This is going to be a bit short because I’m very tired and it was a long, full day. I trained this morning at Petchrungruang Pattaya gym and wrote a blog post about that experience.
My last session with Sakmongkol on Thursday was a little rough. I was emotional and Sakmongkol was disappointed, maybe a little perplexed. While I was warming up he told my husband that on his long drives back and forth between his parents’ house and Pattaya (he was moving his old car and new car so it required a few drives) that he just kept thinking over and over to himself what to do to train me, how to fix my problems. I love that he’s thinking about it when we’re not training. That means a lot to me and for me. But I thought a lot about our training on my day off also. I decided after writing my blog post that I had to be more purposeful and go after him. I’m small, I’m not going to hurt him even when I go hard and if I do all he has to do is tell me to go lighter or not to do whatever it is he doesn’t like. Make someone tell you to stop rather than picking your own limitations. I learned that from an Anime we watch: these kids were running laps and all they had to do was raise their hand when they wanted to “tap out” and the P.E. teacher would have them sit down. But this one girl ran for a long time, then raised her hand and the teacher told her, “one more.” So she runs one more and the same thing happens, so she keeps running. When she finally stops the P.E. teacher points to this tubby kid still running and says he’s the first to have raised his hand, but he’s the last one still running. “You don’t get to choose your own limits,” she said. I took that to heart. There’s always something more than what you think you have.
I decided that I was going to go after him. In our last session I was timid about kicking with bare shins so today I just kicked harder, which I learned from kicking through injured shins. Sometimes when it hurts kicking harder, kicking through the pain, actually helps. It’s like clenching your jaw on a sore tooth. I’m not weird. But anyway, I got him a few times and he made his “aaah!” sound, which is approval and excitement. He chastised me for backing off of him and letting go when I had him in a death grip. He held his arms up in a mime of locking around the neck with the top of my head digging into his cheek (because he’s so tall; it’s a good trick, it hurts) and said, “I don’t like! But you let go,” and he released the air above him and pointed to his own chest, “good for me!” Got it.
It was a ton of fun though. I was laughing and jumping around, trying things that totally didn’t work and getting a few things that did work. When I did my favorite thing of shoving him backwards, stepping off to the side a bit and flying forward with a kick I missed completely because he ran away from me. Maybe my face fell or something, I wasn’t upset, but he stopped and made certain to explain to me that, “I know what you do because I teach you. Opponent mai rue,” (“doesn’t know”). I told him I understand, I just want to try. He liked that. Then he kicked me and I didn’t block and came after him anyway, saying Kaensak’s tagline (but in Thai) mai sone jai (“I don’t care”) and he loved that. When I came after him on something he was running backwards and slipped, falling to his knees and laughing. I should have gone Dekkers on him and attacked anyway, but I just laughed also. He got lucky.
Between rounds on the bag and before I went in the ring for padwork I ran downstairs to grab a second bottle of water. (I’m a camel.) When I got to the lobby Mong’s little daughter, maybe 4-6 years old, was just hanging around the chairs and tables babbling, just talk-talk-talk to nobody. She was doing that when we came in an hour and a half before but Sakmongkol was leading her around by the hand. I looked over at Mong’s wife, who was not paying attention to the daughter but working on something at the desk – this kid was talking to nobody. It was pretty cute, she was having a ball. When I got back upstairs I told Sakmongkol in Thai, “Hey Mong, your daughter is still just babbling, the whole time.” He looked at me to make sure he understood what I was saying, so I said it again and he started laughing, then just shook his head. I think this is not a new thing.
After padwork, which he just wanted me to do a lot of footwork in – “You kick good, punch good, knee, elbow, everything. I no have to teach you. Just move, you don’t know move!” he said – I got a little sparring in with the big “Russian Guy” we call him, but he’s actually probably from New Zealand. He’s awesome. I love going against men the size of The Thing because you can just hit as hard as you want. It was just boxing at first, although in the second round he told me I could kick him and I did, and he was great at just giving me enough pressure that it was hard for me to get off anything I wanted. I had to earn it. But I’m pretty sure I bloodied his nose a little bit with some nice jabs and uppercuts and the moment kicks were on the table Sakmongkol was yelling at me to kick the hell out of his legs. He showed me how you kick when the opponent is moving because in movement his muscles aren’t strong and you can hurt him. If you kick when he’s all set in his stance his legs are strong and you can’t do as much damage. It’s a beautiful thing to have in your mind, forcing someone to move so you can attack.
Awesome day. Just… awesome.
The first part of clinch practice:
The second part of clinch practice:
Padwork and Movement:
This is part of a near-daily Muay Thai series Training with Sakmongkol wherein I describe my training experiences with him at WKO Pattaya. For those interested I recount my decision to temporarily leave my training in Chiang Mai to take the opportunity to learn from one of the best Thai fighters of his generation and a uniquely gifted teacher in my post: In Search of Sakmongkol. In these posts I try to include as much extensive video as possible so that others can see in detail how and what he is teaching me.