Short one

After a half day fishing, the cubs and I kicked back for a lazy afternoon.

The day is nice, the sun is shining so I buy ice lollies as a treat for when we get home.

Having little patience, they’re asking for lollies before the keys are in the door. “Wait until after dinner; I’m cooking now”

They acquiesce and trundle off to the lounge.

Meanwhile, the heat of the kitchen gets to me; I think the unthinkable. “That’d be wrong wouldn’t it? Eating a lolly after telling them to wait?”

I use all my martial arts skill to silently open the freezer. Then the box of lollies. Then take one out. Then unwrap the wrapper. I pause appropriately, listening for footsteps. Nothing.

I take a delicious, cooling bite.

Dad; what are you doing?

Hamster.jpg

Silently swallowing a whole (but miniature, thankfully) Magnum, blinking through brain freeze (maybe needing a CAT scan later) and cripplingly sensitive teeth.

“Nothing darling. Go wash your hands while daddy lies down.”

 

Karma.

BSD. 

I really, really should listen to my body.

Yesterday was a training day.

What I mean by this is that it was a day that I go and see my Shiye (Kung Fu instructor when you’re a Sifu yourself) for a catch up.

I’ve been training with him for 30 years this year and he has led me to great success. I was a little late for this class so foolishly only did a small warm up.

A new guy was there and wanted to know some tricks to add to his own toolbox. We went to work. He learnt a new throw; he threw me; I landed correctly, then popped my knee getting up.

I couldn’t hide it and my instructor noticed.

The class ended and we had the normal catch up chat. I reminded him that I was 44 next week. He informed me that there was a competition coming up in the USA at the end of the year and that I wasn’t too old to get back in the ring.

Where do I sign?

hand wraps.jpg

When your body talks…

You’d be wise to listen to it.

You may remember a while back I started a ’30 day burpee challenge’ where for 30 days, I would do 30 burpees per day. The clue was in the name. It all started so well.

Body talks..

After about 5 days, bits of me started to hurt. When you’re used to training and pushing yourself, this is nothing new, but this pain was new and unusual. I was beginning to experience some intense, shooting pain in the base of my toes and it didn’t feel good.

I expected pain in my quads and core but not in the base of my toes. That was just weird. 

Pain such as this is usually associated with poor technique so I checked mine. Whilst I was doing it it felt right but the pain was evident almost immediately. I stopped.

One thing I had noticed a long time ago (approximately 14 years) was that my body took longer to heal almost immediately after my 30th birthday. Decades of martial arts training had put my body under a lot of pressure and from time to time the inevitable would happen and parts of me would fail. Immediate injury management was necessary, followed by either passive or active recovery. Anything remotely serious could be overcome in around 6 weeks. Up until the big 30 that is.

The change was noticeable.

Fixing things just started to take longer. Clicks, creaks and groans replaced the subtle swish of my combat clothing. Ce la vie.

I spent a while fighting it but then I got smart.

The human body was designed to move.

Just be clever about how you do it. New pains that aren’t part of the muscle growth process should be taken note of. Adjust accordingly.

I haven’t given up; not totally.

I still need to add some serious CV to my routines. In the meantime, I have replaced the 30 day burpee challenge with the Men’s Health 500 rep challenge. When I can move my arms again I’ll make another video.

BSD

Ps, videos are new! I discovered an editing suite called Lightworks v.14. It’s free to use and comes with great tutorials. I will get better!

A lesson in humility.

I might have mentioned my keen interest in martial arts before.

Kung fu in fact. This has been my staple art for the last 3 decades but it wasn’t where I started.

These folk have a lot to answer for..

I do not own these images

Around the time of my 6th birthday I discovered Monkey and The Water Margin. The mere theme tune would get me hopping around the living room with glee!

Or this video

It wasn’t long before my mum had had enough. The twirling of the broomstick in the living room was getting out of hand. So was the imaginary battles with the imaginary warriors from the next [imaginary] village.

Off to Karate I went. I did that for a bit but didn’t take to it. Then Judo. Two gradings later, I left that. Then Tang Soo Do and Tae Kwon Do. They didn’t stick. I then discovered Muay Thai. That did the trick until I discovered traditional Kung Fu. My instructor was multi-disciplined in the Chinese arts and well connected (authentic lineage is vital in traditional martial arts).

Luckily the town I grew up in was rich with various styles of fighting arts as you can see.

I was 14 when began that journey. The training was hard and brutal; if you ever watched a Shaw Brothers classic you’d get my drift. It was great and I made lifelong friends with my instructor, his family and my classmates.

After a few years I took my knowledge into the ring (on to the mat). My first competitive fight was against a TKD black belt. Luckily it was semi-contact so the beating I got was limited.

I went back to the drawing board; more press ups; more sit ups; more kicking and more sparring. That did the trick. I entered the world of full contact fighting.

Competitions came thick and fast and I was doing well. The stars were falling into place for some title shots and I had performed well in team selections, well enough to get into the British Team.

Being 6’4″ and quite a big unit I found that most people in my weight category were more weight than style or strength. I used this to my advantage and quite literally walked through my opponents. I was fighting in two styles, Tien Shan Pai and Shuai Jiao and winning at both.

I won the British Championships with a TKO in 43 seconds. I won the European Championships in Milan almost as easily, after injuring my first opponent and the referee calling off another fight when my opponent fell over after kicking me in the chest.

That was it; I was through to the World Championships in Brazil, with ease.

Unfortunately my downfall was well underway.

I had little respect for what was needed to be a champ and because my preliminaries had seemed easy, I slackened off my training. I was convinced that the title was as good as mine and why not? the last two years leading to this moment had been a breeze.

I apologise for the quality of the photos that follow. They’re old, I didn’t take them and a friend took pictures of them on her phone in order to put them on facebook.

The team landed in Sao Paulo two days before the competition and checked in to our hotel. All the teams were in the same place and over the last couple of years we’d made great friends with the Italian, American and German teams. I was professional enough not to touch alcohol but I did keep late nights.

I did some light sparring in the courtyard but nothing major. Then the day before the fight I hit the hotel gym for some cardio on the bike.

Wake up call number one..

I selected a low resistance as a warm-up then got to work. And promptly stopped. I couldn’t breathe!

I had a drink of water and pushed on but had to stop again 10 minutes later. This time I had to get off, as my lungs were screaming, my muscles couldn’t support me. Not good. Back to the room.

Wake up call number two..

As the lift climbed to the top of the hotel, I felt dizzy and slightly nauseous. I thought I’d be able to sleep it off..





Two coaches picked us up the next morning and took us to the venue. It was 0800 and the weigh-ins began at 0900. Due to my size and weight my category was always the last to fight and depending on the field of competitors, this could take hours.

Wake up call number three..


The temperature in the venue was about 35ºc by 1000. I couldn’t get enough water down me and even through the light warm up – warm down cycles I felt poor and was leaking fluid like a damaged faucet.

Meanwhile in my head, I was still God’s gift to martial arts; the title was mine

I found an American fighter from my weight category and walked up to him whilst he was warming up. “I guess it’s you and me in the final” I said arrogantly.

I retreated to the stands to focus and lose myself in music. Eventually, I was called up.

Wake up call number four..

My opponent was a local fighter, disciplined in both Kung Fu and Muay Thai. At 6’1 he was giving away height but we weighed about the same.

I stepped up onto the Lei Tai and then it hit me; not my opponent but a wall of heat. The ambient temperature was augmented by the lights above the ring. Although the platform was only about 3 feet high, I can only liken the experience to getting into your attic on a midsummer’s day.

Boom; strength gone; energy gone; the referee dropped his arm. I hadn’t come this far to roll over and have my belly tickled so I went on the attack.

I threw everything at this guy; lefts, rights and when I could summon the strength, a couple of kicks too. Let me give you the real picture though; this wasn’t the stuff of movies, more like a town scuffle on a Saturday night.

He absorbed everything. 

I took a step back and we looked at each other. He was playing the classic fighting game of letting me burn myself out. That point wasn’t far off but I wasn’t quite done yet.

I only had one thing left in the toolbox so I threw it. It was a running, jumping knee strike to the chin; a surefire knockout blow.

I did it; he took it. Noticing my shoulders drop in disbelief, he moved in. I shut one eye.

Boom. It landed; a big right. This was the first time i’d ever been hit in the face! It hurt like hell but I was still standing!!

Not for long.

I opened my eyes to an incoming front snap kick that knocked the wind out of me, me off the platform and out of the competition.

I got back on to the mat but was injured. I kicked, he blocked and it hurt me! I went down again and this time I couldn’t get back up. I looked at the English ref and whilst counting, he mouthed ‘get up’… I looked to the side of the ring and one of the American ladies was gesticulating ‘get up get up’. I couldn’t. My fight was over; I was beaten mentally.

The lesson

I failed to prepare so was doomed to fail. I knew nothing about the country or it’s climate and the altitude. I knew nothing of my opponents even though the circuit didn’t really change and more importantly I knew nothing about myself.

Thankfully that has changed. I flew home with my tail between my legs. I received a world ranking of 4th, but there were only four of us in my weight category.

I learned a heck of a lot that year. Thank the lord there’s no videos of it.


Oh well; at least the beaches are amazing.
BSD

CONTROLLING THOSE LIMITING BELIEFS – time to stop running and start hunting. pt.2

What is coaching?

Coaching is a way of improving your ability or performance. We tend to associate coaching with athletes but more and more we see it in the world of work and even daily life.

What does coaching look like?

It quite often happens on a one to one ratio (the most effective way) with the coach and the student. The coach will observe a specific act, performance or behaviour, analyse and then tweak that performance through a number of means in order for the individual to improve in some way.

Why are you discussing coaching? A moment ago we were talking about limiting beliefs?

The two are connected.

So what is the connection?

  • Imagine if you had a coach.
  • One who followed you around 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
  • A coach that never takes a holiday, rarely sleeps and better still, works for free.
  • A coach that knows you better than anyone else on Earth; knows your strengths and more importantly, your weaknesses.
  • A coach that really, doesn’t care if they upset you or even reduce you to tears.

I think you know where i’m going with this one.

So ok. We have a coach inside our head who sometimes works against us. Sometimes, it thinks it’s being cruel to be kind. Most of the times, it’s not a very smart coach. Always, absolutely always, it’s an effective coach.

Limiting beliefs>internal thoughts>inner coach..

Thoughts become things

I’d love to claim this one but it’s been around for a while. The power of the mind to create the physical environment has long been recognised and quick search of the internet will show you examples.

Have you ever wondered why a day that starts badly often ends badly and vice versa? Let’s be honest; a day is just a day. We will leave a footprint on that point in time and give it a title, in order to categorise it in our memories.

‘Good’ days have a positive effect on us and therefore anything that happens during that good day will be thought of positively. Again, vice versa, things that happen on a ‘bad’ day will be reflected on badly.

But as I said earlier, a day is just a day. We make it what it is and our internal coach has a huge part to play in that.

Success

I apologise for this cheesiness of this pic but, you get it; right?

Part 3 next week, where I do what I say I’ll do.

I’ve also tried something new; sticking this post to the front page. Let’s see how that works.

BSD

What I was supposed to do today..

Versus what I actually did, are two different things.

I was supposed to go [Kung Fu] training today but as you can probably guess from the headline, I didn’t make it.

The weather is great so I decided that it was an opportunity to get my motorbike out.

What I was supposed to do in June…

Was to MOT my bike. For those not in the know, an MOT is a legal requirement on British roads, giving you an annual declaration of roadworthiness. The cops prefer you to have one too.

What I actually did today…

Was rest, following a very brief sulk.

The cubs are with their mum (technically my weekend but there were family celebrations on her side so we made a deal) and the house is tidy.

I also took the opportunity to connect with all of my new followers, thanks to the amazing Daily Post first friday! what a great idea and I’m so glad I took the opportunity to engage.

Hints and tips are coming in already and I will definitely be rummaging through all of your pages for a good read and some ideas!

FB_IMG_1433333643428.jpg

Not today kung fu kingdom; not today.

BSD