The journey of an aspiring fighter #19

Published On May 11, 2013 | By Helen Harper | Blog

This week has been mixed again, I have been sick over the past few days so my training as been a bit sporadic, and the training I have been able to take part in I didn’t feel I could put 100% in to. The week did start off well however, as I had a day off work so I managed to get a solid days training in.

06/05/13 Monday
I feel like I was a little slack with my last blog, I think I got a bit distracted with the birthday celebrations, chocolate, amazing people around me, chocolate… but now it is time to get back to it, I have medals to bring home from Manila next week and I am planning for them to be a nice shiny gold colour!
The amazing thing about training in Phuket, is that if you are lucky enough to get a day off work, you can train a few extra sessions, so this is exactly what I did. This morning I went to an extra gi session with Olavo, and the mat was absolutely packed. The Jiu-Jitsu technique of the day started with one person based in a seated guard, and they have control of their opponents arm/elbow for the arm drag. Whilst dragging the arm, they also have to lean back and thrown their leg up to triangle their opponent. Olavo showed us another technique straight after this which started the same but instead of leaning back, we came forward and went for a guillotine type grip with an underhook. We then rolled our opponent over us and straightened out the underhooked arm (whilst gripping the guillotine/collar) and made sure we switched our hips to the floor which sunk the choke on.
We then had 4 rounds of sparring, one of which was with Mr Oscar Mendoza, the 4 stripe white (should be blue) which was super fun, and I also had a fantastic roll with an Irish purple belt.
As I mentioned before, I was lucky enough to have the day off work today, which meant I could focus a little more on my stand up sparring technique, and even luckier to have some amazing people at Phuket Top Team who don’t mind helping out the small timers like me. One of these such people is the wonderful Brad Terrey. Brad has featured in my blog many a time, mainly because he is a fantastically talented fighter, and ridiculously down to earth with it – exactly the type of person you would want at your gym. Brad gave me an hour of his time, and we worked on some good stand up and take down techniques which I feel like I will be able to implement into my game in the not too distant future. Thank you Brad!

The third session of the day was MMA training with both Andrew and Anthony. We only had a small class, 6 of us in total, so we paired up and worked 3 minute rounds (swapping start position mid way – 1.5 minute in) the first position we covered was guard for 3 rounds, then one person standing and one on their back. Lastly we covered a turtle position with the other person heading to back control. I found this positional sparring extremely useful as you might not end up in those exact positions when sparring but the chances of coming up against it in a fight is very likely so it was great to practice.
The last thing we covered was two rounds of stand up sparring. I actually managed to use some of the things Brad had taught me earlier in the day which was an amazing feeling and came away not feeling completely useless: Breakthrough!

Last but certainly not least, I went to my second gi class of the day with Olavo. It was a fantastic class again, but by the end I was absolutely shattered and kind of on the verge of a breakdown. OK, so sometimes I push myself too hard, I know, save me the lectures… Anyway, the Jiu-Jitsu technique of the evening was a guard pass defense: If someone is trying to pass and you have one knee in, they put their hand down to base. Kimora grip it so that when they pass you can bridge up and throw them over your body, and aim to land in side control with said Kimora. We then looked at the defense to the defense which obviously started the same but when they take the Kimora grip you step round and arm bar them. I love arm bars….

07/05/13 Tuesday
I would firstly like to wish my step mum a very happy birthday, I hate not being able to speak to my family on their birthdays (time difference meant we were not free at the same time) but I know she had a lovely day and got spoiled by my dad so that made me happy to hear! My first session of the day was wrestling, which was a great revision session from the previous weeks. Andrew always talks about the importance of ‘getting the reps in’ and I am really starting to see where he is coming from. It is all slowly making sense to me! The wrestling techniques we covered included double legs, single legs, picks and a couple of others that I am not sure of the names of. We had some live rounds at the end, working ‘against the cage’ (wall) which as I have mentioned before is a good place for me to work.
I was lucky enough to have another session with Brad again tonight, where we continued working from where we left off last night. Another great session, I really hope I can continue to use the combinations he is teaching me.
Honestly I feel a little slack again tonight on the blog writing, but one of the saddest things since I have been in Phuket happened: The amazing, beautiful, gorgeous Grace Chard is leaving the island, perhaps for good. We went out for a meal and I definitely cried a lot when we said good bye. Good luck Grace, you are a fantastic person, and I really hope we meet again soon in the not too distant future.

08/05/13 Wednesday
MMA sparring today nearly killed me, it was great! We started off on the wall for 3 rounds with dirty boxing and takedowns. I felt good in these rounds, it was a great way to start the session. We then moved on to a drill where one person had 16oz boxing gloves, and the other MMA gloves. The idea was that the boxing gloves person would be blasting their opponent with punches, whilst the MMA gloves person would be coming through the punches, and going for the take down. My first round was with the Irish purple belt and was hard but still fairly fun. The second round I went with Benji which was is absolutely no way fun whatsoever. I felt like I was going to die, he was blasting me left right and center with some fantastic punches, as hard as I have ever felt, but somehow (I had Brad helping me by shouting instructions at me) I managed to land a couple of take downs. This was one of the hardest rounds I have had since being at Phuket Top Team, so I want to thank Benji for pushing me so hard. But the session wasn’t over yet! For reasons which I shall explain shortly I then got thrown into the shark tank, full MMA rules, ended up being an 8 minute round, and I had a new opponent every minute. The idea of this exercise is for each new opponent to come in fresh for me, and for me to keep going, mind over body because by the sixth minute you want to curl up in the fetal position and cry your eyes out. I did it, all 8 minutes, felt like I couldn’t move after it, but I did it. Mind over body. You CAN do it.

I was then stupid enough to go to Jiu-Jitsu only an hour after this, which I think was what pretty much killed me for the rest of the week, but it’s done now – I can’t turn back time. Olavo showed us the Jiu-Jitsu technique of the evening which was a sweep into a Kimora grip and an arm bar. I worked with a pretty solid blue belt and he gave me a good few pointers on what I should be doing. We then went into a positional rolling drill, and I worked with Sarah. I was so glad to work with someone of my size, because I was absolutely shattered by this point! We used the positions turtle, side control, back control and half guard (swapping half way each round) before completing a 6 minute roll. Lastly I had another 6 minute roll with one of the 4 stripe white belts (who I believe is Russian but I could be wrong). I felt good but absolutely exhausted!


09/05/13 Thursday
Today, maybe because I was over training, maybe because I don’t eat enough, maybe something completely unrelated, I felt absolutely awful all day at school. I have felt awful in the day before and still managed to train, but Brad took one look at me and told me to go home and sleep. He could obviously see how bad I looked and although I felt awful for missing training, he put it into perspective for me: You are only missing one day of training. You are not going backwards by missing one day, you are just getting the rest your body is telling you it needs. Thanks Brad, maybe I could get a pocket version of you to carry around with me when I am about to make stupid decisions?
Anyway since I couldn’t write about training today, I decided to write about something I am ridiculously excited about. I have just had it confirmed that I will be fighting my first pro fight in Malaysia in a few weeks time on the 25th May. The show is MFC run by Paul Teo of Muayfit, and Brad will also be fighting on the same card. I don’t know too much about my opponent, other than she is around the same height as me, and we will be fighting at 55kg.

fight poster MFC

10/05/13 Friday
I still wasn’t feeling 100% tonight, so I skipped wrestling and just focused on Jiu-Jitsu. Unfortunately Olavo had hurt his back so we had Tommy instead – I love Tommy’s classes! He always makes everyone laugh and I personally end up remembering the techniques better because I remember what Tommy has said about it that had made me laugh! We worked our Jiu-Jitsu technique from de la riva and open guard, and worked a series of sweeps and submissions including one I really enjoyed: You take a closed guard on your opponent, but they stand up so you have to open your guard. Put your feet on your opponents hips and keep control of their sleeves. Make sure you get your hips as far underneath them as possible as this will help with the balance. You then lift your opponent over your head, look one way and they will fall that way. While they are falling you follow them up and end up in mount.

11/05/13 Saturday
I did my standard Muay Thai class this morning at 7.30, which was fun as it always is. We stuck by the usual order of skipping, running, shadow boxing, pad work and bag work followed by core work. I had a really funny trainer today, although I am pretty sure he was laughing at how bad I was rather than anything else… To be fair to him it was probably the best laugh he’d had all week. He focused my pad and bag technique on blocking and kicking which was really useful, and I think I had improved by the end of the session so I was pretty happy with that.

My last session of the week was wrestling, however I barely made it through the class as I felt so ill (again). I have no idea what was wrong, I started off fine but about half way through I felt extremely sick and dizzy. I carried on and managed to somehow finish the class – which was another fantastic revision session from Andrew. The wrestling technique we covered today included a few different versions of double legs, picks and elbow outs, all of which I found very useful and absolutely wished I could have felt better during it. I got to work with the Irish purple belt again today, which was awesome as he gave me loads of brilliant pointers to work with. I find my wrestling needs more fluency, I feel like this will come with time and I am incredibly inpatient but I am learning to become more patient so hopefully my wrestling will improve as well.


Just to finish up this weeks blog, the highlight video for the Kata Open (at Nai Harn) came out this week, and watching it reminded me how much fun it was – and generally made me smile – so I fully recommend watching it to see if you smile as much as I did! Please click here to view the video (take special note of the 1 minute mark).

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About The Author

English Mixed Martial Artist fighting out of Andy Roberts BJJ and Legacy BJJ with a pro record of 4-1.

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