I stopped at the waterfall to record a video journal update, three days before my 19th fight. There’s a little puppy (two actually, but only one cares that I come by) en route who has decided I’m awesome and he actually runs to me when he sees me coming. I call him Brutus and he makes my little Grinch heart grow three times its size.
When I got back to camp I was quickly called into the ring by Den to do padwork with Nook. For the past two weeks Andy has been away for work and so most mornings I have Nook as my pad holder and occasionally with Den.
There is lots to be learned from padwork with Nook. His name is short for Sanook, which is the word for “fun” in Thai and is generally used to express the way work should be fun – how you make something fun in order to find joy in anything. It’s a good name for him. That being said, a lot of these lessons must be sussed out of the incredible frustration there is surrounding the playfulness itself. He’ll hold a pad up and pull it away before you can hit it while punching you in the opening he just created. He finds it hilarious and if he can pick out a pair of eyes watching the ring he’ll turn it up even more – his delight is endless. And it can be fun – if you focus on the sanook it is play. But if you’re trying to build confidence it’s like building on sand.
Trying to look good while doing padwork with Nook is like trying to pick up chicks in your grandpa’s Oldsmobile.
This afternoon when I got in the ring with Nook it was all out. He started playing right away and I started ignoring his pads and crashing knees into his belly pad, turning him as he charged toward me and climbing up his legs in the clinch to land knees into his ribs – both feet off the floor. He turned it up with equal measure and he landed countless shots right in my face, making my left eye tear up and giving me that “inhaled water” sensation in my nose. It was intense, but it was fun. To put it plainly, I was cruisin’ that Oldsmobile.