Category Archives: Personal Development

Still got it.

Well, despite having a small break with writing again everything else appears to be heading back on track and this month there’s a lot of good things happening that’s keeping  me on my toes. I’m slowly getting my training back on course and despite having let things fall to the wayside a little (being honest I’ve been busy, but then again I’m always busy and there’s always a lot of excuses to be made)  I’ve stuck with it as always and have found myself getting back to a semi respectable few sessions this week and last.

I’m aiming to have next week follow suit and keep things moving forward in the same vein. 2017 appears to have shot by (I think as you get older time does seem to move quicker. Oh the woes of a 30 something.) and although I haven’t got myself back into the ring this year, I still have that as a goal for 2018. It was nice to be asked last weekend if I could fight short notice and despite deciding I haven’t been training enough ( I really haven’t to warrant stepping up for a contest right now.) I’m sure I could get myself ready with enough notice and not only that I’m sure I could get back in there and win again.

My life has never been about short cuts or easy options and if memory serves me correct the next one will be a lot tougher than the last one even if from outside appearances it seems deceptively not that way at all. Speaking from personal experience, there’s no such thing as an easy fight. I don’t think there ever will be.

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I’m pleased that the fire is still there and that I still won’t back down. I hope that I can carry that energy through into 2018. Avoiding a lengthy ramble (or rant however you want to look at it) into the realms of how Muay Thai forges you into a better character and so on and so forth I’ve noted over the years the one of many things it gives you is courage. It’s something that I’ve learnt to apply to all of my challenges in the ring, in the gym or otherwise. We all have to face our fears and I’m just as brave as I always was. Still just as lazy some days but you know…

On a final note one thing I’ve had a severe lack of this week is running so I intend to start the week off with a big run (well reasonably lengthy. It is Monday after all..) and then of course it’s back into the mix Tuesday onwards. I’m going to start running a few times a week again. Like the rest of it, getting that focus back is a lot harder than you think but if you want to get good as these things you have to put in the work. And speaking of work I’ve got a lot of coursework to catch up on so for now that’s all she’s wrote and I’ll do my best to catch up with you next week too. Thanks for reading as always. I’ll see you on the road.

 

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On the up.

Training this week has been a little more balanced than previously. I’ve found the time to spend more time at the gym than the week before and hope that next week onwards I’m back on the up. Although it’s still been ever so slightly under my ideal threshold (only a few sessions this week) It’s better than none at all and I’ve still got my sights on getting back into the ring at least few more times before I train for just training’s sake.

There’s no driving urge but it’s something I know I can still do and succeed at and most importantly it still looks like fun and a good challenge. We shall see how things progress and the main thing right now is to keep focused. There’s a few people at my camp that would like to take a step down (or get back onto) that path and opportunity always knocks when you least expect it.

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Skill and technique obviously are a big part in fighting but rising to the challenge is something that doesn’t come easy. Even stepping into a ring at an interclub level can be a daunting experience at first, especially when you don’t know anything about the person in front of you. I did about 11 or 12 interclubs before I felt ready to step up.  15 fights and over 30 interclubs later I still feel just as passionate as I did at the beginning.

Even if I’d won every single fight I’ve ever fought I’d still see beyond winning and losing. I’ve only ever had something to prove to myself and until I stop having something to prove to me I’ll keep boxing. Fighting to me is about winning but it’s also not just about winning. If I had to associate it with anything I’d say it’s part of my quest to always be  better than who I am.

And that’s never meant I’m better than anyone else.  And If you think the latter is what   what I think inside  you don’t get me and you never will. I train because I love training and I fight because I love the challenge. Nothing to lose and nothing to prove. (at least not to you anyway.)

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Encountering fear in anything you do  is a lengthy subject but if your passionate about something and want something enough you’ll learn to overcome your fears and use that energy as a force of good.

When it comes to Muay Thai I’ve learnt to use that energy as a weapon. It’s irrelevant what level anyone is fighting at doing what we do, because the doubts and the reservations we run into are the same across the board from the person stepping into a ring for their first interclub, right the way up to professional level. Granted the stakes may be a lot higher but the courage that’s needed is the same.

I’ve learnt that turning self doubt into self belief and fight nerves into aggression in the ring doesn’t just see you through a fight but can win one. It can also bring out a side of you, you never knew existed. Martial arts gives a lot back to you but courage and self belief has got to be the best gift of them all.

You know, it’s easy to worry about how you come across to others at points but I’ve found the more you worry about what other people think the less you get done. If you want to succeed at anything you simply have to go for it and do your best. I’ve found more often than not what I need  I already have inside anyway.

So this week, I feel positive. You can probably tell. In fact, I’ve been feeling positive about a lot of things for a little while. A friend of mine said to me recently “things do get better.” It made me smile because the thing is things have been getting better for a long time. In fact, ever since they did I’ve never looked back and I don’t think I ever will. Here’s to next week and 2018. Train hard, and I’ll see you on that road.

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Always a good thing.

Evening all. Thought I should check in as it’s been a couple of weeks since we spoke last. I’ve had a tough few weeks training wise due to winter leargy creeping up on me not once but twice. However, now practically germ free I intend to be back in the mix next week onwards. In fact the little bit of training I have succeeded with this week has been awesome and that’s always a good thing.

I’m still wanting to give a little bit more time than I currently do to writing but self employment, work and life is keeping me on my toes. Being honest, life’s like that and if I want to find the time I guess I will.

Training wise recently I’ve been thinking a lot more about range and movement. I’m still pretty forward thinking and have played around a little with letting taller opponents come to me more whilst countering, but have remembered quite quickly that it’s important to stay close and to keep the pressure on.

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In fact, just recently sparring I found my range for my left body kick which has come on in leaps and bounds over the past couple of months. Unless I’m fighting I can get sloppy with getting the timing right with that particular kick unless its low, so I was pleased to get that sorted out. (at least temporarily ) We all miss sometimes but you have to keep your cool and wait for the moment.

Being honest, there’s been a few improvements and I’m doing my best to take my time and look for shots. When I haven’t been training as much as I should it’s not always easy and I get sloppy. I miss stuff, I make mistakes but that’s life. Either way I’m always learning. I guess that’s the way it should be.

We’ve practiced a simple drill recently of throwing a combination and then moving as the other person with the pads walks towards you. As soon as you step off  you open up a whole range of options. I’m getting better at looking at fight situations differently, and I’m still not afraid to put pressure on the person in front of me when I have to and do my best to do something unexpected.

Turning kicks when I’m close enough seem to keep catching people off guard. Not that I’m trying to give my game away, but it’s good to know that there’s still a game left. It’s important to stay close when it comes to combat so your in range for everything you need to throw and although I do get sloppy I’m doing my best to tidy myself up. I’ve been training long enough and know better than to make silly mistakes. But then again I am only human.

You can be a forward fighter and remain aggressive but fight smart too. Like everything else it’s a work in progress. Next week I intend to be down the gym as much as possible and I’m pretty confident I’ll get things back up to speed.

However, regardless of how much or how little I training I fit in, it’s always a good thing and I’m better than I used to be. And that’s a good thing too. I thought I’d leave you this week with Sangmanee vs Superlek a great example of timing, range and fighting “in the pocket”.  Have a great week, train hard and just like the last time.. I’ll see you on that road.

Sangmanee vs Superlek via Muay Ties.

 

Approach.

Well, it’s nice to be back. Here we are again, you and me. When it comes to all things martial this week just like the week before has been a good one. Although running has been a little light on the ground this week I’ve still put in some good work boxing wise and at the moment I feel that I’m getting better.

Training often ebbs and flows and moves in peaks and troughs with progression, and from previous experience when I feel that nothing is improving it turns out that everything is improving. That’s only ever a good thing.

Of course, when it comes to all things Thai and I guess with martial arts across the board there’s different approaches to what we do. Every trainer I’ve met so far along my martial journey has their own unique take on any given situation and I like to think there’s always been something I can take away with me. In fact, more often than not it’s been something I’ve taken home.

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That really goes back to the first couple of years of training and a mentality I adopted at an early stage. Shadow boxing at home and always doing my best to remember what I’d been taught.

However, It wasn’t until I started competing that I started to really think about what worked for me as individual. Even then it’s  still taken a while for the  pieces to fall into place. I think just like the rest of training becoming a better boxer is an ongoing process.

I’ve learnt over time that there is no wrong and right way to martial arts there’s only individual approaches to situations. What works for you may not work for me and visa versa. It’s your own journey that you grow into. As one of my first trainers said “I can only show you the way.” ultimately any fighting system is something you make your own.

Personally I really love the way Muay Thai is in Thailand. My current gym has some good trainers who have been out to Thailand and have also achieved a lot with the art. At the moment we’ve got Dave Wilmot from Team Tieu teaching us on a Tuesday and Thursday and another home grown trainer who spent a few months in Thailand teaching on the other days us whilst our main trainer is away.

I’m enjoying what I’m being taught at present and  feel like I’m slowly improving. I’m a work horse and get my head down and get on with things, but having watched a shake off the rust interclub from earlier this year I can see that the style or approach to Muay Thai I’m learning is taking shape. In fact, I was surprised I did as well as I did despite it being non competitive.  There’s still a lot to work on and it was nice to be back in there.

It’s very easy to feel stuck in a rut with martial arts at points which is why I feel it’s important to set goals and to think beyond winning your next fight or a title.  Muay Thai in particular has a rich history and a simple but complex fighting system that you can apply outside of any competition.

There’s a lot training gives you outside of the physical techniques we get taught. Most importantly, it’s not all about “respect” as some promote. Being honest that’s a given in anything you train in. For me personally it’s about pushing my boundaries and just seeing how far I can get. I say this with confidence as I’ve been training for nearly 11 years and have no intention of stopping any time soon.

My heart and mind is still in the fight and I’m young enough and fit enough to pick up that particular gauntlet again but I also understand that there’s more to it than just that. And that’s exciting. My natural bias is to help others when I can so sometimes I enjoy passing on what I know. Maybe I should try to do that more often.

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Next week of course sees me back at the gym minus a hacking cough that’s been making my life hell for the past couple of weeks so I’m going to see if I can push myself a little more than I have done recently. Being honest  I’ve been working pretty hard but I need more running in my life and less crap in my diet to compliment everything else. Either way I’ll do my best to be better than what I was the week before. When it comes down to it, I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Have a good week, train hard and just like the last time.. I’ll see you on that road.

 

 

 

 

No time like the present.

This week training wise hasn’t been as martially packed as I hoped it would be, mainly because I’ve managed to pick up the standard cold that’s doing the rounds. That’s right. It’s that time of year again and I’ve been sick as a dog. Moaning aside, I intend to hit the ground running next week onwards and carry on as normal.

Even though I’ve only managed to get to the gym a couple of times this week it’s still been time well spent and I need to make sure I’m consistent with training if I want to get back to a place where I know I can make good progress. The will’s there and when I find that well I usually find a way. Despite what I tell myself.

Recently I’ve been walking around with a lot of mental baggage that seems to have well and truly found it’s home with me, and no matter what I do seems to be determined to make it’s presence felt. Plate spinning is a fine art but it’s one I’ve got good at over time and I often value time spent training as a way to unwind after a particularly long day.

Just recently and ultimately frustratingly problems have refused to leave themselves at the door and have instead decided to grace me with their presence right from the beginning of a session until the end. It seems that some days (not every day) Sparring is the only time I manage to switch off.

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I’ve written about staying in the here and now or present on a few occasions whilst writing this blog and just recently I’ve felt that it’s something I need to spend time focusing on again. As soon as I switch off energy is directed to all the right places not into day to day negatives that seem to be getting under my skin.  Energy flows where attention goes.

It’s been a while since I’ve thought about focus and it’s something that’s just as important as the physical techniques we get taught week in and week out. As I’ve mentioned already recently I’ve found myself drifting a little bit in training so next week I want to make sure I stay in the here and now.

Constant chatter can wear the best of us down. And sometimes it’s easy to feel like your at war with yourself, whether it be pre-fight nerves or anything else I think it’s something that ideally should be kept on top of.

I’ve always found it interesting that I naturally switch off when fighting. I feel very much in the here and now. At the very least I’m most certainly in the moment. Maybe it’s the first steps towards higher consciousness through harder contact. to coin a phrase. Either way it’s something I’d like to be able to apply to the rest of my life. I think I’ll have to learn how to take it home with me.

I think next week I’ll have a little more to say about training and all things martial but I’ll keep you posted about how my little experiment with focus goes in the week ahead. Just recently  I’ve found myself returning to a few areas   I was working on and put down,  and like someone once said to me always make sure you finish one thing before you start another. Until next week, train hard  and just like the last time.. I’ll see you on that road.

 

 

 

It’s been a long time since..

Morning. It’s been a long time since I sat down to write this blog of mine. Well actually it’s only been a few weeks. I guess you could say I’ve had a writing break which in effect has given me a little more to talk about than usual.. however, it’s not something I’m going to try and fit into the next few paragraphs so let’s start from the beginning and see how we get on.

Writing. Yeah. That’s kind of a big one for me at present because I set myself some major goals this year with not only this blog but a project of mine I started over 12 months ago. I am in effect in the process (that has been in hiatus for far too long) of writing a book still know as “Last of the good guys” that being honest, I’m pretty pleased with.

So far I’ve managed over 150 pages. To give up at this stage isn’t likely to be something I’m going to be doing any time soon, and since the last time I worked on it was July of this year it’s beginning to feel like it’s about time to continue on from when we last spoke. (If that makes sense.)

Really when it comes down to it,  it’s another goal that’s taking a little longer to get to than anticipated and even when I finally arrive at my destination it’s not going to come together straight away. I’m already predicting much wailing and gnashing of teeth as I rewrite first one part then another.. but do you know what’s really exciting? I can see it. I can actually see me achieving it if I set my mind to it. It’s not all bad. Honest.

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Goal setting with whatever you choose to aim for in life is pretty much essential and getting what you want is never always as easy as you’d like it to be. I seem to be constantly coming back to a point where I have to reset and bravely start again but it’s always been something I’ve been prepared to do. I’ve found although I don’t always get to where I need to be immediately persistence and most importantly focus always sees me through.

Which brings me back to the training horse that has been doing it’s best (with a large degree of assistance from me ) to veer ever so slightly off course of late. Luckily, I managed to get back on the road less traveled last week and intend to keep heading in the right direction.

The year seems to have shot by at an alarming rate of knots and it will be good to have finished off on a high note. Maybe I’m wishing it away a little but as we rapidly approach October and mince pies (you read that bit right) start appearing in shops I’m wondering if I’m going to achieve my goal of getting the rust of and competing before the years out.

The best thing to do with these things is of course think positive, and since I left my old gym here I haven’t really looked back. And being honest I’ve got better. But life’s like that. The style of Muay Thai I’m being taught now has kind of clicked with what I already know so I guess I’m in the right place and it’s been a long time since I’ve really felt like that too.

This week onwards I’ve decided to have a break from parties and alcohol (one of the main reasons training went sideways for a couple of weeks) and have a good old fashioned detox. I was actually pleased to find myself achieving a 10k run on Saturday gone and I’m doing a similar run later this week plus a couple of smaller ones too.

It’s killing me getting back on track with running plus everything else attached but I know I can do it. Life is pain and all that. (Snicker.)  As I’ve got older I’ve found myself getting lazier but I guess that’s no excuse. Other than a book to finish writing, training and fighting to keep on track, a degree to successfully complete and a business to get off the start up line plus everything in between  I guess you could say what’s ahead really is going to be a challenge. But then again I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Have a good week and as always train hard. I’ll see you on that road.

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Changing it back.

You know what? I’m feeling accomplished. For the past two weeks I’ve managed to successfully train all week. I’ve avoided procrastination and burying my head in the sand and I think the “like it or not” mentality has started to transform back into the “training today” attitude that makes nights at the gym become the norm and not an exceptional push.

Training this week has actually been harder than last week. I think my body has had some kicking and screaming moments as I’ve made it settle back into an old routine it feels like it had just about forgotten about. However, despite things not always being as easy as I’d like (they very rarely are) I’m back on the horse again and I appear to be heading in the right direction.

I think the next step other than putting a bit more zing into my runs and bit more grunt in my punch (ha) is cutting out alcohol for a while. Without wanting to make myself sound like too much of a booze hound, I’ve been trapped in the Friday/ Saturday is beer o clock mentality for a little while now. If I’ve had a busy week in general it’s nice to let what little hair I have down but there’s no escaping the fact it does knock your fitness.

Recently the gym has been a mini sauna in the evenings so sweating out the bad stuff has made me feel a little better. A break from anything always does you good and if I want to fight again later this year I guess I need to get used to a bit of clean living again.

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When it comes to any kind of change I want to make in training the best way to achieve it is to change the way I’m thinking. Negativity, despondency and procrastination is a trap. Don’t fall into it. Remain cautiously optimistic with all of your goals and even if it takes longer than you’d like you’ll eventually succeed. Believe me, I should know.

I’ve been telling myself for many weeks now that I want to get back to my old training routine, I want to get back on the horse, I want to.. you get the drift. Instead of seeing each challenge as an obstacle I don’t have time for and making excuses I step into it and focus on what I want.

Despite feeling there’s never enough time in the day, I’ve learnt that there’s always enough time. I’ve remembered that martial arts is an investment in myself and if you want to get really good at something you have to keep doing it. Training 4/5 times times a week can lead to real progress, 3 or less is recreational at best. Well, to be fair 3 can keep you at a half decent standard. In my world anyway.

I’ve always been someone who has enjoyed putting in a lot of time at the gym. But that’s just me. Muay Thai became my favourite thing very quickly. I still feel the same way about it as I did way back when.

So looking at the next 7 days it’s going to be more of the same. A bit more running and a lot less booze should compliment everything else and should else help keep me sharp. You know, I’ve even been running twice today .  Morning and evening.

I was training earlier too. That’s the sort of stuff they do in Thailand. I wasn’t expecting that to happen. Go me. Change your thoughts you change your life and all that right? well at least that’s what a book I once read told me anyway. Have a great week, train hard and just like the last time.. I’ll see you on that road.