for a map of where Petchrungruang Gym is scroll down
This morning was my first experience of actually training at Petchrungruang Pattaya gym about 10 minutes away from where we’re staying. It’s basically pinched into the space under and between a couple houses in a quiet little neighborhood off the main highway. It’s mostly little kids training there, which is actually really cool, but because they train in the morning before school I don’t see them during my training at 9:00 AM. That said, when I got to the gym for training there were three little kids in the gym, all Westerners. Two little boys, maybe 10 and 8 years old, were jogging in circles around the weight room. There was a maybe 4-year-old girl, super blonde, swinging a leather waist-pack into the two boys as they passed her on each lap, cackling like a crazy little toddler. The trainer had told me to skip rope, so that’s what I was doing, and the only time the father – who was sitting on the bench, immersed in his cell phone – said anything to her was when she drifted too close to my spinning rope. It’s weighted rope made of plastic tubing, Thai style, so they hurt a lot when you get whacked with them.
I don’t like kids, so this was weird for me. However, these were my training buddies for the morning so I had to figure out how to deal with the general irritation I feel around kids. We all moved to the other room and the boys started doing knees on the bag and the trainer told me to get in the ring and shadow. He watched me a bit, trying to get a feel for me as he strapped on his pads and yawned a few times. He’d taken a fighter to Lumpinee the night before, which is a two hour drive in each direction, so I reckon he was pretty tired. But he was definitely assessing me, not only in my shadow and what I seemed like as someone he’s training, but also slowly testing out talking to me to see how much Thai I speak/understand. The two little boys, even though they appeared to be Russian based on the dad that was with them, speak fluent and very casual Thai, even to each other.
When I started hitting pads with the trainer I was feeling pretty good but it got difficult, energy-wise, much faster than normal. It can be this way with new people sometimes because you just don’t know their style yet, but it’s also because I get excited or nervous and don’t breathe well. He has a very good pad holding style though; everything links together as it should in a fight and he responds to choices I make, like stepping off to the side instead of standing in front of him to throw everything. This is really good for me because part of the benefit of training at another gym is to try to take what Sakmongkol is teaching me into unfamiliar territory. That’s what being in a fight is like. That’s what it will be when I transfer all that I’ve learned back to Lanna. I think within our first round an older gentleman appeared by the side of the ring and was watching me. I recognized him from our visit the day before – he’d been sitting on the edge of the ring watching the little kids sparring in the afternoon when we came to check out the gym. I wai-ed to him and he grinned, then started asking me a million questions about how many fights I have, where I fight, how old I am, etc. He’s the patriarch of the gym, the “head honcho” and he interjected every now and then with geng maak (“very strong”). That’s a good sign.
The padwork was fun and just before my final round, which was only boxing, the trainer teased the two little boys, who were doing pushups and situps in the ring now, that they were going to get beat up by me. Or beat up by “the woman” as he kept saying. Then he turned to me and told me I was going to clinch with them. Ummmm, okay. They’re tiny, but they’re kind of awesome. At that size and age, part of what’s so cool about kid fighters (yeah, I know I said I don’t like kids but I really like little Thai kid fighters) is that they’re almost 100% attitude. They learn how to perform not caring about being hit or overpowered way before they learn how to actually dominate someone else. And these kids had that. The little one was a little monster and is obviously outsized by everyone at the gym, so he’s used to just plowing through whatever obstacle is in front of him. Something I should steal from him, actually. But it was also the first time I’ve ever clinched with anyone smaller than I am; ever. It awakened in me some realizations that I kind of understood intellectually but didn’t really know, exponentially. There’s a big difference between those two. Namely, actually feeling a little kid do a really good move that doesn’t work simply because I’m too big for him allowed me to understand, to really appreciate, that when I go against people much bigger than I am a lot of good ideas won’t actually work… but they’re still good moves. I could also relax and play more since I didn’t have to worry about being thrown so easily. It was fun. And since nobody, especially little boys, wants to be overpowered or dropped by a girl I absolutely had to overpower and drop them. I had to tell the little one jai yen yen (“cool heart”) because he was getting a little heated trying to punish me for turning him and using my size advantage. He was pretty badass, that little one.
After our clinch the trainer had us kick the bag 100 times together, took a few photos and then the kids scuttled off to have breakfast. Another big Western dude came in for a private training session and I went to work finishing my workout by hitting the bag. The trainer watched me for a while, told me I’m strong and then went to work with the big guy. Between rounds he talked to me from inside the ring, asking if I want to fight. I said I did, very much, and he nodded while I explained that I train somewhere else in the afternoon. That was no problem. He said he wanted me to fight on the 30th, which is in five days. Awesome. When he finished with padwork and I was in the other room doing my shadow he asked me how much I weigh and offered a suggestion right away. He offered 43 kg (~94.7 lbs), which is the first time ever someone has guessed my weight as lower than what I actually am. He was surprised when I said I was 47 kg. Must be my Adamantium bone structure.
So, I’m excited to be training here in the mornings. I do love training alone at the WKO gym, so I might steal a few mornings for myself over there and go to Petchrungruang maybe 4-5 days of each week. We’ll see how it goes. But it’s good, fun training at a regular Muay Thai gym and I like the trainer. I even like the little gromits.
My Vlog about my experience at Petchrungruang Gym:
my 3 rounds of padwork at Petchrungruang Gym:
a round of hands:
clinching with two tiny farang Nak Muay:
Location of Petchrungruang Gym – Map
You can go to an interactive Google Map of the location here: Petchrungruang Gym.