Category Archives: Sports

Still present

Hi, how’s it going? I hope this evening finds you well. Things are good here and I’ve spent the majority of the week busy with work, life and everything else in-between. I still need to get running back on track but next week onwards I intend to get that resolved. Procrastination often packs up and goes home in the face of persistence.

Although my fitness is good at present it can never be good enough. Today I ran around  4.5 to 5k which was awesome and I want to make sure I start to push it towards 6 next week onwards. It looks like I may be fighting at the end of March provided I get matched so keeping training consistent and my fitness up is pretty much essential.

Just recently, I’ve found the best way to resolve mental hurdles when it comes to training and other areas of my life is to change the way I  look at a situation. Being the kind of guy I am I often internalize and sometimes over think what’s ahead of me. That sort of explains why I am so big about staying present or in the now. 

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Staying in the here and now has helped me deal with everything from pre-fight nerves to self-doubt, limiting beliefs and anything else my mind, not my subconscious can throw at me. The anything else is usually fear, but that’s a much longer conversation for a different blog.

Just recently I’ve started reframing situations I find myself in relating to goals ahead of me. I’ve found it’s a great way to offload some mental clutter and also when it comes to fighting, in particular, can help keep you stay clear, present and focused. Ever had Mr or Mrs negative take varying shapes, situations and characters and try to put through you hell?.. yeah. Me too.

I’ve found it’s important to be able to detach myself from a problem area or more appropriately a situation and see it for what it is (Just a situation) but like with everything else in training it’s a work in progress, These days, I’m pleased to say I find myself succeeding more often than not. When I do, I can observe rather than engage with my emotions and my goal seems clearer than it did before.

If I want to work towards something I really want, then I put myself in the position of having already achieved that goal. I ask myself what it would feel like when I’ve achieved what it is what I want the most and I step into it. Sometimes I draw on past experience to remember what it feels like to win. I ask myself how it benefits not just me but those around me and I focus on having got there. I focus on not just getting through the fight but on winning it and I see myself win. Maybe if I focus on kicking like Pakorn then one day I’ll get there too.

By changing the way I think about a situation I’ve found that I seem to head faster towards what I really want. As I’ve said it also lets me offload the negatives and mental clutter that tries to get in the way of my focus. When it comes to physical training I’ve found that it’s starting to pay off and although there’s always room for improvement I seem to switch on from the moment I walk in the gym.

It’s similar to what happens just before I fight. I’ve started working on setting a trigger “ok I’m here now.” to help me get my head in the game. If distracted by the rest of the day I break that state by focusing on the present situation.

There’s a lot to be said for “flow state” mental training and Muay Thai and I think it’s something that always going to be different for each and every one of us. Just like with all things martial in my life it’s something I intend to develop and continue to apply to the physical aspects of what I do too. In the meantime, have a good week train hard and just like the time before… I’ll see you on that road.

 

 

 

 

 

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Good for the soul.

Evening all, I thought I should take the time to catch up before Monday arrives. Besides, it’s always good to be able to sit down and find the time to write. Just like training, it can be good for the soul. Whilst we’re on the subject I’ve got training back to where it needs to be this week and I’m already starting to notice the difference. Running as well has found its way into the weekly equation once again  I’m pleased to note.

As well as abstaining from alcohol my next step is to start to get my diet together and of course as always to keep focused on the road ahead. Speaking of focus it’s starting to come together in training, and through using a handy little NLP technique called “breaking state” If I find myself ruminating on a tough day at work I can bring myself back in the room by simply focusing on what’s in front of me.

What’s in front of me is usually a person holding a pad and some days we all need something to hit so I get to fix internal and external all the same time. I’m hoping from next week onwards I really start to feel the benefits of reasonably clean living (diet you are on my radar) and hit the ground round running. Literally.

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I intend to have my fitness at a much better level by the end of January and all being should be on track for March provided of course, I get matched to fight. If I put in the work between now and then I’m confident that I will.

I seem to be getting my aggression back in sparring which is good and I was pleased to find myself attacking when I had someone cornered earlier in the week. Pressure fighting is something I’ve always been good at and it’s toughened me up as a result. I think these days I’m a little better at it than I used to be and it was good to see the fundamentals are still in my DNA.

The more I train the sharper (and faster) I get. I learnt a long time ago never to give up and it’s good to know that it still pays off. I still need to tidy up my body kicks, stretch more and think less but everything’s improving again inside and out. Speaking of body kicks, I’ve found myself throwing a lot more of them so if I can teach myself just to kick when I see it, I’ve got the fundamentals right. Every else will follow suit.

Next week I intend to keep up the training momentum and turn the running up a notch. It’s nice to actually look forward to sprint training and I’m pretty sure that soon the weight is going to start falling off. In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy what’s left of my Sunday evening because Monday is still a day away. (Well, kind of.) It’s been a long but productive week. Here’s to the next one. Train hard, have a good week and just like the last time.. I’ll see you on that road.

 

 

Reclaiming the fight

Hi. I hope the first week of the new year has seen you all well and that so far 2019 looks like a positive one. I had a good feeling in my bones new years day that just won’t quit and although it’s come a little later than anticipated I’ve already started setting some new year’s goals that I intend to stick to.

Before I get into those, I’ve been thinking this week (well mainly this morning in all honesty) about winning and losing. I’ve been told a few things about winning fights over the years. Some people say winning is a bonus because fighting is tough. Everyone seems to say visualize winning and working hard in and out the ring and you can what you want. And then there’s some like me, who say if you love fighting you can never really lose.

I’m inclined to agree with all of those perspectives because I’m a firm believer in not giving up no matter what life throws at you. Before I descend into a Rocky-style monologue about hitting harder than life let’s bring the focus back on what it is I’m here for exactly. 

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Muay Thai boxing at Lumpini Stadium. Muay Thai/Thai Boxing Bangkok Thailand March 2003 ©David Dare Parker /AsiaWorks Photography

To do that, we need to go back to some of my goals for this year. Firstly, as I told myself I would I’ve picked up running from where I left off at the end of 2018 and although I’ve only managed a couple of runs this week (one short, one longer) I feel confident that next week I’ll not only run further but that I’ll run a couple more times too. Like all exercise, it’s good for your soul.

Speaking of what’s good for what ails you (apparently) I’ve also decided to have a 2-month booze break defying what’s left of the spirit of Christmas is a must and so far I’m a currently undefeated 5 days in with no signs of crumbling. I don’t really drink that much anyway, but as I want to fight again in the next couple of months I’ve decided to get started on getting the right approach and attitude in place at an early stage.

Which brings us nicely into my third martial resolution for 2019. When it comes to approaches and in particular training for competitions I’ve discovered that the more you put in, the more you get out. (ha) This year I want to train at least 4 times a week every week. Ideally, 5 if I’m fighting. If I can do 5 then maybe I can find a way to do 6. Maybe I need to get out a little more or maybe socializing is overrated.

Finally, and probably most importantly I’ve decided to sort out my focus. I realized in my first session back this week that it can take me a few rounds to switch that on if you will.  If you’ve ever had a day where you can’t get anything right in training be it the kick you’ve been wanting to improve or the drill you’ve just forgotten you’ll know what I mean. So, to improve that I’ve decided to spend as much time as possible staying here and not there.  

I’m a massive fan of mindset as part of my training and I’m an even bigger fan of staying in the present moment. Mainly because the past is the past and the future hasn’t happened yet. If I can stay present fighting and sparring I can apply the same mentality to the rest of my training. This year I’m going to remember not to think too much.

Those are a few of the many things I intend to do this year (a lot of travelling is on the cards so I’m excited) and I’m feeling positive about the year ahead. Now we’ve got those off my chest and out the way let’s get back to what I’m here for exactly.

Well, being honest with you it’s the same reason I was here last year and the year before that.. in fact, it’s why I’ve been here all along. I want to be better than who I am. And I want to be the best I can be.

I can see potential in me even when it feels like some can’t and I always keep a level playing field. This year, I want to make sure I start competing and start winning again and to do that I need to have good people  around me and to be part of a good team.

I’m lucky enough to have both of those things in my life and I think by adopting the right approach and keeping the right attitude to training this year I’ll be able to reclaim the fight. Nothing with me has ever been perfect but then again nothing with me has ever really been broken either, and all I do know as I look at the year ahead is that nothing is ever really finished. Have a great week, train hard and just like the last time.. I’ll see you on that road.

 

 

 

 

 

Out the comfort zone.

Hi. As always it´s good to be able to check in with you all. You might of noticed I´m bang on time for the third week running and as this is the last blog of mine for 2018 I´m pleased it´s finished on a good note. You can expect more of the same in 2019 and beyond.

It´s been a nice Christmas in the sun with my family but then again, it always is and for that I´m always grateful. There´s a lot of good in my life these days. Being honest, there always has been it´s just that at points I took it for granted. I´m pleased that these days I remember to say thanks.

Despite not getting any hands on training in this week I´ve still managed to sort out my issue with running regularly again. This week me saw me on some fantastic runs of around 4 to 6k with sprints thrown in to boot. In fact I´ve even managed to run 4 times this week. I guess when it comes to that element of my training I´m back on track. That´s another goal achieved. Go me.

Earlier on this week I sat down to read one of my favourite blogs “Eight limbs us” and a great article on fear of escalation in sparring. Seeing as I´d previously written about venom in Thai boxing it felt that the article had come along at the right time. I guess life can be like that.

“practice aggression the same way you practice any skill. You have to break it down, find why it’s difficult for you: are you too polite? Are you afraid? What does aggression actually look like? Moving forward, blocking, not backing up, striking more… if you know what it means to you then you can break down the elements and work on bringing them into your training in small pieces.” 

Sylvie seems to be very big on stepping into her fear and breaking it down to get better at translating that into fire. I think we think in similar ways. Sometimes you have to push yourself to be at your best and to do that you need to be prepared to step out of your comfort zone.

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2 weeks notice 2nd time around fight against an old nemesis of mine in Bournemouth in 2009. Never been that great at body kicking but I love this photo. 

When you finally learn how to get tough when needs be in sparring you learn usually by trial and error to get tough in the ring too. It´s not that the fear ever really goes away it´s just that you learn how to start managing it better and how to make “fight or flight” work for you. In the ring you can´t run or hide. You either fight or you get shut down fast.

Before you start to think I´m about to head off into super macho Muay Thai land i thought I would take a moment to say I totally get that fighting and even sparring  is not for everyone and that the aggression you need takes a long time to develop.

It´s taken a long time for me to be able to bring it into play when needs be and when I say long time I mean like years. I have never been a fan  of confrontation and I think when I first started competing I overcame that personal demon of mine. Fighting has taught me to cope under pressure, to fight back and to always show my teeth when up against it. Being my gym´s resident short arse means I  have to stay close if I want to get anywhere.

Although I´m never a different person sometimes I have to be a different person. There is  a big difference from responding and being a reactionary in sparring or in combat. Again the response goes back to how you learn to apply your venom. I think deep in my subconscious mind there´s a little voice screaming “in, in in!” and waving an arm in a forward motion at the person in front of me.  Well there always used to be, if it´s not there as much as I´d like it to be these days I need to work on that in training. Maybe it could do with a little more finesse. That´s a work in progress.

I guess my problem is that I never seem to be able to switch off my martial head even when on holiday. We have got the biggest waste of money of the year coming up on Monday so for one night only I´ll let what little hair I have got down and have a good dance. 2018 has been an eventful year for me training wise and I was worried that for a moment back there I might be in danger of putting the breaks on for good.

Now, with 2019 looming and some goals achieved and many still to come it´s clear to me that I still will never give up. When it comes down to it, I  wouldn’t have it any other way. Have a fantastic new year and just like the last time.. I´ll see you on that road.

 

 

 

 

Venom.

Well, despite almost forgetting to get this blog of mine written this week I´m pleased to say I have as always landed on my feet and defeated procrastination for the second week running, therefore I´ll claim this as a Sunday win. I´m currently overseas with my family for the holidays and despite already feeling the spirit of Christmas taking shape in the form of crap food, too much booze and average telly I started my day with a 5k run this morning. It´s nice to keep my martial head on. They´ll be more of the same tomorrow I´m sure. Bah humbug,

I have already started setting some positive goals for 2019 and beyond that I´ll write a more about next week before another year draws to a close. February 2019 will see me having been training for 12 years in Muay Thai and nearly 13 years in martial arts as a whole. I´m already intending to hit the ground running next year and up the ante with  Thai boxing and martial training in general.

I´m pleased to have kept my mind open this year and it´s been good to have been shown a little of some the other “scruffy” arts that are out there too. Tai Chi fighting like Muay Thai goes through people I have been told. It´s been good fun learning something new from time to time and getting a better understanding of body mechanics. I want to start focusing on delivering more power with everything I do in the new year. Ok, correct form and speed is important but I want to hit harder too. It´ll come. Energy flows where attention goes as they say. The trick with Muay Thai I have been told, is to set your intent and attack with venom.

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“Venom” that´s a good word to remember next time I´m fighting. . When I first started competing I was told I had a distinct lack of it. “You can´t be a nice guy in the ring.” “fighting is brutal.” eventually  I came to realize I had to be a different person if I wanted to win or at the very least fight well. It´s why I started working on that little characteristic in sparring as much as I could and why now if I get hit a little too hard my faces changes and I get aggressive. Venom is the key to applying pressure when you need it.

There´s nothing more intimidating than a forward footed fighter. At least until you learn how to get round them. I have always been someone who just keeps coming, although in my last fight it took me a few round to switch that on again. I want to get back to that and work on what Sylvie Von Duuglas-Ittu calls the Muay Thai “gallop”. It´s frustrating sometimes being a shorter fighter and it´s important to be first. When I´m close I´m dangerous. To get close enough to be that I have to remember to switch on the fire and apply the venom.

As well as getting my body kicks up to a good standard  I´m going to remind myself that sometimes it´s totally fine to destroy your opponent´s legs too. Being able to do that can stop a fight. Here´s to making my left leg a formidable weapon again. I think I´ll get back to training next year with some good training goals and look forward to letting it go when I´m back in the ring in the next few months. After all, if you don´t fight fire with fire then why fight at all. Have a great Christmas and an awesome new year and just like the last time…I´ll see you on that road.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reframing the fight.

Hi. It’s good to catch up with you as we agreed last week. I decided to make good on my promise and get this blog of mine back to its usual spot in mine and your life. Here we are again you and me. As always it’s good to be here. In fact, it’s great. Training this week has been a little hit and miss for me due to a nagging injury in my right shoulder but that seems to be a lot better than it was two days ago.

Like a lot of people I have a tendency to work through or around my injuries rather than taking time to rest up and let them sort themselves out, but as I’ve got older and dare I  say it a little wiser I’ve found that slowing down ever so slightly when your body is trying to tell you something is usually a wise move.

In the past, I’ve even found myself back at the gym within less than a week of fighting the weekend previously and only when kicking heavy bags have I noticed that yes ok my shins are officially tenderized.. Sometimes it pays to give yourself a chance to heal. Taking that into consideration, I’ve still managed to train a few times this week so I guess that’s always going to be a good thing.

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You know just recently I decided to start playing around with some NLP techniques (it means Neuro-linguistic programming by the way. Last time I told a friend that he said same to you. How’s the family? )  I learnt way back in the mists of 2010. In fact, I was introduced to NLP way before that by an old friend of mine who is a master practitioner as well as a martial arts expert.

On both occasions It came along at the right time in my life and being intrigued, I decided I wanted to learn a little more. At the time I invested in ‘Introducing NLP’ by Joseph O’Connor and John Seymour because I knew that just like with martial arts it was going to be an investment in myself.

I decided to revisit the book just recently and realized I also have another book relating to the application of NLP in sports ‘Sporting Excellence’ by Ted Garratt that I also intend to get my teeth into when I find the time.

Just like before it seems that NLP has sparked an interest in me and has arrived apparently at the right time, and so I’ve found myself practising some of the techniques I haven’t used for a while. One of which is reframing. In terms of that particular technique, it’s worth a google but I’ve been using it to change the way I look at situations relating to training in this instance fighting.

When it comes to winning and losing it’s very easy to live in a negative bubble or state about competing if things don’t always go your way. I’ve found before that despite carrying on as normal when it comes to thinking about my next fight it’s very easy to let negatives outweigh positives. I found this used to happen a couple of weeks before I boxed and when I realized what was happening it seemed that I was setting myself up to fail. This happened until I didn’t want it to happen any more.

So just recently,  I haven’t just started thinking positively I’ve started proactively reframing my beliefs about myself when it comes to competing and training. I’ve started to move away from I don’t want to happen and towards what I do want. I’ve started to see myself as already having won my next fight and I draw from past experience on how that feels to help make it a reality in the making. I make it so real I can step into it. To remember what that feels like. To remember that I can win.

I’ve thought about how winning not just benefits me but those around me. I’ve seen my body kicks getting better and better and I’ve set a date in the diary for what I want to happen. In terms of fighting right now, I’ve pointed myself at next March. I guess for getting everything else up to speed that could be a good date too.  I’ve reinforced my frame with some solid intention to boot.

NLP is a deep subject for one blog and I’m no expert but I hope this gives you a little snippet of where I’m at right about now and I hope it gets you thinking. It’s something I intend to continue to revisit for what’s left of 2018 and into the newness that is 2019 too. Of course, working with yourself can be rewarding but working as a team always produces the best results so next year I intend to get networking. I’m sure as with all things martial this new journey will be a good one. Have a great week, train hard and just like the last time… I’ll see you on that road.

 

 

 

Mindset.

Afternoon all. I’ve got here a little later than planned but it’s good to be back. I have a tendency to arrive late at most things these days including training. It’s something I’m intending to change from today going forward. My trainer said to me yesterday that fighting takes discipline (ok so I do totally get that but maybe recently I haven’t been as disciplined as I’ve been in the past) and that being a part of a team means not walking in late and choosing to warm up on my own whilst everyone else is doing exercises. To be fair, I was expecting a bit of rebuke as I have a tendency to work on my own standard time and at points can be so laid back  I’m almost horizontal.

If gyms are microcosms of life one thing Muay Thai teaches you very quickly is that we’re all the same in and out the ring and no one is better than or treated differently from anyone else. It also taught me that a little humility goes a long way and when your coach tells you off for things you shouldn’t at this stage be told off for it’s worth taking it onboard. Besides, when it comes to fighting a fighter has to work with their trainer and their teammates to get the best results. 

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Anyone who thinks Muay Thai “is all about respect” (let’s be honest, we’ve heard that before from the egos in gyms) is probably a ridiculous little authoritarian who deserves very little themselves. Mutual respect and friendship develop with your trainer and your team over time. It was nice yesterday evening to get a message from my coach saying “sorry if I was hard on you but sometimes that’s my job” Likewise, sorry if of late I’ve taken your patience for granted. I’ll pull my finger out and be at my best. I mean that. When it comes to fighting, like in the rest of my life it’s nice remembering I am never alone.

You know It’s funny because I’ve been thinking about focus a lot of late. Like most people in life, I often have varying plates to spin and the trick is really obtaining the right balance. Sometimes it’s easy to carry the outside world into the gym and it’s very easy to find yourself distracted. Of late I’ve started to try to switch off the internal dialogue and focus on the here and now. Being a human being I’ve found that this takes practice but it’s getting there. Sparring and fighting are the times I usually find myself in the moment so I want to start bringing that into drills.

I think just staying present and attentive all the time especially after a long day is never easy but you know if you want to get good at something you have to be at your very best. Right? Cut out the distractions and feed the focus. I find when I’m fighting this happens naturally. All I can hear is my corner and the rest is muffled background noise. I get tunnel vision.

I think next time I’m fighting I’m going to use that tunnel vision to go through the person in front of me. To get to that point again it’s going to take a team effort as well as a lot of graft from myself and I’ll make sure I remember that in the future.

I find myself caught up a lot at present in procrastination due to that plate spinning thing I talked about a minute ago. I want to be able to take charge of a few different areas of my life and it’s good to know that when I need to do that the right situations and people often present themselves. I’m going to remember to take the energy from training and apply it to all areas of my life and hopefully get the work-life balance addressed, keep my dedication to what I do and feed my focus.

Speaking of working days I’ve got a lot to get done before the end of the day and it’s been nice taking a pause to get my blog written. Sorry, it’s a bit late. (Again.) I’ll make sure that improves from here on in. Have a great week, train hard and as always.. I’ll see you on that road.