Welcome to the Suck

Anthony: I just ran through incoming to get a dead fucking battery.
Troy: Welcome to the Suck.

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Everyday, from the day you were born to now, you’ve fought to stay alive. Right now, your body fights invaders and disease, your heart pumps over and over to push blood and keep you going. Your brain makes a million decisions on its own that make your body ready for whatever shit you’ll encounter, be it a tiger or an on-coming car. You’re alive today because you have fought for every minute of life.

Life’s a war and we are all warriors.

When you think on that, think about how you act in social situations. The time you let someone push you aside or the way that chick took your seat when you went to take a piss. Did you bow your head and let it pass? When your girl gets mad, did you “yes dear” your way out? Did she get what she wanted despite it being the absolute wrong decision? Did she test you and win?

It may be the way our society works today, but that’s not how to win a war.

“I’m sorry, honey.”

Don’t think because you haven’t been a strong person means you can’t be one. Everyone can fight. Every man born has a God-given ability to rise. I started my current job in film with a fear of making mistakes. I felt small and useless among those who have worked in it much longer than I. I got angry at myself a lot. Yet, it did not take long for my natural ability and my vast confidence to come out. Now, my boss looks to me for answers and his boss compliments me on my way of thinking. What was indecision last month is purpose now. I walk into work, no matter the situation, knowing I can win.

Fearless at Exceed and Lead posted this gem last month, and it fits with how I currently run:

A man’s potential is unlimited, the reasoning goes. A man can reach any heights in life in any sphere of activity. But in order to defeat his opponents a man must first overcome himself, combat his own fears, his lack of confidence and laziness. The path upwards is one of continual battle with oneself. A man must force himself to rise sooner than the others and go to bed later. He must exclude from his life everything that prevents him from achieving his objective. He must subordinate the whole of his existence to the strictest regime. He must give up taking days off. He must use his time to the best possible advantage and fit in even more than was thought possible. A man aiming for a particular target can succeed only if he uses every minute of his life to the maximum advantage for carrying out his plan. A man should find four hours’ sleep quite sufficient, and the rest of his time can be used for concentrating on the achievement of his objective.

Work to improve. Work to survive. Work to live.

Work to win.

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Amused Mastery and Queen Street Corner

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There’s a mess of men waiting down Queen Street. Saturday fight night celebrations. Bartenders scrambling between pitchers and dispensers and the screams of young ladies in the mode. The young waitresses snaking through fat bellies and high heels, drinks and food held high between the drunks and the tokers. The old men slapping each other’s backs and the young ones giving fist bumps or handshakes too complicated for their clothing.

I find the last stool left and hop up to the bar. The man behind the bar offer’s me a pint of Blue, drink of choice during cheap pint nights. I nod and look up to the screen. The Prelims are over. Two beat ugly chicks stand in the middle of the Octogon. Glad I missed that. To my left, a group of four of Niagara Falls finest common women chat up a storm with a giant plate of cheese drowned nachos before them, already half eaten. None of them particularly attractive, but cute enough, except for the obligatory fat friend with a string of melted marble hanging from the corner of her lips. Reminds me of bad porno.

The night could swing that way. Talking to what’s available, getting in to trouble with some psycho cunt like the last one I picked up from here. I could drink too much, lose sense, and go for what I can instead of what I want. Nodding to long, bitchy stories, hoping for a little pussy after taking their verbal beating. I could be the man at the end of the bar with the dog faced woman swinging her hands in anger at some slight long forgotten by the man hoping to sleep with her. I could be the stumbling man and the manjaw with spiked hair “female” slipping hands between legs in a booth, shot glasses scattered on the table. I could be the hipster puking in the bathroom, drink still in hand, alone holding his leaking pride.

I watch the fights instead. I drink a pint, I eat and I yell at the TV. Watching tough men with no killer instinct “fight”. The old man next to me agrees. We talk and laugh. We pick winners and end up right.

A tiny, strong-faced chick with a tad too much makeup, but an excellent body walks up directly between my senior friend and myself. High on the crowd or already drunk, she tries a smile at me. The old man, born years beyond the taint of modern femininity, offers up his food to the lucky lady. Her friend, a nerdy type, shy as a nun, grabs some as well. He offers his seat up. Another time, another way of manners.

Roy Nelson knocks out Chieck Kongo. Sonnen gets his ass beat. I order my last beer, the tiny chick basically laying in to me, drunk as fuck. No talking, just looks. She leeches off the old man while getting her attention from me. I slide out of my stool, making sure she feels my departure and go outside. I sit at the newly bought plastic patio chairs. The entertainment is about to begin.

It begins with a shouting match. A small group of guys close, but visibly on two sides. On the edges are the females of the pack, chatting fast, growing to screaming. In response, the rivals start to scream, barking like little dogs on the wrong side of a fence. The crowd grows. The bouncer shows up. I sip at my Blue, laughing. Someone swings, the women screech and yell in fear. Shocked faces from the others on the patio as the street fills up. The most exciting moment of their week is happening. The safety of their world is smashed for a few seconds as a war seems to descend on the corner. I smile at the nearest woman, “I love UFC nights.”

I go back inside to finish my last pint. “You’re back?” the bartender asks, since I paid my bill a while ago.

“I never left. I stay for the entertainment.” He laughs.

I sit again and beside me is the two girls from before. The whole of the old man’s food order before them. The tiny one is shitfaced, head on her arms, arms on the bar. The nerdy one is keeping her eye contact isolated. No one should look at her, her darting eyes say. I play with the change I have left in my hand. Enough for another drink for the ladies beside me, enough for a drink for me as well. I finish my beer and slide the glass to the edge and place the money beside it. Life is good. Life is getting much better. My gut tells me to pay it forward to the deserving and that would be the hard workers in front of me, not the parasites beside me.

I hop off the stool once again and tip my hat to the nerdy chick who quickly looks away. I smile, amused by everyone around me. This is how it works, I realize. This is how you should feel. Not neurotic. Not insecure. Not scared. Not fearful. Not worried about what you said or what you did to scare off a girl. Not caring that a fight is a foot away from you. Not caring about anything but your own relaxation and joy.

The common way to decribe this is feeling like a king. I’m no king. Kings are authority. I feel like an outlaw. As I’m breaking the rules of the world. Maybe I am, maybe I’m not, it doesn’t matter. What matters is the smile on my face, the spring in my step and the steel blue looks I give to the ones I deem worthy of my time.

Don’t Stop

My sleep had been off almost for a week. One day that lasted too long, and I just couldn’t get back into the groove. Napping days turning into sleepless nights. Frustration set in. Its still off, but I’ve had enough.

Don’t be surprised when your rest kills the rest of your spirit. It bites into your day and what you can accomplish, even if you’re unemployed. There are 960 minutes in a 16 hour day, if you sleep for 8 hours. That’s 960 minutes to get your ass in gear. To work out, to look for work, to clean, to read, to do anything, but sit there and say “There’s nothing to do.” There is always something to do that improves your body and mind.

The biggest killer of motivation is inaction. When you slow, you falter. When you falter, you fall. I’ve worked a full 24 hours, slept for 4 and then gotten back up for another 12. I’ve come home sore and collapsed to get up and do it again. I’ve burned my body to the core before and I did it because there was something coming after. Always after.

When you’re stuck in a rut where you can’t go out, work, or whatever. Remember its just a bump. Its not a roadblock that ends the road your on. Any roadblock is a barrier YOU have put up for yourself. When you say “I can’t,” its no one else’s fault but your own. Climb, dig, tear that motherfucker down brick by brick if you have to. You can trip, get scraped up and cringe through pain, you can rest for minute, but don’t ever, ever stop going towards what you want.

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Warrior Blood


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In the last few days I’ve started a regimen of supplements to aid in my quest for a better body and better life.

I take it all in the morning after breakfast. 1 Jamieson Vita-Vim, 1 Jamieson Wild Salmon & Fish Oils and I just added a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to green tea.

Even without the ACV, I was off the walls yesterday. It felt like a whole new person was in my body, burning everything I had inside.

Fuckin’ A.

ACV is kicking in… this is going to be good.

Why You Should Learn Muay Thai: Blocking

Muay Thai blocking is quite simple. There’s no tiger claw or upper, lower, horse head’s foot move. The fanciness has been taken out and what’s left is easy and effective.

Head

To protect yourself from jabs, up/down elblows and anything coming for your face straight on its typical boxing “HANDS UP” style. Put both your forearms in front of your head and keep as small of a gap as possible between them. Its effective for jabs and the like, but it keeps you wide open to hooks, kicks and spinning punches/elbows that aim for your jaw and temple.

The other style of blocking for your noggin is this:

Make sure to be aware of where the punch will land. Your forearm is strong, but there are many degrees you can bend this block. A good opponent will always probe you before tossing his hard strikes. Never get to comfortable with a way of holding your arm. And, as shown in the picture, get that shoulder in their tight. A blow to a strong shoulder and the forearm instead of one or the other will make strikes easier to buffer and spread the damage.

Legs

Its all in the legs. When a low or mid leg strike comes your way, you lift your leg up like this:

The power of the kick is deflected by the flexibility and strength of your lower leg. Always, ALWAYS, try to avoid blocking a kick with your thigh or hip if you can, unless you can get the kick to hit directly on hip bone (good luck). The reason for the leg block is for the shin of your opponent to hit the side of your shinbone and calf, mitigating the muscle cramping malice the kick is meant to inflict. Muay Thai fighters train so that their legs are like steel bars, where muscle and bone can take multiple strikes of enormous power. Train your legs for that. Practice on soft wood. Smack your shins with sticks. Get those micro fractures going, safely of course. To fight Muay Thai, you need to train as the Thai experts have done. They used banana trees. The West, not so much, but we find our ways. Padded bags are better on your legs if you train alot, but never forget you need to build up your bones as well as muscle to fight. The less experienced, like wannabe tough guy MMA fighters, end up with floppy, broken legs because they practice their strikes on soft bags and when a good kick or well timed block hits… CRACK.

This is what bad training gets you.

Next Post: Strikes.

Why You Should Learn Muay Thai: Movement

Moving around in Muay Thai isn’t complicated, but it requires a good amount of body awareness. Unlike karate or kung fu, where there is several stances, this art involves two stances (which I know of), that are at your leisure. You can use them, or mix them up, its up to you.

Leverage Stance

The easiest stance, but one that leaves your quite vulnerable, is what I call the leverage stance. This is how it looks:

All pics are grabbed from YouTube.

Keeping your strong leg in the back allows you to gain extra power for kicks, punches and the like, but it opens up your weak leg to the devastating leg kicks that Muay Thai is known for. You may be able to get knock out blows from this stance, but any experienced fighter will see that your weak leg (in this case, the left) is wide open. A good half dozen well targeted strikes on that thigh and he’ll be limping. I recommend that beginners use the leverage stance to get used to the strikes of Muay Thai, but always keep in mind that you’ll need to evolve to the next stance eventually.

Neutral Stance

Its much closer than the other guy, just a bad angle.

The neutral stance is a stance I learned from an experienced fighter/trainer at the gym who was kind enough to show me it on his free time. The neutral stance pulls back your weak leg as close to your strong leg as possible, if not at equal placement. This reduces its vulnerability and allows quicker reaction times (the split second between having your leg flexed during a strike and being able to block is paramount). But, for the inexperienced fighter, creating the full body force to strike is harder. Less pivot movement, less swing, less power. When I cover striking, I’ll show how this stance can aid in your kicks and punches without putting your front leg into mortal danger.

Moving

Moving in Muay Thai is taught to beginners by imagining a square. You start at a corner and then move around the square over and over. If you were starting at the top left corner, you would step over with your back leg (in leverage stance), then slide over your front leg, as if it was a dead limb. To move back, you step back with your strong leg and, again, drag the front leg. But, to move left, you use your front leg and drag the back leg. YOU MUST NEVER CROSS YOUR LEGS. Never. That opens you up to trips, punches, etc and if you’re caught crossing your legs when struck, your balance is fucked and that’s that. In neutral stance, its the same way. Slide your leg, preferably the one closest to the edge of the invisible square, and slide it in the direction you want to go, never crossing your legs. When you start this, it`ll seem strange, but after a few hours of training, its easy and becomes the second layer of your basic Muay Thai fighting style.

Keep Loose

While I trained, I was nervous as fuck. Put on top of that that I was a beta freak scared of my wife`s opinion on the matter (she didn`t like I was training), I was as stiff as a virgin watching Baywatch. I slide around the square as if I was on a track. No bounce, no sway. My movements were wooden, my strikes straight armed; if I was ever put in a real fight, my arms would of been broken on impact. You must ALWAYS keep your limbs loose when striking. This might sound strange when this art involves moves that can break bones, but its for your well-being. Its not the power behind the strike that trainers worry about, its the extension.

You need buffering when you`re tossing out punches and kicks with the force that Muay Thai expects. Hitting a guy at the very end of your reach puts your arm out to be grappled, or if he blocks it correctly, the angle may sprain your limbs or worse. You need to keep aware of your body`s ability to absorb the impact of the strike your sending out. If you think the extension is too far, or that your straining yourself to commit to the strike, then don`t do it. It will throw off your balance and contort your limbs. Your body will thank you for using your head.

These things are the foundation of Muay Thai fighting. Like you see in any number of martial art movies or Karate Kid rip-offs, the first thing you must learn is balance and movement. If you can`t move, you can`t dodge. If you can`t dodge, you can`t block. If you can`t block, you may as well be a punching bag for your opponent.

Next Post: Blocking

Why You Should Learn Muay Thai: Intro

Marital arts is a must for any man worth his balls. Not only do you get a great workout, you learn skills and techniques that may save your life one day, or at least win you a bar brawl or two. It pumps you up and with time, you’ll learn to be confident, if you aren’t already. I highly recommend Muay Thai, or the Art of Eight Limbs. It is a brutal striking martial art that will toughen you from your bones up, literally. Part of Muay Thai’s training is to create micro-fractures in your bones so that in time, and with a lot of calcium, your shins, elbows and such will be harder than steel.

I trained in Muay Thai for several months while in SLC. Due to obvious circumstances, my membership ended up going to waste. But, in that time, I learned more about real fighting than any other dojo I tried out in my youth. While karate or taekwondo would have you stand still and repeat after your sensei, my first lesson in Muay Thai was being shown how to move. Then punching combos and by the end of the free intro lesson, the instructor had me knocking off combos and kicking pads. Straight in, no nonsense. No belts. No gis. Just pure fighting. The last day I was there I sparred for a good half an hour, getting rocked and socked, bleeding and bruised. When I got home, I couldn’t of been more excited to get back. Sadly, bitches be crazy, but that’s a story already told.

In these next few posts, I’ll get across the basic movements, punches, kicks and other things a guy needs to train himself in his own home. And when I get back to training in a gym, I will pass along more nuanced tips and tricks for anyone who wants to train to be a fighter, but doesn’t have the money or bravery to do it with others.