My first supervised sparring session


The sparring? – That was great!  I can’t even remember the name of the kid I was sparring with – that’s really bad – I went off on a tangent writing this – that’s why my memory has gone.

It was just light stuff – no need for even a gum shield but I chose to wear my face guard because I didn’t know the guy.  I didn’t know how hard he would hit.  Plus I hate it when I get punched in the face and it knocks out a contact lens.  I thought it would be good to get used to wearing a face guard… and lastly in the back of my mind… maybe I thought the face guard would encourage the kid to come at me a bit more.

Hmmm I was catching him in the face a little more than he was catching me (at least that’s how I felt it was going) and I read somewhere that the person who’s stronger should  let up a little and try and encourage the other guy to box more.  So I tried not to discourage the kid completely by unloading non stop and not let him get near me.  I was fitter as well but I knew the kid had spent the week boozing at the T-In-The-Park Music Festival so he hadn’t exactly been conditioning himself prior to today.

I tried to work on my movement a little and tucking into my guard just to get used to taking a few body shots.  I think we had something like a total of 3 rounds of 2-minutes.  I got some good feedback from Gary afterwards.  I was a little stiff in my movement and I need to just relax everything and flow a little better.

I really enjoyed it and I hope it didn’t put off the other guy either.  He’d just started out as well.  (Jeez why can’t I remember that kid’s name!? – Was it Kevin?) – I asked Gary if he was in his early twenties – he was seventeen.  Seventeen.

I would love more practice at sparring.  I told Gary that’s where I wanted to be.  Eventually I’d like to get my medical card so I can box at amateur level, competitively.  There are a couple of clubs that offer days that are just sparring and if I start to go to some of those evenings regularly I’d improve but if Gary can find me regular people I can spar with and help with my ring craft then that’s even better.

I always get a little nervous coming back to my trainer.  I try and reason it out and I think maybe I just care about Gary’s opinion and I wouldn’t want him to look at me training, one day and think he was wasting his time.

In a fantastical, ideal world, I’d be 27 years old (not 37) and I’d at least have a chance to win something where Gary would need to put up a shelf to hang a trophy on. Some small amateur competition or a piece of fighting memorabilia like a fight poster of mine.

There’s nothing wrong with an older man dreaming. 🙂

Some things you do in life are purely for your own selfish reasons – maybe even ashamedly so at times but that doesn’t mean I don’t think about the people close to me… Helping me, training me, putting up with me day in, day out.

Even if they despise this sport I love, or can’t see or feel what I see and feel when I lace up my gloves.

I always imagine my first competitive amateur fight will be alone – I don’t think I’d want anyone I know to see me go through something like that.  But it doesn’t mean they’re not in my thoughts in some deep recess where my heart and guts are.

People can think you don’t care because you never call, or you’re never at some family function/special occasion. Maybe you haven’t taken time to meet a new baby that just popped out but those people are always part of you.  I see their faces and hear their voices for a split second when I’m struggling to push myself up or when I’m crying into my towel.  I love those people.  They don’t know it but I can make their strength my own and even on the bad days when I hate myself, I can convince the damaged part of me that I can still do anything.  That it’s not too late.

Is that being over dramatic?  What was this about again?…


It was a great feeling being in a ring.  It really was.


Back at home

Hmm what can I write about?  You ever get that?

Well I’ve been training away and that’s a normal part of my life now so nothing really new there.  Went to Lusby’s during the open mat slot around 16:00 and I was pretty much on my own but that was fine. I lent my iPod to one of the Filipinos, Sherwin, back on the boat.   Sherwin’s iPod broke down and he’s away at sea for three months at a time and I felt bad for him so that was my good deed but I could have done with having my iPod with me, today.

I always get a touch nervous going to my own gym.  Maybe because my trainer is in there and I don’t want to look like a moron.  I needn’t have worried on this occasion.  I was pretty much alone but I managed to get a decent workout and I needed to get a feel for the place again before I come in again this Thursday.  Different gyms have different atmospheres and vibes.  I need to acclimatize a little.

I’ve done a lot of bag work while I was offshore.  To be honest, this time round I’m hoping to learn more ring craft stuff but I’ll speak to Gary and ultimately he’ll determine when I’m ready to learn more. But like the guy said in the movie Creed…

– Kid’s hungry, you gotta feed him sometimes.

I’m enjoying my writing too, just now.  I sent a manuscript for a short story to a couple of publications for some feedback so I’m waiting on that.  Could be a couple of months though. I find it’s quite an anti-social thing being a writer.  I zone out because I’m concentrating a lot on what I’m writing but that’s not good for Emma because it’s bad enough my work takes me away for half the year.  It’s like the boxing though – I just don’t want to waste any more time because suddenly I’m aware that I’m not getting any younger.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not all that old either but I don’t have so much time I can casually piss away.  Procrastination is a terrible thing.

Certain topics are easier to write than others.  The boxing stories like The Journeyman I wrote just seem to flow – it’s easier than writing something like a Game of Thrones or Lord of the Rings style fantasy.  You don’t have to imagine whole worlds and  create stuff in your head from scratch.  I was thinking of maybe writing a larger fictional story.  Boxing themed again.  Something cathartic, on the theme of redemption – the stuff I wanted the movie Southpaw to be but (for me) didn’t quite manage.

We’ll see. I’m starting to build up a list of writing projects.  Some of them are more ambitious than others.  I’m not such a prolific writer that I can just crap out works of fiction.  My friend Vicki (a writer) was right… It’s important to finish something.  So many ideas never see the light of day – or the light at the end of the tunnel.  I needed to write some shorter stories so that I could know what finishing a story felt like.

The boxing training’s important to me, too.  I can’t always explain it so gracefully but I want to be good in a ring. I don’t want to go in there and look like I’ve just been taken out of a pub brawl.  It’d be nice to look back on all of this some day and say: Yeah, I could box a little bit.



White collar boxing

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day…

Now whoever said that probably didn’t mean for me to eat double the intake to try and guarantee I had a grandiose style day.

I’m in the Scandic Solsiden in Trondheim Norway after a 5 week trip offshore so if you can’t take a few liberties here and there… well then… I don’t think life’s worth living

There’s a cost-reducing initiative at my company so getting off the boat and checking into the hotel – I had to double up with Bryan just for the night.  There was a moment of panic when we walked into the room and saw this:


We just laughed at that point but I think we were both glad when we realized the beds could be pulled apart.

I’ve been working nights and the boxing’s taken its toll so as soon as I showered and sat in bed, I pretty much blacked out.

When I woke up I just lay in bed… window wide open, fresh air blowing in – plugged in my headphones and listened to some music… I thought about my wife, my dog, the boxing… just being home again – had a big smile on my face.  I went down for an early breakfast and just left Bryan sleeping with the room to himself.  Gotta give a guy his privacy.

Talk more about the white collar boxing!…

[…sorry yeah I was just getting onto that!…]

I’ve been reading other people’s blogs and I found a few good ones to follow including John Grimshaw, a guy training for an amateur charity boxing bout in 5 weeks.  It’s under the UK company Stealth UK Boxing.  StealthUK do these white collar boxing events where amateurs and beginners train for X-weeks and then they get to fight someone of equal ability.  They get the full arena-style experience and all the tickets that get sold, go to charity.  Sounds pretty awesome I have to say and I’m more than envious.  He’s got 8 weeks to lick himself into shape and he (and his wife) have my heartfelt admiration.  Training that intensely can take you away from the things and people you love and it’s never easy on your ties.  So if you’re reading this John, here’s to you, Mrs Grimshaw and baby Grimshaw.

There’s nothing like a deadline to keep you focussed either.

I’ve been boxing since April which puts me around 8 weeks but one day when my trainer Gary thinks I’m ready, I may look for something like this.  John’s bout is in Middleton, Manchester which is a little out of my way (me living in Scotland) but I’m not ruling out any part of the UK.  That’s the whole Musha shugyō thing again.

It’s not just about boxing or even health and fitness 🙂 … whatever you’re training in or whatever goal you want for yourself keep going for it and when you’re tired and strung out… just try to remember why you began in the first place.

As for me… well right now, I’m just looking forward to returning home.  I’m going to take a couple of days off this week and then I’m going to start training again.  Nothing too strenuous.  4-5 km runs and a bit of bag work.  That will shave my weight back down to 73 to 74 kg and in the second week, I’ll be back inside Lusby’s gym.  Back with Gary, back to my training and back to business.


There are all kinds of people in the blogosphere and the rest of the world – with their own goals, heartache and personal motivations. I’ll try and say a prayer for all of you.  Love you all. – Southpaw Swan

Musha shugyō (武者修行?) is a samurai warrior’s quest or pilgrimage. The concept is similar to the Chinese Youxia, or Knight Errantry in feudal Europe. A warrior, called a shugyōsha, would wander the land practicing and honing his skills without the protection of his family or school.

I don’t want to hurt anyone…

Sound familiar?

I came across a blog post today where someone was interested in boxing but wasn’t so sure due to the fact that they didn’t like to hurt other people.

Part of the  refusal to “engage” in hurting other people is to do with your own sense of humanity in some ways.  Some people have no problem with clouting other people but if you’re a considerate person who thinks a lot before you act that’s also a good thing.  Maybe it’s the reason why you’re always trying to second-guess yourself before you throw down.

You don’t need to actually hurt anyone if you don’t want to!

Depends how passionately you feel about your boxing and other physical sports?  With boxing are you just learning the techniques for fitness or do you truly wanted to spar – and I did say “spar” and not “fight” – they are two different things.  (maybe not to some but they are different!).  You have to work out what kind of a person you are.  In my mind, sparring still remains that truest test of whether your techniques have borne any fruit.  Whether you can translate that training to your instincts inside of a ring.  You are going to get hit of course and you are going to end up hitting the other person but there’s nothing wrong with two people standing against each other practicing together.  “Today I’m going to learn something about you and in doing that, I’m going to learn something about myself as well.”  You have to take things in the correct spirit and with yourself.

There’s a lot of respect between two people who box and spar and fight.  I think we all have instincts – some are not so easy to see in others – with some people it’s very obvious if they’re leaders or warriors or if they’re more introverted and cerebral in their approach. I don’t think people who practice boxing are are any different.  You just have to work out what kind of person you are and remember – if you decide to box purely to learn the techiques, for fitness without the sparring stuff… well there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that 🙂  But if you’re passionate about something, you may discover things about yourself you didn’t realize were there.  That’s the beauty of falling in love with something.  Be it sport, boxing, people, whatever.

I truly think there is a sport or activity for everyone out there.  Something that becomes instantly identifiable within, when you try it.  You just have to have a bit of luck to discover it and be a little bit outgoing to actually come across it in the first place.

When I look at a piano, I just see a piece of wood and some pedals but for some people, they can just sit at it and they just know they’re supposed to play. That doesn’t mean they’ll instantly be great at it but they know deep down it’s something meant for them. 

We’re all creatures of habit. Some more than others but if you like the look of something then never be afraid to give it a go.  You never know where it may take you and with most cases, the journey is more important than the destination.


World of Ringcraft

So I’ve got these two things on my list that I’m working towards and really it’s things that I can’t do alone and that’s the ability to spar with anyone (excluding pro level amateurs).

That requires honing my ringcraft and I can only do that with a coach and partners.

I wanted to write about this because one day I want to look back on this and remember how I felt versus how it actually went… if I make it that far.

The Kid

In my mind’s eye I’m alone out there.  Some small-time amateur night in an unspectacular, small-time hall with a few tables, chairs, the judges and the referee.  A venue that’s more “spit and sawdust” than bright lights and dry ice.

I’m alone.  Utterly alone out there on the canvas.  Gary (my trainer) is a professionally licensed boxing coach and therefore he isn’t allowed to be in my “corner” for an amateur fight.  It doesn’t matter that he has two professional boxers under his wing.  This isn’t a professional fight.  No, he’s sat out in the bleachers with his camera phone – probably hoping I remember the advice he’s given me.

I can’t picture in my head who would be there in my corner and maybe I don’t want anyone I know seeing what’s about to happen.  Not yet, anyway.

The guy I’m fighting is only twenty-two years old.  I don’t know him but he’s over 15 years younger than me.  All piss, fire and vinegar.  The second that bell sounds he’ll come right at me with the explosive force of youth that can only come from being that young.  The same explosive energy that turns from an ocean into a tiny well, once you’re older, like me.  The type of energy that isn’t my domain to conjure at will any longer.

I’m nervous.  The referee looks at my face.  There’s some mild, perfectly feigned recognition in his eyes.  Yeah sure it’s me.  There’s no other Chinese-looking boxer in this building I’m pretty sure of it.

I’m almost distracted for a second when someone anonymous helps me with my face guard.  I feel the velcro fasten tight at the back.  Anonymous  pats me on the shoulder. “You’re good pal.”

I beat the forehead of my face guard three times to make sure it’s secure. I look at Anonymous and nod my thanks.  I glance up at the bleachers looking for my trainer, Gary.  Hmmm where, where, where?

There he is.

…3rd row up,

…a few seats to the right.

I clench my jaw and wink at him.  He probably didn’t see that but it’s something I would only do if I’m nervous.

I look back round and feel the referee’s fingers touch my chin.  He wants to see my gum shield.  I open my mouth and bar my teeth at him.  It’s legal. No red colour.

I stretch my neck to my shoulders, left and then right.  A ritual I only do when I’m being serious.  The ref waves us both over.  I walk over trying to keep my shoulders loose.  The referee starts to talk but I only make out a few words as the kid I’m fighting’s trying to stare me down and I just stare back through him.  In the end all I catch is “fight clean and touch gloves” and we do.  A quick tap.

I walk to my corner, grab the ropes, squat once and cross myself.  Not because I want help from God but because somehow I’ve found my way to the canvas of this hall.

I barely hear the bell but I come forward wanting to claim some space early.  No roar of the mob behind us, just a few loud whistles to break the silence of a nondescript hall.

The kid comes right at me.  Fuck! I was just kidding earlier.  I came wanting to box but the kid really wants to brawl and trade.

I’m old but I’m not stupid kid.

I pivot hard right and my old feet obey, if only, for the time being.

A pity I could never move that well on a five-aside pitch. Probably would have tripped over myself. I shoot out a combination to his chin that would have sent the kid’s gum shield flying onto the first judge’s crotch. – That might have actually happened if I was entering an amateur fight and the kid mistook this as a pie eating contest but Kid adjusts his feet, fast and his head slips perfectly.  My jabs glance harmlessly away.  I curse through my gum shield.  I wanted to knock him down in under thirty seconds but if I was that slick I’d be fighting in the MGM Grand.  Instead I’m fighting in a hall where the men’s toilets look like they were oft Christened by a nightly blowjob, a line of coke and a diarrhetic mule.

I’m horrified temporarily.  The kid’s younger, faster and that’s all that’s barely registering through my head as he begins to throw down again.  Kid lands a couple of blows that were worthy of three points apiece on a basketball court.  All I can do is keep moving.    Protect myself where I can and fire back where I’m able.  The three rounds feel like twelve but when the bell sounds I don’t feel anything but relief.  I offer Kid an outstretched glove which he punches.  He pats me on the back with his other glove and as he nods I see he’s as tired as I am.

I return to my corner and spit out my gum shield, tear off my glove and grab the water relieved I can drink greedily instead of sparingly.  I catch Kid’s eye and nod at him one last time.  For just a few seconds I forget we’re on the score cards and we look at each other.  This is us, Kid.  All us.


“The Kid” is the first piece of short fiction I’ve written in a long time.  It started out as a favourite daydream of mine.


Is Floyd Mayweather a d*ck to his padman?


I’m not really a follower of Floyd Mayweather but I do watch him train from time to time and I take saved videos of him (and other boxers) with me offshore so I can watch them train.  Floyd’s pad man is his brother Roger Mayweather.  This 19-minute video someone uploaded onto YouTube of a padwork session Mayweather was doing, well, I saved this permanantly onto one of my drives so I could always watch it.

It looks like they’re playing patty-cake. 🙂

I have to be honest, I love the look of this kind of padwork.  Are we ever going to do anything like this Gary, lol?

I kind of wish I could be this super-ace pad man and do the Patty-cake thing.  It looks like Roger Mayweather (the pad man) is getting more of a workout than Floyd.

I’m looking online just now to find out more about this style of padwork. With this set of exercises I’m guessing Floyd is practicing rhythm and muscle memory.  You can see Floyd turning his wrists and moving his arms ever so slightly like he’s going through the motions of making a punch.

It looks very choreographed.  Whether it’s more “flash and panache” than actually practical I couldn’t say.  One thing though, if you did something 10000 times over a short course of time, you would definitely improve or change in some way.  I mean, isn’t that how the Chinese table tennis team practice?

I’d love to be able to have a go or even learn that style of pad work.

I didn’t know Floyd’s pad man is actually his brother but man he seems to be a bit of a d*ck to him!  Watch the video.  It’s hard to like a guy like Floyd when he comes across as so arrogant.  Mind you he probably doesn’t care and maybe if I was as good a pad man as Roger, maybe I wouldn’t care either.

Below is a link to an article I read on Mayweather’s style of padwork by another boxing blogger:

Is Mayweather’s Mittwork all show? (Shootafairone)


Home, Piano vanilla sauce and school cross country

After spending 3 weeks out in the Norwegian Sea that flight home’s so close I can almost hear the jet engines.  When you’re training twice a day it’s hard for things not to become routine.  The morning’s really become a struggle.  I wake up at 21:30 and I call Emma while I’m still lying in bed.  Normally I’m still completely drowsy, half asleep and on some kind of autopilot but I like hearing her voice.  Then I’ll drag myself up and put on my gear.

Those morning sessions last only an hour now:

  • Interval training.  16 minutes of 30 seconds on; 30 seconds rest.  It’s 4 rounds but this feels horrendous when your body is still half asleep.
  • Next I set my boxing timer app for 35 minutes with 3 minute rounds with 30 seconds of rest in between.  I jump rope, shadow box and do 3 rounds on a heavy bag.  The first 2 rounds are to warm up my hands but the 3rd round I go into this “tabata” drill where I’ll punch the bag as fast as I can, as many times as I can.  I hate this drill but it helps your arm endurance.  Finally I do 3 rounds on a double-end bag trying to be loose like Gary’s told me numerous times.  I made a video of myself so I could check my form.  I’ll upload when I get home.  (I’m on a boat – limited bandwidth and all that)


So yeah that’s just shy of an hour but it’s an hour of quality.  It’s not like I’m staring at the floor daydreaming.

After a 12 hour shift of  sitting in front of 12 LCD monitors like Homer Simpson I’ll head straight back to my cabin and get changed for the afternoon session.

I use the same boxing timer app for the afternoon. For the first 35 minutes I’ll repeat what I did in the morning session (minus the interval training).  Then I’ll go another 35 minutes doing a mix of drills on the heavy bag.

Most people associate the heavy bag with hitting hard but I rarely throw such forceful punches at it.  I punch high (like 45 degrees up) so my shoulders get some endurance, try and concentrate on moving around the bag and then Gary’s words are always in my head about staying loose and punching from my hip.

I feel better than when I first got on the boat though. It’d be worrying if I didn’t after all this effort.

I’m still eating a fair bit but not as much as the first week.  When the boat goes alongside I can get a more accurate weight measurement but it’ll be easier when I’m home and I can cook only what I need to eat.  Out here, food is everywhere and there’s so much of it!  I’m guessing I weigh 75kg right now but once I leave this floating food palace I know I can get down to 70 – 72kg.  I weighed myself a few times out here but with the boat pitching and rolling I was weighing anything from 73kg to 76kg.


I’m absolutely addicted to this Norwegian vanilla custard that comes in a tetrapak style carton.  I have it with muffins, pancakes, waffles, apple crumble everything sweet.  It has no nutrition info on the carton but I’m guessing it’s absolutely filthy.

My state of mind’s good though.  I just wish I could get a bit more sleep in between. I need to finish watching Season 4 of Banshee though! 😉

I miss doing pad work though with another person and I’m eager to do more work inside a ring when I get home.  The big test will be that first session back with Gary and whether I’ve improved in his eyes and how much.

There’s still a lot to do.  There are days when some kind of melancholy hits me and I feel down for a few minutes.  I wonder where I’m going with this and then other things get into my head and I start thinking about my life and all the things I’ve done wrong and whether I’ll be able to make it right in the end.

Emma (my wife) used to be a teacher and she said something to me once about how teachers come and go from a school and ultimately the school kids don’t remember you but I don’t think that’s true.  When I was 11 or 12 we went on this cross country run and I hated it.  I kind of lagged at the back with the Phys Ed teacher Mr. Nelson. Must have been shy of 4 or 5km but I was crap at long distance but I remember back at the changing room afterwards when Mr Nelson pointed at me and said “This kid will never be a great runner but at least he doesn’t give up.”

The other time I was in the pub at 16 and (illegally I guess) having a drink with a few of the teachers who just happened by after school (it was the last day of school before summer)… Mr Richardson was leaving to go to another school.  He actually never taught me in any of his classes but I remember him finishing his pint and saying to me “Do the right thing Shingy”.  Then he got up and left. It was such a strange thing to say.  There wasn’t even a conversation before that sentence.

I think about those two moments a lot when I am out at sea.  Most of the time when I train.  Often my sweaty towel is hiding my head and I start crying uncontrollably into it.  Maybe because I’ve come so close to giving up  and maybe because sometimes I’m not doing the right thing or I don’t know what the right thing is but I keep trying.  Those two teachers would be in their late 50s by now but I haven’t sought them out yet.  I wanted to tell them how much those words meant.  It wouldn’t matter if they didn’t remember me.

I’m not sure what the point of this last bit is… maybe something like this:

Whatever you’re doing, sometimes you need to look back and understand where you began so that you can keep going forward.


My favourite training music


I thought maybe it would be interesting to list the kind of music I listen to whenever I wake up and I’m trying to motivate myself to train.  Most of these you can find on Spotify.  If anyone else has got some great tracks unconventional or otherwise maybe you can comment them below.

The list below is in order of preference.  There are other things I listen to, of course but these are the tracks I keep coming back to.

Happy training.


For some adrenalin to wake me up while I’m putting on my gear and lacing my hi-tops:

  • Flyentology (Cassettes Won’t Listen Remix), EL-P, Trent Reznor
  • Rocker (Mickey Factz)
  • Vixen (Close Up)
  • Jump Around (House of Pain)
  • 20th Century Boy (T. Rex)
  • Thunderstruck (AC/DC)
  • Hypnotize (The Notorius B.I.G)


These songs below won’t give you any adrenalin but they’re great for me to go running to and they always have the effect of taking my mind off things.  I love these tracks – any of these could be top of the list on any given day:

  • Finally (Time and Space Machine)
  • Birch Tree (Foals)
  • London Thunder (Foals)
  • Turn Your Light on Me (The Night VI)
  • Thinking of You (The Night VI)
  • Dancin – Krono Remix (Aaron Smith, Luvli)
  • Craving (Starling)



Compulsion and training… I’m tired!


I’ve been training from anything up to 2.5 to 3 hours a day for the last 2 weeks, straight up.  I realized something had to give when I’ve been lying in bed at the end of the day and my shoulder will involuntarily twitch like it wants to throw a punch.  Seriously!

The quality of my training has gone down and I noticed it today as I kept dropping my guard in and around the heavy bag.  This morning, I think I was fighting more against my own exhaustion.

I mean that kind of fighting-through-fatigue may be useful to a soldier but I think at this early stage I need to work on improving my technique so after 2 weeks of living a boot-camp existence, I’ve decided to take a day off tomorrow.

I managed to prop up my phone up against the wall yesterday to record myself shadowboxing and working the bags and I didn’t like what I saw.  I think I looked a little sloppy and unathletic (I was starting to think I looked fat too) and as I type this I’m starting to feel angry with myself.

Why am I angry?

I don’t know.  It’s expectation.  I thought I’d be sharper.  More fluid.  I didn’t see that.  I saw a guy lumbering around throwing his arms around.  Is this a self-revulsion stage I’m going through?

I tried to mentally ground myself just now.  People take years to become good at something.  I can’t be expecting myself to achieve that after just 6 months.

I have to look through those videos again. Maybe I’m just being harsh on myself but the only thing I was truly happy with was my form on the double end bag.

On a happier note, I discovered some Tetley massala chai tea that someone’s left here in the instrument room. I have to say that it makes a really refreshing cup of tea.  I only have a few bags left though and I don’t think there’s any more of it on the boat.  Does anyone know other relaxing teas I can try?  I love Redbush and there’s Mint tea as well.

So after admitting to myself I’m tired, today I’m going to watch the England vs Wales football game.  I’m going to rest tomorrow do some yoga-type stretches to loosen up my body and that will be the absolute maximum I’ll do so that my body can rest.

Hopefully the day after, I won’t feel so tired or so repulsed.



Training and fighting angry, perhaps not

I believe true focus lies somewhere between rage and serenity.

That’s a line from one of the X-Men movies.  It’s a great line and it makes you think.  I’ve never liked training angry and I can’t imagine I’d like to fight angry either. 😉

I can’t deny that it’s useful – you can build a lot of adrenalin and that can give you more stamina but ultimately I think you can end up exhausting yourself quicker for that extra bit of power behind what you’re doing.

But I also believe that the very opposite is also true and that you can get the same focus if you tap the emotion between sorrow and serentiy.

Have you ever ran on a treadmill and thought about something that made you feel sad and then, (while still running) you reached a kind of peace… and then you felt like you could run forever without actually tiring?

I like listening to music while I run and train but music is always such a personal thing.  Most of the songs I listen to while I train draw on that particular emotional range.  I prefer something that’s going to make me sad but then has a refrain that builds up a feeling of hope.  (Try Heaven by Emili Sande and you can maybe listen to what I mean)

My dog, Poppy, had some kind of stroke while Emma was walking her a couple of days ago.  I feel really worried just now because her spine and her hind legs are in a bad way.  I love that dog. She’s only 3 years-old.  Much too young to not be able to run.  I’m stuck out here in the middle of the Norwegian Sea with 3 weeks to go before I can go home.  Poppy’s stuck in a vet college for observation.  Emma visited her and sat with her for a full 4 hours (way past visitation hours) and I’m so glad she was there.

I felt empty in between punching the heavy bag and pausing for rest.  Normally I’ll train in order to distract myself.  Fight one kind of pain by bringing on another – that kind of thing.

You know what I was thinking about as I was doing these circuits? I thought about Poppy and in my mind I said. “I’m not going to give up but you can’t either Poppy.”  I feel more than helpless.  At least if it’s a person you can phone them and tell them something to lift them but you can’t phone a dog.  Poppy sees Emma coming to visit her and I’m so thankful for that but I’m nowhere to be seen and I just feel nothing but sorrow about that.

I just have to keep hoping Poppy will be okay and pull through.  It doesn’t even bare thinking about any other kind of alternative.

Right now my body is tired and a little sore, especially my arms. I’d never use my sadness or feeling of hopelessness as an excuse to stop and give up.  You can train angry or sad but I honestly think that the truest focus comes from managing and mastering those range of emotions.

I love you Poppy x


Our dog, Poppy