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Training Muay Thai in Thailand 2018 (Part 5)

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Training Muay Thai in Thailand 2018 (Part 5)

Do you remember that time when you were an infant, and your mom took you to a relative’s wedding, and all your aunts had a little too much to drink, so they were a little too rough with you? You left the party with a mild case of shaken baby syndrome? Well, that’s what I felt like after today’s session. 

I woke up from a really long nap (all this training finally caught up to my body, and I crashed for a solid 3 hours in the middle of the day), at 5 minutes to 3:00. I sprung out of bed, and walked into the gym at 2:59 (It is so nice having the Muay Thai gym right in your hotel). I was still halfway comatose when I walked through the door, but I was not going to be late to my final Muay Thai session in Bangkok. 

As I looked around the room, I saw all top level guys that were there last week make their way back into the room. I know just enough Thai to pick up on the fact that several of them had been on a big fight card in Myanmar-that is why they weren’t there yesterday. Some of them were obviously nursing some wounds. It reminded me of what it would look like when soldiers returned from battle to their families. **In no way am I comparing what actual soldiers do to fighters, but these guys are true WARRIORS in every sense of the word. 

It was a really rough start for me as I was still trying to shake out the cobwebs while jumping rope-then shadow sparring. I was sort of relieved when the trainer said we would not be doing pad work today. That relief was short-lived because instead, we were doing clinching. 

I got paired up with one of the stronger, better fighters I had seen in the gym. We were doing 10 minute rounds, and I got man-handled for the first 5, when he decided to teach me some stuff. It was the single most learning experience I have had since coming to Thailand. I learned so much in 5 minutes about clinching, and why mine was just average. I was doing things technically correct, but not actually correct. It was sort of like when I was a police officer and learned all of the handcuffing techniques in the police academy, but the first time I tried them on the street, they were completely ineffective. I had the textbook version of clinching, but lacked the nuances that make them effective. I hope I am able to retain this information, as I have nobody to practice on in my hotel room. *Maybe I will go find a ladyboy to practice on. :)

My second round I got paired with one of the guys that had fought over the weekend. He is obviously one of the studs in the gym. The same scenario repeated itself. He smashed me for 5 minutes, then coached me for the next five. I actually was able to successfully use some of the things I had learned in the first round with this guy, but he is obviously way better at it than I. 

They throw live knees in clinching here, and my ribs got played like a xylophone. I don’t think there is a single one of them that is not at least slightly bruised, which sucks because I don’t think I could take a Thai massage tonight…they hurt that bad. 

After clinching, we did 5 minute rounds of Muay Thai sparring. I got paired up with the guy that I had gone with first during clinching. I had seen him spar, and he is off the charts good. He didn’t do any coaching during Muay Thai sparring. He just knocked the piss out of me. My one success story from this, is that I have two big red marks on my ribs from body kicks. Both landed really hard, but I caught them both a swept him into the ropes once, and almost swept him a second time. He didn’t throw any more body kicks…but he did find several other ways to beat me up. I think the sweeps pissed him off, because it turned into more of a fight than a sparring match. I don’t mind those situations, and had fun with it, although he clearly was the better fighter. I have a fat lip, and a sore jaw to show for it. 

My second round, I went with one of the guys I sparred yesterday. He was the guy I felt was a really good match for me. We had another awesome round of sparring, and I can say unequivocally that he was not sparring down to my level. I could tell that he thought about me a bit last night, because he had an answer for everything I threw at first. I had to make some adjustments, and it ended up being another great round of back and forth sparring. He’s a stud too. After both times we have sparred, he had pointers for me. It wasn’t a condescending lecture either. It seemed like he really wanted to help me. He was very complimentary as well, and agreed that we were a great match. 

***Kind of an interesting dynamic about this gym. It’s small, but it’s intimate. These guys all have love for one another, and I have not seen this type of camaraderie anywhere else. If they aren’t punching each other in the face, they are coaching one another, and it seems genuine. After training, they rub liniment all over each other, and give each other Thai massage.*** 

My last round, I went with the guy that I sort of beat up on yesterday. I could tell he was as relieved to go with me, as I was to go with him. He was getting lit-up by everybody, and you could tell it was beginning to get the best of him. I didn’t kick his ass, but I was on an adrenaline high from the last two rounds, so while I kept the pace up, I went super light on my power. I could tell he was relieved that the session was over. 

I am WAY more beat up than I have been since I’ve been here. Prior to today, I was just sore, and had aches and pains. Today, I feel like I got hit by a train…and I LOVE IT!
Tomorrow I have a private session with the Boxing coach in the morning, then I am off to Phuket. 

SIDE NOTE: I went back to the fish market today during the day. It was a lot scarier when the sun had just come up. I took some great video and pics, and will post them later. WARNING: It is not for the squeamish. Don’t say I didn’t warn you, but it is an inside peak at Thai culture. 

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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