in. I realized that I do need to improve not just my technique and at least try to develop but I need to improve my attitude towards fighting again.

It’s a tough world in there and experience or not, there is absolutely no point in fighting if I’m going to get taken to pieces in there. I enjoy the combat but I want to be at my best and I haven’t had my head in the game for a good few months now.

Thankfully, that is starting to improve and I know this is the truth because I am training and running a lot again. That’s the first step in the right direction. The next step is to make sure I practice what I preach and get my time keeping right and learning head-on. If I’m going to box again it has to be all or nothing. I can’t walk into the gym carrying mental baggage. I’m only human but I hope you know what I mean. I need to make sure my focus is on the here and now. When I’m training, it should have my undivided attention.

My other trainer has said to me I really need to work on mobility and flexibility. if I’m serious about fighting I need to make sure the engine is running as it should and I guess a bit of fine-tuning never hurt anyone. If I reel off what I intend to do to help with these areas I’m going to make myself sound about 90 plus so I’ll let my pride hold out for now. All you need to know is that I’ve listened and it’s been taken seriously as well as onboard.

One of the most important things I have to do at present is set a time scale for myself as to when I think I’ll be ready. When I have a goal to work towards it’s a lot more positive than an indefinite ever-changing goal post. I know that there is still no landrover so I keep training. I think I’ll be up to speed in 6 months. I think that’s a good goal to set. The knowledge is there it’s just the areas above that need refining.

I want to come back stronger and better than I’ve ever been. It would be nice to finally finish this part of my journey with a few more wins under my belt so at the moment that’s my goal. Win my next three fights. It’s going to take a lot of work to get good enough to make that a reality but don’t tell me it can’t be done. Besides, at the moment I’m not that bad. I may not be great but I’m ok. I can, however, do a lot better. I will do better.  Here’s to another good week training. I’ll be back in the ring sooner than you think and just like the last time.. I’ll see you on that road.

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Soon.

Evening all. It’s good as always to catch up.   This week just like the last week before has been a good week training. Sticking to my guns, I’m still training at least 5 or 6 times a week and I even finished the week off training twice today. Running has fallen to the wayside a little but I’ll make sure things pick up in that area next week onwards.

I should be fighting again at the beginning of December so from next week onwards a booze-free sensible existence begins again. It’s my birthday a week or so after that so I’m off on a rolling tour in Europe. I’m sure they’ll be plenty of opportunities to make it up to myself so in the meantime, I’m pre-emptively looking forward to the weeks of graft ahead.

There’s still a lot of improvements I have to make but in general, I’m training pretty hard these days and as long as I listen and try to get the rubbish bits good and the good bits better  I think I’ll be fine. Most importantly, I think I have more than enough time to get ready. This is important because last time I fought  I didn’t train enough for it and I had a shit time because I didn’t train properly.

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If you don’t put the work in then you, unfortunately, pay the price. Outside of competition, I’m really pleased that the Muay Thai bug has bitten me again and I’m even more pleased that there are opportunities in the week to train twice a day. I may have a long way to go as a fighter but I’m in the right place to get myself there.

I still want to catch up with some of the other gyms I know in the city to train with new and old faces and to see what I can learn. But that’s time and money and I’ll do it when I can. For now, it’s nice to see my gym developing and more opportunities to train for stand up fighters emerging. In fact, it’s a busy little place these days. I’m already toying with the idea of getting some K1 in life tomorrow evening.

Sparring today wasn’t too bad but I absolutely need to work on my cardio. By round 3 I was tired. I guess that’s why if you don’t run then you don’t fightthat’s never been rocket science. I had an interesting conversation this week about fighting with another fighter who said he’s more reliant on sparring for his cardio,

I kind of get where he is coming from but we both agreed that sprint training is good to get those 10 seconds bursts of flat out all or nothing fitness levels right up, and of course, long road work at a steady pace is also great for overall fight endurance. Fundamentally, you shouldn’t even be looking at a ring if your fitness is no good. You can be the best fighter in the world but if your furthest run is from the living room to the toaster and even then your knackered,  you my friend are going down.

I guess that’s why next week onwards I’m going to make sure I’m running 3 times a week again, like it or not. I intend of course to keep the training momentum up and as always put in the work in the gym that I need. I still need to make a lot of improvements and I want my trainers to be confident in me.

I know I can look after myself in there but I want to win. So no telegraphing, getting faster, finding my shots and sorting my range is but a few of the list of impossible tasks I have in front of me right now. But just like the late and great Muhammad Ali would say impossible is nothing.  Here’s to next week and just like the last time.. I’ll see you on that road.

The days are short the nights are long

Evening all, I’ve finally decided to sit down and play catch up with this blog of mine, and as always it’s good to be able to sit down and find the time to write. Training the past couple of weeks has truly been a thing of awesomeness. After spending well over 12 months contemplating training 6 times a week, I’ve found myself in a position where I am training 6 times a week, and on one of those days, I’m training twice a day.

How has this happened? you may wonder. The one thing I’ve noticed about the gyms in my neck of the woods is that although there are some great places to train (my camp, of course, is the best) some of them only train a couple of times a week in Muay Thai as there’s a lot of other activities and disciplines taking place too.

I’m pleased to say however that landscape is changing, it seems that more are offering the ability to train at least 4 times a week in your chosen discipline. Just recently, an open mat session launched at my camp on Thursdays and Fridays allowing me to step things up from my usual Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Sunday to suddenly finding myself in a position where I could really put in the work I needed.

Although mornings the past couple of weeks have been a little shorter for me than my long evening sessions due to work commitments it’s good to know it’s there, one of my trainers is there and despite a quiet week before last (literally just me and him with me doing intensive rounds on the bags to improve cardio and speed) it was good to see familiar faces there this week, some of whom were sparring.

This means one thing. Next week I get there early because although no one likes being punched in the face at ten in the morning you can’t beat the grind.  I hope it gets more and more popular.

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Of course, despite finding the gym hours I’ve been searching for it’s important to make sure I’m progressing in what I do. You can’t keep doing the same thing and expect different results so in order to put my money where my mouth is, next week onwards I need to make sure I’m bringing what I’m being taught into play in my sparring. It doesn’t have to be fancy. It doesn’t have to be groundbreaking. It just needs to hurt people. It’s down to me to discover what works and what doesn’t.

I’m determined to get my foundation better, as those at the top of their game have a very good set of basic skills. Mine isn’t too bad but it needs to improve. It’s getting there, however. I’ve been working a lot on getting my body kick faster and overall my speed seems to be improving on the bags.

I need to make sure I take that speed into sparring with me. I have a bad habit of fighting at someone else’s pace and not my own. fighting with the brakes on if you will The more I train the sharper I get but next week onwards I intend to get my responses to where they should be because at the moment I take too long and I miss too much. “Be first” as someone said to me once.

I’ve been bitten by the Muay Thai bug once again but I think I’m also going to go out and find people to train with who are at my level fight experience-wise to see where I’m going wrong and what I need to do to put it right. Good things may come to those who wait but good things also come to those who go out and make them happen. Have a good week, train hard and just like the last time.. I’ll see you on that road.

Gyms and Muay Thai quests

Yes, I’m back y’all, and as always it’s good to catch up. I hope your weeks been one full of martial goodness. Sadly, for the second week running training hasn’t been as full-on as I’d like this time due to the tail end of a nasty cold managing to sabotage my best-laid plans. Moaning aside, I’m intending to get myself back on the proverbial horse next week onwards.

I’ve been thinking over the past few days (I do that a lot)  Gyms can be funny places sometimes. I’ve been training for nearly 13 years now and over time, due to one thing or another I’ve found myself training out of and also fighting for different camps. Let’s put one thing to bed at an early stage and that’s  I don’t and never will gym hop.

Being reasonably well-traveled and seasoned for my age (I’m really not that old at all) I’ve lived in a few different cities around the UK  due to work or the insatiable travel bug that blessed my mum also digging its claws into me… and since I picked Muay Thai up I’ve never really been able to put it down. In fact, I made a pact with myself way back in 07 that wherever I find myself in the world, I’ll find a camp to train out of.

So far, I’ve trained as far south as you can go without getting your feet wet, Bournemouth and my current home town as well as South Africa, Europe and of course Thailand. (twice)  See what I mean? well-travelled. Every gym I’ve been to has its own style of fighting, etiquette and uniqueness about it that I’ve made my own.

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Every gym has had a variety of trainers and people that have caught my attention. interest, inspired and brought out the best in me. Just as equally, I’ve run into a lot of egos, cliques and a mild degree of patronization (intentional or not) My current gym of around the 4-year mark is somewhere I’m happy to call home and it’s fair to say I train with some good people.

Just recently, one of my trainers who’s sadly not around as much as I’d like to see at present (Hi Dave) said that if I want to keep fighting I need to train with people who are going to push me to help me progress. I think at the moment I’m in the right environment to do that but it’s fair to say from my gyms and my own perspective there’s a lot that’s expected of me right now.

My other trainer has already said he wants to see some drastic improvements between now and my possible next fight in December (I’ve mentioned this as humbly as possible because I want it, so you know…) or else they’ll be no fighting for anybody. It was that blunt too but sometimes I need that.

Of course, getting myself ready over the next 8 weeks or so means not only am I going to have to listen but take valid criticism too. Sometimes in gyms, the critics I’ve encountered have criticised me because they need someone to pick on. There’s a word for these sort of martial artists but I won’t drop down into expletives here. The best sort of criticism comes from people who want to see you progress and develop. I’m lucky to have spent a lot of gym time around these kind of people too.

Muay Thai doesn’t come easy to the best of us. It’s a simple system but there’s a lot of depth to it and I often cast my mind back to what my first trainer told me years ago “I can only ever show you the way” in other words it’s down to me how I interpret and develop what I do.

I feel at the moment that I’m making progress but I’ve been training for a long time. Things are starting to come a little easier than they did 3 years ago or even 6 months ago. I no longer feel that if I have light training weeks that I’m back to square one. More often than not  my body says thanks for the rest and I have more energy than I thought I did.

As a paradox, there is so much more that I need to do better that I should be doing better by now. My life seems full of bad habits and one-dimensional fighting so maybe I just need to stop sticking to what I know start correcting more and use what I’ve been learning since the dawn of time. It’s all there. Other fighters have told me that too. It never goes away, and I often see it. I just need to get better at using it.

I’m looking forward to hitting the gym next week as well as throwing in some decent road work to compliment it and get that fitness better. The gym and training is a habit. I guess fighting is a hobby I just can’t seem to put down. I want to get better at. Here’s to the next eight weeks and just like the last time.. I’ll see you on that road.

 

 

 

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.