This is some padwork with Andy the day after my 39th fight. It was great to get straight back into training the morning after my fight (it was even an early night because every fight ended in KO) and had no injuries so I could work on everything. (Often I’ll have to avoid kicking on one side or the other due to shin lumps.) The first round was about 10 minutes long without a break and then we got more synchronized with the rest of the gym. It was nice doing pads with Andy because he’s been at Hill Camp for a while, so it’s been long enough between our sessions together that there is marked change. In the first round he held for some low kicks and was surprised by how improved they have become – I explained that JR had helped me with them.
It always takes a little while to get reacquainted with the patterns and style of a trainer you haven’t worked with in a while (or haven’t worked with before), so I felt a little wonky, off-balance and slow but had a lot of fun nonetheless. Kevin started recording a few minutes into the work and I watched it later and was pretty surprised at my own response to watching myself. It was the first time I was impressed by how balanced I seemed, how well I kept my hands up and just responded to whatever Andy was throwing at me despite how I’d felt (my awkwardness) during the actual rounds. That, to me, is a strong mark of a fighter: having balance and composed responses despite the difficulties or discomfort of the situation under which that person is moving. It’s nothing that I did so much as it is something I will now always do, it’s habitual. And that’s really exciting.