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Today was an awesome day to be Mike Stidham!
It could not have gone more perfectly. I woke up early…around 4:30 am. I felt good. The soreness had turned into that really good feeling when you can feel your body making positive changes. You have aches and pains, but they totally feel worth it.
I couldn’t sleep, so I got up and studied Thai language for two hours, and then read a book for another hour. My mind feels sharp, and my body is starting to feel sharp.
I knee is still bothering me, so I decided I needed to go on a LONG walk. 6 hours later, I returned to my hotel room, dripping with sweat, as it was a muggy morning, and tired enough to take a nap. I ate some street food along the way, and got a Thai massage.
I woke up from my nap feeling super energized. I went down to the gym early, and shadow sparred and hit some bags. I couldn’t jump rope because my knee kept giving in on me, so I just moved and got a good sweat going.
When it was time for class, Lek put me through 5 of the hardest pad rounds I have ever done. He is easily the best pad partner I have ever worked with. I watched him work with other fighters, and he gets a flow with everyone he goes with, regardless of skill level.
The rounds were so grueling that I made somewhat of a whimpering sound as I struggled to breath in our 5th round. He reached up and smacked me on the head, and said ‘Not Cry’! I usually am able to block him when he throws shots at me, but this was kind of like the smack that your mom would have given you, so you were afraid to block it. It totally caught me off guard, and he popped on the top of the head pretty good. He then smiled again, and without skipping a beat, went right back into a rhythm. They were great rounds for sure.
Sparring today was an absolute blast!
The first guy I went with, I saw him working pads with Lek, and he kicked like a horse, and had really good Muay Thai. We had an awesome round of sparring. Great exchanges. When he got off first, he landed some good shots. When I got off first, I did. Both of us started to pick up on what each was doing, and were able to counter strike effectively. I wish I could have gone more rounds with him. We were as evenly matched as anyone I have ever sparred. It really was a fun round!
The second guy I went with was 6’ 4” and lanky, but only wanted to box. (They have a boxing program at this gym, and have produced a lot of prolific Western Boxers in Thailand). This guy was a REALLY good boxer. He used his length well. He had good footwork. He hit me from a lot of different angles. I did well against him for the first minute, but then he started getting a rhythm, and I started running out of gas. (He rested while I went with my first partner). He just started picking me apart. At the end of the round he hit a 1,2,3 combo that all landed pretty solid, then he walked off like he had just hit a home run. There were about ten second left in the round, but he just went and stood in the corner. They were good shots, but they didn’t even phase me. But he thought he was too cool for school, so I just shrugged it off. I was tired anyway, so whatevs!
He and the guy I sparred in my first round went against each other next. They banged at a VERY high level. It made me feel like he was just going at my level when we sparred, because he was now going at the same level as the tall dude. It was a fun round to watch. They both got after it. The only thing that gives me pause in thinking that he was carrying me is that they were only boxing, and he was the better boxer of the two when we sparred, while I was the better kicker.
The guy I went with in the third round was not very good. He was ripped to shreds and looked really tough, but I had watched him on pads, and he just wasn’t that impressive. I pretty much had my way with him at first, so I took it down a notch, and we had a good spar. I did catch him with a liver shot in the early part of the round that I could tell hurt him.
The Boxing coach at the gym is a super cool guy. He moves like an Australian version of Sione Po’uha. Has great footwork, but hits like a Mac Truck. He is fun to watch just hit heavy bags. I am doing a Boxing private with him on Wednesday since I leave for Phuket before Muay Thai class would happen.

I saw some really awesome restaurants in downtown Bangkok while I was on my walkabout this morning. I think I will head over to one of them, and try some Thai food from an actual restaurant for once. I love me some Thai street food, and actually prefer it over most restaurants, but I need me some Green Curry. No beers tonight though.

The Author, Mike Stidham, owns and operates the Ultimate Combat Training Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. UCTC offers classes in Boxing, Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, MMA, as well as a wide range of Fitness classes to Men, Women, Children, groups, and private lessons.



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