I’m in a country I’ve never been to, all on my own, searching for a gym I’ve only known from TV and YouTube. It was the famous Wolfslair Academy in Liverpool, England. I’ve been watching their fighters on the UFC and thought it would be the best choice.
I just turned 18, had a few amateur fights and couldn’t wait to get on my first training trip.
Even the communication with the taxi driver was a problem, so how will I be able to understand the guys in the gym?
Without knowing what to expect I slowly and respectfully opened the door and stepped into the gym, interrupting the professional fighter’s training sessions. All these big beasts stopped for a second and looked at me. The welcome was everything else than warm.
“There is the changing room. Hurry up and jump in!”
I tried my best to keep up with the guys. My biggest fear was to look like a fool.
My training partner desperately tried to explain the drill to me, but the language barrier made it hard for me to understand. He turned around to his teammate and complained:”He doesn’t get it! What can I do?” – “Just knock him out”.
I realised I have to be highly focused and aware.
Being that, I picked up every technique like a sponge and made friendships that helped me later in my career to become the fighter I am today.
Fight holidays are what improves me most!
Since then I’ve never been on holiday without connecting it to a training camp. I’ve travelled numerous times to England and Thailand for better training and lifestyle. I made a few adjustments to get the most out of my trip.
It’s recommended to make the trip as comfortable and enjoyable as possible. I have slept on cold gym mats and it’s a good experience that I don’t want to make again. This “getting out of comfort zone”-talk is going way too far. You are already out of your comfort zone when training with all these new people in a new environment. Why not make the rest of the day enjoyable?
By giving your body and mind the rest with a nice holiday, you will get more out of the adaptation process and improve faster!
The wrong expectations
“I’m going to Thailand to be 100% serious about training without any distractions, train Muay Thai twice every day and become a beast!” That’s a very wrong expectation I hear from almost every person that travels to Thailand for the first time. Once they figure out they still have to put in legit work, they end up partying more than training.
Some people even want to get their life sorted and decide to come to Thailand. I’ve seem them end up partying every day with drugs and hookers instead of training. I really think Thailand is the wrong place to get your life sorted.
The fact is: A training holiday is full of distractions. Nothing bad about having fun now and then, but if your mindset isn’t strong and 100% determined in the first place, you will have a hard time improving as a fighter or a person.
You still need to put in the work. The harder you work, the more you deserve the holiday in between sessions. The combination will make you improve a lot but it’s simply not possible to become a completely different fighter.
Still, to me even a slight improvement is worth spending all my money.
The magic of training in a different gym
What is it that makes me improve so quickly in a foreign gym?
It’s new influences, new stimuli, new approaches. The change of scenery will make you highly alert. New coaches will give you another input with other views on technique. The key to learning here is to be open-minded.
Be open-minded and you will make major improvements.
The other gym is different. The smell is different, the colour of the mats is different, the training partners are different. You will make memories and connect these to the new learned techniques. It’s like creating more space in your brain. I still remember the exact scenery of learning a new technique in the MMA Academy in Liverpool and adding it straight to my game.
Connections and friendships
Maybe even worthier than the techniques I learned are the friendships I made on my trips. Fighters that train together have a special bond with each other, no matter where they come from.
I’ve met fighters from literally all over the world. Sometimes we never even spoke the same language, but we were still able to communicate and exchange.
I get inspired by getting to know how other fighters live, diet and train.
You can’t argue, having good friends all over the world has benefits. Without any intentions, these connections boosted my career big time.
It was Tony Moran, a fellow fighter I met at my first training trip at the Wolfslair, who hooked me up with a manager, gym and a fighting career in England. He supported me and without his help, I would not have been able to have this career.
He is not the only person that helped me. Even though I’m a travelling fighter with my own self-made approach, I have people that support me. These relationships are priceless and much needed if you want to be successful as a fighter.
Who doesn’t like adventures? Ask these back-packing girls that say they “love travelling” in their Instagram profile. Even though I don’t really get their intention, I can see that travelling gives them more life experience.
Adventures are exciting. They don’t just push you out of your comfort zone, but they also enlarge your comfort zone.
As I’m writing this I’m on my way to a new adventure. I’m on the plane, flying to Brazil for the first time, hoping to improve myself as a person and a fighter.
What I expect from this 4-week holiday:
- Experiencing a new lifestyle.
- Some good training with some of the best BJJ and MMA fighters.
- A good rest from everyday life.
- New friends
- New opportunities
You never know where these trips lead, but I always got the most out of them. They have always been very beneficial for me. One thing is for sure: I will come back as a better person and fighter with more knowledge and technique. I will be more open-minded and come back with a new approach towards my life and training.
Travelling makes you a better fighter.
I will keep you updated with travel reports.