The journey of an aspiring fighter #32

Published On September 15, 2013 | By Helen Harper | Blog

Yet another fantastic week in paradise. I still can’t believe it’s me living my life and not someone else. I feel so lucky to have met the people I have met and have lived through the experiences I have lived through. Unreal!

Monday 9th September 2013

I am still not back to MMA sparring yet because I am trying to give my face a proper break from the black eyes – almost fixed now – so I am doing a cardio session straight after work instead of MMA or wrestling. Today I went for a run, only 5.5km but any run is better than no run. I am looking to get my cardio up a little more in preparation for my next fight, so running (both steady pace and sprints) will be featuring heavily in my next few blogs.
I had Jiu Jitsu gi class in the evening, and Olavo took us through some awesome stuff as usual. I felt pretty strong in class tonight, which is probably because I didn’t do MMA before hand. I think there is something to be said for quality verses quantity sometimes, although I feel like if I only do one class in a day I am slacking off somewhat. I think I need to review my timetable for the next fight so that I can get as much out of it as possible.


Tuesday 10th September 2013

Boxing sparring class was insane tonight! I had loads of great partners, and actually felt good again. Really good actually, strong and my timing was better. It does make me think that half my timing problems I had before could have just been because I was so tired, and not because I am completely useless. It’s kind of a nice feeling really! I feel like I should write more about boxing, because it was great, but those of you that have sparred before know what it’s about, and those of you that haven’t – well, you are missing out, but mostly there is a reason you haven’t (like you don’t like being punched in the face) It’s not that bad, I promise. You should try it….


Wednesday 11th September 2013

Firstly I have to say Happy birthday to my lovely friend Ash, it’s weird having birthdays out here, because you don’t have your normal friends and family around you, but there are so many people out here and they are all just so lovely that I think birthdays out here are still pretty special (I know mine was!)
I had a chat with Boyd earlier in the week, and he told me to work on more explosive exercises in my strength and conditioning. For that reason, I have designed my own explosive work out – and did it for the first time today. It’s horrible, in a good way. I timed myself also, so that I can try and beat myself in the coming weeks, but if anyone wants to try it out, and let me know what you think here it is:

Eight exercises, repeated 8 times each. For now I am doing 2 sets of 4 but hopefully this will increase as I get fitter (I am not very fit right now).

1. High Knees (As it sounds, knees as high as possible, aim to be springing off the toes. One is one on each side)
2. Mountain Climbers (Hands on the floor, “running” with your feet on the spot. Again, one is one on each side)
3. Burpees (Disgusting and unnecessary)
4. Jump Squats (Aim to get as high as possible)
5. Jump lunges (Balance? What balance?!)
6. Star Jumps (Not the standard ones, these ones)
7. Tuck Jumps (These especially hurt after explosive star jumps. Get knees as high as possible)
8. Press ups (Less explosive, I just wanted something a little more chilled for the end of the work out)

So, should you wish to try this at home, it’s 8 reps of the 8 exercises above. Repeat this 4 times without stopping and time yourself for each set of 4. My first set I managed a time of 5.23m, and although I was determined to beat it, somehow I didn’t and came in with 5.28m. Must try harder! I am aiming to do this work out twice a week, and will post my times so I can track my improvement. If anyone wants to send me their times I will post them also and we can get a leader board going!

After all that excitement, it was time again for Jiu Jitsu gi class, my favourite time of the week. I have been working quite a bit with a brown belt called Sparky, who has been really helpful with the Jiu Jitsu technique, and simplifying it for me. I was particularly confused tonight as we looked at some deep half guard sweeps and I have never really done anything like that before, but I think I got there in the end – with a little help from both Sparky and Olavo!


Thursday 12th September 2013

No-gi grappling tonight, and a great class again run by Anthony Leone. I had the privilege of working with Gianni Subba, which was awesome. Gianni is over here from Malaysia, and as a ridiculously talented small guy I am going to try and work with him as much as possible so I can learn from him as much as possible! Love that we have all these guys at Phuket Top Team, we really are very lucky.

After training, I went out for my friend Ash’s birthday meal. We had a lovely time at Tony’s, and there was quite a crowd there – those of you that don’t know, Tony’s is the local “cheap and cheerful” restaurant that the broke fighters tend to hang out in. I have stolen a few pictures from Ash, thanks 🙂

helenashMyself and Ash

benronhelenBen, Ron and I

happybirthdayashAsh’s birthday meal compilation

Friday 13th September 2013

Traditionally on Friday 13th’s I generally have a pretty good day. I certainly don’t remember one where I haven’t! Today was no exception, school was really fun, we made yogurt pot stamping pictures and toilet roll monsters – how much better does it get? And then I had an amazing grappling session with Don Carlo-Clauss (our new MMA coach), I even had the pleasure of rolling with him at the end which was easily the most fun roll I have had all week! I love his teaching style, he goes into a lot of detail but without over complicating it. He also really seems to care about his students and puts a lot of effort into helping everyone learning as much as they can in the lesson.

Straight after grappling, everyone crowded onto the mats to watch our very own Raymond Tan and Tommy Yang both fighting for One FC. Raymond was up first and put on a great show, for the 21 seconds that he was in the cage for! It was an immediate finish with a flawless guillotine – the other guy didn’t stand a chance! Well done Raymond!
Next up was Tommy, vs Caros Fedor. This was always going to be a tough fight for Tommy, but he never disappoints. I can’t believe how mentally strong that boy is, honestly, I don’t think I have ever seen a fighter show so much heart, he loves fighting and truly is an amazing fighter. Although he lost by decision, I think he will have taken a lot away from it, as they say, “You never lose. You only win or learn” We all still love you Tommy and are unbelievably proud of you.

helenkylieKylie (Boyd’s daughter) and I watching the fights

Saturday 14th September 2013

I was up nice and early for Muay Thai this morning, and it turned out to be a great session. We got 4 rounds of pad work instead of the usual 3 and my trainer helped me loads. He is a new trainer and I don’t know his name yet, but I will certainly be going to him again – he was brilliant! I am actually going to focus on Muay Thai for the next few weeks to try and work that aspect of my game – hopefully I can even out my stand up to ground game, because I don’t feel overly comfortable with my stand up right now – I think it would be great to work on it a bit.

Last session of the week, wrestling, again with Don. This guy is officially awesome. He stayed behind after the class to help me with my single leg take downs (because I keep panicking once I have the leg and forgetting what I should be doing!) it really helped and broke down my options. I am hoping that at some point soon, I can start working off a reaction rather than thinking so much about everything but I guess this will come! I finished the week feeling strong, or at least stronger than I usually feel at the end of a week, so I am really pleased with the way this week has gone. My diet has also been pretty good and I can feel the weight coming off me – everything is looking good!!

A couple of picture from my fight that I got this week from my beautiful friend/sister from another mister Anna. Thanks hun!!

HelenUB9 HelenUB26 HelenUB28 HelenUB30 HelenUB36 HelenUB37

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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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