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I had planned on hitting three sessions today. I am just finishing my second of the day, and I don’t think that is in the cards. I felt confident after the morning class, but that afternoon class really zaps it out of you...the heat is overwhelming. I will shoot for adding a third session next week. I want to be able to push myself as hard as I can in the sessions I am in, and not try to save myself for the next session. That is how I will grow more.
The third session I was going to do was BJJ. I really LIKE BJJ, but I LOVE Muay Thai, and it just so happens that I am in the mother land of Muay Thai, so there’s that.
So, I found out that the older Trainer that I went with yesterday is none other than ChokChai. He is a legend in these parts. Years ago, he opened him own gym called ChokChai Muay Thai. It is one street over from Tiger. Now I do not want to disparage the guy, so take with a grain of salt what I am about to say. There were rumors that he either bet his gym, or he lost a bet and then had to sell his gym to cover the debt. The bet was on Muay Thai fights. This could be completely false, I don’t have any authority in saying that, so take it for what it is, but he is now teaching at Tiger, and he is treated like an OG there, All the young guys give him mad respect.
He wasn’t a great pad holder, but he was clearly a man who has lived Muay Thai all his life. He was intense. He was slower than the younger guys, but he was precise. I am really happy to be able to say that I trained with him.
I am even happier with the guy I went with today. Lam is back at Tiger. He is a multiple time world champion, and is regarded as one of the top trainers in all of Thailand. It was the best round of pads I have had since I have been coming to Thailand. He is all over the place…high energy, LOTS of different looks and combos at a fast, intense pace. It was like riding a rollercoaster. It was a BLAST. Afterward, he said…’Aaaaah, You very good!’ I had a smile on my face the rest of the morning.
I just realized today that compared to all of the other guys, my gloves are like pillows. I intentionally bought a really soft, squishy gloves because back home I was doing a lot of heavy bag training in preparation for coming to Thailand. It was to protect my hands from getting carpel tunnel type effect from all of the pounding. Well, it is doing me no favors in sparring. I am getting hit by these hard leather gloves, and they think they are in a pillow fight. I am strongly considering getting a new pair of gloves.
Speaking of sparring, in the morning session, I went with a super talented black kid from Kansas City. He had a lot of weapons, and was super fun to spar with. He definitely got the better of me, but I held my own, and had a ton of fun going with him.
I had another kid from Sweden that was equally as talented, and pretty much the same thing went down. He had more than I could compete with, but, once again, it wasn’t an overwhelming edge…I just know when the other guy is a bit better.
My final round was against another Chinese kid who was really bad. I had not problem coasting with him because I was super beat. Nice kid…he just belonged in the beginner group.
Afternoon sparring was fun. I had two Russian guys that I handled rather easily. The second one asked me where I was from. When I told him, he responded with, (In a deep Russian accent) ‘Rooooossiaaa, we fight for the flag’. I chuckled at him, until he came charging at me. I teep’d him in the chest, and he found himself on his ass. I guess that flag was mine. He charged at me again, so I side kicked him, and he found himself on his knees gasping for air. When he got up, he had mellowed out. Every now and then he would mistake my slow sparring for fatigue and come at me hard, until I had to remind him with a solid shot that that was a bad idea. In the end the USA prevailed.
My final round, I went with LeeLee. He is the big Samoan I have been sparring with the past few days. He is my favorite guy to drill and spar with. I always seek him out for drilling at the beginning of class, because while he likes to train hard…no standing around bullshitting, and constant drilling, his ego isn’t in it. We give each other pointers. He has great control, and he’s just a cool dude. He is the same way sparring. I think I am a little better than him, but we keep it at an even level, and just work. I feel like it’s a fun, learning experience for both of us.
I was told by the trainers that I have to wear a shirt during pad rounds from now on because I sweat too much. I do leave puddles wherever I go, but I know I not alone. It is FREAKING HOT here, and I sweat a lot back home. I think I am just extra juicy on the inside. I absolutely hate wearing a shirt in Thailand, but I went and bought a few shirts for training today.

Back at it in the AM.

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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