Category Archives: Personal Development

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.

 

 

 

 

Still my friend.

oThis week has a been a truly great week of training. In fact, it’s been better than great it’s been awesome. Months of telling myself I need to start training how I used to has finally led into me training how I used to. It’s the best thing that’s happened martially in while.

So here I am after an all too common leave of absence from blogging to have a brief catch up about my favourite thing. Some might say it makes us exceptional, and as long as I’ve been training for I’ve learnt it’s only ever false evidence appearing to be real.

Fear can be a funny thing. It takes a lot of different shapes and appears in a wide variety and never a garden variety of forms. Earlier this week I had a couple of tougher than usual rounds of sparring, rather than asking the person in front of me to take some power out I decided to suck it up and carry on as normal. Inevitably, I got caught with a great shot. In fact I got hit so hard I felt my head turn.

I think it was at that point I felt my expression change and something somewhere inside decided to switch itself on. I’m not the first person I know of this happening to and being honest it shouldn’t really take a bit of punishment to create a trigger but ok, sometimes it can help.

Thai has toughened up my mentality over time but being honest  I’ve always been tough inside.  Life at points has hit me hard. Sometimes I’ve hit the pavement harder.  Sometimes I seemed to attract negative situations and people. Some of my more street savvy friends would say I was too soft. Too kind to people. Others would tell me not to change.

Either way, It’s fair to say I’m a survivor and I know how to get back on my feet and keep fighting. In the ring the last part has at points been in every literal sense of the word. I remember reading Geoff Thompson’s accounts of how he faced his fears and feeling inspired by what I read.

He was scared of spiders I’ve always been terrified of spiders. He was afraid of violent confrontation and I’d never been a big fan. I could relate to what I read but what inspired me about him was the way he stepped into his fear.

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My trainer in Bournemouth told me once before I started competing that fighting wasn’t for everyone. He said it was brutal.  I still decided to step up to the challenge, and I found that once I stepped into my fear everything changed. I fell in love with competing even though for a while all I did was lose. It showed me a part of me I never knew existed and he was a brave soul.

He had the heart of a lion and would never give up. He looked fear square in the face and said “do your worst. You don’t scare me.” I’m blessed enough to have him back in my life today. I hope you get to see him again soon. Before you wonder if the voices in my head are running amok, let me explain. It goes back to something my dad said to me when I moved to my current stomping ground. “You have to be a different person.”

It’s was strange because it was something that had recently come up in discussion with my trainer before I left his gym. We had talked like we often did in his cafe, about boxing life and whatever might come up at the time. “You can’t be a nice guy in the ring” he had told me. It was agreed then that I’d have to be a different person when it came down to fighting. And of course, I’d have to not give up.

You see I’ve realized that until I put my “fighting head” on, nerves, anxiety and everything else attached would literally kick the shit out of me before a contest. Right up until the point I stepped in the ring. If you’ve ever experienced an adrenal dump or even a caffeine crash you’ll know what I mean. You spend hours so highly strung that your friend fear borrows the good stuff and refuses to give it back.

What’s worse is it’s all over your face. Your trainer knows, the other fighters know and knowing they know only makes it worse. I went down this road a few times competing before I finally learned how to start to switch it on when it was needed and could ignore  the negative chatter in the meantime.

Just recently in the gym I’ve spent some time focusing on just that. Shutting up the inner critic and focusing on what’s in front of me.  It’s important to stay grounded and be aware of what’s happening around you as well as focusing on what’s in front of you. I still really need to get some focus back and get my fighting head sharper. It used to be better than it is right now and I think if I keep the momentum up with training it’ll get back to a good place a lot faster than I anticipated..

You know, Some days I’ve felt angry when it comes to fighting. I’ve felt like people expect me to lose. The small bunker full of wankers determined to ruin any chance I have of getting back to a part of me I wish I’d never left behind are only my own doubts and fears doing their best to keep me in check. When it comes down to it it’s really up to me to prove the bastards wrong. Like I said earlier on, fear takes a lot of forms.

Next week I’m back in the mix and hope that things remain in the same vein. I’ve trained hard and I feel energized and just about ready to keep pushing myself in everything I do. The key is to take the energy and put it  into the good places in my life. I’m lucky enough to have several..there’s a fire in my eyes again. Have a great week and train hard. I’ll see you on that road.

 

 

 

Motivational.

Phew. I made it. I’m actually on time for the second week running. I guess I must be doing something right. This week, although not full to the brim with Thai boxing has been pretty consistent and I think training a few times a week is going to be back up to my times a week next week onwards.. It’s nice setting goals and I’ve got my eyes on competing again September onwards.

Last night I decided to head to a show for the first time in ages with a friend of mine. We knew a couple of people fighting there so wanted to show some moral support. It was nice to watch some of the fights and all in all the standard was pretty good across K1, boxing and a little of the Thai I caught before we headed off.

It’s certainly something I could do again and there’s no real question in my mind that I’d settle into things quickly in there. I don’t really think I’m chomping at the bit as such to compete but I’m feeling fairly positive that if I work hard enough and look for the opportunities to compete something will come along.

Fighting really isn’t for everyone but it’d be nice to finish off this particular part of my journey on a couple of good notes before I keep heading down the road to pastures new. I remember  someone once  said to me always finish one thing before you start another.

It’s very true and I’m up for a challenge. There’s a lot I want to learn but before I really start to look to broaden my martial horizons I want to make sure there’s a continuation of the story that was never really finished anyway. I hope that makes sense. It’s just a matter of principal.

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Saprasert 2010 just before I started fighting. 

When it comes to goal setting and martial arts I’ve always refused to put myself into a box, and tell myself this it.  This is as far you get. Instead, I’ve continued onwards not letting myself have an end in sight. Glass ceilings are for losers. I govern myself.  What’s around the corner motivates me and I don’t let others hold me back. Forward is the only direction to head. It’s how I built this blog up too.

In fact, I  can remember a ref I know saying to me a little patronizingly “Well I read your blog even if no one else does” it made me smile because at that point it had built up a global following that inspired me to start another writing project.

In fact it still has one. Anything is possible when you put your mind to it and when something is your passion that’s motivation in itself. It’s never really been about being the best of the best, rather more about being the best I can be. If I can step into a ring or any situation and know I gave it my all then that in itself can be the most rewarding of things.

I’m looking forward to hitting the gym again next week onwards and it feels good to be getting some additional focus and balance back into my life again. I’ve successfully moved past the really busy don’t have enough hours in the day stage to finding the time again. There’s 24 hours in the day. Let’s be honest. There’s always enough time to do something you love. And maybe to get really good at it too.  Have a great week, and just like the last time.. I’ll see you on that road.

“I am an anarchist not because I believe anarchism is the final goal, but because there is no such thing as a final goal.” 

 

 

Like it or not.

Evening all. It’s nice to be able to sit down and have a catch up. Of late I’ve been pretty busy  but I finally decided it would be a good idea to bring this blog of mine up to speed so here we are again you and me. It’s nice to be back.

I’m rapidly learning that  Morning is the best time for writing especially after a run so I’ll make sure that next Sunday I stick to that rule. Training has been a bit hit and miss the past couple of weeks bar this one but I’ve been just about managing to plate spin and keep up with everything.

You know I often worry I’m turning into one of those people that moans about being busy all the time. It’s called life. I suppose I should really get used to it. The main thing is even on a quiet week I feel really pleased  I’m making time to box.

It’s really easy to full into a trap of despondency with training. One of my old trainers used to say that one of the hardest parts of training can be simply getting there.But where’s there a will there’s usually a way and try as I might I still can’t get the “isn’t there something you should be doing?” voice to shut the fuck up when after a long day  I’ve got to make a trek on not one but two buses and spend a couple of hours doing something I love.

Aye there’s the rub.  Doing something I love. I actually really enjoy learning stuff and getting better at things. Oh noes! learnings! You see, this week I haven’t felt as sprightly  as a couple of weeks before where everything seemed to come together and flow. No. No far from it. This week I have mostly been feeling crap.

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But still, unperturbed I continue to press onwards. I ignore the fact that I can feel my muscles and joints crickity crack some days if I didn’t stretch or train enough the week before. I ignore the fact that at the end of the session when stretching off and doing some neck exercises I can feel a little clickity click in my neck if we’ve done a lot of clinching.

I remember the fact that when I look in the mirror these days I can see my old six pack coming back. I remember the fact that I’m strong and 150% not pass it,  and most importantly I remember the fact that ultimately no one at point said any of this was going to be easy.

Then again, I do wish  they’d told me how difficult it is to pick it up again when you let the training slip . However, I’m  inclined to think they if they had told me they would of done so with a wry smile and reminded me that there is still  no land rover. Over the years it’s become my mantra.

When it comes to training next week onwards I’m going to have to be hard on myself and be at the gym regardless. And I need to be on time. If I want to get good at this Muay Thai lark I need to put in the work. As my trainer says it’s graft.

There’s a lot I need to improve. And I want to fight again. Why I don’t know but some part of me decided it’s a good idea so getting fighting fit and capable is a good goal to head towards.

I’m a little worried that I’m maybe coming across as having been slacker than I should of been last week and you’d be right to think that. Give me a hard time.  This week has been acceptable next week needs to be better. Whether I like it or not. Have a good week, train hard and just like the last time.. I’ll see you on that road.

 

The right direction.

Wow. This is nice. I’ve actually managed to find the time to sit down and write. Sorry to have been away a little longer than usual but I’ve learnt the hard way that unless I get this thing written and published every Sunday without fail it basically never happens. Anyway, generic “woah is me my writing’s fallen to the wayside” whinge out the way it’s good to be back on track. For the time being anyway.

Training wise things have been motoring ahead as usual and I’m still pressing forward. That’s a given. As long as I’m pointed in the right direction I’m a happy guy. I guess that applies to everything. I was hoping to have fought this weekend but being honest the fact I didn’t isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

The apparent breakdown in communication or lack of communication from what seemed a positive conversation got under my skin at first but life as they say, is like that. And it’s really not worth letting things like that get you. As usual I’ve just risen above it.

I’m fit enough and strong and good enough to keep fighting so keeping my eyes on the prize is the main thing. I’ve never wanted to be anything special  but I love competing so I’ve decided to look after myself for the time being if needs be.

It’s very easy to question someone’s motives for saying “hey let me sort this out, but I need you to watch my back” so explaining my reasons briefly I just feel that if I keep waiting for things to come to me I’m going to be waiting a long time. I believe in myself and I trust my own judgement.  I know there’s a good year or left in the tank and sometimes I get tired of waiting for opportunity to knock.

Besides, sparring and interclubs (not that I really do those any more) are useful but are not the same as competing. That’s something I’m determined to get back to. I won’t let it go. Like a yorkshire terrier with a squeaky toy.

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I’ve always traveled this road well and given it my all, and I’m still just as determined as I ever was. I still have just as much respect for my current gym and trainer as I always have  but feel that I need to “go out and get it”. It’s really not just fighting for fighting sake. It’s really not just “I will get so good I will become the next champion of life and prove you all wrong” it’s more about the fact I just really love boxing.

I really love fighting and I want to win again. I want to be able to say “you know what I came back for a little while and I turned it around and won again once. then again twice. then again thrice… you get the drift. And it wasn’t an easy fight. It wasn’t a one fight wonder. That guy was good.”

I set my expectations high because I believe in myself. Even if I fail I know that I tried but if I have something to aim for right now I think I’ll succeed. Working on technique and improving is great but that’s a given. I feel itchy. I want to get the rust off. I miss being in the ring.

I hope that this year, I finally get back to the old me. When you see him you’ll know him. I live with him every day and I love that part of me and the feeling it brings. It’s mine to keep. Have a good week, and just like the last time. I’ll see you on that road.

 

 

Fashionably late.

Well, intentionally or not, I’ve arrived a little later than I planned. Some might call it fashionably late. I discovered after I got back from training last night I’ve managed to drop from around 65 and a bit kg to 63.5 kg. I was pleased.

It’s been really hot in the UK of late and training at points has been the equivalent of stepping into a sauna. The more people there are the warmer it gets and even if it’s been a low number it still gets hot in there quickly.

Who needs Thailand. Speaking of Thailand, I found myself a cheap (ish) flight out to Bangkok and then Phuket around October time. Dependent on finances I may have to head out to the land of smiles for the 3rd time in my life. We’ll see how it goes.

Training wise things are moving back on track, and I was pleasantly surprised yesterday evening to feel that everything feels a lot smoother and a lot more fluid than it has for a while. Sparring was pretty tough but a good push, when it’s warm it’s a real test of your stamina ironically enough reminding me of that time I was training in Bangkok and decided to go all out on the pads for the first bit, and felt like I was going to pass out by the third.

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Life as they say is often like that. It catches you off guard but as long as you learn something that’s the main thing. At the moment I’m currently getting my head down and getting on with it.

I’m capable of organizing and motivating myself in most areas of my life and training is one of them. I need a big push this week and next and ideally I want to be down towards 61 kg by Friday.

When you combine training with running yes it can be done. In fact, it’s safe to say combined with a unusually warm day (remember global warming doesn’t exist) the weight falls off me.

I think I need to spend a bit more time doing free weights at home as well as press ups and everything else at the gym. I can hit hard but I’d like to be a little stronger, my fitness as always is pretty good but it could be better.

Anyone that tells you running isn’t an essential part of training for a fight or even just training needs to have a word with themselves. At the moment I’m running a couple of times a week but I keep changing my route to fit around my day. Weekends let me go for bigger ones lunch times often vary.

Setting myself little goals outside of the gym often help with focus and when you’ve got a fight to work towards focus is essential. I moved past setting limits on what I can and can’t achieve a while back now because anything is possible if you really set your mind to it.

The worst kind of limitations are the self imposed ones and if opportunity knocks (as it may possibly do at some point over the week) then I know it’s down to me to answer. Sometimes what you want isn’t actually what you want to but I’ve found that when I always step out of my comfort zone good things often happen, in fact it’s safe to say that doing so has never let me down yet. And besides there’s a gift in every situation.

Focusing on something often deals with any anxiety attached anyway. Running my own business has shown me how to cope with stress and micro manage myself if needs be and in terms of Thai boxing I think those skills apply as well as what I’ve learnt over the years through competing and training.

In terms of where I’m at right now I know I’m getting better. Whoever said that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks clearly met the wrong dog.  I’ve realized little by little   that I’m in the right place.

I’m looking forward to training the rest of this week and next week onwards  and maybe just maybe I’ll be back in the square ring sooner than I thought. After all life is what you make it. In the meantime have a great week, train hard and just like the last time.. I’ll see you on that road.

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