Week 3 Tiger Muay Thai

Week 3! Big week. Big, big week.

Well, The good news is…

After a visit to the hospital and having my skin checked by biopsy, I have been cleared of fungus and received the Dr’s green light for grappling, punching stuff and other super awesome activities! So naturally I was pretty pleased to be making a return to the mats.

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Yeah, check out my post training peace sign/ thumbs up combo.
I had the pleasure of meeting UFC veteran Roger Huerta during a BJJ class and to discuss the progress of my former training partner, rising star Alex Volkanovski. I am not ashamed to say, I was a little overwhelmed by being in the same place as one of the fighters who inspired my explorations into MMA. It was a bit of a fanboy moment for me & I regret nothing. This week I have been privileged to watch some epic local Muay Thai. Including Tiger’s BJJ Coach Alex Schild spectacular knock-out victory, which was a pleasure to watch. If you ever get the chance to see Muay Thai matches live in Thailand, I highly recommend the experience. Each night usually hosts about 10 or so fights, usually with varying skill levels through the night. It is common to see matches with foreigners or young children competing. Whilst savage at first glance, the sport is highly technical, with success often requiring a strong fit body and a cunning mind.AlexSchildpostfight

Tiger BJJ Coach Alex Schild post fight.
This week also saw the 86th Tiger Muay Thai BBQ beatdown, a monthly party in which guests BBQ, drink & socialise. Most people train pretty hard, so the night off & social atmosphere is a welcome change. Several guest provide entertainment in the form of Amateur Muay Thai or MMA matches, then followed by standard drunk dancing. This gave me the perfect opportunity to unleash my questionable dancing skills and cheer at my fellows beating each other senseless. UFC and Pride Legend Mark Hunt was the guest of the night, who provided me with even for fanboy excitement. This reached a climax when I literally bumped into him at the bar and immediately panicked, fleeing like a small child.

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Because, you know….Mark Hunt is kinda scary.
The bad news is, in classic ‘returning from a training layoff’ style, I have managed to acquire a minor injury during training. Last night, whilst my bear-like brother attempted to pass my guard I managed to strain some muscles in my core. A quick Dr visit confirmed no bone damage to the rib, estimated 2- 4 week recovery time. So training will be rather limited again for the near future. Which sucks of course, but could be much much worse. The rest of my time here at time is probably a training write off, so between all my medical disasters, I will only manage around 5 training sessions in a one month period. Abysmal, but better than none. This month has not gone to plan, but things rarely do. The way we deal with this, and every other problem we encounter, this is the true display of one’s character. Or for all you Sci-fi nerds, to put it a different way:

‘The success or failure of your deeds, does not add up to the sum of your life. Your spirit cannot be weighed. Judge yourself by the intentions of your actions and the strength with which you faced the challenges that have stood your way. The Universe is vast and we are small. There is only one thing we can truly ever control, whether we are good or evil.’

Oma Desala
Now, the terms ‘Good’ & ‘Evil’ are highly subjective, but nevertheless I love the spirit of this quote. So much of life truly is outside our control & this isn’t such a bad thing. It’s natural to wish to control everything, it happens to all of us, but in truth, we have so very little control over anything in life. People and circumstances will surprise us. Our bodies inevitably betray us. Our own thoughts wriggle and squirm through dark places we would rather not go. Don’t panic. Just do your best boys and girls. Do your best to be good. Love what you love, it is a much better use of your time than hating what you hate.

Peace. Love. Triangles.

Scotty

Tiger Muay Thai Thailand week 2

Two weeks in the sun and rain of tropical Thailand. Two weeks living on-site at Tiger Muay Thai , the largest Muay Thai gym in the country, possibly the world. Yet sadly I STILL have not managed to set foot on the mats or even lace up a glove. My cursed Ringworm clings on, stubbornly refusing to die, leaving me unable to participate in training or join in any Reindeer games. I have managed to acquire some peeling skin from too much sun though. Might even get a tan yet? Other than that it would be fair to say that thing are not going to plan. Having a contagious skin condition whilst living at a martial arts camp is not a fun situation. I feel unclean, a bit like a leper.

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I find myself extremely reluctant to socialise under the circumstances, which is a shame as I am undoubtedly surrounded by fascinating people. The camp, though obviously male dominated, also hosts a surprising number of females. Most of whom could beat me senseless and take my lunch money.
The past two weeks have been plagued by notions of being ready to train and repetitious thoughts of how long recovery will take. In a few days I should be ready. Hopefully by the weekend. Maybe next week?

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Setting imaginary deadlines in my mind and failing to reach them over and over again. This has been going on in my mind since the beginning of May, when this whole fiasco started. Will I heal in time to train before the BJJ Globetrotters camp? Will I recover before Denmark? Before Thailand? Frankly, it’s exhausting. Just like worrying over anything outside of your control, a thorough misuse of mental energy. And although I feel I have realised that fact from the beginning, knowing and doing are two completely different things. But everyday I seek to make peace with my situation, knowing it is temporary. Knowing I am doing everything I can. And knowing, that with any perspective even slightly removed from my own little world….that it really isn’t a big deal. Maybe I won’t actually get to train at Tiger this time around. That would be a shame. A disappointment. But that’s all. Life is full of disappointment. It’s easy to be happy when things are going your way. Easier to be kind or friendly or generous. But why should happiness depend on external sources? Isn’t there so much to be happy about in just being here? Just being on Earth with all the rainbows, sunshine and sea creatures? Sunsets every day, sleeping every night. Everyday another wacky adventure amongst the crazy people of Earth.
Undoubtedly amazing stuff, but not always so easy to appreciate. All too often we get bogged down in thoughts of the future or past and completely miss the present, where you know, we actually live. All too often we get caught up in the ‘normal’ routine and forget about the sunsets. I am as guilty as any for this, which is a shame because I love sunshine and rainbows.
Yet I promise I will try not to whine too much more about my shitty little first world problem. I have 2 weeks left in this fascinating country & I aim not to spend them moaning.
So enjoy the sunsets boys and girls. Enjoy the stars or the Moon. Or your sexy sexy lover. Just enjoy something. Enjoy today and I will do the same.

 

Peace. Love. Triangles. (and just a little bit of Ringworm)
Scotty

Arrival at Tiger Muay Thai, Thailand

Denmark’s Distortion  festival tried it’s best to kill me, yet somehow I survived and limped onto a plane, dishevelled and hung-over. My flight took me first to Russia, for a brief layover in Moscow, where I was ridiculed by several Russians for not actually staying in there country.

Horrific proof that America did indeed win the Cold War

As one of the biggest items on my bucket list, the comments stung. However, I am adamant about having a good grasp of the Russian language & decent finances before I take on the Russians. So for now, Russia will have to wait, I have another target in my crosshairs.

Phuket, Thailand!
It’s hot, sweaty, full of tourists and for the next month will be my home. More specifically Tiger Muay Thai will be my home.

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A giant sprawling gym filled with fighters and martial arts enthusiasts of all levels. I have the pleasure of living on-site in a spartan dorm room and awaking everyday to the sounds of training and the unmitigated heat of Thailand.

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It’s a pretty cool place to be, however, sadly, I am still shaking off the effects of Ringworm and am unable to participate in training. Hopefully next week I will actually be able to begin the TRAINING part of my traveling/training adventure. Sadly Denmark cost me more than currency, a week of hard drinking & poor diet have left me a little worse for wear. My solo exercising outside of the gym has shown me just have far I have to go in the fitness world. Adjusting to the heat & shaking off the partying has not been as smooth as I would hope, thanks a lot Past-Scotty. But every day I improve & am eagerly counting the days until I can grapple, punch & kick my way to exhaustion and beyond. The atmosphere of the camp is brilliant. Even though I have yet to participate in the camaraderie, it is obviously riddled throughout the camp. Everywhere you look people are pushing themselves, sweating & beating the crap out of each other or pads. Thai trainers shouts & the clack of shins hitting pads fill the air through all hours of the day. I will show you around the gym properly once I am taking part in it, for now the idea of snapping photos of places I can’t train in is a bit too much. But soon. Soon I will be another sweaty beginner, flailing about in a overtired mess, struggling to keep up with the class. I for one, cannot wait!
Adorably, my family who have not seen me for over a year, came out to Thailand to visit.  My brother is even spending the month training here at Tiger with me! How fucking cool is that? Seeing them has been brilliant and a reminder of just how long I have been away from ‘home’. I use the term home tentatively, as I am not certain that the area I grew up in truly holds that place in my heart anymore. It will always be sacred to me, no doubt, but is it truly home? I am not so sure. Perhaps I will find a new home on my travels? Or a hundred new homes? Only time will tell.
For now, this is a nice place to be. And for today, that’s enough.

Peace. Love. Triangles.

From a sunburnt and sweaty,
Scotty

Time Distortion in Copenhagen

Let me just start by saying that this has been a rather strange week. Coming from the schedualed and somewhat socially isolated lifestyle of being a Live-in-Carer, to find myself loosed upon the streets of Copenhagen amidst the organised chaos of Distortion…it’s been an adjustment. Whilst originally intending to be busy rolling around with the BJJ Globetrotters, sadly I have remained ridden with Ringworm for the entire whole week.

So what was planned to be a week of this…

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(See how much fun choking each other is?)

Happygrappling

 

Turned into a week of this….

 

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Distorted Sunset

Scandinavian sunsets truly are a wonder to behold. This week I have managed to catch more sunrises that sunsets so far. In truth, these days of partying have done my body no favours for the impending month at Tiger Muay Thai. But you know, to be happiest in life, we must be willing to adapt. To play the cards that we are given and to make our own fun. So, unfortunately, I didn’t get the chance to try and choke anybody this week. But I did have all manner of unpredictable and wacky adventures. Including but not limited to:
I used my (terrible!) Russian language skills to meet new friends.
I wove my way through the thronging mass-human street partys of Distortion, hugging strangers and sharing sweat/drinks/laughter in the streets of Copenhagen.
I got myself lost and overwhelmed by the Danish public transport system, so much so that I had to be rescued by a lovely Viking lady after visiting the free city of Christiania.
I danced my way through pubs, clubs, streets, festivals, islands, tunnels, bridges, buses, tents and shipping containers.
I meet celebrity tattoo artists and watched a Danish cage-fighter DJ in a neon chicken suit.I meditated in the sunshine amongst Copenhagens beautiful greenery .

Scotty-down!

I raved all night and slept all day, waking up in time for hostel ‘happy hour’  (chocolates courtesy of my Irish bunkmates).

I met Hungarians, Russians, Estonians, French, Canadians, Finns, Dutch, Danish, Swedes, Irish, Scottish, Americans, Polish, Kiwis, English and of course; bloody Australians. In doing so, I gained drunken glimpses into different cultures and many different peoples. Explored dreams, learnt some history and discussed desires for the future. I became part of a drunken Danish belly wrestling group, losing woefully. I caved to inexplicable social pressure and licked a strange man’s nipples. I was accosted by Danish students who insisted I was blessed by Unicorns and reverantly garbed me in flowers. I had a beautician/scientist inexplicably yet forcefully wash my hair at 5am, for no reason at all. I even won a game of pool, that’s been awhile! I drank, I danced, I made my ancestors proud.

Thordrinking

The entire week has been a blur of madness and misadventures of a social, solo-traveling drunk white guy. As I type this however, the BJJ Globetrotters will be involved in a friendly Jiu Jitsu tournament to wrap up the party camp, which I have been eagerly anticipating for months. If I could choose, I would much rather be there than here typing of my drunken antics on a keyboard. But sadly, we don’t always get to choose in life. And since I am here, in this situation, I am going to do my best to enjoy it. And you know what? Lying here in the hostel common room, with my Danish beer and my tasty Danish pastry….things aren’t so bad. Not my first choice, but fuck it, today is still a really good day to be alive.
Tomorrow I fly for Thailand, with a brief yet exciting stop-over in Moscow airport (time for more shamefully bad Russian practice). Stay tuned for more stangeness and bad grammar.

Peace. Love. Triangles. (And drunk hugs)

Scotty

First step stumble

Today, is my last weekend of paid work before setting off on my global combative adventures. Exciting times. I have worked the past 6 months solidly as a Live-in-Carer to finance my venture. All the while eagerly anticipating my emancipation. So eagerly in fact, that I planned ahead much more thoroughly than usual. I booked a week in Copenhagen, Denmark on the way to SE Asia. This Danish week was plotted to be my week of glory. Joining the BJJ Globetrotters for a 6 day camp of martial arts and awesome. I have been eagerly anticipating this week for months now. Ticking another day off my calendar every night, watching the slow yet steady march of time bringing me closer to my objective.
Training as much as possible to hone my limited skills to be ready for the camp. Carefully monitoring my diet; even eating as a Vegetarian & Vegan for a month each of the year. Vegan was bloody challenging. Daily stretching to increase my flexibility. It became my mission every day to prepare myself.

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But, life does not always go to plan. Today I sent an email in which I regretfully announced I could not participate in the camp. Due to Ringworm. Gross and debilitating, Ringworm.

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I picked it up from a sparring partner & had been desperately hopeful of healing in time for Denmark. But it was not so. The first step in my traveling martial arts odyssey has been a stumble. Not only was I unable to train for the whole month of May, but now am unable to attend the BJJ Globetrotters event. My Thailand camp might even be in jeopardy. It is not ideal. It’s not great. My carefully laid plans gone askew by circumstances outside my control.
And that’s life right? The story we have in our head about how things will go, is often just that. A story we tell ourselves. Just thoughts.
Being involved in another person’s life these past months, I have glimpsed a entirely different way of living. I have been entwined in the life of a person, who due to circumstances outside their control, simply has less options than most people. A hell of a lot less. He doesn’t have the option of scratching his own nose. It’s just not in the cards. And yet somehow this man still remains a decent and thoughtful human being. The whole thing is mind-boggling. How often have we heard the saying ‘ at least you have your health’? I can remember thinking that to be one of the most unhelpful statements ever. I understand it a little better now. The ability to use my fingers to type this (somewhat whiny) post, is a great and fantastic thing. Being able to scratch your own nose, is a greatly underrated ability.
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I am not happy to have Ringworm. It’s itchy and unsightly. I feel like something of a modern day leper, not my sexiest moment. But it will pass. It is temporary. Just like everything else.
Life is dynamic, it’s constantly changing. And even though that fact is biting me in the ass right now, I love it. The unpredictable nature of the human experience is one of the most fascinating parts. And trying to live a peaceful, meaningful life within that swirling, unknowable chaos is all part of the fun.
So enjoy the moments as they pass. Focus on the good bits. Grow the things you love, don’t sweat the other stuff. Life is grand boys & girls.
Hope your today is a glorious one, full of nose scratching and other fun stuff.

Peace.Love.Triangles (& ringworm)
Scotty

Helpful resources

It’s good to have friends. I am (so!) proud to have friends in different countries all over the world. Meeting people is one of the best things about travelling and I am incredibly eager to discover new humans as my adventures continue.
It’s also good to have options and ideas.
In this post I wanted to create a list of some of the people and resources that have helped me in my attempts to explore myself and the planet. Some of these are people I have met on my travels, others are just great sites. But they have all helped me along the way, one way or another. Many have paid options but most are free and all have at least some free content.

Travellers
If exploring the world is your cup of tea, you might be interested in checking out these gentlemen. Both have shiny websites loaded with great content about travel and life.

greatbigscaryworld
This fantastic character I met in Norway whilst volunteering. His incredible adventures and insightful thoughts are well documented, focusing on dealing with fear and inexperience whilst living a kick-ass life. Awesome guy, awesome site.

giveliveexplore
One of the first travel blogs I ever read, I stumbled across Matt whilst spinning my wheels financially and day-dreaming about exploring the world. I emailed him after reading a particularly inspiring post and was happily shocked one random day when he mailed me a postcard from Iceland. Although I have never met him, he has nonetheless helped me on my journey.

Exploring self
Changing the world starts with changing yourself, right? If you agree or even if you don’t, these sites kick serious ass.

 

artofmanliness
One of my all time favourite websites, it has inspired my countless times. Focuses on how to be a better man, without being a douche-bag about it. Worthy cause.

Liveyourlegend
A site focused upon finding meaningful work and doing a job you love. A idea I think is pretty awesome. Good resources and thought provoking content.

Escapethecity
Another of my early inspiration sites, this caters more to providing skilled professionals with alternate career opportunities. Although I largely didn’t posses the skills required, I still really enjoyed the spirit of the site and found links to other projects through it.

nerdfitness
As a nerd at heart, this fitness oriented site appeals to me greatly. Lots of free content conveyed in a fun and genuine fashion.

TedX
Ideas worth spreading indeed. TedX also has a channel on Youtube, great ideas over countless different topics. If you are going to procrastinate, use this instead of pictures of cats.

BJJ
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, ‘the gentle art’ of grown men rolling around on the ground for fun. Do you love pyjama parties? Are you into choking people? Want to become better at being a human? Then this sport might be your next favourite activity. Below are links to highly passionate practitioners with awesome style at living.

 

Bjjglobetrotters
Home to mat-surfing: an ingenious blend of couch-surfing style hosting with training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, the perfect resource for the BJJ traveller.

grapplearts
Stephan is both hilarious and highly informative. His articles cover all things BJJ ,(and I do mean ALL things; everything from Ringworm treatment to BJJ techniques for the zombie apocalypse) are extremely useful and written with a genuine and well communicated style. He also has dozens of videos on Youtube and tonnes of free content.

Languages
Ever wanted to learn another tongue? Even just a few words can go along way in connecting with people in a foreign country.

 

Duolingo
The most user friendly  FREE site/app for languages I have found yet, I am super excited for the Russian for English speakers due in August.

Memrise

Another good FREE languages site/ app, I found it particularly helpful for learning Cyrillic script in Russian, also available as a free app.

 

Travel resources
It can be pretty overwhelming out there in a unknown land. Having a few ‘go-to’ sites is rather handy, here are some of mine.

(getting around)

Wiki-hitch
Hitch-hiking is a incredibly fun and cost efficient way of getting around. This wiki is great for tips, general information and specific hitching locations.

Rio2rome
Helpful for planning how to get from ‘A’ to ‘B’ in strange places all over the world. The estimated journey costs are not always 100% accurate but are great for a general guide.

Couchsurfing
Not only an alternate means of accommodation, but also a great way to meet fellow travellers and locals. Couchsurfing hosts many events all over the world, which you can attend to network, even if you don’t sleep on anyone’s couch.

Tinder
Wait, what now? A dating app? I will not pretend to be a huge fan of online dating, but travelling often means being versatile and open-minded. Tinder doesn’t have to be sleazy or overtly sexual Like everything else in life, the experience you have will be largely influenced by YOU. It CAN be a great tool for meeting fellow travellers or getting to know locals. Or it can be a medium to convey pictures of your genitals to complete strangers. Your call, no judgement here.

(Volunteering)

Workaway
I am a huge, huge fan. Absolutely life-changing website. Volunteer and cultural exchange all around the world, with a incredible verity of projects. The site does charge a fee to sign up (approx. 30£ for 2 years, some of the best money I have ever spent) but is free to browse, I highly recommend that you do.

HelpX
Very similar idea to Workaway, hosts all over the world looking to exchange food/lodgings in return for unpaid work. Also free to browse but requires sign up to contact hosts, similar cost to Workaway. Many hosts will appear on both sites as it is free to be a host. I personally enjoy the Workaway site more, but this is mainly aesthetic.

 

It sounds basic and obvious, but don’t forget when faced with a random problem or when in doubt; ‘Google-that-shit’. The internet is your friend, between Youtube and Google, there are countless strangers waiting to help you solve your problem. Don’t panic, just type in the problem and let the world help.

I should point out, that none of these sites or people pay me to put them here. These are simply all people and resources I have found helpful. I hope you do too.

Peace. Love. Triangles.
Scotty