John Hyon Ko, The AllStar’s Senior MMA Correspondent, is conducting a training camp in Phuket. He will be documenting his experiences in this blog over the coming months as he prepares for his first MMA fight later this year.
After two months of focusing on getting my mind and body prepared for the intensity of mixed martial arts, I will be ramping up my training regimen with the team at Bangtao Muay Thai & MMA over the next three months in Phase 2 of my adventure.
I have learned a lot about the sport and myself through this process and the difficult aspects have not even begun.
My coaches have decided that I need to have a schedule that consists of two no-gi grappling classes, two MMA classes (sparring & technique), two S&C sessions, two fitness classes, two mitt sessions with TopNoi (for Muay Thai), and George Hickman (MMA striking), and not to mention the extra practice with teammates. So much to absorb and compute. Not to mention the physical toll it is going to take on my body.
Phase 2 is going to be nuts.
A storm has started early in the morning and I am not about to go out in that storm. Riding on a motorbike in heavy rain with slippery roads is a task and completely dangerous. So I decided to stay in my little humble abode and spend the whole morning on editing and work-related tasks. The internet and electricity keep going out so I don’t know how much I will be able to get done. The storm is fast and furious.
Thinking about taking another day of rest so I can let my hip heal. I will see how I feel at 4pm and maybe I will go to MMA sparring.
Decided to take the rest of the day off and let my body have some more recovery time. Plus it is pissing rain outside and I am kinda scared to go out there and battle the water.
I will likely need to rearrange my schedule for the week since I have a doctor’s appointment on Wednesday morning and missed two workouts on Monday. I will need to have the doctor look at my shoulders and hip. Looks like I might have some ligament issues or muscle tears. But that is a diagnosis I just came up with. We will see what the doctor says.
Woke up on Saturday and had a few interviews to conduct before heading to fitness class. Ran over time so I was late to class and could not participate. So I got on the assault bike and rode it for around 30 minutes.
Then, I headed over to the MMA area and did some work on the bag. Practicing form and combinations for a few rounds. While I was doing this, a UFC fighter was going through a circuit that looked so grueling that I felt bad for them. Cardio is king!
Thursday morning I went to fitness class to do my weekly five rounds, five minutes routine. Everything was going well until one of the stations required me to do get-ups. While I was dropping back during the exercise I tweaked my hip once again. This time when I got back up it was painful. Sharp, stabbing feeling. Like a knife carving.
Toughed out the rest of the workout and went home to lay down and relax. Rest. Skipped S&C again.
Today the hip is still bothering me but I got a mitt session with George and I cannot miss it. Low impact workout, hopefully.
Yesterday was an off day for me. Did not hit mitts with Topnoi so I decided to just go to the gym and break a sweat alone. Did 30 minutes on the rowing machine and 20 minutes on the assault bike and some laps around the track before and after.
My body still aching so I went for a massage and shut it down for the rest of the day. My hip is still bothering me and it hurts like someone is stabbing me on the inside part of my left hip. It sucks!
This morning I woke at 6am and when I got out of bed my hip did not have any pain. Only time will tell. Get some work done at my desk and go to training at 10am. See how that goes.
Went to MMA technique class and learned so much about hip positioning and control inside the guard. From striking to takedown to ground and pound is such an intricate puzzle. Controlling your opponent and causing damage is such a difficult endeavor.
During one of my takedowns, I decided to switch to a high crotch and lifted my training partner Ken. Once I lifted him, felt the sharp pain in my hip. I battled through since there were no live rounds.
Talked to someone and they recommended a doctor to help with my hip issues and everything else. Trying to see him soon. Haven’t seen a doctor yet but I am getting closer to finding a good one.
After a good night’s sleep, I woke up extra early. Did some editing and work for The AllStar and headed to 10am no-gi grappling class. My hip is still bothering me so I decided to just involve myself in the drills and technique aspect again.
We had a special guest instructor, Cody Steele. He taught us some leg lock techniques. This is the first time I have ever drilled any leg attacks in my life. I played around with people in the past but never sat down and really focused.
I had a difficult time understanding exactly how to get to every position but when we drilling Cody came by and gave us some tips. Little adjustments mean the world.
When it was time to spar I stepped out and went over to the fitness area to ride the assault bike for 30 minutes. Rewatched the first Volkanovski-Holloway fight and toughed out the session. My hip was slightly bothering me throughout but nothing too debilitating.
Got back to the room I am staying in while it was not raining. Riding in the rain sucks hard.
Worked on some videos, edited my vlog, and tried to get some rest before 4pm MMA sparring.
I had the worst day in sparring. Nothing was working. My body wasn’t responding. Very frustrating and discouraging. Terrible. Just terrible.
Woke up this morning to having immediate pain in my left hip. I have no idea where this is coming from. Maybe I tweaked it during a grappling exchange? I don’t know but it hurts like hell. I really need to see a physio. Or any doctor. But until then I will just do what I can.
Today is fitness class at 9am and S&C at 5pm tonight. Let’s see if I make it through.
Balancing work and training has become a difficult task. Waking up every morning at 4 or 5am to conduct interviews, edit videos, and many other tasks can be tiresome especially if you are expected to train twice a day. It actually gives me anxiety. Am I doing enough at work? Am I doing enough so I don’t get smashed inside that cage? These are the questions burning through my mind every day. It is stressful but something I need to figure out so I can be productive in both aspects.
Today I have no-gi grappling at 10am and MMA technique at 4pm. Hopefully, I can make it to both classes and learn something. Update on my health: pulled muscle on the right side of my back, stiffness in lower back, left hip soreness. Need to make some adjustments so I can train while still hurt.
It is raining this morning. An excuse to not go to training is waiting in the wings.
Made it to both sessions and even did an interview between those workouts. Even though I had a little bit of pain, I made adjustments and did what I could. Today was a fun and an educational day since I learned a lot of new techniques.
A long morning of interviews, editing, writing, and organizing. Finished just in time to go to my 1pm session with Topnoi.
It was fun working with him. He has a good combination of fun and seriousness. He is teaching me how to throw proper knees down the middle and elbows at the end of combinations. The elbows are fun the throw. I don’t know why people do not utilize those during street fights.
Anyways, during one kick I pulled the muscle in my back again. It is straight pain. It comes and goes so I toughed it out and did the whole session. I did not want to cancel the session since he is doing it as a favor.
Even with the injury, I had a productive session with Topnoi. He is such a good instructor.
I rewatched the session and I noticed that I am carrying a little more weight than I should. I need to watch my diet a little better. It is a struggle.
I was supposed to go to wrestling at 4pm but with the back problem, it is better to sit out today.
Today is the start of my intense training. Monday consists of no-gi grappling in the morning at 10am and MMA sparring at 4pm.
Woke up still groggy from the weekend of bad cuisine choices and late-night shenanigans. Pulled myself out of bed, did some work, and headed to class.
The grappling class is headed by Alex Schild, ONE Championship veteran and BJJ black belt, who does an incredible job showing technique. He took us threw a counter to double underhooks that led to a kimura finish.
I was drilling with Che and a woman. We were all at different levels but it worked out well. Che being the more advanced grappler did most of the instructing. I learned a lot of small details that will come in handy.
When it was time to spar, I decided to not spar due to my muscle issues on the right side of my back. But I did head to MMA sparring later that day.
MMA sparring was fun. I did 4 rounds with all different body types and styles. I got hit more and had frustration because my feet did not move the way I wanted. Sometimes I feel like I am so slow compared to everyone. I feel slow out there. One bright side is that I land the calf kick more often than not.
Did I mention that I went off the rails the last few weeks and ate junk food a few times during the week. This battle with food has been rough. I hope I can control myself moving forward.