Tuesday, 30 March 2010
Monday, 29 March 2010
The Fighting Photographer is currently enjoying an extended training holiday here in the Far East, partaking in BJJ at the Bangkok BJJ Academy, headed by black belt Adam Kayoom and at the time of writing, is residing on the island of Phuket, staying at the Tiger Muay Thai and MMA Academy.
Immersing himself in the arts of Muay Thai, Western Boxing, MMA and Krabi Krabong, the FP is ever ready on reporting duties and brings to you a round up of the seminar hosted by the New York Bad Ass himself, Mr Phil Baroni.
Phil is at the camp for six to eight weeks, preparing himself for his upcoming fight in the UFC, opponent unknown at the time of writing; Phil is concentrating on Muay Thai, specifically low kicks and clinch work with trainer Yod, adding to his fearsome wrestling skills, as well as getting away from everything in the US and refocusing himself for his next fight.
During his stay at the camp, Phil hosted what was to be his second seminar in his career and with the upcoming Never Tap 2 no gi event being hosted the day after the seminar, Phil gave a master class in wrestling for grappling. The seminar was held in the cage area on the camp and for once, it was a pleasure not to train with metres of tape on the fingers and wrists, as per normal in the cold and dreary UK. Niggling injuries disappear in the humid tropical heat of Phuket and the warm up consisted of pummeling with various partners and then it was onto business, Baroni style. Watching on mat side were Throwdown team member Jon Vargas and Shooto legend Boku
Phil showed the students how to move as a wrestler and with good posture, all the while protecting the lead leg and moving the rear hand, moving backward and forward and side to side; Phil went on to show the way he manages to get the single under hook and head control, which was the main thrust of the seminar and went on to explain that this tie up can be achieved by anyone, whether they’ve wrestled or not before.
From the tie up, Phil showed one move to get your opponent to the ground quickly and two neat little turns one that many where familiar with, but with an extra twist from the Bad Ass, all of which guaranteed an easy time on the ground and a quick way to get the upper hand in a fight.
The second move shown was when the opponent defends the move described above, which moved into a neat little single leg pick up and Phil broke the move down into minute detail, ensuring everyone had the sequence of moves in the bag and again Phil stressed that is the move was done in sequence, he should be seeing many attacks in the no gi event the next day.
Questions and answer with Phil, together with photo opportunities ended the afternoon seminar and of course, the FP will be at the Never Tap event cheering on friends and competing himself and who knows, may even surprise himself and pull off a single leg or two – until next time, train hard and train safe!
Pix courtesy of the Fighting Photographer and Robin Merrill of Tiger Muay Thai Camp
Sunday, 28 March 2010
HUGE congrats to UMA main man Jim Mc Sherry, who stepped up at the weekend and competed at the British Open and walked away with the gold medal, showing the young guns that us Seniors can still walk the walk!
All the best mate, see you when I get back!
Saturday, 27 March 2010
Had a great day today, won one and lost one; pulled off the old school scissor sweep in both fights, together with a good old hip throw in the second fight and a guard pass I've been teaching for the last few months in class, together with omoplata attacks and a Brabo choke that wa shalf on half off. The fights were all 3x3 minutes, a real test in the heat and I am pleased to say I never felt tired in both matches. Cardio's been a real hindrance of mine and I think the Thai training gave me a much needed boost and I really suited the hot weather to compete in.
Highlight of my day was getting complimented from Phil Baroni, who reffed my second fight, as well as Boku.
All fights will be on YT in a few days and one of the other photographers took some good pix of me in action too, all will be posted on here in due course.
Friday, 26 March 2010
Way, way back in the early days of my martial arts training, when I had just started in Karate, I read an article in a martial arts magazine, about a guy who travelled to Bangkok and trained at Jittis Gym. After reading the article, I wrote a letter to Jittis Gym, asking about the training and was very surprised to receive a reply and an open invitation from Jitti to train at the gym.
I wrote that letter almost twenty years ago and I still have Jitti’s return letter and finally after all these years, I managed to honour Jitti’s kind invitation and took part in an afternoon class. I was over in Thailand on a six weeks training vacation and for the first week, I was training at Bangkok BJJ with black belt Adam Kayoom; Adam was busy preparing for a Thai fight in Bangkok and was already training at the gym, so I made my way with Adam and took my first real Muay Thai class.
The journey to the gym was an adventure in itself, as we took a scooter taxi to the train station, weaving in and out of the heavy traffic on the Suhkumvit Road, before getting off and catching the underground to Ratchadapisek station. A five minute walk from the station brings you to Jittis Gym, a very non descript back street indeed, nothing like I envisioned it to be.
To be fair, the place should be called Jittis Outdoor Thai Boxing Gym, as that was the general lay out of the place, everything is covered by a tin roof; there is a small kitchen and eating area, dorms for the fighters and then the gym itself. Walking in to the gym, on the left is the boxing ring and warm up area, to the right a matted area and a small weights section and that’s your lot. Being at the nucleus of Thai boxing, you do not get more authentic than this and all over the walls, fight posters and pictures of stadium champions jostled with UFC and Pride posters and I spotted a Caged Steel poster on the wall too.
First things first, the warm up; even though the weather was stiflingly hot, I was handed a heavy set of tube skipping ropes and started to warm up and dispense almost fifty per cent of my body weight in sweat onto the mats. Hydration is paramount when training in Thailand, the last thing you need is the cramps or even worse, passing out from dehydration.
As the saying goes, ‘it’s a small world’ and it was certainly the case for me at the gym, as I bumped into a few guys from the UK, Darren O’ Connor from Liverpool and Jamie Lee, who trains with Ozzy Haluk at Manchester Ground and Pound. Both fighters had recently fought at the stadiums in Bangkok and were on light training for the afternoon.
Shadow boxing followed the ropes, with plenty of sit ups and leg raises and other conditioning exercises and then I was summoned in to the ring by one of the trainers; not being one of the most skilful of strikers, I was pretty nervous not to make a complete fool of myself, but after a minute with the pad man, I was made to feel like a seasoned pro. They shouted out punching combos, always finishing with a kick, followed by elbow and knee combos and then mixing everything up in the last minute, bringing to an end a five minute round. Walking back to the corner, another trainer was at hand to pour ice-cold water over your head and give you a quick massage and stretch and then it was back in the ring for another five minute round.
In total, I managed eight rounds and was ready to collapse and die in the ring, but the session was far from over; climbing out of the ring, I went onto the other mats and went through half a dozen rounds of shadow boxing and twenty minutes clinch work, before completing another six rounds on the focus mitts with another trainer, once again hitting the pads like a pro, thanks to their skills.
More conditioning followed and finally the session was at an end and twenty minutes of stretching and massaging ended the session and when I looked at the clock, three and half hours had passed in the blink of an eye and another box ticked off from my Bucket List.
I can honestly say I have never ever sweated as much in my entire life in a training session like I did that afternoon in Bangkok and I had another six weeks of training like this to look forward to, both in Bangkok and Phuket. The Thai trainers are unbelievable in their skills on the pads, even more so in making me look like a Lumpini veteran in less than five minutes; I learned so much in such a short a space of time from the trainers, all their tips and advice coming with a large friendly smile.
I was in the homeland of Thai Boxing training and felt privileged and honoured to take part and experience a training session alongside pro fighters who were all hard at it preparing for upcoming fights at the stadiums; I even met Jitti and explained to him about me sending the letter to him many years and he flashed a big wide smile and shook my hand said I was very welcome to come and train there again.
Wringing out my training shorts and t shirt, I headed back to the train station with Adam and went back to the hotel, via the underground and Sky Train, looking forward to a nice meal of noodles and chicken before joining in the BJJ session later in the evening. BJJ and MMA in the Far East is gaining fast in popularity and when you have the best Thai Boxing gyms in the world to hone your skills and compliment your MMA arsenal, you’re well on your way to becoming a force to be reckoned with.
Jittis Gym – 12 Ratchadapisek Soi 19, Dindang, Huay-Kwang, Bangkok, 10320
One off drop in training fee – 400 Baht (less than £10 sterling).
Tuesday, 23 March 2010
Please bear with me with the Blog, it's not panned out the way I wished; I didn't have free wi fi in Bangkok, so therefore had no time really to Blog on here. Now I am at the Tiger Camp and with free wi fi, I will be able to post more often, so will start with the training here in Phuket.
Had a nice easy flight down to Phuket and an even easier ride in a fully air con people carrier to the camp and that was the last time I would see A/C. Having plumped for the budget fighter room, the room comes with no air con, so it's a matter of having to adjust to the heat in the room at night.
The Tiger Camp is situated outdoors, with all the areas covered by tin roofs; there are 5 rings, a cage, weights and kettle bell areas all on site, together with office and food and drinks bar.
Upon arrival which was about 11pm, there was no one about so I had a quick look round and then went top bed and tried to get some sleep; the bed was very springy and lumpy and I managed about an hour's sleep and attended the Yoga class at 7am.
The session is a godsend for anyone training here; I've always been into Yoga and there is a session every morning at the same time and is a great way to start the day and get your mindset in the right place, ready for the day ahead.
8am arrived and there followed three and a half hours of Thai training, from warm ups, techniques, bag and pad work, ring work, clinch work and plenty of conditioning and sweating.
There are quite a few UK guys here at the camp and it wasn't long before new friends were made and I knew most of the gyms the other lads train out of; the Thai session over, I headed off for a shower and had one of my daily meal allowances, having pre paid for a meal plan. This gives you two healthy meals a day washed down with water and fruit and saves you the hassle of having to cook. It's so cheap to eat you don't need to make the food yourself, just take a walk to one of the many bars and there is food galore and all very cheap.
The wise people on the camp all scurried off and went into their rooms and tried to get some sleep, not easy when your room is right in the middle of the camp, with privates going on and your fridge and fan on the go all day. Hoping for an easier experience on the mattress, I put mine on the floor and had 2 hours solid sleep, much to my suprise.
Energised and refreshed I hit the MMA class - 3x5 mins with a Thai trainer on the pads, 3x5 mins bag work and 3x5 mins light sparring makes the warm up section and then it was an open mat, due to the upcoming Never Tap 2 event this Saturday, plus a BBQ Beatdown, where you eat and drink as much as you can handle and watch some smoker fights in MMA and Thai. All goes well I'll be in the event and may even do an MMA fight; it's 16 oz gloes and shins on each fight but it's going to be a fun day and Ray, the MMA coach will be on hand making sure we don't kill each other.
So that's been my day; had dinner with Phil Baroni who's here for the Never Tap event and will be giving a wrestling masterclass this Friday and also met and hung out with Shooto legend Buko, watching him train and witnessing some serious athletic and acrobatic skills.
Ended the day off watching UFC Live with Jon Jones v Brandon Vera on the main event, eating BBQ chicken and fresh fruit with all the Tiger Camp lads at Tony's Restaurant, just a few double legs away from the Tiger Camp.
So now it's off to bed, on the floor again, as 7am will be here way to quick!
Friday, 19 March 2010
Many apologies for the delay in getting on here, my laptop decided to die on me a few weeks ago and have been waiting for a replacement, which finally arrived the day before I was due to set off. I wanted to post on here and build up to the travelling day itself, but you can't win 'em all!
Just a quick post to say I'm here safe and sound and have trained in BJJ, no gi and Thai in the few days I have been here, trained at the legendary Jitti Gym in Bagkok, pix and words to follow.
Just in an internet cafe soaking up my roadside meal of coconut soup and stir fried chicked and noodles after a long hard afternoon's Thai training.
Soon as I get to Phuket in a few days I will have more time to Blog (I hope).
So until then, goodbye!