Run the day. Don’t let the day run you.

N.B. I’m currently not in the best of places mentally and find myself stuck in familiar negative (read: destructive) behavioural patterns. I’m also finding it tough to get out of this rut.

This is nothing new and I need not call an ambulance: I’ve walked this road multiple times before.

What’s different now is that for the first time (after a 6-year journey) I finally know myself.

Knowing yourself can be scary.

I know my strengths, vices, abilities, principles, and values.

Knowing yourself can be liberating.

I know who I am…but what I can do?

That remains to be seen, as always. The story’s the same; much work remains to be done.

Nothing’s changed from your Google Keep entries.

Karan, read this when all hope seems lost. And remember: he who has a why can bear any how.

The fighter’s manifesto

You have to find what’s yours in life.

Create a plan that works for you and not against you.

No matter where you are or what lies ahead, find a way to keep moving forward.

Take every step with intention, directed toward the goal.

When you get knocked down and everything feels out of your control, find a way to win the fight.

If you don’t fight for what you love, don’t cry for what you lost.

Quit the excuses. No one cares.

Run the day.

Don’t let the day run you.

Find. A. Way.

I’ve talked the talk, now I must walk the walk. 80 days until showtime.

Or, put differently – as of typing this – 6,912,000 seconds/115,200 minutes/1920 hours.

To go.

Until I step into the ring for my first public boxing match.

Incredible fights. Top night.

The school of hard knocks: admissions open

I am bonkers for doing this; boxing is brutal! But I’ve always erred on the side of cuckoo.

Then again, you only live once.

So why not do something new?

Something that expands your comfort zone.

Something you’ll cherish for the remainder of your days.

Something that will teach you more about yourself than any classroom can.

‘How much can you know about yourself if you’ve never been in a fight?’

Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club

This is the kind of event that bonds you with people for life. Genuine human connection. Which I love.

All fighters going into Spartans White Collar 3 (taking place on 26th November 2022 – clear your schedule and mark your calendars!) will be subject to an intense training camp, which begins on the 17th of September.

It will be gruelling, but I reckon I should be able to endure what my coaches throw at me.

My tolerance for pain has substantially increased since I started boxing training.

I’d be lying if I said it made me a man overnight; it took many moons (and early mornings) for me to become stronger.

I’m not the delicate darling I used to be. And man, do I love it.

All this said, what I fear most is the mental battle that looms ahead, that I’ve already been fighting on a daily basis.

The hardest battles are indeed fought in the mind.

Although I am overly frank when I write, I cannot disclose what plagues me everyday.

Maybe another time.

But I can tell you why I got into boxing:

  1. Standing up for myself: I was recovering from long-term knee injuries, and decided to take up a sport I knew would kick my arse into shape. So far, so good; I am able to stand without pain, which is a blessing.
  2. Curiosity killed the cat, but saved Karan: I love experiencing new things. And I had no idea I’d fall in love with boxing, and the community, to such a degree. It’s been an eye-opening, and highly emotional journey so far.
  3. On board the self-improvement train: I was aware of the rigorous demands of this sport. What I didn’t know was how well it would mesh into my plans of becoming the best version of myself.

Boxing is the best thing I’ve done for my mental, physical, and spiritual health.

I am a massive advocate for it. But I know it is not for everyone.

It is, however, entertaining, which is an excellent segue into what I must do in order to participate in Spartans White Collar 3…

Sell twenty tickets OR two tables.

Here’s the deal. This is a glamorous, black-tie, ticketed event, held at the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai. Standard tickets cost 650 Dirhams per head (approx. 177 US).

The ticket covers entry, includes unlimited alcoholic drinks, and a delicious 4-course meal.

For most who partake in the quintessential ‘Dubai-lifestyle’, this deal is a no-brainer.

But here’s the million-dollar question: are you going to come and watch me on the biggest night of my life so far?

Are you going to put your money where your mouth is, and buy a ticket? This will be a brilliant night. And I am not writing this because I must sell these tickets.

If you know me even slightly, you know I always tell the truth. I need your support here.

I would love nothing more than having people I know – and care about – cheer me on as I throw a left hook; scream my name as I close the distance to my opponent with a ferocious jab; and yell in delight as the announcer declares me victorious.

Of course, that last statement is up in the air. But here’s what I know without a shadow of a doubt.

A real man sticks to his word, and puts in work – in the dark – even when nobody’s watching.

I hope to see you on 26th November. If you’d like to support me by buying a ticket, drop me a message.

6 January 2022. First day of boxing. 8 months to the day, but I’ve got miles to go before I sleep. Clicked at Spartans Boxing Club, Arjan.

15th August 2022. To be in love with the idea of being in love, and other scribbles. 10:44 PM

(This is how I journal in Google Keep. I mention the date, write a headline, opening time, do the journalling, and then sign off with closing time. I must write now – editing and structure be damned – else the duties and troubles of tomorrow will weigh me down, and I will not be able to express the way I’m feeling. I secretly hope no-one will read this blog. Because I’m feeling vulnerable. And I’m not the kind to share when I’m feeling down; I prefer to bear my burden by myself.)

God, it’s been a day. It is tough being a man. Yes, it is. Is it tough being a human; no matter whether you’re a man or woman? Also true. But it’s tougher being a man.

We’re expected to largely figure things out on our own. Make something of ourselves. Get a job. Find a mate. Start a family. Put a roof over their heads. Raise the damn family. Protect them.

And be the rock when things go south. Not The Rock. Although I’ll admit, it’d be cool being The Rock.

Man, why do I try being funny. I cringe every time I try to crack a joke in my writing.

(Note to self: do not try your hand at stand-up, no matter how tantalizing the idea of getting up on stage may seem.)

Ding-dong! My phone’s notification bell just went off. I check it, and Bumble tells me I’ve got a new bee in the hive.

She’s probably forgotten she’s matched with me before.

It’s a girl I matched with several years ago.

I think back to when we matched; we didn’t get past the messaging stage. She either ghosted me, or I deleted the app. What I do remember is I liked the way she looked, and she was an art-director.

I thought it was fitting, because I used to be a copywriter.

In conventional agencies, copywriters and art directors work together to make ads.

Naturally, I thought we’d make a baby. Or get married. At the very least.

I’m kidding. It’s not like I used any of those lines when chatting her up. I swear.

On this girl. Who I don’t like. At all.

(I actually don’t, just to clear the air. There’s another girl I like, but I’m getting ahead of myself. Read on to know more…)

I used to have an on/off relationship with this shitty dopamine-rollercoaster.

Now, I just don’t give a fuck. If I meet someone I vibe with, great. If not, also great.

I have no shortage of beautiful women in my life, and sex isn’t as appealing as it used to be.

I’ve been around the block. I had an unforgivable addiction to pleasure that I’ve finally tamed.

(This next sentence is graphic. Proceed with caution.)

I’ve had mind-blowing orgasms that have had me rolling my eyes to the back of my head, and had me exhaling in ecstasy afterwards. ‘Pure carnal pleasure’ is putting it mildly.

After that, I usually puff on a Marlboro light, and question if there’s more to life. Spoiler alert: there is.

When you’ve scaled peaks of pleasure as high as I have, you realize you must give purpose to your life.

Devote yourself to a mission. One which gives you a profound and personal sense of satisfaction.

Not happiness. Because happiness is fleeting.

Ideally, this mission should give back to your community in some form.

Happiness is overrated. Contentment? Now we’re talking.

I ask not for a lighter load, but broader shoulders.

I will not write about my troubles – because, again – I dislike being a negative Nancy.

And they seem trivial as I think about them now. Of course, they haven’t gone anywhere.

The problems are snoozing. So should I, because it’s 11:46 PM, and I’ve had a long day.

I was at a boxing class at 6:30 this AM. And another one at 6:45 this evening.

And I’ve got a Strength and Conditioning class at 5:30 PM tomorrow. It is a brutal class.

But I must put in the work. I’m fighting my first public fight in November.

Shitty photo, beautiful person. That’s my beloved boxing coach, Coach Jalal. He’s a gem. Clicked at Spartans Boxing Club, Arjan.

I keep saying this to myself, and telling the world, as if it will come to pass. And it will, subject to my boxing gym finding an opponent in my weight and experience class.

This is a White-Collar boxing event, which means the participants are white-collar professionals, with little to no experience in the ring.

The boxing gym offers free training to the fighters. In exchange, they have to sell tickets so the event is a success, and the gym makes a profit.

I initially had reservations about signing up, because the prospect of selling 20 tickets seemed more daunting than the intense training.

But after a hiatus of 3 years, I’ve reactivated my social media profiles. And I am confident in my ability to generate hype.

As I often tell myself; I am the ultimate hypebeast. I have this gift to get people behind me. Cheer me on in my endeavours.

In fact, being my biggest cheerleader has held me in good stead on my journey to be the best me I can be.

Even when no-one’s watching, so long as I’ve got my beauty sleep, I can motivate myself to finish a project, or put in the hours during training.

I haven’t started promoting my upcoming fight on the-necessary-but-evil social media platforms yet, but the few people I’ve told – even in passing – are keen to come, and support me.

I’m thankful for my circle. I’m grateful to have good people in my life. I was crying about it in my car last week on my sister’s birthday.

I wrote a few hundred words about how I felt…although I’m not sure if that blog will see the light of day.

I didn’t have the cojones to complete it, because I felt I came across too sappy.

Sappy? Ooh boy, you have no idea how sappy I can get! Screw it, let me tell you about the girl I mentioned earlier.

Love yourself boy,

or no one will.

Right. There’s this girl I like. (“Oh Sharma, not another one!” You can almost hear the collective groan of my friends as I declare my undying devotion to yet another woman.)

To be fair, I used to fall for every second girl who was reasonably attractive several years ago.

Thankfully, after my last breakup that saw me end up in the hospital – don’t ask, I let my vices get the better of me…

A sobering reminder of how I let myself go to the dogs. From one of my lowest points in 2021.

And the subsequent changes that took place, which included:

  1. 10 months of falling in love with myself;
  2. Rediscovering my self-worth;
  3. Discovering boxing;
  4. Building a life I’m proud of;
  5. Embracing my masculinity;
  6. And being wanted by women

I’ve finally developed a benchmark for what I seek in a partner. And that last point particularly earmarks how far I’ve grown since my breakup.

I never knew how much of a big deal it made to me. Wait, that’s not entirely true.

I always knew I’ve loved the attention from the fairer sex. Who doesn’t like an ego boost? Especially, as an Emirati girl told me this weekend…it’s clear as day I’m a proud Leo! And us Leos love the spotlight.

Let me take you back to 2014. I was consistently hitting the gym, and I looked hench.

I strutted into a fancy bar in Souq Al Bahar (an upmarket area next to the Burj Khalifa) to meet the boys on a Thursday night.

The second I walked in; I caught a girl who was shamelessly eye-raping me.

I had never felt more like a piece of meat in my life. And you know what?

I fucking loved it.

I knew she wanted nothing more than to go home with and ride me until the sun came up.

I didn’t give her the time of night, though. I enjoyed seeing her want me.

That was enough. Knowing I had that effect on her.

Ever since that Thursday night, I relish knowing women find me attractive.

I’m happiest if you put me on a dancefloor, which is my natural element. Add some banging house and techno to the mix…and you’ll find me snickering at the desperate attempts of women to woo me.

And me? I ruthlessly shoot down every single one of them.

”I don’t want to be your boy toy for the night, missy!”, I tell them with a cheeky grin.

Single, but not quite ready to mingle.

Although I know what I want in a partner…I’m also madly in love with being single.

It’s brilliant, being able to live life on your terms, with no one to answer to.

That said, if the right woman comes waltzing into my life, I’d love to tango with her.

It’s a funny place, this. What, you ask? The space me and this girl I like, are in.

I don’t think she likes me romantically, or views me as a prospective partner.

Me? I consider her to be my best friend. And I love her, platonically.

But…you’ll have to hold that thought. Allow me to wax lyrical for a few:

She is the most radiant woman I know. When she walks into a room, all eyes are on her.

And it’s not because of how attractive she is – on a related note – her sense of style would make Audrey Hepburn turn green with envy.

No, everyone’s eyes turn towards her because of her energy.

She’s got a bubbly, vivacious, childlike, contagious energy. I love it. I live for it.

At the same time, she carries herself with grace.

As if Cinderella herself advised her on how to be the belle of the ball.

I love her lilting voice, and her crisp North American/Indian accent.

The cherry on top of this gorgeous sundae is her impish laugh.

It rings clear in the air,

if you’d be oh-so-lucky to hear.

The way I’m writing about her, you’d think I’m madly in love. Or, I’ve gone barking mad.

Perhaps a bit of both? Bear with me, I’ll explain myself shortly.

Bottom-line: she’s a beautiful soul. I could sense she was pure the first time I met her, and I believe it was a serendipitous day we met.

I can be myself around her. And as energetic as she is, she brings an odd yet comforting sense of familiarity, and warmth when she’s around me.

It is effortless being with her. And that is rare, considering how cuckoo I can get, on occasion.

“Act normal, as that’s crazy enough.” This Dutch phrase describes me to a t.

This just can’t be summer love? L.O.V.E.

Oh JT, you beauty. If you think I’ve fallen head over heels for my best friend, think again.

I’m not 19 years old anymore. I’m a decade older. I just can’t fall in ‘love’ with someone so easily anymore.

Or demonstrate the worst kind of love: which is unrequited.

I’ll tell you what it is.

I’m in love with the idea of being in love.

I entertain the thought of having this special woman by my side. Knowing if I’ve had a tough day – much like today – I can be vulnerable just for a few moments with someone I trust, and who’s opinion I value.

And of course, enjoy the other things that lovers might take for granted: waking up by their side; cuddles; new experiences; being their rock and biggest supporter; growing as people; celebrating the good times and commiserating the bad ones.

But even if I – on the rare occasion – fantasize being with someone I may never end up with, I can’t disregard that earlier today, she shared something with me that was dear to her.

And at that moment, I wanted to be by her side. Just to put my arm around her, and ask if she was okay.

My day wasn’t the best. But I wasn’t going to tell her that.

Is this the price one must pay to be a man? To be a rock, even if you’re going through a rough time?

Or is this the truest definition of ‘love’ – even if it is completely platonic?

I have no idea. It’s late, and I must sleep.

I don’t know where this will go, and if I want it to go anywhere at all.

Maybe, just maybe, the smallest part of me wants sparks to fly.

But here’s what I know without a reasonable doubt: if a woman’s mere presence in your mind inspires you to write, even if she’s a few thousand kilometres away; you keep that woman close to your heart.

1:17 AM

”I’ve got my eyes on you. And I like what I see.”

I am raising the bar, and lowering it as I see fit.

It is 9:45 PM, 22nd March 2022 as I’ve begun typing this from my office. I just exhaled.

And again. I’m on top of the world, even if – just two hours ago – my family jewels were swinging gleefully in Dubai’s not-quite-summer, not-quite-winter evening breeze as I walked with purpose to collect my Expo 2020 Dubai: Run 3 goodie bag, because I didn’t have any underpants on.

Wait, what?!

I pause to laugh. Did you actually write that, Karan? I suppose explanations are in order, folks…

Before I get into the gory details of my family jewels, allow me to recap my day.

Although I’d set an alarm for 5:30 AM, I struggled to rouse myself because I’d worked out my arms yesterday late at night, and the task of going for a run to prep for my first upcoming 10K (and first ever public run) was daunting.

I switched off the alarm, and turned off the next four, set to ring within the next 10 minutes, and shut my groggy eyes.

I then awoke at 7:45, and rushed to the office to prepare for a meeting with my accountant who was coming in at 9:30.

Not the best start. And that, unfortunately, set the tone for the next 7 hours of my day.

Irrespective of how my week looks, I love getting a morning workout in, because that simultaneously leaves me feeling rejuvenated, and satisfied that I have taken another step towards becoming a stronger person than I was yesterday.

My morning workout could consist of:

  1. A 6:30 AM HIIT boxing, or an all-levels boxing class at Spartans Boxing Club, which I joined in January this year.
  2. An arm workout in front of my dresser, usually performed topless and in my boxers, because hey – I can’t be the only one who likes watching themself work out close to naked, right? My arm workout includes dips, curls (for the girls), push-ups, tricep extensions, a farmer’s walk, and a couple of simple, yet effective exercises involving resistance bands. I also use the resistance bands as part of rehabilitation for my left tricep, which I injured in 2019 but never got around to fixing. I then finish off by performing dead hangs on the bar in my community, which has been a godsend for my shoulders, and back. I used to suffer from a 7-year-old shoulder impingement injury in both my shoulders, until I saw a brilliant osteopath by the name of Kris Rai who recommended I dead hang. The benefits are many, and I will probably get into them in another blog.
  3. A leg workout involving squats, lunges, an elliptical run and some more rehab exercises involving pushing down on a foam roller to strengthen my quadriceps, to treat fat pad impingement in both my knees, which I injured in the gym in 2015.
  4. An ab workout – which I usually dread – that hits different parts of my core.

Although variety is undoubtedly the spice of life, I focus on a few exercises, aiming to perfect, and perform them everyday.

I feel a sense of calm when I execute the same motions repeatedly, and love as I gradually feel myself becoming stronger and growing into the healthy person I used to be. Conversely, when I find my routine gets too monotonous, I soothe my nerves and keep on keeping on by remembering the Zen Buddhist phrase, “Chop wood, carry water”.

Chaos, followed by order.

Right. Back to my day. Which was chaotic. I could not strike the big things off my to-do list because ad-hoc tasks kept popping up. I tried to bring some sense to matters by fully focusing on one job at a time, but to no avail.

Like I mentioned; I didn’t start my day right, so couldn’t give my all to each task. I got easily distracted and even made mistakes, further compounding the time taken to successfully finish each job.

But, all that was to change at 5:30 PM today. I had booked a strength and conditioning class at Spartans, and was raring to go. It had been over 1 week since I had set foot in the gym, and God, I missed it.

Prior to booking a class, I take stock of how my day is looking, and then go ahead and book. By way of this, I make a commitment to myself that I must show up, and hone my boxing skills, or improve my fitness levels. This means that I have to maximize productivity, and get my work done on time.

Simon was setting things up as I walked in, and he greeted me with his usual cheery and amicable self. I told him I was going to run my first 10K on Saturday, and he mentioned how completing it was a mental hurdle as opposed to physical. It was all in the head. I agreed. And couldn’t argue. After all, Simon said it! (I am an endless supply of dad jokes, sue me.)

Joining the class were Sam, a boxing coach at Spartans; Violette, who oversees things in the gym; and Sonal, who I hadn’t met before (I’m not sure if she is a member, or was in for a trial).

After Simon shared what gruelling circuits we’d be in for today, we stretched, and got down to working out to the best of our respective abilities…

The next 55 minutes proved instrumental in transforming my physical and mental state for the next 6 hours.

Because as I performed the exercises, I knew – without a reasonable doubt – that the only person I was competing with in that space was myself.

Nobody knows the extent of my injuries. Nobody knows what body part I’d worked out that day – or the day prior. Nobody knows if I’d had a physically exhausting day at a construction site. Or, conversely, a lethargic 7 hours spent working on my desk.

Nobody knows any of that. Except for me. Which is a sobering reality.

I know that I must work hard, yet smart. I know that I must push myself, whilst constrained by my body’s current limitations.

In sum: I know I must continually raise the bar, but lower it when needed.

As the session raged on, and I lunged forward on one knee, and lunged backward on the other; (to one of Whitney Houston’s most popular tracks – Simon has good taste) I stared at myself in the mirror, and noticed the lack of muscle on my quadriceps.

Whilst I previously would have looked at myself in repulsion, I now view myself with a healthy intrigue.

I briefly thought about how far I’ve come (I am now able to stand for long periods without pain in my knees, which is an achievement in and of itself) and how much further I have got to go.

There’s a long road ahead until I reach where I want to be physically, but it’s a journey worth undertaking – blood, sweat, and tears be damned.

And before I knew it, the class was over. I had become better. Over the course of 60-whirlwind-minutes.

Flying high at a HIIT boxing class on the weekend. I was a solo Spartan that morning. Shot by Dani on 20th February 2022, Spartans Boxing Club, Arjan, Dubailand.

No boxers at a boxing gym? Poetic.

With endorphins flowing, my mental state uplifted, and body buzzing with energy, I headed into the changing room to shower.

But upon hanging my change of clothes on the shower railing, I realized with dismay…I hadn’t brought a change of boxers. (My late start clearly still making me pay.)

There was no way I was going to wear the same pair I had just sweated buckets in. So I decided to go commando, and headed to Ibn Battuta Mall to collect my welcome pack for Saturday’s 10K.

Of course, nobody knew I went commando. And truth be told, it felt great.

I may or may not do this again…

Run Karan, run.

I learnt about the Expo Run 3 from Dani, a coach at Spartans Boxing Club who specializes in cardiovascular fitness. She also relishes punishing me with intense HIIT workouts, but you didn’t hear this from me.

She told me about the run in February. I could have chosen between the 3K, 5K, and 10K. But I delayed registering until last week, by which point only a slot for the 10K was available.

I signed up without hesitation, because I have decent fitness levels. But there’s the small matter of my knees not being in tip-top shape. Plus, I haven’t run in years.

Out of curiosity, I did some cursory research on Monday during my lunch-break to know what to expect when running a 10K for the first time.

I won’t lie; reading that people usually train for 3 – 4 weeks to prepare for a 10K gave me a slight jolt. Several articles confirmed this, giving me the butterflies.

But what put me at ease was learning that – as is usually the case – other people have faced the same dilemma in the past.

And what should they do but type their problem into the search bar, hoping for a solution that only good old Google can provide?

Yes, I fall into that bracket. You can have a hearty laugh. I sure did.

I was a decent short-distance runner in school (often finishing 3rd or 4th) but, if memory serves me correctly, I used to finish 6th or 7th in the long-distance runs.

Apart from the occasional jog, or less-than-occasional sprint, I haven’t run properly in over a decade. Mostly due to my knees.

But when I used to, I remember running with my earphones in until I experienced runner’s high. I loved that.

It remains to be seen how well I do on the day. What is crucial is not to get buoyed by the energy of the other runners, and run too fast, too soon, and exhaust myself.

I am not looking to set a PR. I should have fun, and enjoy the run. Go at my pace, and bear in mind that I will be running alongside those who have practised for this run for weeks, months, even.

As is the case: the only man I will attempt to best is myself. But all things considered, I will take it easy.

Here’s what I got for a 25 Dirham registration fee: the 3 Expo passes are welcome. I still haven’t been. Water will be provided on the course. Shot 22nd March 2022, Arjan, Dubailand.

I’m on the quest to become my best. Physically. Mentally. Creatively. Professionally. Spiritually.

Making the decision to join Spartans Boxing Club after a free trial, despite recovering from two long-term injuries in the form of my shoulders and knees, has been a boon.

I’ve always had a soft spot for contact sports (yes, that pun is as intentional just as the grass is green).

And I’m not quite sure why.

It might have been that one late night as I was on holiday in New Delhi, when I was 19 years young. I was lazily channel-surfing after a delightful dinner; Delhi’s fresh vegetables have nothing on the imported produce you get in Dubai.

I decided to check out what was going on in the world of sport. Until I stopped short, and my eyes started to widen. Slowly.

I had come across GSP absolutely mauling some poor nameless chap in The Octagon.

I do not remember the match, or its significance in that year’s UFC title championship.

All I remember is how he utterly dominated those few minutes. He stamped his authority on the judges’ scorecards, left the other guy bloody, and left an indelible mark on my impressionable teenage brain.

I’m not a violent guy. Far from it. But just as I’ve been endlessly striving to become the best version of myself, I’ve also been practicing an arcane ritual accessible only to men, which has not only made me more resilient, and eloquent, but highly emotional, creative, and aggressive too.

And I cannot think of a better avenue to channel raw, masculine energy than by practising a martial art. It humbles you. It disciplines you. It strengthens you.

I’ve been boxing for just under 3 months now. I even picked up a TFCC tear on my left wrist in the first month, which was unfortunate, but not entirely unexpected given the circumstances.

But hindsight is a blessing, and in the time I couldn’t use my left wrist to its full ability, I built muscle in my lower body, which is something I must continue to focus on.

Every time I step into Spartans for a class, I push myself. I want to learn. I want to grow.

But boxing is both, one thing, and many things at the same time.

Boxing is a skill. Boxing is an art. Boxing is a sport. Boxing is self-defence. Boxing is a full-body workout. Boxing is a science.

And each time I don my gloves, I become acutely aware of how much I have to learn in this sphere.

It gets frustrating at times, I’ll admit. Then again, the world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. (God, if there ever was a time to weave the perfect pop-cultural reference into my blog – that was it!)

I’ve accepted the fact that life is difficult, so the fact that life is difficult is irrelevant.

Ever since, I’ve been shouldering responsibility and expanding my comfort zone.

Funnily enough, when you decide to take matters into your own hands and journey into the unknown, you meet people.

People who seemingly magically waltz into your life. People who want the best for you. People who mentor you.

Like some of my coaches at Spartans. I’ve already mentioned Simon, who teaches the strength and conditioning class.

Simon has seriously great dad energy. By which I mean that he looks out for you. And pushes you to work harder. As described earlier, I like his taste in music. He also comes armed and ready with a great dad joke or two. (Or ten). And I, for one, am a massive advocate for an infallible dad joke.

Yet another coach I have come to greatly respect is Jalal, who joined recently. I had him saved as ‘Coach Jalal’ on my phone because that is how everybody referred to him as.

And it only took a couple of classes to see why. If there was anyone who’s earned the title of ‘Coach’, it’s him.

I keep it real. And I love people who do. Without pulling any punches, Jalal is a solid coach because he knows his shit. And gives a damn. Oh, and he does a decent moonwalk too.

That’s the first time I’ve cussed on my blog. I can’t quite brush aside the clichéd ‘there’s a first time for everything’, because it makes for the perfect segue as I conclude…

I’m going to run my first 10K in a few sleeps. On 26th March 2022. Is my body ready?

Hell, no! But just as I enrolled into a boxing gym on a whim, and found how it brought order to other areas of my life, I am sure this run will teach me a lesson or two on my journey of self-development.

So long as I take calculated risks on the grounds of the Expo 2020 Dubai, come Saturday morning.

Cheesing. Shot 22nd March 2022, Dubai.

I loved writing this blog – more so than usual. I hope you enjoyed reading. I am happy with the state of my writing and am excited to continue publishing. I will write about some of the positive effects boxing has had on my life in another blog. Until then, I will catch you in the next one.