The journey of an aspiring fighter #45

Published On December 21, 2013 | By Helen Harper | Blog

So, I lost the fight. I’m not really upset about losing, more about what Bung said to me. I remember in the 5th round, I couldn’t get out of my head his words going round and round, you’re going to lose. You’re not strong enough. You’re not good enough. I don’t know if that was the reason I lost, I don’t think it was particularly any one thing but it certainly played a part. It just brings it home how important it is to have a good coach, and makes me appreciate the other coaches I have even more.
My opponent was much bigger than me, trainers said about 30kg bigger, I thought more like 20kg but either way, she was a big girl. She definitely won’t he first two rounds, but I hung in there. She was much more technical than I had her figured for, don’t judge a book by its cover… I feel that I won rounds 3 and 4, and this theory was backed up by the trainers. Round 5? Who knows. It was anybody’s game, we had both won 2 rounds each. I knew if it went to a decision she would win because she was Thai, she knew that too because she sat back in the last round. But so did I. It was no where near enough to pull a decision away from a Thai in Thailand and definitely no where near enough for a TKO. However, I may have lost the fight, but I won my own personal battle. My trainer told me I was going to lose, the person that was supposed to have faith in me beyond anyone else. Yet I still went in there and fought a 5 round war with what was essentially someone at least 3 weight categories above me. I lasted the full fight, and never gave up mentally or physically. This was probably the most important thing for me, and although I now have a very bad Muay Thai record (0-2) I must keep reminding myself that I’m NOT a Muay Thai finger, I’m an MMA fighter. That is the record that means something. That is the record I really care about, and that ‘0’ is still in the right place. The most important things are that I learnt a lot from it, and that I still have my health intact. That’s far more important than any win.


Monday 16th December 2013
As much as I enjoyed Muay Thai for the past month or so, I really couldn’t wait to get back to Jiu Jitsu. I feel like I left my heart and soul on the mats and I desperately needed to get back to it. It was amazing to be back on the mats, I actually turned up half an hour early for class because I was so excited…. I need to get out more!
I got a good few pictures, including one with the main man, Olavo Abreu. This man has transformed my Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and given me so much more confidence. I owe a lot to him. Olavo is kind of like a dad to the gym, he looks out for everyone and is probably the best person you could ever go to for advice. We are very lucky to have such an amazing person at our paradise gym!

olavohelenOlavo and I

Tuesday 17th December 2013
There is no evening Jiu Jitsu on a Tuesday, it’s MMA sparring, and I’m giving my face and shins a rest this week, so I figured I could actually have a day off. I reckon I kinda deserve it after the fight… So I went to Calorie for pretty much the entire evening! I originally meant to go for an hour or so, but pretty much every time I was about to leave someone else awesome came in, so I ended up staying there about 3 1/2 hours! There are worse places I could spend 3 1/2 hours… I am going miss that place big time!
I must just say also, that my shins were in absolute agony after the fight, it was a far more ‘ferocious’ fight that last time and I blocked a lot more with both legs, so both legs were in a lot of pain. I saw something on Battle Balm’s website about it being great post fight to bring the swelling down so I thought I’d give it a try. Oh my goodness, what a difference! I took painkillers only twice (Sunday night and Monday morning) and used Battle Balm twice a day (morning and evening) and my shins are so much better than I thought they would be! That stuff has magical powers! On Sunday night it hurt to walk, especially down stairs (that was agonizing!) but by Monday evening I was training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, not just technique either, I rolled at least 4 rounds (it could have been 5). So if there was ever a worthwhile endorsement for a product it is now, I’m seriously impressed!

helencrazynickCrazy Nick and myself in Calorie

helenlukeMyself and Luke in Calorie

Wednesday 18th December 2013
By Wednesday I was excited to get back to Jiu Jitsu again. I worked with a really cool blue belt guy who’s name I should really know because he knows mine but embarrassingly I can’t remember (sorry!) he helped me loads on the technique though, really sound guy. We looked at a guard pass from half guard, with an option to arm bar at the end. Oh how I have missed this!!


Myself and Max after Jiu Jitsu


Kevin and myself after Jiu Jitsu

Thursday 19h December 2013
My last full day at school today, I was holding it together until my boss wrote a sad smiley on my last pay slip, that pretty much set me off 🙁
It was my last grappling session for 2013 in Phuket today, I would love to thank Anthony (and of course Andrew and Donny) for all the help they’ve given me with my grappling, wrestling and MMA because I know I’m frustrating to teach sometimes but they have really made a difference to my game and I’m very grateful. Awesome guys.

anthonyhelenAnthony “the big calzone” Leone and myself after grappling

Friday 20th December 2013
Last day at work, Christmas party. I sort of managed to hold it together through the beginning of the morning because we were busy with crazy kids. It’s so much easier to distract yourself when you have a lot to do! We spent a lot of time decorating the school and making it look like Christmas for the kids. It was 100% worth it they absolutely loved it. It was so hard saying bye to the kids, and the parents actually, so much so that I couldn’t even tell them all that I was leaving because every time I told one of them I started crying so I never got through them all! I never thought it would be this hard. I never thought in a million years that I could become so attached to so many kids, and love them as much as I do. Wow. Kids really do change things.
After work myself and teacher Danny (my boss), teacher Ying (worked with me in my classroom), and teacher Kerry (my replacement) went for a drink at Danny’s local, Thainee bar. It was lovely to spend some time with them outside of school and heartbreaking again to say bye. Teacher Danny has been very good to me, and looked after me like a sister during my time in Thailand and it’s so damn hard to leave that comfort zone. Thank you teacher Danny!
The hardest to leave though was Jessica, Danny’s little girl. She is one of the most intelligent kids I’ve ever met, extremely perceptive and has no idea how beautiful she is. She has me in tears earlier in the day when she asked me if I wanted to stamp Hello Kitty with her, it’s breaking my heart leaving these kids!

helenyingMyself and teacher Ying

boysingiLast gi class, these guys are amazing!


Ali (very good purple belt) and myself

Saturday 21st December 2013
The day has finally come. I’m leaving today. I’m currently lying on the beach avoiding my packing but I’ve made a deal with myself that when the tide comes up as far as my feet (probably about 20 minutes) I am going to leave, finish my packing and get everything else done that I am meant to be doing today! I know it’s only two months, but this is my home now, it’s very hard to walk away even if it’s an exciting new chapter for me. Plus I get to see my family who I miss so much I can’t even begin to describe. I don’t think they will ever quite understand fighting, but they are certainly coming round to it just because I’m so much happier now. I understand though, it must be weird to know that so robes happiness comes from beating the s**t out of people…. But we all know there’s more to it. Hard to explain to non-fighters but it’s the lifestyle, the commitment, dedication and persistence that keeps us so strong. Able to face anything we put out minds to. Fighters are a different breed for sure but I’m proud to be one of them.

beachbeachbeachChilling on the beach

trevorhelenTrevor (Muay Thai fighter in Phuket) and myself on the beach. Yes I am on tip-toes!

I went to say bye to one of the kids from school, Cian (and his mummy, Jane) and it was absolutely heartbreaking. When I told Cian I was going to England he told me he was going with me. His mum told him he would need his bag if he was going to England so he said “OK” and went inside to get his bag straight away. He’s three! Awesome kid, so intelligent and very perceptive. When I had to leave, he clung on to me and told me he was coming too, brought tears to my eyes again!

cianhelen1Cian before I told him I was leaving


Cian after I told him I was leaving, with his bag!

I am so very lucky in managing to do some amazing things in my last day, including both training and getting up to Big Buddha for the last time this year. I timed it right and got to Buddha when the monk was there, so I got blessed as well for the last time this year. That meant a lot to me :-)I also chilled out with an elephant for a bit on the way down the hill. I don’t really agree with how they are treated but I have been in Phuket for 16 months and I don’t have a single picture with an elephant yet so I figured I just had to bite the bullet. At least when they are chained up they are not going to trample me to death, so realistically it’s a better option than trying to find an elephant in a random jungle.

bestbhuddapicProbably the best picture I’ve ever got of Buddha!

My new friend!

Last training session in Phuket of the year! Such sad times. We were lucky enough to be joined by actual ALISTAIR OVEREEM!!!!! That was an epic moment. So glad I was there. It’s ridiculous the amount of awesome people I have met in a year of being there.

alistairovereem overeem1 overeem2Alistair and I; Alistair and his life-size poster!

Andrew Leone and I

Brad Terrey and I

Myself and Bus, who works in the office at Top Team. One of the most awesome people EVER!

Bringing my time in Phuket to a close, I just want to thank Boyd and Phuket Top Team for having me. Also teacher Danny and everyone at Cravens for letting me teach, between the two it has made the best year I have ever had!
I would also like to thank Calorie for being the best place ever to hang out and making such wonderful food, and Vicious Circle, Battle Balm and Pony Club Grappling Gear for all the support you have given me throughout the year. I really am the luckiest girl in the world!!

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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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