Tag Archives: health

My Noxor-Androx experiment

I’ve lost a lot of weight since I started boxing back around April of this year.  Back then I weighed around 84 to 86 kg (around 185 lbs) and now, depending on how dehydrated my body is, I weigh 71 to 74 kg (around 156 lbs).

Nothing much in my wardrobe fits me right now including my winter jackets which is a problem because I’m pretty lazy when it comes to clothes shopping and it’s getting cold in Scotland. Working offshore doesn’t help either as the standard issue Brit offshore worker lives in a t-shirt and cargo shorts!

So right now my body looks like this:

I’m not quite in the Gerard Butler “300” or the Brad Pitt “Fight Club” range.

Now I’ve never really used supplements before and the key word being supplements not steroids! However an ESPN article I came across, caught my eye.  The article was on two supplements used together (a process called stacking) in order to promote lean muscle mass.  They are Noxor and Androx.  Pretty ridiculous names I know.  They sound like a Las Vegas male stripper act.

Androx comes in a little tube of 60 pills and Noxor comes as 90 pills.

Androx is a testosterone booster with the instructions to take 1-2 capsules a day with your meal.

Noxor contains various things that make you want to re-take high school Chemistry with the recommended use of taking 2-3 capsules 30-60 minutes before workout.

My intention was to trial these on my last offshore trip but they sadly arrived the day after I left for my work in Malaysia.  When I work offshore, I train everyday free from any kind of distraction whereas at home (which is where I am as I write this) I basically cut down to:

  1.  Monday: An hour long game of 5-aside football (soccer).
  2. Tuesday and Thursday: Boxing training sessions lasting 90 minutes.
  3. Two randomly chosen days where I do a 3km run with 25 minutes of shadowboxing afterwards.

The stuff at home and the offshore training since April has got me where I am right now in physical terms and I’m okay with that.  However there’s a part of me that’s interested if these supplements can make any difference.  They’re not exactly cheap either.  Noxor and Androx are sold together for 88 GBP which is 110 USD.  It’s not exactly Weight-Watchers or the Cambridge Diet but I guess it’s not too far from that principal!

I’m going to basically trial these two supplements to see if they actually do anything to my physique.  I’ll start taking them while I’m at home but only before I do any kind of training.

  • I’m not going to change my eating patterns or the types of food I eat.
  • I’m not going to do any additional fasting.

That’s important.  I’m just an ordinary guy training and eating with this one additional change to my routines.

My next offshore trip starts on the 14th December so there’s some crossover.  I’ll find out if this is 88 GBP worth of placebo or if there’s actually some benefit to this.

True mastery in boxing?

In boxing, the cultivation of  skill requires not only sound mechanics, but also an appreciation of timing, distance and rhythm.  Mastery of these qualities allows a boxer to apply his (or her) techniques most advantageously, when one is in an optimum position to attack or defend and the opponent is not.

Thus, correct application is what governs ring craft and should always be ranked above technique.  Anyone can throw a punch, but not everyone can position themselves to throw an effective punch without taking one in return.  

Controlling distance; mastering timing; setting up the opponent; hitting and not getting hit: that is boxing.

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Did you like that? I read that first from a guy named Lee Wylie.  I was studying a YouTube video of a southpaw boxer named Guillermo Rigondeaux which he made. (His channel name is  LeeWylie1 for anyone interested.)  Brixham Boxing Club have also cribbed a sentence or two.   Maybe Lee borrowed those words from somewhere else or maybe they’re his own but it’s a nice explanation of boxing.

I got back home 15 days ago and yesterday was my first supervised training.  I’ve actually been popping into Lusby’s Gym a few times just training by myself and training at home too.  I was slightly over middle-weight when I came home but a few days ago I managed to get back down to 75kg.  That strange obsession with my weight won’t go away.  Maybe it’s because I’m scared I’ll just pork right back up again.

I’m still enjoying it though.  Something about the training seems to calm me down.  Takes my mind off things.   As sad as it sounds, a lot of my internet time is spent on YouTube trawling for professional boxers training on the heavy bag, shadow boxing and how a person can train just using household items.  I love watching the Ukrainan boxer, Vasyl Lomachenko.  He’s a wonderful boxer to watch.  It’s like he’s on ice skates when he pivots around.  You can see him practicing those movements on a heavy bag.  Mayweather’s another one.  They do these open-training sessions that the press and media can watch and while they’re not hitting the bag full force, it’s just a gentle tap-tap-tap-tap.  You can set a metronome to it.  He’s there for over 10 minutes continuously.  It’s more tiring than it looks.

I find watching videos like that always freshens up your training; gives you new things to try; makes you think about your own form, your own learning.

Back to the one-to-one training Gary, I spent the session doing bag drills with exercises in-between.  So…

4 different bags in total.

2 minutes on each bag and a different exercise straight after the 2 minutes:

Bag#1 – 20 burpees

Bag#2 – 30 push ups

Bag#3 – 30 double-leg mountain climbs

Bag#4 – 30 crunches

That whole exercise was repeated again except it changed to one minute of rapid punching with the exercises halved.  Trust me, together with the punching, I was pretty tired afterwards.  We finished off with 2 rounds of Gary and the foam sticks.

When my hour was up, I spent another 45 minutes on my own practicing what I saw Lomachenko and Mayweather do on the heavy bags.  It was good that Gary got to see me move after 5 weeks away.  I’ll have to ask him later but I wonder if I’m moving a lot smoother and what I look like on the bags.  Do I look clumsy? Do I look like I know how to box? Somewhere in between?  Form is hard to maintain when you’re tired but I guess that’s why you train.  One of these days I’ll get a tripod for that GoPro camera I won and I can check if I’m moving correctly.


Beauty of style and harmony and grace and good rhythm depend on simplicity – Plato.

During the heat of battle a boxer has very little time to think.  Time spent on wasted motion and flashy moves is time spent getting hit.  True excellence in boxing, as in most arts, is achieved through mastery of the basics and doing the simple things well. – Lee Wylie

My coach Gary Morris

10 rounds and some fear factor

I’d already had an hour’s session in the morning when Jim poked his head into the instrument room in the afternoon and asked if I fancied doing some sparring.  That morning consisted of a 4km run and around half an hour of drills on the heavy and double end bag.  I was going to do another session in the evening but I didn’t expect to take my body into battle in the evening.

I had a little more trepidation this time.  Maybe because I knew my body had only just recovered from the 12 rounds on Sunday but I wanted to warm up this time.  Jim has his own 12oz gloves and I tried dropping a hint to him as he was wrapping up his hands mentioning there were some unworn 16oz gloves in the gym but he didn’t bite.  I have my pair of 16oz gloves which I always use but I also have a pair of 12oz I took with me, this time.  I haven’t used those yet, this trip.  Jim has only 12oz and it’s a slight advantage.  I didn’t do too badly last 12 rounds so I didn’t mind doing the same again.

One punch of his came and somehow slipped through a gap in my head guard and partially onto my right eye.  It rocked me back and I had to stop momentarily and shake that off.  I wondered if I was going to have a black eye but I had to put that to the back of my mind.  That was only Round 2.

I’ve been boxing for just shy of 6 months now and to be honest, the time and practice that I’ve put in equates more than what an average person would do.  But if you talk ring-craft, I only hold around 24 rounds of experience.  It shows.  I still have tendencies to turn away, my feet are not always balanced, I’m leaning forward or back a little too much.  There are a few hooks that come my way that I don’t even see coming and although a head guard can block off some peripheral vision, that’s lazy eyes on my part.  It tells me I’m not reading body language or aware enough yet.

Jim had gone for a run right before the sparring as well and I know he felt tired too.  It was near Round 7 we decided just to take it to 10 rounds only (and not 12) but even then I was flagging a little.  The first 12 rounds I practiced in that first week, my footwork was way better – I circled around much more and I was much more active.  This session, by the time I reached the 8th, all I wanted to do was Philly-shell up and keep Jim at bay but you can’t do that.  Even though you’re too tired to throw, you have to look like you want to throw otherwise you’re only inviting the other guy onto you.

I managed to survive the 10 rounds but I have a raft of questions that were in my head, that are still in my head today.  They’re all about how I can improve my balance so I am always in a position to throw punches.  Like someone commented… Boxing is about balance.  Keeping yours and taking it away from the other guy.

The two blows to my right pectoral that stopped me dead in my tracks during the sparring made it painful for me to sit up in my bed last night and this morning but it’s minimal stuff.  I’m going to give myself a week from Sunday before the next sparring.  I’m also going to put on my 12 oz gloves next time if Jim continues to wear his.  That will make it even.  My hand speed will be faster.  Faster to come back and protect my head, faster to jab out and ward him off.

Last night was good but I felt trepidation and I didn’t have that the first session.  Maybe because I knew this time I wasn’t 100% and maybe I knew Jim was faster than me which got into my head a little bit.  The bag work, the running, the jumping rope, the drills… that’s where you go to get the techniques.  Sparring?  That’s where you go to learn to fight.  You come to understand what works in the ring for you and what doesn’t work, what you’re doing good and what you’ve got to improve on.  It can’t be about you and someone else inflicting pain on each other – that’s pointless.  If I match up in glove weight with my opponent that will help me answer some more questions, I’m certain of that.  I won’t make that mistake again next session.  I’m getting hit more than Jim, that’s what I feel at least.  That’s not just down to the weight difference in gloves, of course not.  They call boxing The Sweet Science and in science experiments you need certain variables to remain constant in order to solve the other unknowns.

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Powers of recuperation

I remember reading this interview that Arnold Schwarzeneggar did while on the set of Terminator 3 way back when he was making a comeback as an action star (he must have been in his early sixties) and something he said stayed with me.  It was, “Look, I feel great.  I can do everythng I did when I was thirty years old… it just takes me longer to recover from it.”

Arnie nailed that last part in a nutshell.

Those 12 rounds that I sparred, you don’t realize it until after but parts of my body feel like they’ve been tenderized by a meat mallet.  I blocked off a large portion of shots and obviously Jim and me weren’t going at it hammer and tongs style but occassionally, some blows sneak through and the punches absorbed by the defense of your arms and shoulders… you can feel those the day after.

When I mentioned to Jim I was still aching yesterday I was thankful he said the same.  I think it would have demoralized me if he turned and looked puzzled at me and said “No, I feel great.”

The sparring was Sunday and this is Wednesday.  I took Tuesday-night training off and my body felt better this morning for it.  I think I may have been caught under my right arm, somewhere close to my armpit).  It’s tender when I throw an uppercut.  I just gave away my Ibuprofen to a guy who woke up with a cranky neck but I may ask for a couple of tablets back!

I’ve just been eating vegetables and rice this whole week.  I’m not a vegetarian so I’ll happily spoon the sauce from the cook’s chicken curry (for example) with my vegetables!  I can’t quite bring myself to give up desert though!  Saturday I’m going to let myself eat a steak.  Just the steak though.  Rare, bloody.  I can’t wait!  (To hell with it – I need some protein, right? I didn’t bring any Vega with me this time)

We were going to do another sparring session this Sunday which I’m really looking forward to but then Jim just walked into the instrument room just now (now being Thursday) and asked if I was alright for tonight.   I thought about it for a split second before I said yes.  I read a lot of comments on people who sparred for the first time.  There’s a handful that had an awful first-time experience being paired up inappriopriately or having a masochistic coach that insisted on the beginner “toughing it out” as a kind of ritual rather than something useful and progressive.  That’s such a waste.  How many good people who could have really enjoyed and become decent boxers were lost because of someone like that, teaching them?  I can only hope they found another club eventually and felt a little better about themselves instead of being made to feel useless.

When the buzzer goes on my iPod app and we touch gloves the adrenalin is already there.  Sometimes with things like this there’s a fight or flight response that kicks in.  Every animal has it.  If someone spits in your face in the middle of the street society tells you that it’s inaproproate and unlawful to to retaliate and those things are in the back of your head (for many decent civilians out there).  Most people aren’t cowardly – they’re only concerned about the repercusions – that’s what civilisation does to you.  But in a ring, you’re training.  The conditions are fair.  If you can hit me then I can certainly hit you back.  You’re free.  Truly free of any burden.   Some people go through life and don’t get the chance to experience what that’s like.

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I’ve moved to a self-hosted site

As of yesterday, I’ve moved from WordPress.com to a self-hosted site.  That basically means that if you’re following my blog, unless you’re following via email, you won’t be notified whenever I publicize a new post.  It won’t appear in the Reader anymore.

If you want to continue being updated you can just go to my website and “follow by email” which is available on the sidebar.

I really enjoy interacting with my readers and try to comment where I can – it always gives me a lot of encouragement to see people replying to stuff so I think it’s really important.  I’ve also struck up some good friendships in the blogosphere and I’d love to carry on doing that as well.  I’ll be sure to log into WordPress regularly and check my reader.  I’ve already started to visit followers sites so I can follow them via email.

Thanks everyone!

 

Heavy bag drills on a hot day

23.1°C was the max temperature recorded by the Met today in Glasgow.  That’s 73.6°F.  Pretty warm for Scotland!  It was hard going in the gym today.  The heat that seemed to hang in the air… my arms weren’t tired from punching but my chest felt really heavy like I was fighting for more oxygen.

My trainer played a dirty trick on me today too.

Gary: Pick a number from one to nine.

Me: Errr, okay… seven.

Gary: Okay that’s seven of the heavy bags.  So you’re going to do a two minutes on each bag followed by 30 seconds of fast punching and then I’ll give you an exercise of ten reps, (push-ups, jumping squats or crunches) and then onto the next bag.

Me: Shit.

I was wasted just after three of those bags.  Imagine how I felt when I looked at the other side of the room at the other four bags waiting for me.  I had very-little to nothing-left when I reached the last bag.

I enjoyed some of the pad work too.  There’s something really satisfying about popping some light shots off a pad that someone’s holding.  I got some slip training in as well – rolling my shoulders so that blows glance off me.  I’d love to do more of that so I can become quicker at it and become one of those really annoying slick fighters with good head movement.  Hard to hit, technically good so I could box my way out of trouble rather than be a brawler.  That was my dream but I don’t think you can pick the type of boxer you become anymore than you can pick whether you’re a man or a woman.  You are what you are and eventually your true nature reveals itself.

I had this moment near the end where I looked at Gary and said… “I’ll do whatever you want  me to.  I’m yours for this hour.  Just call it chief and I’ll do my best.”

Maybe it sounds hokey but I like moments like that.  That’s a warrior’s promise.  Yes I’m paying for Gary’s time but if you give me your time, I’ll forsake whatever physical disadvantages I have and be the best boxer I can be.  A person’s body, your physical beauty  – whether you believe that’s God-given or an act of nature – it has a finite shelf life and because of that, your journey and the destination, you have to think about it a little.  What do I want from this?  – That kind of thing.

I have to admit though… I miss the adrenaline rush and the buzz of being inside the ring.  It’s weird.  Nothing seems to compare to it.  I have practiced Kendo which is a Japanese form of fencing but nothing compares to that feeling I had being inside a ring.  You feel so alive, so wired up.

I miss it and I feel a bit like a junkie wondering when my next fix is going to be.  Gary’s taking some vacation time next week.  He’s back to Australia for two weeks so I’m fitting two one-to-one sessions this week before he goes so I don’t lose training time with him.

I think what I may do while he is away is drive down to SK Boxing Gym down in Govan – they have a couple of nights where they have an hour’s session dedicated to sparring…

… I’m hoping I can find a dance partner.

One thing though… I’m a student of Lusby’s Boxing Gym, Gary’s my trainer and although we’re not a large gym I’m very proud of those roots.  Whatever gym I choose to practice at – whoever I’m sparring against, I never forget that.

Gary on the right, me on the left at Lusby’s Boxing Gym.

Making shapes with shadow boxing

 

I spend a lot of time searching YouTube for pro boxers and their shadow boxing routines.  Something to do with my trainer always telling me to keep loose and keep flowing so I’m always looking for examples.

I started learning to shadow box by reading a guide by Johnny N then watching YouTube videos of Paul Williams, Manny Pacquiao, then Amir Khan, even an Instagram clip of Ivan Delgado.  Yesterday I came across Chris Eubank Junior’s 10-minute warm up.

His warm up was really impressive.  He’s stretching all his limbs and in between he’s shadowboxing – really small arm and shoulder movements at times but what I found impressive was watching him practice shifting his body weight:  A small step back, a little shuffle right, a subtle tilt of his body left.  Really deliberate.  It was like watching a sleek panther limbering up and moving.  Just watching him made me want to  start throwing and that was around midnight.

Like watching performance art.


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You’re always lucky if you find something that makes you feel free.  Exercise can be a horrible thing (I personally hate interval training!) but I don’t think of boxing as exercise (or football/soccer) – more about expression.  Hope everyone reading this has an activity that makes them feel the same.  It’s good to unburden the soul.

Weight obsession and 10,000 hours to become great?

I swear I’ve never been so obsessed with my own weight since I started to box.  If I go offshore I’ll probably weigh myself before the trip and then after the trip.  And then when I go home, I’ll probably never even look at the scales but now, I’m weighing myself every day or every other day.  I mean, I don’t even box competitively so there’s absolutely no reason why I need to stay within a certain weight bracket just yet.

…And yet… here I am weighing myself every other day, after I go to the toilet (maybe too much information there!)… it’s ridiculous.  Maybe because I’ve got it into my head that I don’t want to be above middleweight.  I mean can you blame me though?  Some of those guys above that weight are big.  You’re also talking about men that don’t have much body fat either.  It’s almost all muscle.

I’m reading this interesting book just now: Journeymen – The other side of the boxing business.  It’s about the less glamorous side of the UK boxing scene. It’s quite an eye opener.  These journeymen are like the poker grinders of the boxing world.  They fight a few times a month and are often pitted against younger, popular fighters that can sell tickets at venues.  Some of their records are terrible but it’s a mistake to think they can’t box.  They know a lot of tricks and their defence is good. It has to be.  If a journeyman boxer is cut then the officials will forbid that guy from fighting X number of days and therefore, no income to feed your family.  Journeymen boxers can get called up last minute to fill in a spot and they often fight in more than one weight bracket in order to pick up more work.  A guy can fight at one weight, one week and then a few days later he’ll bulk up to make the weight for another fight and then come back down weight again for the next.  It takes a lot of discipline to do that.  It’s a really good book.  I’m about halfway through it.

Talking about weight and eating, I’m trying to use up everything inside my freezer so yesterday was a food scrounge.  Managed to make a vegetarian curry out of the pepper, cauliflower and potato and I also made this lemon loaf cake with some lemons I found because… well… a house is always happier when there’s some kind of cake to eat.  It’s good for the soul.

Went for a run to clear my head.  Poppy’s mending but she can’t walk long distance yet.  I do miss those walks so I ran the route instead.  Nothing crazy.  I don’t time myself – it’s about 5 – 6 songs.  Maybe that’s around 20 minutes – probably equates to around 4 km.

That 10,000 hours thing…

I plan on doing some training later today.  I had some self doubting and self loathing yesterday when I suddenly thought what if I’m no good, what if I’m just looking stupid?  Have you ever seen that statistic that says it takes something like 10,000 hours to become good at something?

I tried to work it out:

If I go offshore, I spend 2.5 hrs a day training for 35 days = 87.5 hrs

I spend half a year offshore so that’s 6 (trips) x 87.5 = 525 hrs

When I’m at home I’ll train maybe a quarter of that 525 / 4 = 131 hrs

So at that rate of training… 10000 / (525+131) = 15 years

15 years to become good.  (Someone should check my math)

I’ve well and truly lost that window.  Ideally I’d want to start at 11 years old and hit my peak at 26 years of age.  That’s if you believe that 10,000-hour statistic.

I can’t just give up though.  I’m not going to be chump change for anyone.  I have to be able to hold my own in a ring.  Maybe that’s all this is. Some kind of pride thing.  I’m not sure anymore.

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Hand wrap review

Okay so it’s not a blog to set your hair alight but I just got back from offshore yesterday and I had a couple of parcels waiting for me like Christmas presents – plus I need a couple of days rest before I carry on with my training so I thought why not write this?

I love the process of wrapping your hands.  Like Johnny says on his ExpertBoxing website – wrapping your hands is the 5-10 minute ritual where any office worker, athlete or school kid transforms into a boxer.

You wrap your hands to protect the small bones in your hands so it’s very important you wrap your hands correctly. This wrapping your hand guide on ExpertBoxing is the only one I use (apparently recommended by Pepper Roach – Freddie Roach’s brother of Wildcard Boxing Gym)

I’ve been mainly using these wraps from Adidas while I was offshore, 4.5m long which is like 15ft.

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Really nice material with a little bit of stretch.  Much nicer material than the ones made by RDX.  I was training everyday with these for the last 5 weeks and they were washed every day too.  The only problem was that after 5 weeks, I found the velcro was wearing and it was losing its stickiness.

I ordered these VL-B wraps by Winning and their knuckle protectors while I was away and tried them on just now:

You just wrap over the knuckle protectors but it feels really good.  The Winning wrapping is much thinner than the Adidas type and it resembles the tape and gauze wrap that you see professionals using.  It’s very fine though and it was a touch more fiddly to keep the wrap straight when I was making my turns.  The Winning wrap is longer than 4.5m but you need that extra length.

My hand felt great though and it felt really good inside my glove.  I’ve never used additional padding on my knuckles before but I was putting a lot of time into the bag work and I may start using this more.

The Winning wrap and the protectors are washable and re-useable unlike the gauze and athletic tape that pros use.  I’ve never used the gel gloves or wrapped over these but Gary, my trainer, doesn’t recommend them.  I don’t know if anyone out there has tried gel gloves and wants to comment.  These knuckle protectors may be a happy medium.

Washing hand wrap is still a nightmare to untangle from the rest of your laundry and NEVER, EVER buy red hand wrap!  The colour will just run and stain your other laundry in your washing machine.  I’d stick to black, white or yellow.

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White collar boxing

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day…

Now whoever said that probably didn’t mean for me to eat double the intake to try and guarantee I had a grandiose style day.

I’m in the Scandic Solsiden in Trondheim Norway after a 5 week trip offshore so if you can’t take a few liberties here and there… well then… I don’t think life’s worth living

There’s a cost-reducing initiative at my company so getting off the boat and checking into the hotel – I had to double up with Bryan just for the night.  There was a moment of panic when we walked into the room and saw this:

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We just laughed at that point but I think we were both glad when we realized the beds could be pulled apart.

I’ve been working nights and the boxing’s taken its toll so as soon as I showered and sat in bed, I pretty much blacked out.

When I woke up I just lay in bed… window wide open, fresh air blowing in – plugged in my headphones and listened to some music… I thought about my wife, my dog, the boxing… just being home again – had a big smile on my face.  I went down for an early breakfast and just left Bryan sleeping with the room to himself.  Gotta give a guy his privacy.

Talk more about the white collar boxing!…

[…sorry yeah I was just getting onto that!…]

I’ve been reading other people’s blogs and I found a few good ones to follow including John Grimshaw, a guy training for an amateur charity boxing bout in 5 weeks.  It’s under the UK company Stealth UK Boxing.  StealthUK do these white collar boxing events where amateurs and beginners train for X-weeks and then they get to fight someone of equal ability.  They get the full arena-style experience and all the tickets that get sold, go to charity.  Sounds pretty awesome I have to say and I’m more than envious.  He’s got 8 weeks to lick himself into shape and he (and his wife) have my heartfelt admiration.  Training that intensely can take you away from the things and people you love and it’s never easy on your ties.  So if you’re reading this John, here’s to you, Mrs Grimshaw and baby Grimshaw.

There’s nothing like a deadline to keep you focussed either.

I’ve been boxing since April which puts me around 8 weeks but one day when my trainer Gary thinks I’m ready, I may look for something like this.  John’s bout is in Middleton, Manchester which is a little out of my way (me living in Scotland) but I’m not ruling out any part of the UK.  That’s the whole Musha shugyō thing again.

It’s not just about boxing or even health and fitness 🙂 … whatever you’re training in or whatever goal you want for yourself keep going for it and when you’re tired and strung out… just try to remember why you began in the first place.

As for me… well right now, I’m just looking forward to returning home.  I’m going to take a couple of days off this week and then I’m going to start training again.  Nothing too strenuous.  4-5 km runs and a bit of bag work.  That will shave my weight back down to 73 to 74 kg and in the second week, I’ll be back inside Lusby’s gym.  Back with Gary, back to my training and back to business.

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There are all kinds of people in the blogosphere and the rest of the world – with their own goals, heartache and personal motivations. I’ll try and say a prayer for all of you.  Love you all. – Southpaw Swan


Musha shugyō (武者修行?) is a samurai warrior’s quest or pilgrimage. The concept is similar to the Chinese Youxia, or Knight Errantry in feudal Europe. A warrior, called a shugyōsha, would wander the land practicing and honing his skills without the protection of his family or school.