How to get back into Muay Thai training after isolation

It’s been over a month since all Muay Thai and Martial Arts gyms have been closed. You’ve tried to stick to some sort of routine in these crazy times but have struggled. It’s been freezing cold and your diet has gone out the window because of all the extra snacks and Uber eats you have been eating. You are not alone! It looks like the possibility of gyms reopening is very soon and it’s time to get get back into it. The thought of resuming any sort of training regime seems difficult but you need a plan of attack. Here are some sure fire ways to get you back into training and feeling like yourself again.

1. Start slowly
Depending on how active you have been over the isolation period will dictate how you get back into your training. As a rule of thumb you should only make 10% increases when making a return to training after a lay off. It’s important that you also resume slowly! That means easing your way back into things to avoid injury. If you have been consistent with your online classes eg 2-3 times a week then resuming actual physical classes 2-3 times a week at moderate intensity should be fine. If you have been inactive over the entirety of the iso period then start with 1-2 classes per week. Rather than coming back day 1 and smashing out a 10km run followed by 5 x 5 minute rounds on the pads, stick to a technical skills session.

2. Set a goal and make a plan.
Before returning to training set yourself a goal. Make sure your use the SMART principles: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. A good example would be “Resume Muay Thai training my gym reopens and commit to 2 classes twice a week with a long term goal of grading at the first grading”. Once you’ve set a goal then it’s time to start planning. Write down the sessions you want to attend in your diary and tell your coach or someone. Get them to keep you accountable.

3. Change your mindset to focus on the long term.
Muay Thai training is about long term development and long term goals. It’s about refining your skill over the years and constantly readjusting goals. When you return to training this should be your focus, to get better at it over a long term period. Don’t get too excited just because the gym is reopen and jump in all guns blazing. I’ve seen it so many times over the years when people make a return to training and over do it in the first few weeks and injure themselves and have to take time off again. It then becomes a vicious cycle they fall into for years and never progress.

4. Focus on technique and skills.
It’s more than likely social distancing will be around for a while. Don’t dig yourself into a negative mindset and complain about how you just want to hit pads, spar and clinch. A true Martial Artists sees the opportunity in any situation and are resourceful with the resources they have. The best fighters in the world are the ones that can adapt to any situation and this this the mindset you want to have. It will be a good time to focus on technique and skill development and slow it down to a pace where you wouldn’t normally get a opportunity to.

5. Reconnect with people
Chances are no matter where you are in the world you haven’t had an opportunity to connect with people like you normally have. The beauty of Martial Arts is that it is the ultimate platform for bringing people together and connecting human beings through sharing a passion of personal development. When the gym reopens reconnect with old training partners and coaches and reach out to people who need to hear some kind words. Everyone has been through a lot lately and now is the time unite and get through this together.

I’m interested to hear how people are planning to make a return to training?

Email me!

Lockdown Day 4 – Overcoming Adversity Part 2

Feeding your mind.

The other day, my girlfriend said to me “if it wasn’t for everything in the media, today would feel like a normal day at home.” I pondered for a while and realised how true this was. We become our thoughts, we encompass what we watch and believe what we think. Day 4 of Stage 2 lockdown, and with a steadily increasing number of cases each day, the prognosis is becoming more grim. I could spend all day at home worrying about all the bad things that may happen, or I could focus on what I am grateful for and do something useful for my own mind.

At the moment there is so much fear and uncertainty in the world. Uncertainty unleashes negative thoughts that can take over our minds and consume us. It can make us believe that we can’t change anything and feel defeated. It’s up to us to take back control of our thoughts. But how? You feed it with positivity. You can read feel-good books, listen to podcasts and watch ted talks. Feed your mind with something nutritious because you are what you eat. Get yourself an e-reader and start downloading books that you’ve never gotten around to reading. Not only will it change the way you think, but it will promote great personal development.

I always used to struggle with reading in high school. It wasn’t until my adult years where I discovered a love for reading. It was because I started exploring topics I enjoyed rather than those prescribed to me. I began reading books about communication and human behaviour. That’s where I discovered my passion for reading and a thirst for knowledge.

Everyday we get to choose our thoughts and how they are influenced; by what you watch on tv, what you read on your phone, who you talk to and who you surround yourself with. You need to stand guard for your own mind and decide what you want to let in. If you let negativity in, then the weeds will appear and your thoughts will become overgrown. In a time when it may be easy to think “why did this happen to me?” instead, ask yourself “what is this trying to teach me?”

So tomorrow morning, rather than turning on the television only to get bombarded with doom and gloom from the media, spend the first 20 minutes of your day paying gratitude to something in your life, meditate, read, or watch something positive.

“Reading is essential for those who seek to rise above the ordinary.” – Jim Rohn


Lockdown Day 1 – Over coming adversity

Over coming adversity starts with feeding the spirit.

The way to feed your spirit is to find what you are grateful for. There is rejuvenation in the spirit when when we stop taking things for granted. So many of us focus on what’s going wrong in our lives (including myself) and forget to see the beauty in what we already have. We focus on the 1% negatives of the day rather than the 99% of the positives in our day. If we can take time to reflect and reflect on what we are grateful for then we will have a whole new perspective on life.

Everyday we wake up and we are bombarded with the negativity in the world and constantly checking for updates, all we see on social media and hear about in public is the death toll rising, when we go to sleep at night we hear reports about how bad things are getting. Then when things get worse we complain about how bad things keep happening to us. It’s not that bad things keep happening, it’s just that we keep focusing on the negative and what keeps going wrong. I am notorious about whinging about the negatives and sometimes let it get to me. The recent events has made me realise how lucky I actually am to have a roof over my head, food to eat and people who love me

Today I am grateful for having a beautiful supportive girlfriend who has been supportive of everything I do in life, my family, and the opportunity to share Martial Arts with the community Denis and I have created at ACSA Melbourne.

Even though we are faced with physical isolation it doesn’t mean we have to go through this alone. We can finally use social media for what it was designed for and connect us in times like this. It will allow members to support each other and reach out and share problems we might have faced alone. We don’t have to go through these tough times alone.

Things are tough at the moment but they won’t last. They will probably get worse before they get better. Keep your mind positive and support one another. We can get through this.

Perfectionism Is The Enemy of Progress: Just Be Better Than Yesterday

You’ve spent long hours in the gym drilling technique, put in those countless rounds of sparring, you’ve done your strength and conditioning routines dutifully. You were as ready as you could be. Or so you thought.

Things didn’t go your way at the tournament or in your bout. Maybe you were overlooked for a belt promotion…again! No matter how hard you try, things never seem to work out perfectly.

Don’t get things twisted. That is the process.

Progress is not achieved by an insistence on perfection. It is the accumulation of incremental improvements building into something larger over time.

Anything worth having takes time. An insistence on perfection at all times will see us get bogged down; trapped in frustration at a future that hasn’t yet arrived.

Avoid this trap of perfectionism. To make continuing progress, simply strive to be a better version of yourself than you were yesterday. Here’s how:

Eat The Elephant One Bite at a Time

There’s a well known quote attributed to Desmond Tutu, “There is only one way to eat an elephant: one bite at a time.”

What he meant by this was that seemingly impossible tasks can be accomplished gradually via the completion of smaller, more manageable tasks.

In terms of your martial arts training, this means that each class completed, open mat attended, and heavy bag pounded, propels you incrementally forward ensuring a better you steps on the mats today than did yesterday.

Sometimes Life Gets in the Way, and That’s OK

There’ll be times when you’ll need to drag yourself by the scruff of the neck to the gym. No questions about it – sometimes self-love needs to be tough love.

Life can be hard. You need to learn to recognise when to be understanding of yourself if you are to continue on the path of progress.

Occasional failures are the lot of being human. You may be suffering from jet lag, financial worries, a family crisis, there are a myriad of things that life can throw at you that may impede your progress, temporarily.

The key word here being temporarily.

Don’t unduly beat yourself up if the harsh winds of fate blow you off course. Just be sure to grab the wheel and get back on track as quickly as possible.

Avoid overindulging in sorrow or wallowing in regret. This is energy-sapping, pointless, and one thing is for sure, more bad days are guaranteed.

Take your blows, pick yourself up off your arse, and get back to work. And, if you find that difficult you need to get in touch with your inner Bad Cop.

Know When To Be Bad Cop

Nobody cares about your health and fitness journey more than you do. You may be lucky enough to have some very supportive cheerleaders in your life, but ultimately you are responsible for you.

Listen, I know your mum or wife thinks you’re great regardless. You could lay in bed to noon eating pizza every day and you’d still be her golden boy.

If she caught you red-handed pilfering the Mona Lisa, she’d probably turn a blind eye. That’s because she’s the eternal Good Cop in the movie of your life.

But, kindness can kill just as surely as you can be murdered by meanness. There’ll be times when you’ll need to take on the role of Bad Copin your own biopic.

Take stock of your mindset daily to ensure that you are making that incremental progress.

Are you meeting your daily goals? Are you achieving your training targets? No matter how modest they may be, they’re important.

If in your daily interrogation of yourself you find the suspect needs to be leaned on, don’t be afraid to call out your inner Bad Cop. As we said earlier, there are times when true self-love love is of the tough variety.

The Bad Cop holds us to account. He is merciless in pursuing the truth, driving the weakness and excuses from our minds and bodies in the process. Ultimately, all this is for the good of our own development.

If you find yourself swimming in a sea of excuses for your failures, pass that truncheon and let your inner Bad Cop bully you back onto the path of righteousness once again.

There’s no doubt that aiming for perfection is a lofty and admirable goal, but it is an unrealistic expectation to have of ourselves in our daily lives. It can be self-defeating. It can make us brittle in the face of the inevitable and temporary defeats that are actually opportunities to build strength in body and mind.

Progress is all about our perspective. You either succeed in your endeavours the first time, or you learn through the process. If you choose the latter you will come back the next day a better you than yesterday and that’s progress.

Muay Thai For The Office Guy

As humans, we were never meant to spend our lives working at a desk in an office, but unfortunately is the reality for many in our population. Spending 40-60 hours a week not moving or not seeing the sun much can start to take a toll on one’s health. That’s why if you work in an office, Muay Thai is an amazing option that doesn’t just provide a great workout, but gives a peace of mind to help a white collar worker get through the monotony of their everyday life and be happier.


Not be Sedentary

The problem that comes with working in an office is you don’t get to move around much and not being able to get up and move leads to health problems such as back pain and obesity. Having the opportunity to go to a Muay Thai gym and attend classes learning to punch, kick, knee, and elbow will increase their muscular endurance, flexibility, and help an office worker battle those health problems that come from sitting at a desk all day.  


Having a Distraction

Guys working in office quite often get into a funk, where everything they do revolves around their job and they start to feel like they’re going to go crazy with stress and anxiety if something doesn’t change. Getting in the kickboxing gym and doing an hour of technique with mitt rounds is a great way to relax an office worker’s mind and take their thoughts off of work for a little while. Not only office workers, but anyone that works in any kind of industry can benefit from having an outlet from the stress and anxiety that builds up in their lives beating up a heavy bag and getting into great shape learning one of the best martial arts.


Easily Fits Into a Busy Schedule

One of the biggest excuses given by people that work long hours in an office is that they don’t have time to time to workout, but the great thing about a lot of Muay Thai and martial arts gyms is that they have schedules that will accommodate even the busiest white collar business person. It’s also not how much time you have, but what you do with the time you have and even taking just 2 classes a week will show huge benefits for them. There will be immediate positive changes in their work and personal life and what makes Muay Thai a great choice for a busy white collar professional.

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.

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.

How The Martial Arts Help You Develop Patience in Life

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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.

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!

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!