Cut it out

May 25, 2010 by

Weighing InThe countdown begins…

On Sunday May 31st (in just five days) I’ll be entering the female Muay Thai division at the West Coast Can-Ams—my second local competition.

But aside from the usual preparation of training, this time there’s a slight weight issue to consider. Don’t get me wrong, my weight isn’t actually an issue. Or it isn’t normally. I don’t look like a walking, talking donut but when every pound counts it’s time to start getting picky.

My weight division is 120-130lbs and I’m aiming to come in at as close to 120lbs as possible. The reason being that if not many girls register this weekend I don’t want to risk ending up in the heavier division if mine gets split in two.

Last Friday (eight days before the competition) I weighed in at 124lbs. This morning, when I woke up, I was down to 120lbs. But I’m really walking around at 122lbs. The first 2lbs shifted without any issues but the final 2lbs are proving a little more difficult.

I’ve not gone down the dehydration / sweat-it-out-in-the-sauna route just yet. Instead I’m just trying to (rigidly) control my eating, which basically boils down to no carbs except at breakfast time and in a post-workout shake.

Yikes. For a girl who loves her porridge this is really tough going. Herbal teas and chewing gum have now become fast friends in the fight to stave off hunger. But I keep telling myself that cutting weight is all part of the journey and a test of my determination….and for those who know me, any mention of the word ‘test’ or ‘competition’ and I’m all in!

So we’ll see what happens when I step on the scale. I’ve five more days to drop 2lbs. Fingers crossed!


Kicking Techniques by Rob McCullough

May 24, 2010 by

Muay Thai Head kickAs a self-confessed devil for detail I’m always searching for sites that breakdown Muay Thai moves. I’ve found a couple of good ones so far but this instructional video on head kicking techniques by Rob McCullough definitely gets the thumbs up.

Let me know what you think.

Female fighters Modafferi vs LaRosa (video)

May 23, 2010 by

Roxanne Modafferi If you’re in any doubt as to whether women can fight, take a look at this recent video.

At 130lbs these two girls are some of the best out there. It was a rematch that earned them fight of the night.

Mastering my mean

May 15, 2010 by

Harnessing my meanI’ve never really gone in for being mean but it’s something I’m definitely working on it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to suddenly start kicking cats or scowling at small children, it’s more about harnessing my inner mean during the pressure of a fight.

My trainer today pointed out that at any time during a round something happens that triggers my mean switch. I get angry in a focused kind of way and deliver good stuff. I feel it too and am aware of when it happens but I’ve to learn how to control it and flip the switch myself without having to rely on taking a punch or making a mistake for it to trip.

I’m not entirely sure if I know how to do this because I’m naturally quite laid-back and far removed from mean but I’m going to give visualisation a go. A sports psychologist I work alongside swears by the success of this method. But apparently for it to really work it’s not enough just got to imagine it, you’ve also got to feel it.

So if you see me walking around looking angry it’s not because I’m having a bad day, I’m just trying to visualize being mean.

The next competition is in two weeks so I’ve 14 days in which to master my mean.

What do you think of visualisation? Has it worked for you?

Back on the wagon

May 2, 2010 by

You don’t realize how much something means to you until it’s taken away.

I’ve been out of training for a week because of an injury to my foot and it’s been driving me nuts. Sitting still doesn’t come easily, but if I want to get back in to training as soon as possible that’s exactly what I’ve been ordered to do—rest (and ice).

I’m definitely my father’s daughter though. I remember times when he’d have broken a leg or an arm and if you didn’t keep an eye on him, before you knew it, the sling would have been ditched and he’d be back up the very same ladder (or roof!) he fell off, carrying on as if nothing had happened. He doesn’t believe in taking time off to recover and it’s obviously passed down a generation: The crutches were just annoying and I’d ditched them after 24hrs. I’d rather hobble along at a reasonable pace than crawl along with a pair of those.

I’d had enough confinement by yesterday though and left the house saying I’d only be a short time at the gym doing a quick session on the treadmill. But as I finished my sprinting I just couldn’t resist doing some lifting. Just a few weights couldn’t hurt? A little lifting turned in a full workout (!) and I walked back through the front door 90 minutes later. Walked probably isn’t the right word though; more like skipped! It felt so good to sweat again. I think people in the gym must have thought I was nuts, walking round wearing a huge grin. I just couldn’t help it; I was so, so happy to be back again.

So the next time I’m feeling a bit sick of the gym I’m going to bring myself back to how it felt this week not being able to go to the gym at all. That should be enough to give me the kick up the ass I need!

(The foot isn’t 100% but I’m done with taking a back seat. There’s a competition at the end of May that needs preparing for).

Tales of toes

April 26, 2010 by

Broken FootMy foot was throbbing, I could barely hobble and I was biting my lip in an effort to hold back the tears threatening to fall while sat in the waiting room at the clinic. What a way to spend a Friday night.

24hrs earlier I’d tumbled over my own feet during training at Universal out in Richmond and, having initially thought there wasn’t much wrong, was stunned to realise I couldn’t move my big toe or put any weight on my left foot. Limping over to the side of the mats I sat on the floor waiting for the feeling to come back to my toe. It didn’t. More than the pain, all I could think about was the training I’d miss. There’s a competition in five weeks and I was about to ramp up my training not take time out.

In the doctor’s room that night he poked and prodded my foot (more pain) and shook his head saying, “Ligament damage and potential fracture,” and sent me on my way with a pair of crutches, an x-ray form and a hateful scowl from the very dark cloud hanging over me. Two months off? I don’t think so.

I’m also a truly awful patient (even when I’m the nurse too!) and ditched the crutches before I managed the four blocks home. I’d rather hobble at a decent pace than be slowed down by those things.

Spent Friday night icing and resting despite really, really wanting to head out downtown on a planned night out (Cliff, I’m so sorry I couldn’t make it. I wasn’t sure dancing on crutches was what the doctor had in mind when he suggested rest!)

Saturday morning was an early one as I negotiated the buses to the x-ray clinic and gave the crutches one last chance to redeem themselves (they’re a great accessory if you need a seat on a bus!)

There were two words I was dreading hearing that day: Fracture and Surgery. The wait for the results was sickeningly agonising but when they came back as negative I could have hugged the technician. All I have to do now is rest and ice which is, in itself, very hard if you’re the kind of person who HATES sitting still. But if it’s what I’ve got to do to get back in to action then I’m all about taking the doctor’s advice.

Four days later and I can put weight on the foot again, which makes me so happy because I can feel the anticipation of the next training session. The swelling is going down and I’m just left with a few bruises on the joints where the impact was. I’m giving myself two weeks (absolute max) and then I’m back on the mats again. Haahaah, if my trainer thought he might be in for some time off he picked the wrong girl to train!

Tiger Balms, March 2010

March 31, 2010 by

Finally found some time in between daydreaming (aka obsessing) about training and competing to edit the video from the Tiger Balms this weekend. It was my first foray in to fighting……and I absolutley LOVED, loved, loved it! Who knew that hitting other girls could be so much fun!?!

I’d love to know your thoughts on the fight against the girl in the green shorts. ROBBED is all I’m going to say!

Click here to view the video

Tales of Thailand Part 1

March 26, 2010 by

Wow, there’s so much to tell you! I’m so sorry for not updating my site while in Thailand.

Just to recap: The preparation for this trip started nine months ago over a glass of white wine in a small Vancouver bar. Fueled by inebriation, Emma Lynds (36-year-old mother of two, black belt and owner of Elements Academy of Martial Arts) and I (martial arts rookie) decided to set ourselves the ambitious challenge of taking part in our first Muay Thai fight in Thailand. Neither one of us had fought before, but somehow after a glass or two of Pinot Grigio, it sounded like an inspired idea and entirely rational.

We arrived in Phuket and plunged straight in to training 4-5hrs per day in 34 degree heat. Sweat didn’t just drip off us; it flowed like rivers out of every part of our body. We would run, skip, do push ups, shadow box and finally hit the pats in the ring or the heavy bags (or, more often than not, both)….twice a day.

Despite rounding off the training with a thorough stretching session, we were still left clutching what bits of our body still moved as we scooter’d our way back to the hotel, positioning our sporty short shorts over the scorching seat as best we could.

During those first two days, head trainer, Sing, watched both Emma and I to determine our fighting fate. Would we meet the standard he required of his fighters or would we need more time? On Wednesday, he announced that Emma would fight on Friday but I would need more time. Something I didn’t have on this short trip.

I faced this decision with mixed emotions but thanks to support and positive encouragement from friends and family, I relaxed in to enjoying the rest of my training.

How did Emma do? I’ll post a copy of her fight video shortly.

In the meantime we’re back and, rather than giving myself time to fall of the wagon as I’d promised myself, it’s straight back in to training ready for the Tiger Balm Internationals this Sunday (more on this shortly).

I just want to say a huge thank you to friends and family who all supported this crazy idea and to those who pushed me physically and mentally way beyond what I thought I could possibly do (Cliff and Wilf: I’m talking about you!!). I have every intention of being the last one standing this weekend.


March 5, 2010 by

Aeroplane to ThailandIn 24hrs we’ll be boarding  the plane to Thailand.

I can’t believe it’s here. We started counting down our time in months, which soon became weeks, then days….and now only hours remain. And I’ve still not packed! I’ve started the washing, which I guess is the first step of packing, and I have my currency and passport. So no matter what happens I’ll have clean clothes and money in my pocket, which isn’t such a bad place to start. You can do a lot in 24hrs though. I’m sure there’s still time…!?!

Tonight is my last session in the gym. I can’t tell you how much I’ve been looking forward to saying those words. The gym and I have a love / hate relationship: I never regret going but dragging myself down there is such a battle sometimes, especially early mornings on the weekend when the roads are quiet and everyone else is sensibly enjoying a lie-in, followed by what I jealously imagine while pounding the treadmill are sleepy breakfasts in bed and leisurely loafing around.

But will I be able to stop going when I get back? I’m not sure. You get to a point where you’re so proud of your progress so far that you’re not quite ready to put the brakes on and slip back a couple of steps. Guess I’ll revisit that question when I return.

So it’s goodbye for a short while. I’ll try and update the site while I’m away but I can’t guarantee I’ll be able to process anything sensible after 5hrs of training a day!

Women and martial arts

March 4, 2010 by

Martial arts for womenI came across this post today by a female martial artist and was amazed at how well she’d articulated the reasons why martial arts and, in particular MMA, can be such a rewarding sport. For both men and women.

There are no right or wrong reasons for getting in to martial arts. Maybe you do it just to get fit, perhaps it’s to fight or maybe one day to be the proud owner of a black belt. Whatever your motivation, I’ve learned first-hand that it’s a journey and a learning experience that can change you in so many ways: Confidence, fitness, ability, flexibility and mind-set, to name just a few. And despite what you might think, age and experience are not barriers.

So if you’re open to tranforming your body, skills and confidence in a way you could never imagine I highly recommend martial arts.  Plus, there are so many different types out there there that there really is something to suit everyone.

Are you a martial artist or perhaps someone who’s thinking of taking it up? I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences.