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Break Through the Negative Thinking That Holds You Back

Recurring negative thoughts form the biggest obstacles you must overcome on the path to creating the life that you want to live.

These negative thoughts come in a number of forms. Some are obvious; others less so. The first step to clearing these hurdles in your life is to develop the ability to recognise them.

Once you see can see them for what they are, you can begin to break through to become the best version of yourself.

Let’s take a look at a few of these barriers to your self-improvement so you can efficiently recognise and overcome them on your journey.

The Leopard Can’t Change It Spots

It’s true, a leopard can’t change its spots. But you aren’t a leopard and we aren’t really talking spots here.

Often cited as an excuse for failure, this attitude to life presents itself in common statements such as ‘It’s not really my thing’ or ‘I’ve never really been good at x

A little self-reflection here will swiftly reveal the seductive comfort of hiding behind such statements.

Fortunately, there is little scientific evidence to justify wallowing in such a self-defeating mindset. Research has shown time and again that it is entirely possible to create new habits in as little as 3 weeks.

A quick browse on the internet will reveal countless examples of people who have turned their lives around starting from way worse starting points than yours.

Nice try, negative thought patterns – what else you got?

The Curse of Keeping Up Appearances

At the end of the day, you really only have yourself to answer to and there is no hiding place from the man or woman in the mirror.

Most likely, we already know this to be true intellectually, but somewhere deep in our core we often fret about what others think about us. So much wasted energy and effort. Energy and effort that we’d be much better off investing in our martial arts training, or in other pathways to self-improvement.

The truth is, if we act to please others we will be destined to fail. It is simply impossible to please everyone all the time.

To live an authentic life, we need to listen to our own judgments on the best course to take.

While the judgment of others may intimidate, to be judged by ourselves and be found wanting is much more terrifying and unforgivable.

The “I’m Too Busy” Excuse

In the vast majority of cases, this is nothing more than an excuse.

Look, we all live busy lives. Our To-Do lists expand to fill the space available.

But, a brief look at some of the greatest accomplishments in history suggests that the vast majority were attained by extraordinarily busy people.

And you can’t make a few Muay Thai or BJJ training sessions a week?

If you can’t find time to train in your chosen martial art, it’s because you most likely haven’t mastered your time management skills. Or, you have failed to distinguish between being productive and mere busy-ness.

A little time spent correcting these areas will see the necessary space opening up in your previously packed schedule.

The “I’ve All The Time in the World” Excuse

This is the eternal optimist’s answer to the excuse above and, if it’s yours too, know now that you don’t.

If you’re in your 30s or 40s and postponing starting martial arts training because you think you’ll have plenty of time to get around to it in the future, you need to rid yourself of those thoughts right now.

Life is fleeting. It’s what gives each moment its immeasurable value. If you can’t find the time now to do something you are passionate about, what makes you think you’ll find it easier in a year or two?

A dream delayed is a dream denied, to paraphrase a well-worn expression.

A few years back a nurse published a list of the most common regrets of the dying. Topping that list was “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself.”

It’s at the feet of the negative thinking patterns outlined above that the blame for these regrets lie.

You’ll miss 100% of the shots you don’t take, that’s a given.

But, there is no need to suffer the same pointless regret in your later years. Break through the negative thinking that holds you back and you will claim the priceless rewards that lie on the other side.

Believe me, it’s worth the fight.

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How Training Muay Thai Once a Week Can Help You Have More Clarity in Your Life

Not everyone who trains Muay Thai dreams of becoming a world champion.

In fact, most people who train don’t even want to compete.

People from all walks of life choose to train Muay Thai for a wide variety of reasons. Some train for the fitness and health benefits, while others train to gain confidence, or for self-defence purposes.

But, one of the greatest gifts training Muay Thai can give us in life, is that rare gift of clarity.

And, best of all, this can be attained by training as little as once a week.

Moving Meditation – Muay Thai Style!

We live in a complex world that places complex demands upon us, both personally and in our working lives.

It can be hard to switch off; to tune out the constant background noise of our responsibilities and daily interactions.

Training Muay Thai once a week offers us an oasis of clarity amid the clamour of the outside world.

Unlike many of the activities we engage in on an average day, there is no place for multitasking here. Muay Thai places very straightforward demands on us – it demands we be present and fully in the moment at all times.

Whether engaged in partner drills, pad or bag work, or sparring, you will be fully absorbed in what you are doing.

Over time, this will help you strengthen your ability to focus and see you sharpening a skill that will transfer well into other important areas of your life.

The Radical Honesty of Muay Thai

A powerful defining aspect of training in Muay Thai lies in its honesty.

You’ll find no false compliments here. No half-truths. Just 100% honesty at all times. Your training will give you constant forthright feedback on your progress.

As you uncover the limits of your physical and mental abilities, you’ll also develop an understanding of how to improve upon those limitations. You’ll also learn to appreciate just how rare and valuable this level of undiluted feedback is.

Ultimately, you’ll gain clarity on who you are; both your strengths and your weaknesses. This information you’ll find invaluable on your path to self-realisation – both inside and outside the gym.

We are often encouraged to think of the mind and body as separate and autonomous.

However, training in the art of Muay Thai teaches us that when we strengthen the body we also strengthen the mind and vice versa.

Our training teaches us that the two are inextricably linked and as we continue to train Muay Thai once a week, the clarity it brings will permeate all aspects of our lives.

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How The Martial Arts Help You Develop Patience in Life

“Lose Weight Instantly! Get Yours Today! Available Now!”

Everywhere we look we can see the merits of the immediate proclaimed loudly and proudly. Instant gratification is the name of the game and the game is widespread. 

All this despite the fact that we intuitively know the merits of that which is gained gradually through dint of sustained effort over time. 

The Stanford Marshmallow experiments of the ‘70s have shown us that one of the greatest indicators of success in life is the ability to delay gratification. That is, to display patience.

So, how can we develop patience in life when the game seems rigged entirely to encourage the quick fix? 

The answer can be found in the Martial Arts. Let’s take a look at just some of the ways the Martial Arts can help you develop patience in your life.

Learn The Value of Perseverance

The Martial Arts serve as one of life’s great equalizers. 

The arts don’t care what job you have, who your parents are, or what car you drive. There is one path to success here and one path alone and that is the path of perseverance.

Training in the Martial Arts teaches us that our success or failure is in our own hands. The mats don’t lie and the ring doesn’t care for excuses. If you have done the work, progress will be made, but it won’t be made in a single session. 

Progress will be the accumulation of sustained effort over time.

It’s The Journey Not The Destination

Whether training Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, or one of the many other great arts, your first session will be fun. And the more you train, the deeper that enjoyment will become.

Though some of us will decide to test our skills in competition or to strive for that next coloured belt, it is this enjoyment that brings us back to training time and again over the years. 

Medals, trophies, belts, and certificates are not the ultimate destination for the martial artist, they are just part of the scenery along the way. 

Just as in life, we don’t rush towards our ultimate destination, but rather take in our leisurely fill of the scenery along the way.

Develop a Systematic Approach to Problem-Solving

Maybe you’ve heard the saying, “To the man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” 

The Martial Arts are all about ensuring you have more than just a hammer to approach the problems of life with.

Disciplines like Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu teach us that for every attack there is a counter. And for every counter, there is a counter to that counter. 

Practitioners learn that there are multiple pathways to success and that it takes time and patience to determine the best path to ensure the desired outcome. They learn a systematic approach to problem-solving is the most effective and efficient – in the academy and in life beyond the academy.

In our fast-paced world, it is clearer than ever that patience is not only a virtue, but a skill. And like all skills, it can be improved with practice. The Martial Arts offer the perfect environment for us to hone our patience, helping us to develop a valuable skill that will serve us well in all aspects of our lives.

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3 Reasons to Get Off the Couch and Train Martial Arts in Winter

Winter is no joke. Long, dark months can really zap the life out of a person. Seasonal Affective Disorder, The Winter Blues, Seasonality – we have a wide vocabulary to describe the mood changes that come over many of us at this time of year.

While some opt for prescribed medication or light therapy, others get up off the couch and go train Martial Arts.

Training in Muay Thai, MMA, BJJ etc in winter offers a wide range of benefits. Let’s take a look at 3 of the most significant of these.

Get Lean

We tend to be less active in winter. We spend more time indoors too. Inside, the couch beckons to us. Netflix too! The fridge is well-stocked and within easy reach. Winter can be a time of indulgence – overindulgence even!

There is a price for that overindulgence though. It’ll be visible in expanding waistlines, among other areas.

Getting off the couch to get your sweat on in an MMA gym or Muay Thai class will keep you lean, or get you lean if you aren’t already.

Few workouts can match the overall body-toning gains Martial Arts training offers.

Improve Cardio

Avoiding winter weight gain isn’t the only boon of training in the Martial Arts. Living a sedentary lifestyle during these months can wreak havoc on the health of the heart and lungs. 

Martial Arts training provides a great way to boost the health of your cardiovascular system. Training in combat sports like Muay Thai or MMA offers an intense workout that will raise cardio fitness quickly and all without the monotony of endless hours on a treadmill or cross trainer.

Not to mention, the Martial Arts are lots of fun. Which brings us to our final reason to get off the couch and train Martial Arts in winter…

Make Friends

We’ve already mentioned the dreaded Winter Blues. And, while there is no doubt that training in the Martial Arts provides a great mood boost, this isn’t the only mental health benefits they provide.

We are social animals by nature. Getting down to the local MMA gym or Muay Thai academy a few times a week can ensure you make time for healthy interactions with others throughout the long winter months.

Feeling that connection to others is crucial to our mental wellbeing. In the Martial Arts, there is a unique camaraderie that often develops among training partners. The strongest bonds of friendship are frequently formed amid the toil and the sweat on the mats and in the ring.

So, the next time you are being lulled into a lazy slumber in front of the box on a cold winter’s evening, do yourself a favour and get to class!

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Why You Shouldn’t Skip Martial Arts Training in Winter

It’s easy to make excuses to miss training in winter. You’ve got the weather to blame on top of all the usual alibis of family, work, and social commitments. 

But, just as with the rest of the year, it is important to maintain your focus, to stay disciplined, and to keep training throughout the winter months.

Here are just some of the reasons why you shouldn’t skip your Martial aArts training in winter.

You’ll Lose Momentum

There is a strange dynamic that seems to run through life at times – a bad habit is easy to pick up, while a good habit only comes with difficulty.

Training in the Martial Arts is one of the most physically, emotionally, and even (dare I say it!) spiritually rewarding activities a human being can engage in. 

It is all these things. However, one thing it is not is easy.

If you are already training in the Martial Arts consistently, then you will already have built up some momentum. 

Protect that momentum. Don’t lose it by skipping class in winter. It is much too valuable for that.

You’ll Fall Behind

Training in the martial arts is about consistency. It’s about the incremental accumulation of skills through the repeated practice of those skills. 

Skipping class in the winter won’t only prevent you from improving upon your current skill level, it will see your current skills deteriorate too. 

Meanwhile, your diligent training partners who train consistently over the winter will continue to make progress. While you lounge on the couch at home, your classmates will be sharpening their skills in your absence. 

Miss your winter training and you will have a gym full of smiling killers awaiting your return come spring!

A lot of fun for them. For you? Erm…not so much!

You’ll Lose Self-Respect

One of the greatest gifts training in the Martial Arts gives us is our self-respect.

As we train, both our bodies and our minds grow stronger. Our self image improves as a result. As we learn to persevere, we discover the potential for growth we possess and our self-esteem grows as a result. The Martial Arts fuel our self-respect.

However, along wIth this wonderful gift comes the responsibility to pay tribute to the arts in return. We must show respect to our training by persisting in it in spring, summer, autumn, and winter.

Ultimately, to neglect our training is to neglect ourselves. 

Winter Is For Training, Not Hibernating!

As hairy as you may or may not be, if you are reading this you are not a bear. Winter is for training, not hibernating. 

If you have ever given in to the urge to skip class, you’ll already know: it’s often a skipped class is regretted, but it’s seldom that a class attended is regretted.

This winter, as the cooler weather draws in and the warm siren call of the couch and TV beckon, grab your gym bag and get to class. You won’t regret it!

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3 Reasons Training in the Martial Arts Gets Better After 30

It’s an inevitable slow decline as we age. Right?

Not necessarily so. Too often we think of training in Martial Arts like Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu as exclusively a young man or woman’s game.

And while youth offers some undoubted advantages to practitioners of combat sports, with age comes some distinct advantages too.

Here are just a few reasons why training in the Martial Arts actually gets better after 30.

Maintain a Strong Mind in a Strong Body

Younger athletes often focus on the competitive aspect of the Martial Arts. They measure their progress solely on how they stack up against others.

As you move into your thirties and beyond, the realisation dawns that your biggest opponent you can face is actually yourself. You begin to gauge your progress by measuring your performance today to your performance last week, or last month, or last year.

This is the maturing of the Martial Artist. Not only does training build physical strength, flexibility, and endurance, but it strengthens our mental faculties too.

Training Martial Arts in our middle and senior years helps us build a stronger mind and body that will see us well placed to resist the worst of the ravages of aging.

Widen Your Social Circle

In our teens and twenties our lives are often a whirlwind of socialising. The same can’t always be said of our thirties and onwards.

Family commitments, work obligations, the hustle and bustle of daily life can mean it is difficult to find the time to nurture existing friendships, nevermind create new ones.

Training in a Martial Art offers wonderful opportunities to widen your social circle as you mature in years. The intensity of training often sees firm friendships forged must faster than in the normal world outside the gym too.

Friendships formed on the mats or in the ring are just about as real as they get and can last a lifetime.

Lead By Example

As kids we may have defined ourselves by playing guitar in a band, or coming first in the 100m. Later, perhaps, what defined us was our role as a parent, or our position at work. The primary roles we play change as we move through life.

As we move into middle and old age, the important position of role-model emerges. Younger people in our circle watch and emulate us. Training in the Martial Arts after 30 serves as a great example to younger athletes.

Getting on the mat or in the ring with the youngsters serves to remind them that the distractions of life, the litany of excuses for not training that are available, simply don’t wash.

To younger family members, your training throws down the gauntlet of self-responsibility and serves as an inspiration that could well set them on a path of self-improvement.

These are just a few of the reasons why training in the Martial Arts gets better as we get older. It’s worth mentioning that the Martial Arts are designed to empower a weaker person to defend themselves against a stronger person by the application of superior technique.

What greater expression of this can there be than a wily old dog going toe-to-toe with the young pups?

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Training Muay Thai for the over 30’s

Are you over the age of 30 and know that you should be doing something to stay fit and active but don’t know what? You’ve been to a weights gym but find it boring and results are minimal. You want something a little more edgy and engaging that doesn’t feel like you are actually exercising. You want to do something for yourself and that you enjoy. What about training Muay Thai? I know it sounds daunting entering a unfamiliar environment and may think you will get beat up and it’s only for young guys, but I’m here to tell you otherwise.

This year I turn 37 and still actively train Muay Thai, Boxing and BJJ on a daily basis. It has become apart of my daily routine and enriched my life in so many ways. I’m big on goal setting and believe that to be successful in anything you have to set clear goals and work towards them everyday. This year I even graded to brown belt in BJJ which bought me one step closer to my lifetime goal of one day earning a BJJ Black belt. Three times a week I still train in Muay Thai and Boxing and have been doing so for the past 15 years. Below I’m going to share with you some of my tips for Muay Thai training in your 30’s

Listen to your body.
It’s a fact of life, at 30 our bodies don’t recover nowhere near as fast as when we were 18. It usually takes a lot longer to recover from big sessions and injuries. With age also comes wisdom (I hope) so that means listening to your body and allowing it to recover. Self maintenance, diet, stretch, and sleep all play an important role in recovery. If you are struggling to walk after your last session and fatigued from working a 12 hour day at work then maybe you should rest. We’ve got to train smarter as opposed to training harder.

No need to compare yourself to others.  
So many of us get caught up with comparing ourselves to others, especially in Muay Thai. Sometimes we even engage in negative self talk when we “lose” a sparring round, or get caught in submissions in BJJ. It’s in human nature to always compare. But rather than comparing yourself to others lets shift the mindset to comparing your current self to your former self. Take a look at how much fitter and technical you are today compared to what you were like a year ago or even 3 years ago. Looking at old videos of yourself is a great way to see how far you’ve come. Remember, Muay Thai is about personal development and being better than you were yesterday. So stop comparing yourself to the hungry young lion at the gym who has a endless cardio engine and start reflecting on how far you have come. Celebrate your personal wins no matter how big or small they are. As Mark Twain once said; comparison is the death of joy.

Mindfulness in Muay Thai
We all have busy lives trying to find balance in work, family, relationships and social life. Sometimes it feels like we just don’t have time for ourselves anymore and spend most of the time doing things for others. We overthink about events in the past and stress about things that haven’t even happened and forget to live in the moment. We have all heard the benefits of mediation and how it promotes mindfulness, but if you are like me and your thoughts race it’s often difficult to sit still for 10 minutes. The only time I feel truly mindful is through practising Martial Arts: hitting bags, sparring, or grappling rounds. Practising Muay Thai gives you time out of your day to focus completely on yourself. It’s an opportunity to destress and forget about your problems for the hour and then have clarity after the session to address them with a clear mind. Whether you are a small business owner or work in a stressful corporate environment then you should definitely give it a go. What have you got to lose.

It’s journey not a race.
Many Martial Arts today belong to the Japanese Martial based arts known as Budo. The spirit of Budo sets higher goals than just winning in combat, but refining technique through constant training is the path to perfecting one’s character. This means that your Muay Thai journey should be a lifelong one of constant development and improvement through consistent training. In our society of instant gratification people tend to lose sight of the true values of Martial Arts training and not enjoy the journey because they are focused on quick results. I often tell people new to the gym that they won’t reap the real benefits of training until about 6 months in. Don’t stress if you aren’t pulling off techniques 2 weeks into your training. Enjoy the journey and believe in the process and it will come together.

Think about the health benefits.
We live in the age of sedentary lifestyles and increasing obesity rates amongst adults. This should send alarm bells for us to get active. Muay Thai is a complete body workout and one of the best calorie burners when compared with other forms of exercise. Not only does it do wonders for your body but it’s great for the mind too. It helps destress, and increase mental focus. Some may think it’s too exhausting after a long day in the office but you will find you get more energy throughout your day through consistent training.

A few months ago I had a high school reunion with some old friends. I hadn’t seen some of them for close to 20 years. They were all amazed at how young and healthy I still looked and I told them it’s because I live a healthy lifestyle and train everyday. Like most people they had the misconception that it was a young man’s sport or that you had to be super fit to start. I told them it all came down to goal setting and consistency.

For those of us in our 30’s or even older it’s important to stay active and live a healthy lifestyle. If you’ve always wanted to try Muay Thai most gyms offer trials. Try them out and see what they are like. You have nothing to lose. You can keep doing what you are doing, or you can be a better version of yourself by starting today.

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5 quick ways to stay motivated to train Martial Arts over the Christmas period

xmas
Christmas is upon us and as the festivities and free flowing drinks start to ramp up and our training usually begins takes a back seat. Gyms start to get quieter as peoples social calendars begin to fill up with work Christmas events, family parties, and end of year drinks. Here are some sure fire ways to keep you motivated over the December period.

1. Make a promise to yourself and tell someone to hold you accountable. Remain consistent over the break and make a promise to yourself you will attend 2 classes of either Muay Thai or Kickboxing a week. Consistency is the key to success in anything in life. Taking 1 month off training is a terrible mistake and leads to a long hard road back in January 2018. It’s taken you a year to get where you are now, so don’t let it all go to waste. Did you know that de conditioning starts happening a week after no training!
How to action: Message your coach or training partner now and tell him you will commit to the 2 sessions per a week over the December period. Be specific! Eg I will commit to Monday 7:15pm Beginner Muay Thai and Thursday 7pm Muay Thai all throughout December.

2. Get a head start on your 2018 goals. Set your 2018 training goals early and get a head start. Who says you have to wait for January 1st to start? If you start now you will be 3 weeks ahead of schedule. Accountability is an important factor when it comes to setting goals. There is no point setting them if no one is keeping you accountable. Sometimes keeping yourself accountable just isn’t enough. Tell your coach your goals or post them on a public forum!
How to action: Set 2 short term goals. One to be achieved before December 31st 2017 and one to be achieved by January 31st 2018. When you have goals you have direction. Make sure your goals are SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, time bound. Eg: I want to train 3 hours a week every week until December 31st & I want to drop 1.5kgs by the end of January 31st 2018.

3. Change your mindset. So many people see training or attending classes as a chore or something they “have” to do. How about changing the way you think through positive self talk, reinforcement and changing the way we think about training. “I WANT to go to training because it will leave me feel more energised” or “I WANT to go to training because this is my time to do something I enjoy”. Next time you catch yourself saying “I can’t be bothered going training tonight but I know I have to” replace it straight away.
How to action: Like with everything, this will take practise. Everytime you catch yourself pre framing training in a negative mindset use your positive self talk to pre frame it in a positive light. This type of positive reinforcement will make guaranteed changes to the way you think and approach training.

4. Muay Thai / Kickboxing / Boxing are one of the highest calorie burners. This fact alone should be enough to get you into the gym! Did you know that a kickboxing session will burn twice the amount of calories compared to a light paced jog. So would you rather spend 1 hour doing a boring slow paced jog or 1 hour training in a fast pace, high intensity Kickboxing session?
How to action: We are all so busy this time of year so why not maximise your work out time by engaging in activities that will get the best results. If you know you have a Christmas party on a certain date, schedule in a Kickboxing class the day before. 

5. Reflect and look back at why you started. This time of year is a great time to look back at where and why you started training Martial Arts. Why is this important? Because it give you an opportunity to look at how far you have come and if you achieved the goals you set out to achieve from day 1. We get so caught up in our busy lives that we forgot to sit down and reflect on out journey and our achievements.
How to action: Set aside 10 minutes at the end of the day to sit down and think about why you started training Martial Arts. Take a journey back to your first session. Fast forward to where you are now and look how far you have come. Don’t compare yourself to other people because we are running our own race.

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Progressional learning and long term athlete development in combat sports

The old way of doing things in combat sports especially boxing and Muay Thai has been to skip, hit bags, hit pads, hit people, and do a few hundred push ups and sit-ups. They’ve done it for centuries so it must be best practice? Not necessarily. Too much open ended training (e.g. open bag work is throwing any combination you feel like, open ended sparring is sparring with no intention or purpose and just doing what ever) lead to slow and minimal results for the general population. Of course if you spend long enough doing something you will eventually make some improvement, but what if there was a better and more efficient way?

I recently attended a Boxing certification course that was run by Boxing Victoria and presented by two coaches who were involved with the Australian and Victorian boxing teams. They used the term “performance outcomes” in many of there coaching philosophies and coaching methods. Performance outcomes are a pre determined result that you want to achieve from a situation e.g. sparring round or training session. They would let an athlete know that there performance outcome for a set sparring round would be to work the lead body shot. This meant the athlete would spend the entire round of sparring focusing entirely on the lead body shot, and in turn would make improvements through focusing on the single performance outcome they are trying to develop.

Normally, during “open” sparring rounds, beginner to intermediate level combat athletes always get overwhelmed with the amount of things they needed to think about e.g. footwork, guard, punching, defence, and cardio. This usually results in them under performing and not being able to put anything together. They simply don’t posses the motor neural skills to work everything in sync let alone use them effectively. Intermediate to advanced level athletes tend to stick to only practicing things they are good at because they don’t feel comfortable working on weaknesses, or might be a blow to the ego to not be good at something all over again. Perhaps it’s a bit of both. Eventually this leads to gaping holes in there games when it comes to competition, and by that time it’s too late. There weaknesses are exposed in the fires of competition. As a coach it’s our role to identify these weaknesses and minimize them before competition.

Another coaching methodology I’ve been implementing in my athlete development is progressional learning. This is training with purpose and gradually building up to meet your final performance outcome. Here is an example from one of the classes I ran. During this my performance outcome as a coach was to teach people the following 3 skills:

1. Slip outside opponents lead straight & counter rear straight
2. Slip opponents outside rear straight & counter lead hook
3. Weave opponents lead hook & counter rear straight.

Here is a breakdown of how the class worked:

SPORTS SPECIFIC WARM UP
Footwork is the foundation of all combat sports and the single most important factor to everything you do. I worked a few drills to get people moving there feet and upper body for slipping and punching.

TECHNIQUE DEMONSTRATION
It was a smaller class today so we practiced shadow boxing singular punch technique then moved onto the bags to practice the punches. I had the class focus mainly of the punches they were going to use today.

PARTNERED DRILLING
I demonstrated the technique to make sure everyone understood the techniques and had partners practice each combination individually so that they could perform it perfectly with minimal stress and no other variables. The practice involved turn for turn punching combinations into the partners gloves. The combinations practiced were as followed:

1. Slip outside opponents lead straight & counter rear straight
2. Slip opponents outside rear straight & counter lead hook
3. Weave opponents lead hook & counter rear straight.

PROGRESSIONAL DRILLING
Assuming that everyone was able to perform each set skill individually and properly this is where I started to introduce different variables.

Stage 1 – Perform the 3 combinations with a partner in sequence. Heart rate starts to increase and athletes feel more pressure to perform. If athletes can’t perform at this stage (delivering all three combinations in sequence with minimal error) then we slow it down or go back to singular combination practice. During this stage athlete A is a feeder and athlete B is the boxer. They stay in there roles for the entire round.

Stage 2 – Assuming the athlete can perform Stage 1 close to perfect we introduce the next variable. Randomization. The combinations are no longer in sequence and athlete cannot anticipate and must now react. There is a short pause between combinations and gradually reduced if the athlete can handle the new load. During this stage athlete A is a feeder and athlete B is the boxer. They stay in there roles for the entire round.

Stage 3 – Assuming that the athlete can perform Stage 2 close to perfection then we introduce the next variable. Randomization but turn for turn based. This is even closer to simulating sparring, but athletes only have to work 3 different punches and only 3 counters. Short pauses are mandatory between each combination and gradually reduced as the athlete begins to master this stage.

At each level I introduced more variables to stress the athlete and constantly test them. If they can’t perform at a certain level then we slow it down or even move back a level. Did I meet my performance outcome of teaching my 3 skills I wanted to athletes to develop? Yes. More importantly I coached them to think for themselves a lot of the time rather than spoon feed mindless technique.

At the end of the day this style of coaching won’t suit you if all you’re after is a scripted fancy pad work video you can post on your Facebook to impress your friends. My gym is about world class coaching for everyone. Learning like this will make you a better boxer in the long term. So many “coaches” these days live off old glory days and stick with the same old format and try to smash there athletes with 10 rounds of pads to impress others. That’s cool that you can hit 10 rounds of pads with someone barking mindless combinations. I’d rather my athletes be known as technical, intelligent fighters with beautiful technique rather than the person who can do 10 rounds of lousy technique on the pads.

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How to overcome that Winter rut

mr-freeze-gotham-fox-wb.jpgIt’s been freezing cold all day and you just got home from work. All you can think about is what you are going to have for dinner and how good its going to be to lie down in your cozy bed. Oh wait… you still have to go training. The inner dialogue begins “I’ll just train tomorrow instead….it’s too cold to leave the house tonight…they won’t even notice I’m not there” and you gradually talk yourself into not going. Don’t worry, we’ve all been there before. Why is it that people struggle to stay motivated to train in winter? Don’t stress because you are not alone. Here are some ways to help you get over that winter training rut.

Set some short term and long term goals
One of the first things your should do is set some short term and long term goals. I talk about this a lot in my posts mainly because I think it’s very important when it comes to Martial Arts training. You should always set goals from the beginning both long term and short term. They need to be S.M.A.R.T; specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely. Set yourself some short term goals over the winter to keep on track with your training. They can be things like “I will commit to training 2 days a week over winter” or even something that will span out over the winter period like “I will start boxing over the winter and commit to training 1 boxing class per week”. Here is my challenge to you: at the end of this article set yourself the following: a 2 week goal, a 1 month goal, and a goal to be achieved before the end of winter.

Start Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
If you’ve only ever trained Muay Thai then how about trying a completely different Martial Art. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu? The plus side is that you get to train in a very warm looking uniform and it’s something completely different. Things will definitely feel uncomfortable from the start because like picking up any new skill it will take time and dedication. You will feel like a complete beginner again but that’s the beauty behind Martial Arts, it’s about constant learning and personal growth. Sometimes training a completely different Martial Arts breaks up the monotony of your current training regime and can be just the thing your soul needs to reignite your passion for Martial Arts.

Treat yourself
Treat yourself if you’ve achieved a goal. I’m not saying going on a binge drinking bender and a bucket of KFC. I’m talking something more along the lines of doing something for yourself like buying that new pair of shoes you’ve been eying off. In this day and age we are so quick to buy presents and gifts for other people but rarely treat ourselves. You are the most important person in your life so why not spoil yourself every now and then. Buy yourself those new pair of gloves because you committed to training 3 times a week over the winter period.

Make some friends at your Muay Thai gym
You will meet a lot of like minded people when you train Muay Thai. When you train regularly you will end up spending a lot of time with them and get along with some really well. Next time you come into the gym start chatting to people and make some new friends. The good thing about this is that you start forming bonds and keeping each other accountable. Set some days with your training buddy where you both show up together. That way you both train together and develop together. Most importantly you will get that reminder from them “are you coming training tonight?” and also “I didn’t see you at training tonight? Where were you?” Sometimes it’s small things like these messages that will keep you consistent and on track.

Tap into technology
In this day and age there are so many apps and gadgets on the market that are geared towards fitness and Martial Arts. Heart rate monitors, FitBits, Apple Watches and even Hykso boxing punch sensors just to name a few. All these devices are a great way to monitor your progress and it’s the small achievements that will keep you motivated. I bought myself a polar heart rate monitor a year ago and use it to monitor my calorie expenditure during work outs. I have a daily calorie expenditure target I need to meet and can track it very accurately using the heart rate monitor.

Overhaul your diet
We all know that we tend to over indulge over the winter period. The problem with this is that combined with a sedentary lifestyle and very little activity we end up piling on the weight. Rather than waiting for summer to do something, why not overhaul your “diet” in winter. I don’t like the word “diet” because diets are unsustainable. I prefer using the word “lifestyle change” because it’s something you want to be able to maintain for ever. Things like cutting out sugary soft drinks entirely or only having a alcoholic drink once a week are a great way to start.

The good thing with the Australian winter is that it only lasts for 3 months. If you train hard and consistently over the Winter then you will reap the rewards over the Spring and Summer. So many people leave it too late to “get fit” for summer because by the time summer comes around it’s already too late. There is that old saying that summer bodies are built in winter. At the end of the day the weather shouldn’t affect your training habits. Hopefully some of these tips will help you overcome the temptations of staying at home in front of the heater and keep working towards achieving those goals.