The Benefits Of Being Injured

Ironically this was before I was all drugged up.

Ironically this was before I was all drugged up.

Breaking my arm sucked.

I mean, the fact that I won the US WKA title doesn’t suck, and the badass scar that I got from my surgery has a pretty cool story to go along with it, but I’d much rather not be injured so I could get back into the ring as soon as possible.

That being said, there has been plenty of positives that have come with being injured.

First and foremost, I’ve been able to eat whatever the fuck I want! It’s been great not having to worry about cutting weight or having to be on a limited diet during training camp.

Ironically, I’ve actually lost some weight even though I haven’t been eating as healthy as I normally do. I know, I know, I should still be watching what I eat. I mean, I wrote a 100 page nutrition guide about how important it is to eat healthy to get the most out of training… but since I don’t have a fight coming up, it’s been nice to binge eat and not worry about what I’m putting into my body for a change.

Don’t get me wrong, I still eat healthy meals like my paleo porridge, omelets and smoothies, but my cheat meals are gigantic compared to the ones I normally eat when I’m training for a fight. I also have much more of an issue staying away from the late night munchies due to my horrible sweet tooth that gives me the itch for donuts or Oreos (which is like crack to me).

Other than being a gluttonous pig, another benefit that has come from being injured has been the time I’ve had to take a step back and reflect on my career.

After being teeped in the face and seeing triple, I instantly thought of Rocky IV where he said "hit the one in the middle"

After being teeped in the face and seeing triple, I instantly thought of Rocky IV where he said “hit the one in the middle”

My last fight against Chris Williams was the toughest of my young career. Chris really pushed me past my comfort zone by breaking my arm in the first round with his massive kicks. Not only that, but his knees to my body knocked the wind out of my sails, and one of his front kicks went into my eye which scratched my cornea and had me seeing triple.

Being in a war like that made me think twice about my fighting style. Now I’m not saying I want to be less aggressive, because I think that has been a major reason why I’ve been on an 11 fight win streak, but I have to be smarter and more calculated so I don’t end up with another broken body part, or even worse, knocked out cold.

I’m not gonna lie though, I could be training a lot harder and a lot more consistently than I have been. It’s been hard to stay motivated when my training is so limited and I can’t fight for awhile. But, when I do train, I try to make it count by focusing on the areas of my game that need improving.

Obviously, having a broken left arm has kept me from using it during pad work, and I haven’t been able to spar at all, but I’m trying to look at it as a blessing in disguise. I know that I need to improve my defense and overall fight game, so my training has been mainly focused on footwork, evasiveness and lower body attacks (kicks and knees). I do feel like my kicks are more fluid and my hips aren’t as tight. I also feel more comfortable switching from orthodox to southpaw while striking and avoiding counters. So even though my training hasn’t been as intense or consistent, I do still feel like I am improving little by little.

It has been tough being injured, especially since my life revolves around the sport, but seeing fighters like Kevin Ross and Ky Hollenbeck stay motivated and focused during their down time while their injured has been motivation for me to stay positive and stay focused on my goals.

Knowing that I am moving to Thailand in about 3 months to train at Diamond Muay Thai has been a kick in the ass to get my ass back into shape. Life over on Koh Phangan island is going to be simple and refreshing, especially compared to New York City living, but just because I’ll be living in paradise and doing what I love doesn’t mean I’m going to be a lazy tourist who goes through the motions of everyday life.

I figure a good way to organize my thoughts, re-energize my training and hold myself accountable for my goals is to write them down, and that was this blog post essentially is. From now until I go to Thailand my goals are:

the benefits of training injured muay thai training journal

A great shot from Anthony B. Geathers of me shadowboxing before training.

1. Train 5-6x a week. Obviously my main focus will be my muay thai training, but I want to regain my strength and conditioning, so plyometrics, weights and calisthenics will be a part of my routine as well. Not only that, but I want to make sure I do yoga at least once a week, if not twice.

2. Spar hard. It would be nice to be confident in my arm before heading over to Thailand. Ideally I’d like to have one last fight before going over, but I’m hesitant to do so because I don’t want to re-injure it before my trip. If I can get some hard sparring sessions in and take a few hard kicks to my arm without much pain, I’ll be very happy.

3. Eat Healthier. Or just be more conscious and aware of what I’m putting into my body. No more buying 8 packs of donuts and eating them all in one day, or buying a pack of Oreos and having them demolished in the matter of hours. Time to get my mind and body back into peak condition.

Preparing for Thailand is one thing, but once I’m there, I’ll have a whole new set of goals. For now, these are the main training/fighting goals I have for my time in Thailand.

1. Fight once a month. Of course this will be barring any injuries or emergencies. Ideally I’d like to fight 2 times a month but I’ll be very happy with stepping in the ring at least once a month.

2. Not only win my fights, but improve my overall game. Obviously I’d like to win every fight I’m in, but my stay in Thailand is more to improve the diversity of my fight game. I’m vey heavy handed and like to use my boxing, but in Thailand boxing counts for almost nothing. If I want to win fights and be a more well-rounded fighter, I’m going to have to improve in all facets of my game.

3. Fight (and win) at Lumpinee and Rajadamnern stadiums. To be able to say that I’ve fought and won at two of the most legendary stadiums in the sport would be priceless. I know I have a long way to go before I get there, but since I’ll be in Thailand for over a year I think I’ll be able to reach that goal eventually.

Other than all my muay thai goals, I have a lot of personal goals including developing the website to be the top ranked muay thai website on the internet. I’ll also be sure to keep a blog of my life in Thailand along with the costs and entire process of making the move to Thailand. If you have any topics or questions you’d like me to cover, make sure you let me know!

With new year coming, everyone will be setting new goals for 2014, which is good and all, but I think you should be setting goals monthly, if not weekly. Since I listed my goals for the next few months and my upcoming trip to Thailand, I’m super interested to hear what your goals are for your training.

What are you planning to accomplish in the next few months?
Do you have any milestones you want to reach in 2014?
Write your goals in the comment section below and start holding yourself accountable to those goals today!

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Sean Fagan
Sean "Muay Thai Guy" Fagan owns & operates the largest online Muay Thai community and the #1 training resource for nak muay of all levels.

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