Welcome dear readers,
This probably won’t come as a great surprise to most of you, but one of my greatest dreams is to train in Thailand. Muay Thai–the science of eight limbs–originated in Thailand, and real purists of the martial art make a priority of training there. The gratification and thrill of this is akin to performing at the Stratford Theatre for an actor–or participating in the Tour de France for my cyclist friends.
Muay Thai training in Thailand is a whole ‘nother ball game from doing it here in Canada. From what I’ve heard, it makes the toughest class here look like a walk in the park. (Aren’t you just loving these cliched sports analogies?)
Here’s what my friend Dangerous Dave Zuniga had to say about his experience:
In my personal opinion, you know very little about muay thai until you’ve been to Thailand. Being a fighter out there is a full time job. Out there, we’d run 10K every morning, followed by bag work, then bag work drills, then body conditioning. That takes about three hours. In the afternoons, we’d run around three or four kilometers, then skip rope for about 15 min. After that, I’d do five or so rounds on the bags, then five rounds of pad work. We’d do boxing sparring on occasion. They clinch around 30 min. after that. Then body conditioning. The afternoon session is also around three hours.
Sounds difficult, right? Remember that this is Thailand–a humid, hot country. Those aren’t air-conditioned gyms people are training in! Then, when you’ve reached a certain level, they throw a few tigers into the ring. Just kidding!
My kru Kelly Westerlund received his instructor (kru) certification there. I could be wrong, but I haven’t heard of any other local instructor taking that step.
|That’s my kru, riding an elephant.
How cool is that?
Training in Thailand was a pipe dream for me until I joined KWest. Kelly follows the traditional “armband” levels, so students can earn their red prajioud, which is the test I’m taking on December 17th, and work their way up to black, which requires training in Thailand! The club will even partially pay for your training if you make it to that level.
The problem is that–to accomplish that goal means making muay thai the major focus of your life for a long time, which is always tricky. But I can dream, can’t I?
Ever been to Thailand, dear readers? If so, what is a must-see? Also, if you’ve ever achieved the best training in the world for something, what was your experience like?
As a special note, I’d like to thank Kelly for being the first coach in the history of my training (and I’ve had many coaches, believe me) to put together a training schedule and set deadlines for me. His support and encouragement mean the world to me.
Leave Bangkok immediately after doing all the requisite tourist things and head north to Chang Mai or Chang Rai. This is real Thailand. The jungle, the hill tribes, the elephants…it’s amazing. Spent lots of time in the temples, but go really early in the morning to avoid the tour buses! When you’re in a temple alone (or close to alone) is pure peace. I don’t know what island to send you to. Kho Pi Pi was heaven, but that was before that Leonardo DiCapprio movie, but an island visit is a must!
Honestly, the best guide is the Lonely Planet series – they get it right.
I knew a guy who stayed in Chang Mai for a while and loved it. He meant to spend a couple days there, and wound up staying for a couple weeks helping to teach English. And he brought back some gorgeous pictures.
Let’s go to Thailand and see elephants! 🙂
@ Angela – thanks for the suggestions. Sounds amazing. The beaches on the islands are stunningly beautiful.
@ Chris – sounds like a plan. Start saving!