The journey of an aspiring fighter #42

Published On November 30, 2013 | By Helen Harper | Blog

Only three more weeks on this island, time seems to be running away with me! I think I must be getting scared of leaving because I suddenly have the urge to do EVERYTHING I can possibly afford to do. Unfortunately that’s not actually very much because tourist prices are ridiculous, but I did go go-karting today which was amazing fun! I was under the impression that I would be quite good at it, but unfortunately I was distinctly wrong about this and I was not. I think Boyd lapped me 6 times and Ian about 3 (but only because he crashed into the barrier which held him up!) I maintain what I said at the time though, I don’t actually care if I was rubbish because I had a great time doing it!

Monday 25th November 2013
I went for my usual run at 5.30am, and I’ve just been doing a steady state run recently (since the concussion) but something on Monday made me want to do sprints. I’m not exactly sure how that came about or what exactly my brain was going through at that moment, but a few minutes in to the run I had a massive urge to sprint. So I did. Ultimately realized quite how unfit I am but still, one must start somewhere. I had much longer breaks than usual between sprints but the length of sprint was about the same as I used to do. This can only get better!
School was actually pretty good, we learned all about the letter ‘G’ and made big ‘G’s covered in gorillas, goats and giraffes.
After school I was back to running, this time a steady state, the 5km block. I actually really love this run because everyone on the way round is super friendly and always make the effort to smile at me. I’ve even got a few hecklers now who shout encouragement (in Tinglish) whilst I’m running. Post run, I jumped straight into Muay Thai and Bung seemed to me on a mission with me (as usual). I did 3 rounds of pads straight after my run, then 3 rounds of sparring and last but not least three rounds on the bag. The sparring was awesome, I was paired with a little Russian kid (which admittedly would usually scare me) but he was actually really sweet although speaks next to no English (still better than my Russian though) we actually had a good fun spar, and I hope he sticks around so I can spar with him a little more.
After training (and a shower) we all went down to Calorie for dinner. I am completely addicted to the black rice and chicken there, it’s literally the best thing I’ve eaten since I’ve been in Thailand…. Well those are pretty strong words, but it’s at least the top three. I have eaten some amazing food here! Anyway, trust me, if you come to Phuket to train, go to Calorie and get the black rice and chicken!!

Tuesday 26th November 2013
Today at school we were learning how to add. My students are very varying in ability, some able to add two digit numbers together, and some not able to recognize the number 3. This makes my job especially hard when I have to plan a lesson for all these students, but it’s all good. That’s my job. It’s frustrating when the kids don’t want to learn, and although 90% of them are amazing and love school, there are always the odd few that don’t want to learn anything and especially don’t care what the number 8 looks like. This kind of makes me feel like I’m failing as a teacher, and it’s extremely frustrating, but I think that’s just how it is with kids. Especially the younger ones. It’s frustrating but it’s just one of those things. It does really wear me out though, stressing about such things, and makes me feel inadequate as a teacher.
Once I’m finished teaching, if I’ve had a day like that, it’s really hard to keep the focus and drive to be able to get to training, even though once I’m there it’s absolutely fine. I am generally OK if I just power on through, if I stop and sit down however, it is extremely hard to keep going!
Straight after school I ran only the short run but the heat was exhausting! It’s so nice that it’s sunny again that I don’t really care. Post run I jumped straight into Muay Thai again, and first up was sparring. I sparred for two rounds with Bung, in which he pretty much laughed at me for the entire round, however I actually kicked today so at least he wasn’t angry with me. I then did two rounds with another (slightly bigger) Russian, who speaks even less English. He looked quite offended when he was asked to spar with a GIRL but then when he started sparring with me, I think he secretly enjoyed it. I gave as good as I got for two rounds and surprisingly didn’t die, and I think even Bung was happy with me, which must be a first!
After sparring I went straight into three rounds of pads. My fitness is slightly improving but it’s no where near as good as it was before my last Muay Thai fight so I have a lot to work on. The pad work was shattering but always good. Bung has started letting me just kick and punch him wherever I want and he just catches it, more like a fight, but it’s horrible when he’s coming at me and I’m shattered, I feel like my leg won’t lift to kick out again, but then at the last minute I get the power from somewhere and I manage to teep. I pretty much felt like I was going to die during the last round of pads, but I’m fairly glad I pulled myself through it. I was so happy to get onto the bag after pads, and had a bit more of a chilled round to start my bag work. Muay Thai, if you don’t kill me you will definitely make me stronger!!!!

Wednesday 27th November 2013
Call me what you like (a light weight in my opinion) but my legs were in pieces after last nights training so I only managed a steady state run, not sprints. I figured at least I did something though! On Wednesdays we take the kids swimming, and I actually used that time to “ice” my legs on the pool. It wasn’t quite cold enough, but it was certainly lower than body temperature so it was sufficient for my legs and they felt a lot better afterwards!
After school I had a small break of half an hour before training, so I sat down…. Biggest mistake ever! It’s so hard to get up again!! I went for my 5 1/2km run at 4.30pm though, and it was actually extremely pleasant. I have to say I’m starting to enjoy that little run that I do… After the run it was back to Muay Thai and Bung was again on a mission to destroy me. I started with three rounds of pads, whilst everyone else was warming up, and then we all went straight into sparring. I was paired with Shauna again, and I was very pleasantly surprised with how I didn’t get my ass absolutely kicked! Either she was taking it really super easy on me, or I’ve got better. I really hope for the latter! I then went on the bag for six rounds because there were so many people in the class it took three transitions instead of the normal two to get through bag and pad work with everyone. Last but not least, we did clinching. Now I was feeling pretty pleased with myself before we started clinching, I was thinking how fit I felt and how I didn’t even feel like I was going to die at the end of the pad work. However, then this thing called clinching came along and towards the end of the second round I really believed that I could die. I mean I know it’s a bit dramatic but seriously, I had absolutely no strength and I was clinching with Kru Neung by this point and he wasn’t letting up on me one bit. I felt if anything that he was going harder as the round went on. It was absolutely horrible. However. I GOT THROUGH IT!! I lived to fight another day! Which made me feel a lot better about being beaten up in the ring if this was to happen. I’m actually feeling a lot better about the next fight than I did about my last fight.

Thursday 28th November 2013
I’m so glad I didn’t have to run this morning. I had one of those nights where I woke up in the exact same position that I fell asleep in, so I am pretty sure I was absolutely shattered.
Work went super quickly again today, I can’t believe at all that it’s almost the end of another week – the speed time goes out here is insane!
Anyway, straight from work I was running, just the short one today, but then two of my amazing friends were filming my pad work and sparring so I was excited to get back to see them. Mark Spargo and Marley Swindells both filmed me, Mark on his own camera and Marley on my iPad. We started with 4 rounds of sparring, and I sparred with a Swedish girl by the name of Johanna. Let me say by the way, how awesome this girl is! She gave me 4 rounds of fantastic, exciting and fun sparring, and we caught the whole thing on film! I can’t wait to edit the videos together and get them onto YouTube (ASAP hopefully, I haven’t had a chance yet sorry!).
After the sparring, I was on the bag for three rounds and then back to pad work for three rounds after that. Pad work hurts my brain! Bung gets so annoyed with me if I even do one thing wrong, it’s kind of frustrating. I want to say to him “I’m only learning, that’s why I’m at t he class – to learn!!” But I don’t think he would get what I was on about…
After training, myself, Johanna and her friend Max went for dinner at Calorie. Yet more satisfied customers… I’m so glad that they are doing so well, I’m still very addicted to the chicken.


Friday 29th November 2013
This morning I managed twelve sprints, all around 100-150m long… I am using this as a base to improve on as I know I am pretty unfit right now. From now and until the Muay Thai fight, I will improve at least by two every week. I was trying not to get too serious about documenting it but it started to irritate me that I didn’t know how many sprints I was doing per session… So I counted.
Muay Thai starts at the later time of 5pm on a Friday so I got the chance to go for my 5 1/2km run before hand. Muay Thai tonight was tough… Bung is pushing me harder and harder each session, and I definitely feel like I’m improving but it’s bloody hard work. I got probably the biggest compliment I’ve ever had from a trainer tonight, F (the trainer who is ALWAYS dancing) told me I kick like someone who’s had 40 fights!! Wow. I couldn’t believe my ears. I even checked if he meant me or he was speaking about someone else, but he confirmed that he did mean me! Thank you F, you made my week!

Saturday 30th November 2013
This morning I woke up way before my alarm, about as wide awake as it was possible to be which is great for training, but then my muscles were in agony so I was dreading the pre-Muay Thai run. My solution to this was to pretty much smother Battle Balm over the entirety of my body in the hope that my muscles would relax enough for them to stop hurting. After my run (in which they definitely still hurt) they actually stopped hurting completely (so my plan actually worked!) and I actually had a really good time sparring with Johanna. We did 3 rounds of Muay Thai sparring, but just kept it light. I love sparring with this girl, she’s exactly like me! After the 3 rounds, Bung kept me in for one more round, where he put me with the smaller Russian guy (from Monday). This guy was being to be quite honest a complete idiot, and kicking me with ridiculous karate kicks that would never be seen in a Muay Thai ring, and just completely messing around. Don’t get me wrong, I’m up for a laugh 90% of the time, but sometimes I just want to concentrate on my technique and think a little more seriously about this whole fight thing. I mean, it’s my career, I’m not on holiday, despite what some people believe! I asked the Russian guy to stop messing around…. So he punched me really hard…. I much preferred that because at least I knew what I was working with then, and he seemed to adopt more of a Muay Thai style from then.

Hopefully this week I will get a date for my next fight, watch this space!!!!


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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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