Saturday, May 30, 2009

A mile in someone elses shoes...

This old adage also holds true for yourself if you take your shoes off.

I've recently been walking barefoot in order to toughen my feet and train more naturally. I walked home from work tonight in my bare feet; around two miles. One thing I have noticed so far is that when I read about muscles being worked that hadn't been worked properly in years, it was all true. I thought I would be a bit better off since I walk about in barefoot in the house often and I have to go barefoot for Muay Thai. My Achilles has been supported well in shoes and is now aching from actually being used for a prolonged period of time. The blisters are unreal! I also burnt my foot walking on the tarmac earlier today when I went to college for some books... Another thing I have noticed is that most people don't actually comment on your bare feet.

Since it is a Friday night I thought I may get a lot of comments but I didn't. A car drove past really fast and the driver shouted out the window to put my shoes on (I was carrying them). Later on, woman asked what I was doing.

"Going home"

"But you have no shoes on!" as if I hadn't realised yet.
This continued for a minute or so until she warned me that I may step in dog poop, so I told her that I would be careful and we parted ways at that. Finally I had a discussion with a few older women coming home from a night out.

"Have you sore feet?" they asked me. I replied that I actually did, and showed them my swollen and bruised ankle and foot.

"I have sore feet too, but I am wearing heels" one informed me. They made sure I would be OK and that I didn't have far to go, which was nice of them.

It sounds like a really obvious thing to say but I really enjoy walking barefoot because I can feel with my feet! I forgot how it felt to feel different things with my feet and different surfaces give different sensations. I noticed a real difference in temperature between shade and light with my feet. Different types of pavement are making me walk differently; I will hop over parts so that I can walk on tarmac for example.

In addition to different types of pavement, kerbs are surprisingly varied with some feeling really gritty and other feeling really velvety. Walking on grass is obviously much nicer but unfortunately the threat of dog poop is all too real. A nice surprise was walking over rubber, where the pavement has been raised at a bus stop with a rubber ramp. I didn't have any type of memory of walking over this type of surface barefoot so it was nice to feel something I don't think I've felt before, which must be a rare experience for most adults in our "advanced" civilization.

I think I will give barefoot a rest for a few days to let my blisters calm down. I have noticed however, my swollen ankle hurts less when I can use the natural motion of my foot rather than the motion my shoes think I should make. I will wait a few weeks before I try any parkour in my bare feet so that my body can become fully accustomed to walking naturally again!


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

With the release of UFC Undisputed, weekly Bellator events and relentless promotion by the UFC, I can get my MMA fix pretty much anywhere and at any time. My bathroom floor always has at least one copy of Fighters Only ready for me to pick up at any point and there are another two or three magazines I could buy from the shop if I wanted. This MMA saturation has only made my desire to fight so much more, and I am now setting my sights on competing in MMA as well as Muay Thai.

I would like to try a few amateur rules MMA fights. These forbid all strikes to the head, both standing and grounded. They also do not allow heel hooks and knee bars. The rules system in Scotland (not sure if this is the same in England or America) is set up so that one can progress through the amateur, semi pro then onto pro fights in a gradual manner which provides a good learning environment, something I feel Scottish Muay Thai could benefit from tremendously actually.

I would obviously need to work on my grappling and ground game a lot, but I was planning on making weekly trips to Aberdeen in order to train with my buddy David Banks at his gym - Team Jigoku. I will have to check with my coach to see if he is ok with me training stand up with him and ground with someone else and representing both camps when it comes to fight time: "representing Phraya Pichai Muay Thai Camp and Team Jigoku", that kinda thing. If Colin OK's this than I'll need to check with Team Jigoku's coach to see if he is OK with me coming along to their training sessions too!

If I had a few amateur fights and won some of them I would then be looking to fight in at least one semi-pro fight so that I can punch to the head mostly, but also just for the experience. I'm still wary of elbows so Pro MMA is out as well as 'A' class Muay Thai.

Graham has said he is happy to help with both aspects and David is more than willing to travel to Arbroath to help with my ground game. On top of that Mike and Dale in Dundee are there too, and I've yet to grapple with them so that would be fun.

I have a few more things to do before I'm finished college and can't do any of the above without finishing college work so I can definitely get into Uni next year! This year I would like to have one Muay Thai fight and one or possibly two MMA fights if time allows for it. That would make me a happy bunny. :)

Monday, May 25, 2009

I'm getting over my anti-capitalist rage but only the venomous ranting part.

I'm going to start training barefoot so that it work my legs more when I'm running and conditioning. I can see hill sprints being really hard in barefoot but that has to mean they are working muscles which haven't been engaged before because of shoes.

I am starting off small outside and done 200 meters last night and I'm going to try 400 today.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Since I started working as well as studying, I constantly feel tired, unmotivated and completely non-plussed about studying. This is at the same time as I have to hand in five essays in four weeks.

What a ridiculous system we live in. In order to submit quality work as well as give time for students to actually understand and absorb what they are learning, the student must live with as much spare money as your average Chinese citizen, and that is given in the form of a loan. I've been given a loan of just over £4,000 for this academic year. My rent alone is £2,300 a year. At the end of every month I am left with about £70, that's before I buy food by the way - which Lynn pays for about 90% of the time. In order to have any money to help pay for food and other household stuff, as well as *god forbid* spare money I have to work.

I am not against working at all. I get bored and lethargic if I am not doing some sort of work but working while studying leaves me with no energy to do either properly. How can we expect any respectable advance of knowledge when students are treated with as much respect as the supposed "underclass".

This is all rhetorical of course, masses of students are terrible for the economy so the government and other for-profit organisations are gonna be looking down upon funding colleges and universities so that people have to go into employment rather than further education.

It just really makes me angry when people like me who really are in search of knowledge in order to improve their own lives and the lives of others are disregarded for the sake of money and greed and gross selfishness. I'm finding it realy hard to enjoy life at the moment. I wish I could just read, write, exercise and enjoy time off with friends and family without having all the extra pressure and exhaustion that being a student now demands. Frank Furedi needs to be read and agreed with by everyone in government. Honestly, what a shit life this is. It makes me want to just give it all up, really. I'm sure that people reading this are going to think I'm a child with no concept of "the real world" but it is the opposite. I have seen this "real world" and I wish I hadn't as it is miserable.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

That's my exam out of the way and in another four weeks I should have finished all my coursework and be free for the summer!

That probably means more work but it also means I'm free to do more things I can't do without money! Travel to Aberdeen to train with David, travel to Glasgow to see all the GPK folk, travel to Dundee numerous times to see Dale and Mike for some grappling, practice with Vulsellum, Duncan Idaho and Welcome Home, Explorer... The list goes on.

Even my holidays are jam-packed!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Who would have thought that standing for a long time would be so tiring?

Working at McDonalds isn't as bad as people like to make out. Customers are generally understanding if something is taking a while to cook, as they then know that they are getting fresh food. The staff are all pretty helpful and all good fun. The kitchen isn't that greasy really, and it gets deep cleaned every night anyway - I know because I was washing all the detachable parts of everything until about half one this morning!

The hardest part is standing at a till really, the limited movement really kills my legs. That's part of the McDonald way if it busy, people are put to one or two specific tasks in a Taylorist wet dream. We have one guy serving fried, the till people collect drinks and food from the stations, we will have three people serving drive-thru in the order of - take order, pay, get food whereas usually the first two would be combined.

I've only been able to do minimal studying for my final exam on Wednesday but I have a very good idea of what to do for all of them and I'm certain I will pass with at least the B that I need to get into Uni.

A subject I rarely talk about in his blog is reading, of which I do a lot. I'm usually reading one or two fiction and one or two non fiction books at any given time. The different books are for different situation - on the bus, lunch breaks, bored pick-me-ups etc. Just now I am reading 'Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell' by Susanna Clarke, about t start 'Chindi' by Jack McDevitt as my fiction books. I'm also reading 'Liquid Fears' by Zygmunt Bauman, 'The McDonaldization of Society' by Gorge Ritzer (started before I worked there!), 'Where Have All The Intillectuals Gone?' by Frank Furedi and also 'Popular Culture' edited by Guins & Cruz, being a collection of essays on different aspects of popular culture. This book is great - I might have to buy it. It has essays (or pats of other works) by Marx, Adorno, Hebdige, Lipsitz, McRobbie, Benjamin, Debord, Hall and loads other. It's bloody good!


Sunday, May 10, 2009

I wish Bellator wasn't broadcast on a Wednesday. I have to avoid most of the sites I visit to miss the results. Then I come on blogger and MMA by Numbers have the result "Reyes stunning KO over Payan" - even though no-one outside America (and even then, those who actually have ESPN Deportes!) can see it until Wednesday!

I'm sick of getting the big fights spoiled for me. Sherdog and MMA by Numbers are the worst. Surely it can't be that hard to just say "Bellator VI results" and leave it at that unless you click on 'read more' or something.


Thursday, May 07, 2009

Instead of 200 words, I wrote 445 last night so I've only to write a minimum of 155 words to hit my target today, but I'm in the middle of a scene so I think that will be pretty easy. I'm on chapter 4 of an anticipated 10.

Bought Men's Health yesterday, it is pretty rubbish. There are a few helpful articles and some good reading but maybe not £3.75 worth. Saying that, £3.75 isn't a lot of money really.


Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Novel word count

I'm aiming for 20,000 words by the end of the summer. I've written today and currently have 5513 words or:


I've just finished the third of ten chapters and extended the plans for the 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th chapters with a rouch outline written for the 9th and 10th chapters.

I'm going to try write at least 200 words every day now that I know that I have a solid plan for nearly every chapter. That is a whole 1% of my target of 20,000 so it sounds achievable and also all those 1's add up. If I stick to at least 200 words every day then I will reach my target by Friday 17 July. So there's a speculative target for ya!
There are so many things I want to do in such a short space of time it is unreal. Of course, I want to fight again. I've stated that many times in my blog and also to people in real life, especially Lynn and Graham, who hear it every other day. Like

I have also recently said, I have fallen back in love with parkour and I have specific goals to reach in relation to parkour before the summer is over which will require training and dedication. Add to this that I want to travel to Glasgow and Dundee a few times to do parkour with those guys. I also want to start studying for university next year so that I'm not coming into a new learning environment totally rusty from a summer of no psychology!

Finally, I want to continue writing both my novel and my short story. Both of these feature parkour in one way or another. My novel is based on a concept album worth of lyrics I wrote a few years ago which have come to nothing music wise. It is a sci-fi novel set on Mars around 10,000 years ago where an imaginary race of pre-humans are in the process of their industrial revolution and also the beginnings of a planet wide civil war. I'm about 10% through the first draft of this. The short story is a bit more down to Earth (lol) and is the story of a guy who has just split from his first serious girlfriend after they moved from school to university and how he deals with it.

I know exactly what is to happeen in both of these and i really enjoy getting stuck in and writing (both fiction and non-fiction). The problem is really just making time. For my novel I have character notes, location maps, plot twists etc all ready. For my short story I have written both the start and the end, but not the middle, where the meat of the story is...

I'm not great at sticking to timetables unless I rely on someone else for plans, like in my fight training but to get any of this stuff done I'll need to stick strictly to some sort of plan. I'm such a procrastinator too. I've got my final exam at college in eight days and I need to study for it (three questions, three different subjects, unseen question, three hours) today since I'm not working and I'm too tired to concentrate on it! Stupid McDonalds.

Oh well, best be getting onwards with studying research methods in the social sciences, the work of Piaget, Bruner and Vygotsky in cognitive development for psychology and also the impact of poverty upon culture for sociology. Fun day today...


Friday, May 01, 2009

parkour video uploaded

I've made a wee video of my training from the other day and put it on youtube.

I called it "repeat until failure" because that's what I was doing. I was sneaky in the editing so what is last actually came first and the rest is me trying different approaches, movements and things like that. It was quite fun overall. I only made the video to try my hand at video editing but the quality of the footage is a major hindrance. If you view it on a mobile phone screen it looks fine though! I'm going to train more and make a video at the end of summer displaying my progress and also the parkour spots in Arbroath.

Repeat Until Failure @ Youtube