#Diary last night Arjan Gimyu was driving his motorbike back to Pattaya from Bangkok (this is insane, for those of you who don’t know the distance or context of the motorway) and fell off his bike. He’s 78 years old and already physically compromised from an accident many years ago. He called Kru Nu, who took him to the hospital and had him checked out. He’s not badly hurt but couldn’t walk, scraped up a bit but a stubborn man who wanted to sleep in his own bed and didn’t like how the first doctor they saw talked to him. I love men like this. This afternoon at training I was thrilled to see Arjan Gimyu come slowly into the gym, using his usual cane, bandaged up quite a bit, but fierce as ever in not accepting help or pity from anybody as he made his way to a seat to watch training. He’s amazing. I gave him a gift basket that I’d brought for him on Teacher’s Day (two days ago) and he wasn’t there to receive, which he kind of Thai-style thanked me for and put aside. Then I went to work in one of the harder training sessions I’ve had in a long time, just in terms of physical and mental exhaustion and recovery. It was a great few hours. Arjan Gimyu even came over and sat on the edge of the ring to advise me a bit in clinching, which was very sweet because I even got testy (again, I’m tired) with Kru Nu when he kept telling my clinching partner to solve my positions. “Why do you only ever cheer for Mek? Never for me?” I asked him. “When you are in the disadvantageous position I’ll cheer for you,” he said. Fair enough, even if not true. But Arjan Gimyu was cheering for me in his own way, even though I was “winning” overall. He wanted me to try some things that in my mind made no sense at all – but that’s why you listen to people outside your own head: they think of things you don’t. When Arjan Gimyu was slowly making his way out of the gym at the dimming light of evening, I stopped my sparring for a moment to go say goodbye to him. He smiled and said something to me that I didn’t hear, so I took my mouthpiece out (that doesn’t help me hear, it was to ask him to repeat himself) and bent down. “Today, you are top,” he said, in English. Fucking Hell… what a beautiful compliment from one of the toughest men I’ll probably ever know in my life. Here’s the moral of the story: how you feel is usually bullshit. What you do with what you feel is either your best or worst character feature… and you can choose that at any moment. At every moment.
Photo of Arjan Gimyu by Kevin von Duuglas-Ittu. Follow Kevin’s photography on Instagram: IG kevinvonduuglasittu