Alrighty then.

Well, it’s nice to be able to catch up even if it’s taken a little longer than I’d like this time round. I’ve been busy. Yeah I know. Same old same old, but seriously though I have. Training hasn’t been too bad of late and I’ve found myself leveling out at a few sessions a week.

It’s been good to be able to remain consistent and I’m thinking I’ll really start to pick things up again next week onwards. As Friday is a always a little lighter on the ground work wise and everything else in general I felt it was an appropriate moment to sit down and get some writing done. Besides, that Friday feeling is over rated anyway.

So how have things been going of late? well, to be completely honest with you busy. I’ve been running my own business now for nearly 3 years and over the past 8 months or so  it’s started to take shape. With that and everything else in my life it feels at points I barely find the time for myself anymore. Luckily, I know that I’m not alone. I also know that slow and steady will often win the race. Every day strugglers often get the goods.

I’m pleased to say I’ve still kept the same goals I had at the beginning of this year when it comes to all things martial and although at points the horse seems very adapt at galloping away from me I’m utterly determined to  climb back on it. Where’s there a will there’s a way and of course.. me.

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Next month I’ll be shaking a bit of rust off for some friendly non competitive fun which in turn I’m hoping gets my head back in the game to step back in the ring for real. It’s going to be good to see where things are at under a bit of pressure. Keeping it simple as always is the order of the day.

I’ve still got my sights on heading overseas over seas this year to compete but it’s not looking massively likely at present. Weight and experience is proving to be what is commonly known as a ball ache but I’m confident that my trainers here can find me someone in the meantime I’m keeping my ear to the ground regardless.

The rest of the weekend looks like training which is always a good thing. I’ve been pretty slack with running of late so might have to start with a decent one to kick off the day then it’s training over the weekend too. As I said a minute ago.. Where there’s a will there’s a way. Have a good weekend and just like the last time, I’ll see you on that road.

 

 

 

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Only if your heart’s in it.

Evening all. Like the bus that finds itself arriving on time because the previous driver got sacked for general tardiness, my blog’s arrived back in it’s usual Sunday spot. Well that’s nice. 🙂 This week unlike last week has been full of martial goodness. That’s awesome.

Despite not running as much as I’d like this week I think I’m going to get it back on track next week onwards. I keep reminding myself that if you don’t run you don’t fight. It’s important to adopt the right attitude with everything I do. But, training this week has been good.. 4 sessions beats two hands down  and it’s already looking like it’s panning out the same next week too. That can only ever be a good thing.

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about whether or not I really have the commitment to get myself up to a decent level for fighting again and as with all things Thai a lot of it comes down to heart.

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You need to be prepared to firstly put in the work and most importantly not give up no matter how tough things get. If you can’t commit to the training then you’ve as good as lost. So instead of making excuses I’ve decided to put my heart into boxing again as well as everything else. Just recently I spent some time reading Don Heatrick’s excellent Muay Thai strength and conditioning blog.

What was quite inspiring for me was reading that after a 2 year fighting break and at the age of 40 Don became a British champion. When you read about people like Don making one hell of a comeback in one of the toughest martial arts on the face of the planet you can’t help but wonder what you can achieve when you put your mind to it. Another great fighter and someone who got back in the ring after some time out is Pete Irving. Not only did he get back in the ring, he got back in the ring in Thailand and won.

Both of those situations are for me, affirmation that I can achieve what I’ve been aiming for, for  well over a year now and I understand that if I can get back in the ring and fight  then I can get back in the ring and win. I don’t want to be the greatest I just want to be the best I can possibly be. Like my old trainer Sert used to say me in fight training “there’s still something left in the tank.” Yes it can be done.

So when I look at next week onwards I know the road ahead is going to be tough, I know there’s going to be put downs, critics, procrastination galore and weeks when I feel like outright giving up and heading down the boozer but what I want absolutely outweighs all of that. I’ve made sure I’ve spent a bit of time sparring in the ring again recently and at one point it was just me and that space.  I still absolutely feel at home. There’s a fighter that’s rising up again after all this time away and he’s grinning. Have a good week and be the best you can be. I’ll see you on that road.

 

 

The air up here.

Well, it’s nice to check in with you all again. I thought I’d say thanks as always for checking in with my now less regular than I’d like blog. You must of had a slightly less exciting than usual Easter because I had a lot of visits. That’s always good to see. Although I keep aiming to get writing back on track it keeps taking a back seat in comparison with everything else I have to get back on track.

But you know the best thing is little by little I’m winning. Like Rage against the machine once said ‘we gotta take the power back’ and I’m pleased to say that I finally think I am. I managed to fit in a 6 or 7k run earlier today which is a good thing seeing as I ran yesterday too although I admit not quite as far. As it stands, I may even go running tomorrow and then it’s back to the gym in the evening.

Looking at the week ahead I’ve already got 4 sessions mapped out this week although maybe mapped out a little more cynically than usual. It seems that every time I plan to get stuck in, something crops up that keeps me away from the gym and then I’m back here again. That aside I’ve still managed to get in a little time over the past couple of weeks. That’s always a good thing.

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I think it was yesterday evening I realized that I’m starting to get bored of pubs and night clubs again. There’s a limited shelf life for me when it comes to doing the same thing everyone else does week in and week out. Setting myself new training goals and getting myself fighting fit is always something that’s worth working towards although it’s a little harder when you don’t have anything specific to point yourself at.

I’m currently waiting to hear back on fighting overseas around June of this year and I’ve decided it’s more than likely going to be something I’ll choose to do if I have the opportunity. I’m well aware at the moment I need to be training a lot more to consider competing again but hey there’s April to get up to speed in and May if required can be a on switch moment.

I’m hoping there’s some opportunities this year that arise with my gym too. I certainly feel ready to fight again I just need to put in the work. I think in all honesty I’ve been mentally preparing myself for the past couple of months. I miss the combat and I get bored easily otherwise.

When it comes to fighting I completely accept that I’m going to have to take the rough with the smooth. I’ve had a reasonable amount of fights, won a few, drawn a couple and lost more than I’d like. That however  was then and this is now. I can never start from scratch but I know I can fight to win and I’m confident I’ll achieve what I want next time I’m up.

People can often work in numbers and statistics and at points I  let that get me down. I think I mentally have an explanation lined up to be given another chance that I would really love to bin. You see when I start to reflect on statistics I find myself forgetting that every fight has been an experience unique to me and numbers on a sheet of paper don’t do each situation anything close to the justice it deserves.

Most importantly, win, lose or draw I’ve learnt from each fight I’ve had and taken something away. It’s made me tougher and life itself over the past couple of years has made me a lot stronger than I have been before. I refuse to return to an old version of myself because he no longer serves me. Either get to know the new me or get the fuck out.

I think Geoff Thompson pretty much hit the nail on the head  a while back when he talked about the air  getting thinner  the higher you get. For a while now I haven’t really had that sensation. I haven’t felt out my comfort zone when it comes to martial arts for well over a year now and I sincerely think that is absolutely a bad thing. The only solution is to for once, stick to my game plan and keep working towards my goals.

There’s a lot of bullfight critics out there but there’s only ever one person who fights the bull. Let’s see if this week pans out the way I plan it to. I don’t ever give up. Even at the hard bits. Have a good week, and just like the last time.. I’ll see you on that road.

Fencing.

Evening all. I thought I should stop by to let you know how things are going and mainly because as always there’s a lot going on with me. Training is slowly edging itself back on track despite a good few weeks of practically nothing bar one or two sessions here and there and I’m thinking positive about next week onwards.

I’ve set summer time this year latest as a realistic goal to be back up to speed by and still have my heart set on fighting overseas. It takes a lot of courage to step in a ring and compete and what I’ve developed in and out the ring have always made me walk tall. In fact, there’s very little these days that frightens me as most of my detractors and oppressors imaginary or not, are much smaller than I am.

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Fear, a friend of mine and a subject I’ve written about at length over the course of this blog often rears it’s head at the most unexpected of times. If you’ve ever been unfortunate enough to find yourself in violent or at the very least confrontational situations outside of any competitive or training environment you’ll be all to familiar with my friend and I guess yours. Learning how to manage it and how to use is however what makes people like you and me exceptional.

A while back, I wrote about situational awareness and how is this something that I think it’s important to develop on a day to day basis.  Fundamentally, it goes back to flow state or staying present. Just recently I caught up with an old friend and the subject of being present came into the conversation.

He told me that he sees me as a person who is very much in the here and now when it comes to fighting, training and otherwise. I guess in a lot of respects I can be but like with everything else it’s a work in progress. The one thing I do know and that I’m very proud of is the guy that used to from time to time get  shoved around, attacked verbally and at points physically is long gone.

He was never a bad person and he’s always been incredibly brave but when push came to shove more often than not he got in the way. To finally get around him I’ve decided to develop an out of ring “on” switch. For me, and it doesn’t mean it’s the same for you (my old trainer rubs his nose with his glove before a fight vs me banging my gloves together as an example) is what Geoff Thompson calls the fence.

The fence not only allows for control of a situation but is also a great way to manage fear and turn fight or flight into fire if needed. These are skills that I’ve had to develop when competing and I think it’s just as important to work on them in day to day life. Being aware of your surroundings (spatial awareness) and being aware of your situation can serve you well and despite being a reasonably good judge of character I find it just as easy as the next person to find a smile or handshake disarmingly friendly at points.

If you have a good heart you’ll usually see the good in people. Sometimes you need to read between the lines. I’ve found that practicing what’s known as a walking meditation has helped immensely with staying in the now and it really is surprising what you notice when you learn to switch off. These are skills that I do my best to apply at the gym and something that happens naturally when fighting. I’m always present and the noise stops.

I see fencing as a kind of call to action but I think that it’s something that can serve everyone well who wants to learn how to defend themselves outside of a gym or ring environment. Fear as I’ve said is the mind killer and I know that if I can stay in charge of what’s in front of me than I’ve got more than a fighting chance.

i thought I’d leave you this week with a little more Geoff Thompson from way back when. He’s always been a martial artist and writer I’ve found particularly inspiring and is one person who absolutely knows fear  In the meantime, have a great week and just like the last time.. I’ll see you on that road.

 

Off switch.

Well, here we are again you and me and as usual I’m late.  You know since the last time we caught up I’ve still been struggling with doing things not just how I want to but how I should do. I think I’m going to stick to my guns however and keep focused.

It does take time to get things back on track but it’s getting there. Load balancing has never been an easy task but it’s doable when you put your mind to it. And speaking of putting my mind to things I need to start paying attention more in training. I think I’m picking things up well at present. Not everything but there’s a lot that works.

Focus, especially when I’ve had a long day isn’t always where it should be. I’ve always been a bit of day dreamer and I internalize a lot and it’s easy to find myself drifting a little when I should be paying attention.You see the thing is when I relax and really enjoy what I’m doing, things more often than not get a lot easier than they were the minute before.

When I put the frustrations out my head of needing someone to be sharper with the pads, and I forget the bad day I’ve had work wise, I let go of the stress of Open University course work I keep running away from, forget about the bills and everything else that lies ahead, when I let all of that fall away and focus on the here and now things get easier. And I realize I’m getting better.

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Keeping myself in the moment or the here and now (which is where we should be all of the time but often finds ourselves caught up in the past or worrying about the future) keeps my mind empty enough to let my body do what it needs to. I know I need to be training more than I am at present. I can feel it every time I kick, every time I hit something. My body tells me so I keep focusing on getting better and little by little It’s coming together. It just needs a bit more time every week..

Well, being honest it needs a lot more but that, like everything else is a work in progress. Now that’s something I’ve not heard myself say in a while. Why it can only be a good thing. So as I get ready for the rest of Wednesday morning, contemplate how far I’m going to run at some point today, worry about my degree, workflow and everything else ahead.. I think I’m going to remember that now and again it’s ok to let things fall away. I think I’m going to remember to be still. Because here I am. And there. Right there. Is the voice.

 

 

 

The long read.

Hello. It’s nice to have made it back again, despite what has been threatening to become yet another day and evening of procrastination I’ve decided to get a few things done  although there’s not much left of Sunday to do them in. So where have I been hiding the past couple of weeks you might ask? Well no where really. I’ve just been busy. Getting stuff done and soldiering on as usual. It’s a long road…

Despite thinking  I was due to get my training back up to the place it needs to be again I was ever so slightly disappointed to find that Wednesdays have been replaced with a boxing class and that the weekends are currently sitting in hiatus.

That’s life as the saying goes but it’s also given me an incentive to take things into my own hands a little (but also not go Ronin like one of my trainers moaned at everyone about the other week. Honest, Dave. You can trust me.) and  start filling out the gaps where gaps need to be filled. So far, I’ve filled out a missing two.

I’ve come to the conclusion that if I want to fight again this year I need to start taking training seriously again too. Despite the week currently being thin on the ground martially I’m doing my best to get things right and train hard each session. I went through a stage of finding reasons to leave a little earlier some nights. (Although I do have to work late sometimes )

I’ve finally managed to snap out of that little negative cycle (mainly because of Dave. Cheers.) and stay to the end. I guess if you’re not going to be there from start to finish you might as well stay at home. Although I’m looking to increase quantity at present, I’m pleased the time I currently do spend in my second home is time well spent.

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I think I need some kind of life hack right now because I’m already falling into some of the same traps that got me last year. I found a lovely run yesterday and I think I need to stop making excuses and make sure I’m doing a big run more than once a week. I seem to get distracted easily these days either that or I’m just lazy.

There’s lots to be said for dropping a few kilograms too and eating less crap so let’s see if I can get my diet on track. Being honest, it’s not that bad but could be better. I’ll try to get a little more vegan and fish and less pastry than I have been of late. I’ve also decided to cut out alcohol in the week. As soon as I have something on the cards it’ll be no booze full stop. I’ve also taken to training with a hoody on again and 2 layers underneath.

All of these things, as minor, nerdy and not very fun as they may seem all add up to getting me back in the right place to achieve good things this year. I don’t want to be sitting here in 2019 wishing I did everything I said I would in 2018, I know where that little road takes you and it’s no where fast. It’s very easy to write about what I’m going to achieve and how I’m going to get back to “fighting me” but the proof is in the pudding as the saying goes. It’s lucky I can keep my sweet tooth in check because a statement like that could lead to big trouble.

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Then there’s the writing. Man. That has become a tough one to get on top of. Over a year ago I started a writing project called “last of the good guys” and over a year it’s still waiting to be finished. I’ve given up on finding excuses not to write so as of tomorrow and after a run I’m taking some power back and getting it moving again. Last year, I promised myself it would be finished by October. This year I’m promising myself it will be first draft ready by August. I’m also in the final year of an Open University degree. I don’t do things by halves.

You know, I can’t help but wonder how I must come across on this little blog of mine some days. There’s a lot of I wills and not enough I did it’s anymore so if I do one thing this year I’m going to make sure I do everything I say I will. I kind of did that last year but got side tracked along the way too. So far, 2018 hasn’t been a bad one. It’s keeping me on my toes but procrastination just won’t relent. It’s a monster that tells me to do it tomorrow. It really frustrates me because I’ve only ever lived for today.

Monday is just around the corner and I’m setting my alarm for a frightening 7.00 am. I start work at 8.30 (I was planning to have the morning off but I’ll only regret it in the end. ) so that gives me enough time to get that run in and write a 1000 words. I’ll check in with you on Twitter when it’s done. Monday challenge. Bring it on. In the meantime, I’m looking forward to the week ahead. Martial challenges and life in general are all about graft. It usually yields the best results. Have a good week, train hard and just like the last time.. I’ll see you on that road.

Conversations with myself.

You know I don’t think I meant to have a slightly longer pause than planned writing this blog. In that respect I think I owe you an apology. Procrastination often catches me off guard these days so for now, I can only assure you that it won’t happen again.

I realized the other day that I’ve been meaning to do a lot of things of late and although the year is still pretty new (although already moving by at an alarming rate of knots) I’ve already got a list of goals mentally turning into a list of “When I get around to it”. That can be dangerous for someone like me because I know that talk is cheap and bullshit runs a marathon.

Therefore, as an immediate fix I’ve decided to start writing everything down once again. It’s funny the effect seeing a list of what you want to achieve (or in my case a page full of scribble that only I can decipher) in front of you does. It brings it all a little closer home that it was before.

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Procrastination and negative thinking can get in the way of a lot I set out to do, and my biggest enemy has always been myself. It’s funny because at points it’s very easy to think I’m the only person in the history of doing “this sort of thing” whether it be training, fighting, or running my own business that has these doubts and these fears.

When you get to the point where you realize that you’re not alone and you never have been alone you start to win inside. To achieve what I set out to achieve I need to ensure not only that I have the right attitude but that I have the right people around me.

I’ve found that seeing what’s ahead as a challenge rather than an obstacle will usually help me overcome  and if my environment or the people  around me are what can be deemed as “toxic” then I’ll change them without a second thought. I’ve been lucky enough throughout my Thai boxing career to be surrounded by people that aim to bring out the best in me. Detractors that I’ve encountered know what they can do.

The one thing I am and always have been is determined. Bloody minded and tenacious in my approach. But adopting this attitude I’ve managed to change a lot in my life including my career. I run a reasonably successful small IT consultancy that is still young and I never thought I’d stick with it. I never thought I’d step in a ring but I did and I never thought I’d step back in a ring but this year I will. So there you go.

So when I Look at my list of what I’ve got in store for this year I feel a little daunted. A little bit overwhelmed but also already marginally accomplished. I feel accomplished because I’m making it real. If I can write this blog I can finish my book. If I can step in a gym then I can step back in a ring., If I can get two regular customers then I can get another ten. The possibilities are endless. Isn’t that exciting?

Goal setting at points makes me feel brave. I’ve learnt to stay humble and keep my feet on the ground but inside I know I can do it. Everything I want to achieve this year I will. It’s just a matter of time. Have a great week and train hard. I’ll see you on that road.