It’s 5am, the cockerels next door have been cock-a-doodling for half an hour now. I lay awake. My legs are throbbing like someone snook into my room overnight and tried to saw my hamstrings. And the gash on my left foot won’t get much more time to heal.
Sleep = recovery, and I need more of it.
Only in Thailand would you be allowed to keep cockerels in the middle of a city I cursed to myself as I roll over to desperately try get a few more minutes sleep.
*Beep, Beep, Beep*
It’s 6am. It’s time. A 10KM uphill run rolled by 7 hours of intense body combat.
This is my holiday.
Earlier this year, while travelling in Asia, I spent a week in Chang Mai, north Thailandat the Lanna Muay Thai Boxing camp.
It was a gruelling experience. You train twice a day (6am-10am and 4pm – 7pm), every day and you’re pushed to the limit physically, mentally and emotionally.
I loved it.
The head sensei is called Andy, a truly inspirational guy who spent a lot of time teaching me the fundamentals of Muay Thai (similar to kickboxing) Andy’s calmness strikes you as you meet him, but he can knock you down with a kick to the head before you get time to blink (believe me, I know).
Andy is a Classic Mentor, he says:
I get more satisfaction teaching people who will never get in the ring to fight. Changing peoples’ lives, changing their mindset, telling them they can actually achieve this stuff.
As I trained and learned from Andy and his team, I experienced the self discipline required to train Muay Thai: Getting up every morning and coming back for more every afternoon, I soon noticed the similarities between Andy’s teachings and what we experience as entrepreneurs.
(I also learned that I’m about as flexible as a plank of wood and you should never, ever, drop your guard)
Before I left Chang Mai, Andy shared with me his philosophies on what it takes to be a success, self confidence, how to spot a bullshitter and his no 1 essential ingredient to winning.
When reading the below, simply substitute ‘fighter’ for ‘entrepreneur’, and ‘fight’ for ‘startup’ to see how it all applies to an entrepreneur
On Muay Thai and Business
Andy: ‘It’s not easy but if you persevere at it you’ll get better. And you have to do a lot of work on your own. You can’t wait all the time for people to come and tell you what to do. You have to be able to do it. Again, this applies in your everyday life.
Nobody’s gonna take your hand and tell you what to do and work every day. It’s up to you to go and do it.’
How to Spot if someone is the ‘Real Deal’ or a Bullsh!tter:
Andy: ‘The quickest way to say if the person is speaking the truth is that get them on pads.
I get people to come here all the time and tell me, “Oh Yeah! I fucked this and I’ve done that.” One minute on the pads and you tell me if you are telling the truth or not. So you can’t lie about yourself.
We had one guy here recently, he’s an American guy, and he was terrible. – “Oh, I’ve done this I’ve done that.” Take one look at him, not even on the pads, just sitting there on his bags. There’s no way this guy ever had a fight, let alone 50 of them’.
On Work Ethics:
Andy: ‘You have to work hard if you want to be a fighter. You have to train hard and you have to do it every day. No one’s going to chase you to come and train.
So you have to have a good work ethic to be a successful fighter. But then you have to have a good work ethic to be successful at anything’.
Why You Need to Take Action:
Andy: ‘The first thing you’ll learn from a fight is your own heart, whether you actually want to do this or not. I get a lot of tough guys saying, “Come on! Oh yeah! I’m a street fighter.” They get in the ring and suddenly there’s a person opposite them who is trying to do the exact same thing his trying to do. And they change. They don’t have the heart to fight.
You’re choosing to get into that ring. And when you choose to get in that ring, you got to face up against somebody else and actually go and try to fight them and they try to do the same thing to you, it’s a different ball game.
So, you learn about yourself whether you really want to do this or not. Okay? Not everybody is meant to be a fighter. Not everybody can fight. Everybody must fight in order to be good at it. So that’s the first thing you need to learn about yourself’.
Why Experience Is Key:
Andy: ‘It doesn’t matter how much I tell you “you have to train hard, you have to run…” It doesn’t matter. Until you have your first fight, you won’t believe me. Nobody believes me, until they have their first fight. Once they have their first fight I guarantee you they come back and sit down and they go, “You’re right! I need to get more…” Everybody does. No exceptions.’
How Action Brings Confidence:
Andy: ‘Some of my best results have been with people who you never ever expect to get in the ring. I had one English guy come here and he was the mildest meekest guy in the world. Always the quiet little mouse in the corner. He looked like this and after 6 weeks – “Thank you very much I had a really good time. I feel very confident. I might even try and fight next time I come. ” It’s happened a lot with people.’
On Self Confidence:
Andy: ‘Self confidence comes through fitness through strength of the body. If you’re physically fit you’ll have self confidence in anything you want to get in life. You can get this from any kind of training.
But I think the one thing about doing a martial art or like this here, a fighting artist. It’s a pretty extreme sport. And it is extreme in one way that none other so-called “extreme sports” are, and having the fact that you are taking on another human being. Jump out an airplane or off a mountain or go up a mountain, that’s another different thing. You’re taking on nature. Taking on yourself. But when you get in that ring you no longer take on something, you take it on another person.’
‘It all ties in together. Everything that you have to do to train to fight, the time put in, the dedication, the perseverance, the good work ethic, patience. It’s all applicable in your ordinary life, outside the training here and outside of boxing and the fight. It’s all applicable; it will all help you just like it does in fighting help you in your ordinary life.’
The ‘Secret’ to Success:
Andy: ‘Consistency. That’s it. If you want it you must go do it. You must not do it for any other reason than you want to do it. If you really want to do it then just be consistent. That’s the only way you’re going to improve and get better. And there is no shortcut.
In fact, going a little bit slow to begin with is probably a shortcut – a quicker way to get there. Because everybody jumps in 2 feet first and gets hurt injury get time off and gets discourage. You’ve got to enjoy what you do. You got to take your time at it. You got to be patient at it. But be consistent.
Some people will come here, train in a month, and look like they’ve been here for 8 months and some people come here 8 months and look like they’ve only been here a month. But you know everybody gets there. Everyone gets there in the end.
There is no simple answer other than be consistent.
Do it every day and take time. Be patient. If you want to get an idea of what I’m talking about, there’s a small book it’s called ‘Mastery’ by George Leonard.
Google it you’ll find it.’
Thanks to Andy and his team for one of the most rewarding weeks of my life. You can contact the Lanna Muay Thai boxing campy by visiting their site: http://www.lannamuaythai.com/
If you like a challenge, I highly recommend it.
Any thoughts? Please share them in the comments below