Darkness & gloom

I’d like to say that despite my inability to train, I remained focused and determined. Afraid it just isn’t so. From the very day I left England, I began sliding on slope lubricated by alcohol and mischief. As injuries plagued my campaign to become a sweet, real life ninja, I continued to slide. Inch by inch. Meter by meter. I left Phuket with a motive to sit tight and gather my thoughts. This also did not go to plan, I found myself swept up in a inexplicably frenetic rush. I flew from Phuket to Kuala Lumpur, flew from KL to Bangkok, flew from Bangkok to Phuket, bused from Phuket to Bangkok, bused from Bangkok to Pattaya, Pattaya to Bangkok….and now here I am panting in semi-exhaustion and severe confusion. There is so little sense in the above travel routes that it makes my face hurt. Especially Pattaya. Never will you find a more wretched hive of scum & villainy.

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So it turns out that Pattaya is the sex capitol of Thailand and home to a thousand old white guys and a numberless horde of young Thai girls. My brief time there was a fascinating insight into the stranger side of humanity. I (perhaps foolishly) went for a massage & in the space of an hour I had two different guys have sex on the mattress next to me. My masseuse was genuinely confused by my lack of sexual intentions & greatly amused by my reactions to the comings & goings of the establishment. Even though I don’t like Pattaya, I don’t want my opinions to seem high & mighty. I have seen and done many strange things in my time, and no doubt have many more wacky and unpredictable adventures ahead of me. Being human is an ugly business. It isn’t neat or pretty all the time. Even simple matters like eating & mating for us inevitably are messy and often embarrassing affairs. These squishy meat-puppets endowed with consciousness are imperfect things. And fascinatingly so. I’m glad I went to Pattaya, even if I never intend to return.

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One of the best parts of the past few crazy weeks was (against all odds) my return to Phuket. It was brief and very expensive, but it allowed me to watch 2 friends hop into the ring & flail their enemies with Muay Thai. It was amazing to watch my Thai trainer/ drinking partner (weirdest combo ever right?) absolutely decimate his opponent in the first right using a vicious combination of angry right hooks and horrifying elbow strikes. I had drank and smoked so much with the man that I was secretly doubting his combative abilities. How wrong I was.
I also had the pleasure of watching a Swedish training partner jump into the ring & fight like crazy for 5 rounds. I love to watch fighting, in all it’s forms, but the experience is enhanced so very much when someone you really know is in that ring. I cheered and screamed like crazy, I was spouting absolute innate drivel by the end of the fight. I think I actually proposed to her from the stands at the end of round three. Sadly sporadic marriage offer was lost in the din and roar of the crowd, but we did laugh about it in the post fight drinking.

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Ahhh drinking. Too much drinking. Be warned if you ever come to Bangkok, this is a dangerous place for thirsty folk. Fun, but your wallet will take a savage beating. I know mine has. So much so that, I must change my initial plans and take the slow road back to paid employment. A heartbreaking notion, but I think that’s where things stand. I have not wanted to admit it, planning has been slow and reluctant. Perhaps that is why I have been so sluggish in typing this blog. It all stings, right in the pride.
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From the shadows amongst broken dreams, with a great weariness & much failure.

Peace, Love & a hope of one day seeing Triangles again…

Scotty

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.’

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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