Friday, January 30, 2009

I'm gonna change to running in the evening so that Graham and I can run together.  Slept in on Wednesday and Thursday so didn't run in the mornings, but after a hard session last night I ran 5.6km with Graham and it didn't seem too hard. That's around 3.5 miles so I'll run 5 miles next week and then see what effect it has had.

Training at class last night was great but foor some reason I was kicking completely wrong with my right and perfect with my left.  My right shin has a solid bruise on it and I kept connecting with my ankle and that's pretty painful too on the muscle. Must just be completely out of practice!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Ran three miles this morning in just over 20 mins. The only thing that made it hard was the bloody ice! It got sore to breathe after a while with the icy wind in my face and I had to constantly look at my feet to make sure I didn't hit an icy patch, unlike some people I know in Spain who worry about the cold because its 8c! haha
Ran with Dizzee Rascal's Showtime this morning, awesome.

I'll have to get my History essay finished today, "Did Thatcherism save Britain from economic and political ruin?" Easy!
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Saturday, January 24, 2009

Plans for February and March

Ok, so I did start running in the morning, which was my plan. I'm really glad I've done this as it involved getting up about an hour and a half before I usually do. Anyone who knows me will know I'm rubbish at getting up in the morning, so simply managing to escap the confines of my toasty bed is a real achievement! In addition to this, it really does wake you up and make you feel great for the rest of the day.

Next week I will continue to run twice a week in the morning, but in the next three weeks I will be increasing the time and distance I run. In the fifth week I will just run the two miles I started off with, to see if I can feel a difference. If there is a difference then I will start interval training. To start with, this will involve running hard (not sprinting) for one minute and thirty seconds and then jogging at a slower speed for one minute. This will emulate the demands of a fight. I will be doing this for another four weeks, making it three early starts a week. If I can feel any difference in my lung capacity and stamina over these four weeks I will be extremely happy and will probably have made bigger changes to my fitness in this time compared to when I was training for my fight.

I have decided I do want to fight again but first would like to get some ring experience at interclub competitions, which are basically sparring sessions with other clubs which ape a real fight (ring, ref and cornermen, if you want) but in a friendly, relaxed atmosphere. Many people often do more than one session at an interclub and the rules are pretty much the same as if you were sparring with someone from your own club.

So, my fitness plans for the next two months involve running and interval training. On top of this, I'll see if there is an interclub in March that I can go to and also continue to teach with Colin in schools. Finally, something I have not mentioned is parkour. The whole reason I started getting fitter was to be better at parkour but the fitness training seems to have taken over. I'll try to redress this in February, with at least one parkour session a week. I will not specify a time until next week for parkour sessions to take place.

February should also see Vulsellum starting to practice and gig again, should see me working again and finally, should also see me complete my research for college. Busy months ahoy!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

That's two running sessions this week and for just now that's what it's going to stay at. I plan on running twice a week until the end of February then I'll note down what advances I've made. I'm measuring time and distance ran with a nifty application on my phone. I'll be advancing how long and how far I run each week while trying to maintain an average speed, so I'm not running much faster one week than the last.
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Monday, January 19, 2009


Went out running this morning, to try and get into the habit of running in the morning.  I decided beforehand to aim for about 20 minutes at a slower pace than normal, knowing the route I had planned was to be approx. 2 miles.  I was measuring time and distance with my phone but it slipped through my hands and reset itself at the 1.6 mile mark!

My run was really only 15 minutes but it felt good and set me up for the day I feel. I've got to finish one essay and start another one today, well that's the plan anyway. I also intend to get my Xbox 360 to network with my Suse Linux desktop as the wireless only seems to work on XP for some strange reason...

My next morning run is planned for Wednesday, as I don't have classes any more, unless I need help with my research project - minority ethnic groups and their portrayal in the media.  Tuesday and Thursday will be Muay Thai training where I intend to get some sparring and good padwork in. Friday will be teaching day for a good few weeks at various schools as per previous blog entries, I'll do no training on Fridays.

I'm also going to be looking at training strength as I feel that could do with some work if I intend to actually perform a muscle up this year. For those who may not know what a muscle up is - it is a pull up (palms facing away from the body) then you push upwards so that your arms are straight -

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Saturday, January 17, 2009

Fighting again

Just watching UFC 93, the Shogun v Coleman fight has just finished and Dan henderson is just making his entrance. Watching this has made me realise that I do want to fight again, even if only once. The feeling I got from fighting was unlike anything I've felt before. Imagine making a presentation to 200 people, the feeling of nerves you get then add that to knowing that your going to take punches to the face, kicks and knees to the body and legs as well as knowing you are going to go out there and try knock someone out.

It really is the closest I've come to feeling really human. Despite wanting to go out and knock out my opponent, I wouldn't call it aggression. It is a much more raw experience. So I'm gonna fight again in the future, for sure.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Teaching Muay Thai

Tonight was the first of a number of taster sessions I will helping teach in secondary schools around Angus. We had a healthy turnout, 15 people and all were guys. We ran them through a generic warm up, some stretching and then explained what Muay Thai was and why it was different to other martial arts like karate and kickboxing. There were a few guys who attended kickboxing classes at the school in Forfar so they understood that kickboxing started in the 70's in America and Japan but didn't know that kickboxing came about as a way to compete with the Thais who have over 2000 years of development behind their art!

We showed them the correct stance and movement for Muay Thai. Once that had been done, we gave out pads and gloves and showed how to jab and cross, and how to put the two together in a jab-cross combination. Next we explained the technique behind a straight knee with a demonstration. My knees are one of my strong points so the kids were suitably impressed! They got to try it out on the pads and to be fair, they all picked up the techniques quite quickly, aside from the guard staying up which is either them being quick learners or Colin and I being good teachers. I'd like to think it was a bit of both.

We then demonstrated the standard Thai round kick and how to gauge and work within your distance. We explained the turning, twisting your hip and making contact with your shin and not your foot. The kickboxing lads did tend to flick their kicks and bounce a bit but they were really enthusiastic and totally up for learning how to do things our way. I did explain a few times that we weren't trying to say what they were taught was wrong and we did everything right, that it was just a different way of doing things but they were all happy to learn something different while using the skills they had already learned at kickboxing.

We finished the hour off with some basic self defence and explaining why you might throw someone rather than just knee them in the balls! We will be heading to Forfar for another hour session next Friday then I think we're at Webster High for two weeks. There were a lot of enthusiastic guys today who are already interested in leaving kickboxing to come to Arbroath and train with us, and the guys who had never done anything before were just as keen to learn from us and head though to Arbroath with the other lads who are already arranging which buses to get to and from our classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays which is encouraging.

I really enjoyed teaching tonight and I'm reinforcing things which I had almost forgotten how to do. Explaining how to stand and move properly, for example is something I've not done much of since I'd been training for my fight for a while and before that there wasn't any new students to teach. Colin is enthusiastic about helping me become an instructor, telling me that he can see I have great communications skills and I can explain technical aspect in a way that people can understand easily. I feel like I have a good enough knowledge of Thai boxing to teach people comfortably and I also feel that I could answer most queries a beginner would ask. With more advanced students, I am lacking a bit of conviction and confidence because at a certain point the techniques become opinion rather than rule, with each camp doing things slightly differently but I'm sure this will come with time.

Today was a good day. :)
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Monday, January 12, 2009

Goals for 2009

Yes, I'm aware the picture in the header is complete crap. I am looking for a better picture, possibly from my fight last month but for just now, that's the only one available! I've also changed the theme to one that is a bit less cluttered and easier to read.

This spring cleaning is a result of procrastination on my behalf. I have a 1,500/2,000 word Criminology essay due in on Thursday and I have only written about 250 words so far. It is an easy essay and I have everything I need to complete it including the knowledge but I really can't find the motivation to write the rest of it. It is a look at the creation of a criminal and the role nature and nurture play using a bunch of different theories. But I can't be arsed!

Since procrastination is the flavour of the week, I'm going to outline my plans for the year, in order to make sure that I'll actually do them! I have been thinking about this for the past few days and I've decided on achievable goals for the year 2009. So in no order, here they are:

  • By the end of the year, I want to be practising parkour at least twice a week. I will start working towards this as of next week, so that my criminology essay and psychology assessment is out of the way. Also, by next week my cold/flu/bug should be successfully vanquished and I'll be able to breathe properly!
  • I hope to have completed at the very least the short story I have started. I have a short story and a novel started and I would like to have the short story completely finished. It would be nice if I could get it published but I think I'll focus on actually finishing the story first! I have stories floating about in my head all day but never write anything down. If I get in the habit of writing for fun then I will hopefully be able to get more practice in and get published eventually. Finally, my plans for future employment may or may not be stable, so it would be advantageous if I'm confident I can write. Not a spectacular back up plan but a plan all the same, plus it will be fun! Sure, show me a blogger who doesn't want to be a writer, but all the same, it is a life goal I'll be working towards this year.
  • Continue to learn to cook. Well, last year wasn't a total wash out but I've not really learned many recipes at all! I'll have to learn at least 10 for the year to be happy about this goal. I think 10 is a good number of meals to be able to make and it is less than one a month. It is achievable and means I can choose progressively more difficult recipes, if my skills improve with each recipe that is!
  • My last goal is a double barrelled as they are both music related and may happen at a similar time. I want to tour with one of my bands and also write and record an album with one of them. This could happen with any three bands to be honest. before the year is up, I'd really like to do one of these. Both would be fantastic but these goals really depend on other people other than just me, so I can only try my hardest and hope for the best from my band mates.
Well, hopefully in a year I'll be posting about my published work, how well my tour went and the food I've been cooking. We'll see!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Parkour and 2009

While everything I've done in 2008 has technically been parkour in that I have been using the parkour philosophy of personal advancement, I haven't actually done much parkour in 2008.

2009 will see me return to playing music regularly, but also return to parkour specific training. To do this, I will have to reassess my skills, strengths and weaknesses as I have changed physically and mentally in the last year. For example, I feel like I am much stronger that I was before in both in leg and arm strength as well as my core body so things such as jumping and pulling myself up will hopefully see an increase. On the other hand, having not moved at any speed among obstacles, I will have lost co-ordination and confidence. Finally, there are aspects which will have, for better or worse, not changed. I will still be rubbish at landing with any degree of elegance, I'll still be heavy on my feet landing and heavy on my wrists when taking off. I'm also going to be just as good, if not better at balancing. My Muay Thai training has given me much better balance through training stance, movement and having to deliver kicks. A lot of my fight training focused on my footwork and movement so I can take that aspect across to my parkour training. Despite being different sports the training, especially psychologically, is very similar.

My diet and eating habits are much better than then were a few years ago but this aspect still needs work as I'm still too tempted to take chocolate over fruit, for example - even when I would prefer fruit to chocolate. I'm not sure why this happens and as soon as I eat my chocolate i know that I would have preferred a banana or a plum. It must just be habit and I'll have to work harder throughout this year to break it. All credit for my advances in diet have to go to my wife Lynn though, she has been organizing the meals for the two of us via a monthly meal planner and cooking the majority of the meals from scratch. here's an example of what we've been eating in a week (just evening meals):

Butternut Squash Curry
Parsnip Soup
Moussaka (the only thing on this list that I make!)

We've built up quite a library of cookbooks in order to get more meals for our monthly planner and some of the curries in particular are spectacular! We have Parsee Red Curry and Pistachio and Chicken Curry to look forward to in February for example, which are both from a book called "50 Great Curries Of India" by Camellia Panjabi which Lynn got for Christmas from my brother Ross.

I've not yet written down what I wish to achieve in 2009 but Parkour and music will feature for sure. The final bit of news I have is an exciting opportunity which I didn't expect or plan for, but am more than happy to embrace. Schools in Angus are interested in giving their pupils the opportunity to try different sports which they cannot provide in a typical PE lesson and thanks to Colin's hard work, Muay Thai is one of them! Starting next Friday, we will be hosting workshops in various secondary schools throughout Angus, starting with Forfar Academy. I never even thought about teaching Muay Thai but I've been helping teach in class and Colin asked me to help him host these workshops as he has recognised that I am comfortable and quite good at teaching kids and teenagers, which is a huge boost to my confidence and self belief.

cheers for reading, I'll update when something has happened with parkour training. I don;t fancy going out just now, the rain could take the skin off a man!
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