Category Archives: Muay Thai

Hills and valleys pt 3

Evening all. Here we are again you and me. It’s nice to catch up and I hope you’re well. 🙂 I’ve just got back from my first training session of the week, still feeling mildly tenderized from sparring but life’s like that some days.

I spent last week complaining about being injured and this so far this week wondering why people heavier than me are sparring fairly hard. I also managed to spend the last round of sparring tonight on the back foot, with a little voice screaming “stand your ground! Do something!” my last round today was with my trainer.

He’s tough and I’ll admit it I think today I was scared of him. Walking into people and taking them to pieces is what he does really well. That little voice was right. I do need to stand my ground. I need to remember to stop worrying and just remember that when it comes to fighting it’s not about what they are going to do to me, but it’s more about what I am going to do to them.

Fighting’s not an easy world to be in and it’s not something I have to do out of necessity but it’s something I’ve chosen to introduce myself to again because I enjoy it and I believe in myself and I want to get better at it. So here I am, deciding not to pull myself to pieces over little things and setting my goal on standing my ground. On fighting back. It’s not rocket science and you have to push yourself in the gym. Besides it’s not that bad is it? Heavens don’t open and the sky doesn’t fall.

If I get beaten up in sparring I need to toughen up and give as good as I get. Here’s to not getting knocked out on Thursday. Bags and pads tomorrow afternoon. Have a good week, train hard and I’ll catch up with you on Sunday. And just like the last time.. I’ll see you on that road.

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Welcome back.

Hi. You know, I’m sitting here this morning thinking about a lot of different things when it comes to myself and martial arts. My ribs are bashed up and my left foot’s a little sore but I’m fine. Last night I fought on kind of short notice (I knew about last night just before my last fight out of town but was focusing on that at the time so you know.. ).

As I only made the decision to fight last night on Tuesday this week, I think I jumped in at the deep end.  I train regularly and continued training as normal after the fight before last so I don’t think my trainers would have asked me if I wanted to fight if they thought I couldn’t cope with it and win. I managed to throw in a couple of day sessions in this week as well as training in the evenings but it wasn’t really enough.

My cardio also left a lot to be desired which is a first as I’ve always had good fitness. Again to me, that’s lack of real preparation and that’s all it is.  Lesson learned. In my past few fights since my return to the tough little world that is Thai boxing, I’ve been pretty much outclassed every time. On two occasions I’ve gone the distance and lost on points both fighters telling me afterward that I’m tough. I know that.

My body seems to be able to soak it up. I need to start getting a lot better at answering back. In my fight before last, I was stopped in the first round but these things happen. I think maybe because that happened I was determined to try and put it right and wanted to beat him which is why I decided to fight again yesterday. That’s the right attitude but I need to improve a lot.

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I’ve watched the video of my fight a few times now and I’m not particularly impressed with it. First-round = ok.  Second round = holding on, third round = surviving. Fighting is about winning and unless I start to get my basics a lot better and work on changing my angles more frequently I’m in for a world of hurt.  If you do the same thing over and over again you cannot expect different results.

I may not be about to transform into something new but I can make the basics better and fight strategically. If I prepare properly I can get faster and sharper and feel better inside about stepping in the ring, which funnily enough brings me onto my next gripe.

Years ago one of my first trainers told me that my biggest enemy is myself. I still think that’s true. I know because of the hard time I gave myself on the way home and because of the hard time I’m giving myself right now. It’s easier to predict failure than it is to predict victory. You attract what you don’t want to you, faster than what you do want.

Before I start quoting from “The Secret” I’ve noted that although it’s improving my nerves have been pretty full on before I’ve boxed recently. They usually settle down quickly but there’s a lot of anxiety kicking around up there at points. It’s important to remember that fear is a mind killer and nerves can work in one of two ways. They either turn you into a beast or they suck you dry inside. They gave me a hard time yesterday until two fights before I got in the ring.

The way I cope with my nerves is to shut them down. I focus on the present moment and watch people on pads or shadow box or focus on what’s happening around me. The problem begins if I let myself home in mentally on possible failure. Thoughts are just thoughts and when the bad ones flick through it’s better to just observe them. It’s only fear. I need to remember to make it my friend. I want to work on visualization

You see, I’ve lost a lot of fights, won a few and drawn a couple. The important part is to remember that I can win. I could get misty-eyed over what’s gone before or I could just stay present and get a good set of basic skills together that I can build on. Do I seem like I’m putting myself down? I feel like I am, I do it a lot you know. The bullfight critic is me and it’s ok to be critical right now, but it’s important to not let it turn into self-pity. I enjoy training and I enjoy fighting. Even the tough bits.

You see, I want to turn “not very good” into better. I want to make sure I prepare properly when I’m competing. At least four weeks is ok. That’s a month of graft. That’s a month of making the time and putting in the work. Ideally, I want that month to be six weeks of graft but there’s a lot of things I want including to get my basics better as I’ve said. Everything comes together with time. Watching guys in their 30s and 40s go to war last night made me very happy because it shows me that it can be done. I didn’t start competing until I was 31.

On reflection, I’ll put last night down as an important lesson. I’m tough but I need to get better, I’m not in my twenties anymore so I need to fight strategically. On the plus side of things and this is what has made me smile, is at points I could tell I was hurting him. And there were moments when I found the moment. Do you know what I mean? it’s kind of Like pulling some into a reasonably tight clinch and throwing some ok knees as a payback for the last six you took in a row and just for a second thinking “Got him.” It’s like throwing a monster hook and seeing the expression on his face when it connects, it’s like hearing the slap of a left low kick connecting or seeing the pain in his eyes when you land that cross.

It’s like realizing that maybe if you keep training and you keep pushing to get better, in the end, you’ll turn it around again because after all you really cannot beat the combat. Thanks as always to Eagles for having me and thanks to my awesome corner. Big respect to my opponent from last night. You’re a good fighter and a strong lad. Train hard, fight easy and just like the last time.. I’ll see you on that road.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inspiration and getting my groove back

Evening all, I thought I should check in. Monday seems to have become the new Sunday so I’ll do my best to get things back on track this week onwards. Procrastination may be at points the bane of my life but some days I’m just lazy. I guess I’ll let me off.

When it comes to training last week wasn’t too bad although it was a little lighter on the ground than I’d like. Sometimes, we all have weeks like that I guess and less can often be more. Besides, now that I’ve taken my foot off the gas ever so slightly I’ve realized that I’m bored of taking my foot off the gas ever so slightly and I’m already looking forward to getting back in the ring.

Some of the guys from my gym were fighting over the weekend. We walked away with a couple of wins and a loss but all fights were top notch.  It would be good to see some decent female fighters emerge from my camp, and speaking of them it was quite inspiring to discover that Sylvie Von Douglass-Ittu won the IPCC world title after fighting Nong Benz Sakchatree last weekend. 🙂

If you check out Sylvie’s Facebook page you can catch the highlights and the fight itself there! Like all the other fights I watched over the weekend (sadly only on video) it was a great fight and it reminded me that you really can’t beat knees! it’s good watching someone win with something you know you’re good at yourself when you practice enough, and I guess I felt the same way when I also watched Janet Todd stopping Wang Chin Long with low kicks as well.

In both instances, the first thing that flicked through my mind wasn’t “I wish I was that good” but rather “I can do that!” it’s important because the other fights I watched made me realize if I keep training hard I can get to a much better level and achieve a lot more, but seeing tools I want to drill effectively winning fights makes me realize I’m thinking on the right lines at present.

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I used to spend every sparring session trying to find my way into the clinch in at least one round and because my body kicks have never been particularly top notch I used to spend a lot of time working low kicks too. The latter is still kind of same-same although I do try to land more body kicks than before but being honest,  it would be good to get back to getting good at clinching. I’ve never been anything spectacular but I can destroy people with my knees. Thanks for reminding me what a good tool they are Sylvie.

When it comes to looking for inspiration I’m a firm believer that it often appears when I need to find it especially when feeling marginally unmotivated or perhaps a little despondent after a tough bout. I got a pasting in my last fight so ever since then I’ve been asking myself what I need to do better.

The problem is when it comes to fighting you can never tell what’s going to happen until you’re fighting. Maybe thinking outside the box a little bit more in training will help me cope better with the unexpected next time around because being honest I didn’t expect him to be as good as he was. But I guess that’s a good thing. It means I learned something and when I’m learning I know that I can only get better with time. To me, that’s truly inspiring and a motivator to keep doing what I do.

“All I want is to improve, to get better as a fighter and to eventually be able to look at myself and say that I’m a great fighter. It’s a process and, for me, it’s slow. But I want it so badly that I am willing to risk failure. I’m willing to risk losing, to risk being bettered repeatedly by opponents who have advantages over me, because I want so badly to get better. And I do fail – I lose and I get my ass kicked. And I don’t always see or feel the improvement; I just have to have faith that it’s there.” 

It’s always inspiring reading something that resonates with me but this quote from Sylvie was something that really stood out to me recently.

It made me realize that everything I’ve been through and most importantly achieved with training and fighting, every victory in and out of the ring is part of my journey as a fighter, it’s a process of self-improvement that doesn’t just reflect on myself in the ring but reflects on myself as a person too. I’d rather learn the hard way and come back stronger than not learn anything at all.

Some of my biggest strengths lie deep in my experience and my journey as a Thai boxer so far. I may not ever reach the level of the women I’ve talked about in my blog today or be as good as the guys from my gym who were fighting at the weekend but you know, I’ve started to remember that if I really want to look for inspiration sometimes it’s ok to look no further than myself. When you strive to be the best you can be the world becomes yours. All of us are living proof.  Have a great week, train hard and just like the last time.. I’ll see you on that road.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Returns on investment

Afternoon all. I thought I’d take the time to check in. I started off my day with a good run and as it’s bank holiday here have spent the best part of the day enjoying the extended weekend. Being honest, that’s why I never took the time to sit down and write yesterday.

Speaking of yesterday and being reflective as I can often be it was good to get some decent training time in. I spent a couple of hours over the park with a pal from Thai boxing just doing some pad work and some basic drills with a little bit of Wing Chun thrown in for good measure. I finished off Sunday with a decent hour working on my hands which finished with some half decent rounds of boxing sparring.

It was a nice to round the week up after my usual Tuesday and Thursday Thai boxing sessions. I’ve started incorporating Friday nights and Sundays to put the hours in that I need to progress and I still enjoy training with people at all different levels and with all kinds of backgrounds in the arts.

When I first started my martial journey, a friend of mine introduced me to some basic self-defense which was a mix of karate and Ju-jitsu pressure point striking. From there, I spent some time training in Ninjitsu for around 6 months which being honest is a pretty well-rounded fighting system that does borrow from other martial arts but at its core is pretty formidable.

My friend left me to my own devices at this point and after I walked into a Thai boxing gym way back in the mists of 2007 I never really looked back. When I first started training I had no interest in fighting. Even sparring seemed like something fighters did. I’d really turned up to learn what I could for self-defense and had an interest in the art anyway.

Eventually, I broke away from the Ninjitsu crowd I trained with and found myself training in Muay Thai not just once or twice a week but three times and then four. I could tell then it wasn’t going to come to easy to me but it was keeping me in good shape and I was getting better at it.

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I trained in my home town then in Bournemouth where I ended up dedicating most of my free time to boxing for a good four years.  Two and a half hours a day, 5 days a week. Running every session if I was fighting and usually training with the fighters if I wasn’t. Things were a little different then from now I guess, and I wish my current gym had a few more Thai sessions on in the week but it’s fine because I can compensate. I’ve been training at my current camp for close to four years and I like it here. It’s good to have a home.

I’ve trained with some good people over the years including world champions. I’ve been lucky enough to spend time in their company and have been humbled when they’ve told me that as fighters we are, all the same, it’s just that some of us give a little more. I wonder if I still want it enough to keep fighting and succeed and I think that I do. It’s possible to push yourself and achieve most things when you put your mind, body, and soul into it.

Muay Thai is my foundation but I have a love for martial arts as a whole. I remember the Seni expos I used to get myself to at the London Excel and can remember being wowed watching the Wing Chun opens with Alan Or and the Eskrima stick fighting competitions, and ok Grand Master Sken’s MSA show was pretty awesome too.

As martial artists, we often share and exchange techniques and knowledge and I am still a firm believer that its important to think outside the box, or in my case outside the ring. Competing teaches you a lot about yourself and it makes you tougher inside. I’m sure I can win a few more fights before I decide to train for training’s sake but I know when that happens the journey doesn’t stop. It just continues. There’s a lot of information out there and there’s a lot to be learned from good people I train with week in and week out. It’s down to me to make my journey an investment in myself.

Back to basics.

Hi. It´s been a little while since we caught up last so as always it´s good  find the time to sit down and write. Procrastination and me are still old friends but as always I´ve got a whole lot to say. I´m currently on the tail end of a long weekend away in slightly warmer climates playing catch up with  my nearest and dearest and from time to time, throwing in the occasional run too.

There´s some good opportunities for road work out here and despite being marginally boozy and eating well I´ve managed to keep the weight down and the fitness up with 6 and bit k runs. Well maybe yesterday was a little further but it was also worth it. I´m still just as much as a fan of challenges and pushing myself as I always have been and besides if you don´t run, well you don´t fight. Super simple stuff.

When it comes to all things martial and in particular fighting I´m pleased to say there may be good things round the corner next month onwards .  The more you put in the more you get out and I´m just determined as I always have been to get things back on track and start winning again. I proved to myself last time round that I´ve still got the determination and the heart to commit to the training and the fight itself I just want to shake the last of the rust off and start winning again.

It´s very easy to chase something when you know it can spend forever seemingly just in arms reach so right now I´d rather just keep fighting knowing that sooner or later something good is going to happen.

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K1 title win 2015. Well, he wanted another shot at me…

When it comes to fighting I´ve decided to go back to basics and work on developing what I know works and to keep drilling what I know I need to get better at.  I´m confident that the last bit will catch up with the rest sooner or later. Maybe upstairs downstairs should be the order of the day.  Besides when it comes to what happens in the square ring keeping it simple is the order of the day. It´s what works when your under pressure that counts.

I´ve always found that “keeping it simple” is there for me when I need it the most. Right now, it just needs a little sharpening up and tweeking. Sometimes the best way to learn is through experience. Of course, with fight number 19 on the cards soon (Cautiously optimistic is my current status) I want to make sure things improve drastically so I think the next couple of months is going to require the usual amount of graft and dedication that has always come before. Just when I need it the most.

Fighting is of course, only fighting but it is of course always good to win and inevitably when you stick with something no matter what and always against all odds I´ve found that you usually do. Fortune favours the brave, or maybe it´s just fond of the stubborn. Either way, as I said a few months ago it´s good to be back. Here´s to the next one and just like the last time.. I´ll see you on that road.

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Lots to learn.

Hi. As always it’s good to catch up. Last night I had my 18th fight against a better opponent from K Star Legacy in Birmingham. Sadly, I didn’t make it through the first round as I got caught with a killer hook that caught me off guard. I managed to make the 8 count but when I got back to my feet but the ref decided to stop the fight. Seeing as I had just been hit so hard my mother probably felt it and was very cleared stunned maybe that was a good thing.

I wondered why when I sat down afterwards (on a chair this time) the left side of my face was throbbing but I think it’s fair to say that would be down to the 8 0z gloves we were fighting in. That’s totally fine with me but in hindsight, I think it’s more about protection for the fighters hand than the other person’s head.

Understandably, today I feel marginally pissed that I’ve taken another loss to my name by making the same fucking mistake I always make when up against someone with heavy hands. I hit reverse and tried to trade when cornered. Watching the video it took a couple of seconds and the shots came. Boom, big right hand then bang that killer hook. and I was on the deck.

The standard of my opponent last night was very good and everything he threw was fast and with power. Having watched the video back I opened up reasonably well but was too slow. Everything felt slow. I landed some good hand and low kick combinations, and after the fight, he told me that I was hurting him with my right low kick which I guess is something, but I can do better. I always seem to go through the same conversations with myself when I lose a competition and I wonder at points if I’m learning anything at all. You see, over time I’ve come to realize that my record doesn’t matter as much as I think it does.

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What does matter is the experience I’m gaining every time I step in the square ring. I’m still a firm believer that there’s no such thing as losing. Well, there is but losing is never permanent and everything changes. Several people said to me last night, including my opponent that losing doesn’t matter. It’s just fighting. We’re all in it because we enjoy it. otherwise, what would be the point?

Of course, losing truly does suck as much now as it did 10 fights ago, but I can look at myself objectively and focus on what I need to improve. Last night my trainer told me to work on hand and low kick combinations and to close the distance. “Ok” I thought to myself “I can do that” forgetting that sometimes. it’s a lot harder than you think.

After around 20 to 30 seconds of the first round (Maybe it was less) I knew I was in trouble and something in me hit the survival mode button which is why I started to trade with my hands. I’d already taken a heavy body kick but had come back well from it, and in hindsight, the big right hand that came in before the hook that dropped me could have been anticipated. I’m probably making it sound much more of an exciting fight than it was but writing can sometimes have a flair for the dramatic when you talk about this kind of thing.

I noticed that until the last hour or so before I got in the ring my nerves had been under control but pretty persistent. When we got to the venue I really noticed how prevalent they were and how unsure they were making me feel. It took some time but I managed to start to shut them down from the moment I started to get my hands wrapped. I’ve never been ashamed of fear .

Fear takes many different shapes in my life and when it comes to fighting it’s important to turn it into a fire. I was happy to be in that ring last night and I welcomed the challenge. As soon as I’m over those ropes I know that there is no place to run, it’s why I’ve learnt and I’m still learning that I have to stay present when I box. All that matters is the here and now.

I’m not ashamed to say I’ve never been a fantastic fighter but I am a tough one and maybe I should have won more fights than I have. I don’t believe in doing things in half measures and looking for easy options so in hindsight, despite my pride hurting more than my face does right now I’m glad I got to fight someone I knew was going to push me outside my comfort zone. I’d like to stay here for a while and see where it takes me. I hope you understand.

There’s a lot of work to be done at the gym and I want to spend more time learning how to deal with my old friend fear before he decides to pay me a visit when I compete next. I’m keen to not only develop what I can do in the ring because right now it really doesn’t feel like enough but to keep moving forward and shake the last of the rust off.

I want to work on translating training into the ring and carry the mindset with me wherever I go and to apply it to whatever I do and come up against in my life. Years ago one of my first trainers said to me that the biggest enemy I have to fight is myself. Every time I step in that ring I know that I’m winning. Here’s to positive change. Have a good week, train hard and just like the last time… I’ll see you on that road.

 

 

The more you put in

Hi. I’m currently having some sort of existential crisis/ Facebook meltdown combined. Here’s my last status.

“I’ve just got this big ball of energy just sitting there waiting to do something. Pissing me off. Itchy is the word. Looking forward to boxing next week..Was nice today when I was running earlier I felt really fit. Training was good too. What’s also annoying me is when I’ve banged on about fighting like this before on here I’ve ended up losing the fight. Do I just shut up about it and say nothing at all for the next week?”

The time I’m referring to happened way back in the mists of 2011 and the fight in question was a tough one. At the time, when my nerves got really bad leading up to a fight I’d post anything relating to Thai boxing that made me feel a little bigger inside. I was trying to fight fear with inspiration but I was looking for inspiration from the wrong source. You see what I needed to find was inside of me all along.

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Sometimes good things can happen. I have faith. 

It took me a 7 fight losing streak to realize that. I think the penny finally dropped shortly before fight number 7 a couple of years later and just after I had my arse handed to me by a fighter that completely outclassed me.

The next day I was running my usual run (I’d been stopped within the first couple of minutes the night before so wasn’t too banged up) and had shut out the usual feeling of disappointment to focus on the road ahead when it hit me. It was a big ball of emotion I’d never met before.

I got home after my run, and whilst in the shower noticed my eyes were getting watery and there was a lump in my throat that wouldn’t stop getting bigger. Instead of holding the emotion in, I decided to let it out. There I was a 30 something, a less than average fighter bawling out of frustration with myself and anger at my trainer for letting me get in the ring with that animal.

“Woah. That was intense.” I said to myself as I dried off to get dressed and get on with the rest of the day. The moment had lasted all but 30 odd seconds but it left me feeling..different. I felt better. I felt stronger and I was still pissed off but a little tougher than 30 minutes before.

I remembered what I had thought just before the emotion hit. “What your looking for you already have,” I said it to myself so gently and calmly that it was like someone, an older me had told me the truth and I couldn’t handle it.

What happened next or maybe what hasn’t happened yet wasn’t the material for the next Rocky film ( although an old flame once called me Johnny Balboa )but what it was (training and graft) inspired me enough to not look back and just keep fighting.

I  just kept going with the confidence to know that the more I put in the better I would get. The more fights I had the more I would learn about me and what I can and can’t do in that square ring and ultimately, the better I would become. One of my trainers way back when told me not to worry and just keep training. “It always tips for people who train a lot. You’ll see.”

In the end, he was right. I wanted to win so much that I did. Today I feel like I did before I won my first fight. Before the scales tipped in my favour. What that is, is exciting. Because I can still see it. I can see potential and I still want it. I can face my fears and ask them to stay because I know they’ll disappear when I step into that ring.

A good friend of mine texted me over the weekend to say he’d lost his second boxing match but it was close. He lost his first too you see. “It was close.” I’ve been there. Most people I know that are fighters have been there. Being a friend, I told him to “just keep fighting” I reminded him that him, me, you and everyone else out there that competes never loses. We just have to come back stronger. And when we come back stronger we aren’t just going to fight, we’re going to win. See what I did back there? yeah. Me too.

You see, something else I’ve come to realize over time is that fighting is about me. It’s not about the bullfight critics but about me and what I have to prove to myself. I thought for a while I had nothing left to prove but just recently I realized there are still a few chapters left in my story. There’s still a little fuel left in the tank. There is a light and it never goes out, right now it’s burning bright. I am no longer afraid.  Have a good week, train hard fight easy and just like the last time..I’ll see you on that road.