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I have spent the past 4 days training private sessions with Sawat. I stopped going to actual class because the running was just not letting my foot heal. I miss the sparring, but other than that, I get a lot more out of private sessions than class.
Sawat was my very first trainer when I started coming to Thailand. Tiger Muay Thai used to make you start in the beginner class, regardless of your skill level. You couldn’t move up to intermediate or advanced until the trainers gave you their approval. This is a practice they have gotten away from, but one I think they should reconsider. I mention this because Sawat was a trainer in the beginner class back then, and I stopped training with him when I moved into the intermediate class. This is something I’m glad I did, because I was exposed to a lot of different trainers, and different perspectives. On the other hand, I had forgotten what a really good trainer he is. Sawat is now the Chief Trainer for the Tiger Muay Thai Fight Team.
It is all about POWER with Sawat. Every technique you throw at Thai pads when he is holding them is looking for a KO. Step into everything, or you will hear about it. I can see why so many of Tiger’s fighters win their fights by KO.
After taking the weekend off, I had gained nearly 10 lbs from doing nothing. I also got edema. Edema (or Oedema) is the abnormal accumulation of fluid in certain tissues within the body. The accumulation of fluid may be under the skin - usually in dependent areas such as the legs (peripheral edema, or ankle edema)
My legs and feet are super puffy from it, and I had a serious case of the Mondays (I just couldn’t shift back into gear). My first day back was a serious struggle, but Sawat knows how to push you just hard enough and lets off just before you break.
SIDE NOTE: After my session on Monday, I had to go to immigration to get an extension on my Visa. Since I cannot remember how to get there, I called for a taxi to bring me. My favorite taxi driver, Apple, gave me a ride. She asked me if I had eaten already. I told her I wasn’t eating today because I am too fat. Her response was priceless. ‘I can see you are fatter now than when I picked you up from the airport. I see you on your motorbike the other day and your ass looked fat.’ I absolutely love how candid Thai people are!
SIDE NOTE 2: Apple also asked me if I was missing my home. She said that my face does not look happy. This gave me pause to think about why she might have felt that way, and I only concluded that I must show all the pain I am in on my face. I guess I have RESTING BITCH FACE. I have vowed to change that. I have never been happier, and the pain I am in should not mask that.
Another thing I like about training with Sawat, is that he will spar with you in his private sessions. He is 44 years old, so he is a grandpa for this sport, but he still fights actively. He fought last week, and has another fight lined up for 2 weeks from now.
After sparring with him, I realized that we had not sparred each other since my first week here 6 years ago. Afterward, he told me, ‘You very good now. Much, much better.’ That made me feel really good. At least the past 6 years were not all in vein. Using our sparring as a litmus test, I can see vast improvement in my Muay Thai. I actually did really well against him.
Our sessions got better with each day. I got back into the groove, and shed those 10 lbs. I had gained. Pad rounds with Sawat are very intense but short. Our breaks are adequately long enough that you are ready for another high intensity round. I really love working with him. He has a pace and a rhythm that really click with my style. We make those pads pop, and more than one trainer has come over and given me props on my Muay Thai.
After our sessions I have had the energy to go out and explore Phuket a little more. I found a place called ‘Top of the World’ that sits on a mountaintop and has amazing views of Phuket. There are monkeys in the trees, and the scenery is spectacular! I have also found a couple new beaches in my travels. One in particular, Hat Samuy is amazing. It is tiny, but sits near a charming little town, and is breathtaking to see.
I also met a fisherman who invited me to go fishing. I am skipping training on Friday to go deep sea fishing with him.
Also, Sawat has invited me to go with him to go spar with some other guys at a gym in Rawai on Sunday…I am super stoked for that!

Bring on the weekend!!!

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. Learn more at www.UltimateCombat.com

 



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