I need to apologise… for the past several weeks probably months, I’ve been a bit neglectful of MMT…
Let me explain… I’ve poured my heart into Muay Thai for better or for worse, nearly everyday for the past 6 or 7 years. What should I post today? What fights are on this week? Are we behind on Muay Thai Minutes? (yes BTW)
With Muay Thai being such a huge part of my life, there was still an itch that needed to be scratched. I’ve always wanted to fight. It’s something that I’ve wanted for the past several years, but like a lot of plans and aspirations they get pushed into the background. Life happens…
It’s so much easier to talk about it, then to actually do it. I’ve been talking about it for years, but it’s mostly just been empty words. I’m turning 40 this year, which is old as fuck. I was worried it was never going to happen… I thought it’s time to get off my ass and do something about this. It’s got to be now.
I quietly started training; I didn’t really say anything to anyone. I Didn’t tell my girlfriend, my trainer, anyone. I didn’t want to set an artificial date in the future, I didn’t want to feel rushed, I just wanted to pick up my training, and see where things went.
169 lbs (77 kg) to 134 (60 kg)
I began to focus on my training, making it to as many training sessions as I could. I started watching my diet, started doing a lot more conditioning outside of Muay Thai. Within a couple of months I started dropping the weight, and started to feel like my sparring was getting a little sharper. In about 3 months I went from about 76kg (167 lb) to about 68 (149 lb)… I felt good. I did an Interclub (smoker) and felt good, physically and mentally. It was time to let Coach Damon know. He agreed and it was time to find me a show. A few days later Coach Damon found a local show, the The Team Tieu “ Super MTC” show at the Kings Cross Scala.
I thought it was fitting venue as I had attended several of these shows, and I’m pretty sure my desired to fight was a direct result of attending one of these shows. It’s a great venue, local not too big, not too small. It was set, I was matched at 60 kg, (134 lb) and it was on.
Can’t say enough about the commitment, the heart and soul that Coach Damon pours into training and preparing us for fights. Because Damon insists fighter’s train twice a day, there are lots of early morning rises, and late evenings at the gym.
Training camp last about 5 weeks and Monday through Friday we would train 2X a day with a single session on Sat and sweet, sweet rest on Sunday.
Physically my body wasn’t enjoying it at all; initially I found that I was getting lots of little colds. Psychologically… can’t say I was enjoying it either… I found a side effect from all the training was I was feeling quite burnt out on Muay Thai. I found the last thing I wanted to think about after a long day of training was Muay Thai. I didn’t want to post, didn’t want to think about MT. I found the closer I got towards my fight, the more I couldn’t bare to watch Muay Thai fights. I would get anxious; I could feel my breathing change, my fists and shoulders would get tight. Watching fights became a bit too stressful. I thought my training was going to be like a Rocky montage, I thought I was going to feel great. In reality, I was exhausted and irritable most of the time. So my apologies for neglecting MMT, but now you know why.
I found Sean Fagan’s aka MuayThaiGuys training guide very helpful resource as well as expertboxing.com 30 day Fighters Diet. The diet wasn’t so much about, losing weight that was going to happen naturally. The diet was about how much to eat, what to eat and when. All my meals revolved around getting me fuelled up for the next training session.
Getting my Head Straight
Within 5 weeks I had shrunk from 68kg to 63 KG and I was feeling strong. I had a couple of bad training sessions where nothing was working and my sparring partners were kicking the shit out of me.
I found that my frustrations began to direct inward, and my frustrations quickly spiralled into insecurities… what if this happens on the day? What if I can’t perform? I started having anxiety dreams, about getting to the fight and not having gloves, shorts or mouth guard etc.
I had the opportunity to speak to a couple of people who really put me at ease. The first was Dr. Tony Myers. You’ll know Tony from the interviews and all of his scoring work. In addition to Muay Thai Judging and Scoring, Tony has a doctorate in Sports Psychology; he does a lot of mental performance coaching. I spoke to him and he gave me some great advice, on visualisation techniques that would prove very useful in my fight.
Tony said, it’s important to stick to your game plan, that often times a fighter will get caught with something, instead of regrouping, and following the plan, the fighter will try to do something extraordinary… “he’ll panic and try to make up ground. You don’t train to do extraordinary things… you train to a plan and you should stick to it”.
The second person was Greg Wootton. Greg is talented a friend and a talented nak muay who’s the WMC Mad champion and number 1 ranked junior welterweight in the UK. Greg also admitted he couldn’t stand watching fights pre fight and that he also has pretty horrific anxiety dreams. Just hearing that put me at ease… His bit of advice was “ Resign yourself to the fact that you’re going to give everything you have in that ring. Surrender yourself to that; know that you will be exhausted. Don’t get hung up on being tired, don’t think about it, just get on with it.”
“Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth”
This a profession C class bout, in the UK that means, No elbows or knees to the head, 5 rounds at 01:30 per round. There’s not much time so, you just need to get going.
Damon and I had a very simple plan, rehearsed for hours over the previous weeks. Executed in sparring sessions… visualised in my mind for countless hours in those wee hours of the night. I’d say I executed about 35% of it?
As soon as the leather started to fly, my rational thinking brain stepped out and instinct took the steering wheel. As you can see in the first, I catch his kick and try to get a punch off, instead his punch lands clean on my jaw and all I know is I’m sitting on my ass. Fuck. How long have I been sitting here? I look over at Damon, who’s shouting “GET UP!”
I get an 8 count… Just stick to the plan don’t try anything extraordinary…
Over the next few rounds, I get my wits back and it becomes clear to me that I should be clinching him, and I begin to execute… and over the next few rounds I’m able to claw myself out of that first round hole.
In the end it’s a UD, Draw. I’m ok with it, I know I could have performed better, but that’s for another fight. Hopefully I can get on another show, and improve and implement some of the plan.
Fighting in the UK and for most of the world is an endeavour of love. There’s just no money in it. I want to thanks Coach Damon Faulkner of Singdayt Muay Thai for his time, energy and knowledge. His dedication to his fighters and his students is unequaled.
Many, Many thanks to all my training partners (Ting Tong) and sparring partners (Shub) who pushed me and beat on me along the way.
Much respect to my opponent Stephen To, for his clean technique, and his nak muay attitude and spirit.
Thanks to Philip Tieu for opportunity to be on the show.