Fighting the next day I still wanted to get a round of padwork in: one, to stay sharp after all that driving; two, because my old trainer Daeng had returned from a lengthy stay in China, and I wanted to experience the difference in my growth, it had been maybe a year and a half since he held pads for me; and three, because Daeng was cornering for me the next night, it would be good for him to feel how I have changed.
Daeng has always been a very fight oriented padholder. By this I mean he brings fight-like tempo and energy to the work, and the only thing he’s interested in, in terms of technique, are things that work in fights. He was the first one to realize, at Lanna, that I should be an inside, clinch fighter, and he took the time to train in place really important things like fast shin checks (which are used to cut off space), or how to “make space” . It terms of my Muay Thai development, Daeng was the first one to send me on my way toward my fight style.
It was great to be back in the ring with him, and he had a few new techniques he wanted me to try out. I could feel a big change in my balance and responsiveness, and I’m sure he was surprised to feel that I could now effectively clinch.
Lanna will always be a part of my fight family. It’s the gym that gave birth to my Thailand Muay Thai, and I have lifetime friendships that have grown out of there. I spent my first two and a half years in Thailand at Lanna. A precious experience.