Category Archives: Personal Development

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.

 

 

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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.

 

 

 

First.

Evening all. Despite Sunday evening having crept into the small hours of Monday morning with little to no warning at all I felt that I should find the time to play martial catch up with you all. Besides, it’s always good to touch base and I hope all is well in your world training wise and otherwise.

When it comes to fighting things are currently heading in the right direction.  I’ve made sure my running has been regular and I’m sticking to my weights, sit-ups and fitness training as well as Thai boxing. I’m starting off afresh with some K1 Monday night and then a longer  Thai session which then leads into a big push through the rest of the week and a determination to drop the last of the weight needed for the show the following Saturday.

Pretty soon  I’ll be just about ready. And as always when I’m at the gym I’ll make sure I work hard. The week ahead is the most important one so as I step into all my challenges with everything I’ve got I intend to hit the ground running. Full steam ahead. It’s the only way.

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I think it’s fair to say that nerves have temporarily dissipated for now and I’m faster and I’m sharper than 2 or 3 weeks back. I’ve got my fight head on and the energy is absolutely flowing the right way. It always flows where attention goes. That much is a given. As soon as I walk into the gym these days I’m finding it easier to switch my boxing head on and leave the rest of the day behind.

I’m hoping that this week sees me shutting out the constant critic that tries to follow me into sparring rounds. I’m wanting to get past the brief moments of hesitation that pop up from time to time. As an old trainer of mine once said to me it’s not about what he’s going to do to me. It’s about what I am going to do to him. Fear is the mind killer. I need to remember to be first as well as answer back. (I talk a good fight.)

When it comes to aggression in sparring and in training I was pleased to find my old clinching me coming back into play recently and I want to work more on my clinch game before the 13th. It was always a strength and I can see it becoming one again.

I absolutely need to start focusing more on body kicking well against taller people although being honest, I have a little faith and think practically. You can either point score or you can fight to stop someone. I’m still under decided about what should be the best approach. Body kicks are important but Muay Thai has a lot of tools. I believe in me.

I think the hardest part of the next week or so will be dropping the last of the weight I need to cut but I’ll get there. If it means going back to training with 2 layers on I can put myself through that. I think I was 62.5 yesterday and I need to make 61. Yes, it can be done.

I thought I’d leave you this week with a video of one of my favourite fighters Pornsanae Sitmonchai  up against Superlek in 2014. Although here he’s unfortunate enough to get caught with a high kick I still like his fighting style. Speed and volume and pressure. Always the pressure. and speaking of that you can’t beat graft. Here’s to another good week and just like the last time.. I’ll see you on that road.

 

Sparring.

Sparring. You know, I’m getting better at sparring again and thinking on my feet more than I was a few months back. I think it’s mainly because I’ve started looking around for the people in the gym that I know are going to give me a hard time. When it comes to all things fighting, it’s the only way I’m ever going to get better.

I’ve got a few weeks left before my next fight and it’s pretty important to pull out the stops for this week and next and make sure that as well as balancing everything else when it comes to training I keep pushing myself in sparring.

Pushing myself. Yeah. It’s not as easy as it used to be you know but it’s ultimately worth it so this week I’m jumping to a long 3-hour Thai session not once but hopefully twice this week (Thursday TBC, hint btw Dave) and of course, I guess I’ll have to give it my all.

My biggest problem when it comes to Thai boxing (here we go again) is not relaxing enough inside in training. It’s very easy to tell someone to relax but when you’re wanting to be at your best as well as cope with the internal pressure of fighting it can be very hard to find that balance.

Of course, the best things come to those who work at it so I always find when I’m in the here and now or present fighting and not giving myself a hard time, I seem to do alright. In fact some times I do better than alright and do good. The short will inherit the earth.

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I’m usually looking to spar with people I know are better than me although these days, some of the new kids keep me on my toes too. It’s nice watching them take shape as fighters. Over here we do non-competitive interclub bouts before we step into the ring for real. I think I did around 11 or 12 interclub bouts before I decided to take a step into the amateurs. I’ve now racked up well over 40 interclubs and 17 fights to date.

I’ve learnt to never underestimate anyone in that square ring, but I love it when they underestimate me. The voice of self-doubt that was surfacing last time we spoke appears to have put itself to bed and I’m feeling quietly confident. I’m still nervous but I know it’s going to be a good fight and I think I can win. I want to win.

I worry sometimes that I’m not getting any better and that maybe I’ve had my time but I don’t think my time is ever really going to be had until I say it is. Other people don’t make those kinds of decisions for you when it comes to doing this you do. The more I fight the better I get. The more I train the better I get.

Super simple stuff. And besides, I’m still giving guys 10 years younger than me a hard time in sparring, even if they kick chunks out of me I know I’m being pushed. I guess I’m happy there, out my comfort zone.

I think I’m going to make sure I work on defence a little more this week as well as attack. Attacking is getting back into it’s groove and defending isn’t too bad but needs some work. On Friday I’ll go and play with the K1 fighters for the evening and see what transpires.

You can’t beat graft and speaking of graft I’m already looking forward to Tuesday’s start to the week already. I have a feeling this week, just like the one before will be a good one. That much is a given. Have a good week, train hard and just like the last time… I’ll see you on that road.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Always learning.

Hi. I thought I should check in once again before Sunday draws to a close and Monday has landed. This week has been a good week of training. I think being honest, it’s always been a good week of training.

Despite having a nagging knee injury that doesn’t want to seem to put itself to bed at present things, in general, are seemingly heading in the right direction. I’m enjoying Thai and also K1 which this week had some boxing thrown in for good measure. Going back to my knee injury,  I made the incredibly daft mistake of running 8.5 kilometres in Addidas Gazelles (as my old running trainers were finished) a few weeks ago.

Suffice to say my knee hasn’t been too happy since but hey, maybe I pulled something as it was my first long run in a while although ‘that’s not appropriate footwear’ didn’t seem to help things. Thankfully, when it has a day or so rest it usually settles down and is slowly getting better. Being honest,  when I’m training I barely notice it but when I do, it’s mostly when we’re practising catching teeps and yanking someone’s leg to get them off balance. Yeah. I noticed it earlier alright.

Tomorrow is a day off the gym then it’s back into the mix for the rest of the week. Having the capacity to choose between 4, 5 or even 6 sessions truly is a thing of awesomeness and I’m sure that if training and fighting were all I had to do as a job  I’d be in my element. I’m still a firm believer in making the gym my second home.  It may not come easy but the best things rarely do.

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Always learning. 

I’m starting off next week on the right foot with a 3-hour Thai session Tuesday evening. Wednesday evening could see me delve into a bit of boxing and from Thursday onwards it’s Thai and K1 goodness. Next Sunday I might even train in the morning and then again in the afternoon. I like freedom combined with commitment. It’s awesome.

From every session here on in, I’m making sure I’m engaged from the moment I walk through the door. As long as the on switch is flicked “on” I know that I’ll work hard. There’s a lot of work to be done to improve my technique, but when it comes to sparring I’m getting sharper and I’m faster. And besides, my techniques not horrendous it’s just some things could be better. Life’s like that. It’s never going to be perfect.  Some things I do good. and some things I do bad. But here I am.

I’m feeling gradually more and more confident about fighting again next month. The nerves haven’t really gone away but are just a quiet noise in the background. The other fighters in my gym put me through hell sparring. They really do. I hope that when I walk away a winner again I remember to say thanks. I’ll say it even if I don’t. I’m finishing this week off with some free weights and sit-ups. I try to do 150 sit ups a day and I don’t always remember to do them.. it’s getting there though. But, I remember what fighting is. I remember. Have a great week. I’ll see you on that road.

 

 

 

Be aggressive

Hi. As always it’s nice to find the time to drop in for a weekly catch up on all things martial. This week, just like the week before has been a good week training. I started off the week with a little K1 to keep me on my toes (or the balls of my feet) and from there I headed into Tuesday for a decent 3-hour Thai session, starting the evening off with an hour PT with my fight trainer Dave “Da bull”  Wilmot of Team Tieu fame before my usual couple of hours training.

I’m lucky enough to be able to have access to someone like Dave as a coach and appreciated the adjustments he told me I need to make whilst stressing the need to be forward with everything I do be it stepping into my shots or standing my ground. I realized on Tuesday that not only do I still need to relax a little more in training but I need to focus on pressure, speed and volume as well as aggression.

Rolling into Thursday I already noticed that I was sharpening up a little despite feeling sluggish,  too slow and terrible sparring the week before. I’ve made sure that this week I’ve kept my running up to compliment my training and the past couple of booze-free weeks has started to pay off. I’m feeling fitter and my body is starting to say thanks.

Despite my legs being slightly demolished after sprints the past couple of runs, it looks like running is going to help the weight come off too. I’m currently walking around at the 63 mark and want to be down to 62 or 61.5 kg by the end of next week. I’m switching on and I’m noticing that the on switch is lit. That’s always a good thing.

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My biggest problem of late has been finding the aggression I know I’ll need in there. Despite me deciding to have a slightly shorter week training wise this week ( finishing Thursday ) as I intend to up the ante tomorrow onwards and train practically all week (5 days out of 7 from here on in) I feel accomplished.

Sparring although not outstanding in comparison to last week, was marginally better and I’m getting past the “I don’t like being hit or kicked hard, I don’t like the pressure” I was semi-complaining to myself about the week before. It may be only natural to baulk at physical confrontation but I’m pleased this week the fighter in me has decided to tap me on the shoulder and remind me of who I am inside. It’s been a while since me and him caught up and he’s still good company.  Besides, If the training is hard the fighting will be easy. That’s always a given.

When it comes to developing (or maybe redeveloping) my Thai boxing “grr” in training I’ve learnt over time that aggression in Muay Thai isn’t Saturday night outside the chip shop punch up venom and it’s not to be looked at through rose tinted spectacles either. It’s brutal, it’s calculating and it demands you be at your very best. An angry fighter is almost certainly destined to lose.

There’s a big difference between responding to an attack and reacting to one, just like there’s a big difference between attacking with intent or bouncing around the ring with your guard around your ankles screaming “I’ll have you!” Ok, maybe that’s an exaggeration but you know what I mean. It’s important to switch on and fight with intent and not let emotions get in the way.

I intend to keep developing my inner Mr nasty over the next month or so,  so I can walk away the victor in April. I’m on my opponent’s home turf so one thing he absolutely will not be doing is coming to play, and from what I’ve seen of him so far it looks like I’m in for a tough fight.  Being honest, every fight is tough. I don’t think I’d have it any other way.

For now, that’s pretty much all she wrote. I hope your week starts off on a good note when it comes to all things martial. I know that mine will. Train hard and fight easy. Good luck with all your fights and just like the last time…  I’ll see you on the road.

 

Me myself and I.

Hi. It’s nice to have caught up with you again as promised. How’s your week been? How’s training been? maybe I don’t ask you that enough. When it comes to all things martial for myself I’ve plodded through the week, as usual, slowing down a little before 6 weeks of real graft begins. I’ve got a lot of work to do but I guess I’m looking forward to it, so starting from Monday night I’m going to start putting my foot down on the accelerator. Ha. I’d forgotten how hard that could be until Thursday arrived.

I spent most of sparring getting what can most politely be described as a shoeing.  I’ve always been the first to give myself a hard time over fighting before anyone else does so I spent the majority of Friday sulking over the fact that practically everyone I sparred with put me through my paces. Eventually, I realized that when it comes to competing and fight training, in particular, that’s the way it has to be.

I think I’m still carrying my last fight around with me and spent some of yesterday watching some of my old amateur fights on youtube from a few years back which being honest was good for my soul and most importantly my fighting spirit.  In the midst of what had seemingly been over 24 hours of self-criticism, a light had appeared at the end of the tunnel.  I remembered that I can actually fight when I give it my all and most importantly I can win.

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I found myself getting to that point, eventually through sheer persistence by following my ‘obsession’ (my vocation if you will) with competing and with Muay Thai ‘mercilessly’. I realized that if I was good enough to fight I was good enough to win and by changing my mentality to focus on winning and seeing beyond the fight itself victory finally emerged and I tipped it. And when I got my first win everything changed.

You see, at points, I had just focused on getting through the fight and victory had always seemed just out my grasp. Rose tinted spectacles off for a moment, I think it got to a point where I just got sick of losing all the time and suddenly realized I had to work harder in there than I had before. Not that I had ever not done my best but, you know.

Over time I’ve come to realize that when it comes to me and competing I’m only ever up against myself. It’s always been me myself and I in the ring and out of it. And it’s down to me to put my one and all in again. There’s no point in giving myself a hard time about having a hard time in sparring.

As I said earlier, it’s the way it should be. It’s Thai boxing, as an old pal whose sadly no longer with us once said to me “it’s not a tickling contest son.” I think I’ll remember that over the next month or so of training and focus on what I want the most. Nothing in life comes easy, especially when it has the biggest reward. Have a great week, train hard and just like the last time.. I’ll see you on that road.

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