With all the time in the world to pursue anew hobby I chose to train in Muay Thai, a form of kickboxing developed in Thailand. Muay Thai is a competitive full contact fighting sport but I didn’t get quite that far in just ten days. Unlike my previous training as a high school wrestler, it seems that sparring could be a bit dangerous as a new fighter with little skill. During my two weeks of training I worked on basic technique practicing on the bags.
I chose Fighting Spirit Gym, a gym owned by a professional Australian fighter in the middle of Bangkok.
What I liked about this gym is that each session could last as long as I wanted and the intensity was up to me. I did not want to make Muay Thai the focus of my time in Thailand, only a part of it in addition to work, sightseeing, and partying. I trained for 1:30 – 2 hours each day. I started with about 10 minutes of jump rope and then stretching for my warm-up. The boxing gloves require a real technique to put on your hands so for another five minutes I would wrap my hands in the rope to protect my hands.
One of the Thai instructors would call me over and I would proceed to do some non-stop live practice fighting with the instructor holding the bags for five sessions of five minutes, with one minute breaks in between. The instructor would call out a combo while I would execute anything ranging from kicks to uppercut punches as fast and hard as I could. For anyone who has ever practiced a martial art like wrestling, Brazilian Ju Jitzu, etc. you know how tiring this gets. By the end of the half hour my pores with be flooding with sweat.
My workout would then continue with either the treadmill, sit-ups, push-ups, and other exercises. When I compare these workouts with the ones done as a high school wrestler they don’t really compare. But that’s because my Muay Thai training was pretty light. I watched others more serious about fighting and can see it must be just as tiring and difficult.
A few days into the training I inquired about one of the gym’s rooms for rent. The next day I rented out a room on the second floor, inside the gym for US$60 per week.
All of a sudden I had my own private room with wireless internet and a gym at my disposal. What I did not realize was that I would wake everyday at 6AM to the sounds of the most dedicated fighters grunting in between each punch at the bag. Strangely enough the gym was also located inside of a gated Chinese graveyard. The gate locked each night pretty early so in order to exit I had to climb the gate and jump into the street. This is possible do to ledges on the inside of the gate but impossible to enter from the street. One night when returning home after the disco I found myself locked out. I checked into an Expedia hotel
that night which cost roughly 3/4 of the cost of my week’s stay in the gym. So much for my cheap rent.
I think the best part of this experience is maybe being able to say I lived in a Muay Thai Gym inside of a Chinese graveyard in Thailand because actually living there sure wasn’t worth it.