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  1. [admin edit: some of the photos in this thread were lost due to a probable attack on our website, unfortunately. We recovered most of the thread. Thank you to everyone who supported us through this.] Hello all. My name is Tim. I live in California and in a few days I’ll be leaving for Bangkok, Thailand to train Muay Thai Lertrit under the guidance of General Tunwakom. I contacted Sylvie some months ago about her participating in interviews for my masters thesis. I ended up spending hours talking with her husband Kevin. The next thing I know, I’m buying a ticket to Thailand. When Kevin proposed I come to Thailand to train with General Tunwakom, I was somewhat skeptical about the proposition coming to fruition, let alone the project turning into a full feature on their websites and media channels. But they made it happen for me. I am so very thankful for the faith both Kevin and Sylvie have in me and the opportunity they have presented me with. Thank you, thank you, thank you to both of them! I started training martial arts at age 17 and it’s been an all consuming venture since. I’ve trained in various disciplines of boxing as well as Brazilian Jiujitsu, and Kung Fu. Currently I’m a Jiujitsu blue belt in the Carlson Gracie organization and I hold a 7º black belt in Kung Fu San Soo. I’m not a fighter by any means however. Fighting as never been an interest of mine. I just like moving. Despite my recent academic achievements, I had an incredibly difficult time in school - I didn’t learn to read until the 6th grade and spent most mornings of my youth throwing heavy objects at my mother in an attempt to avoiding going to school. I sought refuge in sport. I've never been a natural athlete though, I had to write L and R on my shoes for during my first year of high school American football to know which direction to move (left or right), but moving my body was mediative and made me feel like I was a person. It’s what I love about martial arts - the meditative repetition of learning something, not until you get it right, but until you can’t do it wrong. I’ve learned more about my self and the world in the hours spent learning a punch or kick than doing anything else. It was my faith in martial arts which took me back to school. After achieving my black belt I thought: if I could apply half of the effort I put into getting my black belt into school, then it would be no problem. It was true. I always found away to make school about the things that interested me - food, skateboarding and of course martial arts. My master thesis seeks to blend theoretical sociology with martial arts. Which brought me to Kevin and Sylvie. They have presented me with this opportunity I feel is much bigger than me just traveling and training. I don’t know how to process the whole thing. Sitting here trying to articulate my thoughts has been has difficult has writing my thesis. I have all sorts of anxieties and fears about traveling and my skills as a martial artist. What if I miss my flight? What if my kicks are really bad? What if I say something dumb on video!? But anymore, embracing the things that make me anxious, embracing the things I’m afraid of are my favorite things. They make me better as a person. I’ll need to plan well so I don’t miss my flight. If my kicks are bad, I’ll throw 1,000 more. If I say something dumb, I’ve already said a million dumb things, I’ll try better. I expect I’ll be uncomfortable and cry at least once. I also expect I’ll learn much more than Muay Thai. I hope to make all my instructors proud, both the ones who have taught me to punch and kick as well as the ones who taught me to think and write. I hope I have fun and give the General peace of mind that he’s teaching the right student. Thank you, thank you, thank you to all who will take the time to read this and comment back. More to come. tm
    15 points
  2. I just got absorbed by it. It's like this destructive super-passionate relationship I keep coming back to even though I keep getting hurt and the guy is a dick but all other sports I ever loved are friendzoned forever. Mainly I love being in the gym. Or having a gym to go to. It gives me a purpose and feeling of improvement even though work might suck or other stuff in life might suck. Muay thai allows me to get out of my head and into my body. I like the feeling of being sweaty. The sounds of someone kicking pads. I love the feeling of pushing through exhaustion. Of always hurting a little bit. The constant presence of pain makes me feel alive. I like the physical closeness in the gym, with other students, with the trainer. To discover movements and skills I practiced suddenly becoming available to me. I learn so much and I discover so many things about me and others that I could never have understood in any other way than physically experience it. I learn patience. I learn how good things and beautiful things are parallel to pain and frustration. I get the physical experience of hard work pays off. I learn about violence and I discover my own violence. And I really like gym when people don't talk much. When bodies do the talking.
    12 points
  3. This is an offshoot of a previous thread I started, on the "light" versus "hard" sparring and how that kind of divides down the emotional line, rather than the physical power of strikes. I wanted to ask my trainer, Kru Nu, about this. He's been teaching Muay Thai for 25 years or so, grew up in a gym that had the very, very early westerners who lived and trained in Thailand, has raised countless Thai boys to be stadium fighters and champions; and has had his fair share of "what the f*** was that?" experiences of people losing their cool in sparring and things erupting into potentially dangerous situations. My impetus for asking Kru Nu about this subject was two fold: 1) the "Thai sparring is so light," refrain I hear from westerners is often one that I've failed to witness with my own 7 years' experience living in Thailand. Thais don't spar super light, at least not the way that I see it performed by the westerners who are trying to mimic what they deem to be "Thai style sparring." And 2) I've seen some pretty intense sparring under Kru Nu's supervision, where he doesn't tell people to turn it down, whereas I - and probably most coaches in the West, would have done. With very little kids, like 7 and 8 years old, when they're clinching they aren't allowed to throw knees. Kru Nu tells them explicitly, "if anyone throws a knee, it's a foul." That's so they don't hurt each other, because they don't have control of themselves yet. They're tiny, so the impact is relative to their size, but I think it's more of an emotional precaution - they don't have control of their emotions yet and so they'll knee hard and hurt each other. They're emotionally not in control, so if they get mad they don't have a stick in their hand at the same time, so to speak. Most of the time, sparring or clinching with little kids like this ends because someone's crying. They're learning how to control their emotions way more than they're learning how to do proper technique, although they do get a few pointers here and there. Mostly it's just spending time in the water, as I like to say, and learning not to cry about it being too cold or deep or whatever else. Back to adults. The teenaged Thais in my gym have mostly been training for a lot of years, so they've gone through the emotional bootcamp long before they ever get big enough to really do any damage to anybody. We have one young fighter, Maek, who is often my clinching partner, and he's new enough and young enough that he gets a little emotional sometimes. He's ignored most of the time when he gets like this, or he's teased to put him in check. But he's pretty big, 60 kilos at only 13 years old, but a little butterball so he goes with partners who he outweighs but is shorter than. So, with his weight he can do some damage, but with his size and age he's kind of not so dangerous. In contrast to this, the westerners who come to train in Thailand are mostly pretty big, compared to me and Thais. They can do damage before they have any kind of skill, or moderate skill, and they've done usually no kind of emotional formation by a culture that esteems "jai yen yen," cool heartedness. So, you've got giant babies. Yesterday, my regular sparring partner and I were told to go spar but to go "bao bao," which is Thai for gentle. I've never been instructed to go light before. The reason was that both Carabao (my sparring/clinching partner) and I have fights in a couple of days, so a clashed knee or bruised eye or ego is not on the ticket. I fight often, Carabao doesn't. So, the instruction to go light is more to do with his fight than mine, but interestingly, Kru Nu has credited Carabao's wins in the past with being my clinching partner. In clinching, nobody is ever told to "go light." Just maybe to be more careful with hitting with the inside of your thigh instead of with your kneecap. So, this sudden "go spar, but bao bao," thing got me thinking. I wanted to ask Kru Nu about how he does sparring at his gym. I told Kru Nu that westerners seem to think that sparring in Thailand is all really light. He frowned at me when I said this, like "why?" I laughed. I don't know. But then I used the example of this Indian guy, who I referenced in my other thread. He goes too hard (in my eyes) with everybody. He's not out of control, but his power is enough to do damage. In the example I gave in my last thread, he sparred with an Italian who also goes quite hard. Hard vs hard, and Kru Nu said, "they like that, so I give for them." But I reminded him of a match up that was not a syncing of likes, where one guy didn't like to go hard. A few weeks ago he was sparring with a fellow from Spain. The guy from India is cracking these leg kicks and has good boxing, so he's touching up the guy from Spain and then just bashing his leg. The guy from Spain is not super experienced, but not totally green. He does okay for a round, listens sincerely to my advice to teep with the leg that's getting kicked when I talk to him between rounds, but ultimately lays down and sparring is ended with a "TKO" late into round 2. I thought that was shitty, honestly. I asked Kru Nu (yesterday, not when this happened), why he let the sparring go like that. "Because I want the guy from Spain to understand that in a fight, if someone kicks you hard here (he chops the side of his hand into his leg), you cannot ask them to stop. And you cannot stop. He has to understand." And, as I recall, the next sparring session, Kru Nu put the guy from India with Team (Thai, stadium fighter) and he got worked, which Kru Nu had said was, "so he can understand." Keeping everyone in check. I nodded my head in understanding when I was listening to Kru Nu. It's what I was saying about hard sparring, how it teaches you that you have to figure shit out under duress. You have to know what contact feels like and how to hide your fear, your shame, your pain, but you also have to be able to not get upset yourself. If you're going to hit hard, you have to know you'll be hit hard back. Kru Nu actually pointed at me, poking my shoulder as I sat next to him on the ring for this conversation. "Sometimes Carabao kicks you too hard, I know, I see," he said. Honestly, guys, I know Kru Nu sees everything but I totally assumed he was not clocking the times that Carabao is hitting me hard. "But you don't get angry, I know you are okay. And if you want, you can show him that you kick hard too and then he understand." I know there are times I've lost my cool in sparring and clinching when I feel like I'm being hit too hard. I've been punished for that by Kru Nu before, basically by him telling me to get out of the ring and go kick the bag and he ignores me for the rest of the session. But I've also learned how to control that shit myself. With Carabao it's a bit harder, just because of his size and the relationship we have in the gym, but with Maek I've learned how to take a too-hard strike, hit him back hard as a warning shot, and then use the next shot as an immediate comparison (much lighter), to let him choose which kind of strike he wants. You hit me hard, I hit you hard, but we can always go back to this. And know what? He always tones it back down. No words spoken. No looks. No complaints. No calling "dad" over, and the escalation in emotion is super short. But I wouldn't know how to do that if I'd never been hit too hard in sparring; if I'd never been overwhelmed and wanted to cry. When Kru Nu lets these big Western dudes bash on each other, he's giving them the same lessons that led me to where I am now, but on a much shorter timeline. These two go hard, they go hard together. This guy goes hard with someone who doesn't reciprocate and he doesn't read the temperature, make him go with someone who will touch him right back (Team) and then some to keep him in check. It reminds me of the Cesar Milan approach to reconditioning aggressive dogs: put them in with the pack and a natural order will shake out, pretty quickly. I remember taking our dog Zoa to a dog park in New York and she was growling and nipping at some dogs who came to sniff her. I immediately thought to go control her and Kevin told me to wait, let it sort itself out. Sure enough, within 3 minutes the group had figured itself out and Zoa was playing chase with a dog she'd just been ready to fight with. You can't control everything. And if everything is always controlled for you, you never learn to control yourself.
    11 points
  4. Hi and thanks for your reply and encourageing words! (And also sorry for the enormous font of my text. At least that’s what it looks like on my phone. Not sure how that happened. Don’t mean to be screaming at you:)) Two days later I’ve calmed down. I’ve been agonising and hiding and trying to put it in perspective. Last night I managed to watch the fight and it wasn’t at all bad. Well it wasn’t what I know I can do in training and I can se how my waiting for openings looks like I’m passive etc etc but it wasn’t at all in relation to the shame I felt. She did not humiliate me. I was just too passive at times. As you say ones feelings about something doesn’t make that something true. And my feelings said that I hadn’t landed anything, that going blank had leaved me with absolutely no skills or weapons what so ever. But seeing the fight showed that that wasn’t true. And I can almost feel a bit proud of fighting my first fight. I read your reply Sunday, still so sore I couldn’t really take it to heart. Reading it again today it all rings true. My hard work hasn’t been in vain and this doesn’t mean I can’t ever control myself. The whole situation also makes me think of something you’ve written about that failures aren’t necessarily your true self. Which it feels like when they happen. Thank you!! So, good news! I can go back to my gym haha!
    11 points
  5. There's a female only section on this forum which is very helpful for women training muay thai. But for a long time I've been wondering about issues men face in the gym. Where I train there are mainly guys. Young boys up to very experienced fighters. I watch them train and spar and bond. I see escalated aggression. Frustration. Inexperienced boys being pushed around learning to control the temper. I see bromance. I see all this touching (is this a thai or universal thing stroking each other's butts?). I see language confusion. Dominance. I see guys being laughed at for being chubby. I see guys not knowing how to clinch with a girl or whether to go hard when sparring. I see westerners trying to seek approval from thai trainers. I would be very interested to hear about common struggles men face in the gym.
    10 points
  6. Because Muay Thai is breathing to me. Everything else is just drowning. There's a quote from Rosa Luxemburg that goes: "Those who do not move, do not notice their chains". In a similar fashion I wasn't aware I wasn't breathing before starting Muay Thai. The oxygen it gave me is my life-changing discovery - that and kitties.
    10 points
  7. Like women, men do face a lot of pressure. I don't want to sound old, however back in the day, if you weren't supreme alpha in your attitude and full of testosterone you were really behind the eight ball. This wasn't at every gym/stable but it was pretty prevalent. Now days, I feel the pressure is still on men to perform as men, ie. stereotypes. As a man you're expected to be able to fight to some degree. You can see this phenomenon mainly in new comers. Plus they want to fit in. They will fit in over time, but the bromance thing you speak of, is a bond made from blood, sweat, and spew. Men in general aren't that hard to work out. We generally take the piss out of each other as a way of cementing our friendship. We say things to one another that to a woman may seem incongruous with deep seated friendship. As a rule of thumb the more piss you take out of someone, the more you like them. When it comes to training with women, some men do find it hard. Not because of any bias, it's just because you know if you get stuck with a dickhead bloke, (especially in sparring), you can always belt him. Now, if that dickhead is a woman, that presents a conundrum. As well, if you are training with a woman and she gets hurt, automatically the man is looked at as an arsehole. I can only comment on the things I've seen over the years and general observations.
    10 points
  8. This is a poison of western fight culture. I've learned to never underestimate anybody. There's no such thing as an easy fight, really and truly. I was listening to Kru Nu tell me about how this opponent couldn't fight me, which is a Thai phrase that is often used to imply that skill levels are just crazy different. But even after telling me this, he paused and then told me never to underestimate anybody. He said anything can happen in a fight, it depends on how important it is to the other person, etc. I've felt that in my opponents. And I think that when your opponent is talked down - and people mean well when they do that, even though it's so shitty - it takes something from your own heart. It makes it seem less important. It allows you, even for a moment, even if you know better, to let your guard down a little. You SHOULD have an appropriate level of fear, or awareness, for every single person you will ever get in the ring with. Even if on paper it looks like there's no way you could lose. It's a fight. You've prepared for it. It's your preparation that will let you win, not your expectations about your opponent. You can fight anyone, Lisa. Literally anyone. You can be the one who everyone is down-talking and you can win in those conditions. Your opponent has the same possibilities. But don't doubt yourself or believe in yourself based on who or what your opponent is. Believe in yourself for what you've done, for who you are, for the work you've put in. None of that guarantees a win. But you can't disappoint yourself if you know you've done the work. Just do the work. The fight is part of it, not the result of it.
    10 points
  9. Hi and thanks @Matty. Think you hit a spot with your thoughts on my expectations. I must admit to myself that I expected to win (cringe!:)). I had seen her previously. People at my gym were boasting me saying it would be an easy win. I thought that my fear of the shame somehow would carry me through and make me win. (?!? I know this sounds ridiculous!!!) I thought that all my training would overpower the stage fright and adrenaline. So yeah I think that part of the shame also was that I and people around me expected me to win. I wasn’t better than the woman they had been down talking. I’m up for a second fight in a few weeks. I’ve been off and on whether I wanted to risk the shame again. But wtf! I don’t want to leave it like this. Having my first fight, not being happy with my performance, losing and hiding under the covers. I want to try it again and see if I can improve on not completely checking out mentally. And also this time around my expectations are different.
    10 points
  10. Hi everyone, Just wanted to share my finished at home gym! all second hand gear that I’ve picked up in different places. now, just to use this space anyone else wanna share their home gyms? Or fave place to train
    9 points
  11. There are definitely plusses and minuses to being a product of this kind of environment. It can make you strong, but can also give you a lot of self-esteem issues. The desired effect is that the guy will fight back (which earns you cool points if you do it right), but if you aren't familiar with that kind of situation or come from an abusive background that can quickly spiral into unintended territory. What may have started out as mild shit talking turns more into confrontation and can escalate from hurt feelings to physical altercations. With most groups of guys, you are either in or out and it can really suck if you don't understand that kind of treatment. Not responding appropriately will basically lock you out of the group. There isn't an in-between area really and that can be hard to deal with if you are someone who wants to be included. As someone mentioned above, I think there is a lot of pressure regarding body issues too (not unlike women). We all have different genetics though and sometimes you just have to re-frame that kind of stuff in your mind. I think men often times aren't taught how to communicate at all, we just kind of figure it out as we go. For better or worse. A lot of guys never learn to communicate their feelings, their desires, etc. Women often complain about being taught to communicate or act in certain ways from early ages due to how women "should" be perceived (being "lady-like"). I totally understand that frustration, but I think it at least provides some bearing one way or another. Even if they disagree completely with how society tells them to act or talk, at least there is some kind of structure to observe and makes changes from. Through female social circles they learn to communicate better and with more variety from when they are young and begin to make changes about how they act or want to be perceived. Accepted by everyone you respect, guys and girls. Usually the people with the most experience, most fights, best techniques, etc. While we compare ourselves against other guys most of the time since that is who we are directly working with for the most part, most of us still want to be accepted by everyone. I don't think (at least for me) impressing the girls has anything to do with it. That's just immaturity in my eyes. I think the gym environment can really affect the desire to be respected though. In a laid back fitness gym its not as much of an issue. If you are training in a gym where everyone fights, it becomes much more of an issue because there are immediately expectations (I think everyone male or female probably feels this kind of pressure). Depending on your background though I think there are a lot of guys who have overlapping issues with women in gym settings. For example, I have a friend that started doing Muay Thai and BJJ about two years ago. I really had to push him into it and eventually I realized he was just incredibly nervous about the whole thing. He was nervous about getting hit, nervous about not being accepted, nervous about doing exercises the right way, nervous about embarrassing himself, etc. Lol basically anything you can think of. He's a pretty introverted guy and hadn't really done any kind of exercise most of his life and had certainly never been in a fight. It took him a long time to grow comfortable (hahaha and I pushed him a lot to keep going), but eventually he used that nervous energy for positive things. He did extra workouts at home, extra bag work at home, etc. He got really good in a short amount of time and now isn't afraid to mix it up with anyone in the gym. He is still nervous about competing though. I think most people regardless of sport/performance get nervous about that though. Hahaha that all ended up being a bit of rambling and potentially an incoherent mess. Overall I don't think guys have nearly as many fears, difficulties, drama, emotions, etc. coming into a gym compared to women, but I also think we are conditioned for it a little bit more. For me personally, I've never really felt nervous at a new gym or going into a fight. If anything, that's where I am most comfortable. Inversely, I can go to social settings that my gf is completely comfortable/fine in (dinner with new people, parties where we don't know people, basically places I am completely safe lol, etc.) and I'm a complete mess lol. We've just got strengths in different areas, and I think that's perfectly ok so long as we also keep working on our weaknesses.
    9 points
  12. I totally feel that destructive, super-passionate relationship thing. The way the very same thing that builds you up and makes you feel AMAZING, also tears you apart and makes you question everything you are. But the good times are sooo good, it makes you think the bad times are worth it. Basically, find something you love and let it destroy you. But not in the abusive relationship way, in the "you cannot possibly remain the same person through this process" kind of way. Destroyed and rebuilt, all the time. All the time. I've never thrown myself into anything the way I've been consumed by Muay Thai. Not only is it my whole life, it's Kevin's whole life, too. Maybe it's not possible to answer "why" you're obsessed by something, because the answer is always the same, that you're just fascinated and enamored and it never dries up. I can't picture myself doing anything else. The frequently asked question of "what are you going to do when you stop fighting?" is fucking heart-breaking. It would be like meeting someone's dog or husband and asking them what they're going to do when the thing they love the most dies. I don't know... feels like the end of the world.
    9 points
  13. Hmmmm....... I love it because of the freedom it allows. You don't get that freedom from Karate, etc. That's my opinion. The freedom one gets from expressing their muay. It becomes integral to your state of being, of who you are. Once someone discovers the difference of feeling of training, teaching muay thai as opposed to kickboxing, I believe their lives change. I might be rambling, as this is just coming straight from the heart. I enjoyed my Karate, Kickboxing etc, but I love muay thai. At least as I understand muay thai. My understanding is my own, and will be totally different to anyone else's. They say this feeling can be achieved in other martial arts, but I never experienced that feeling. That's why I gave away karate. When I go to sleep I dream muay thai, I think continually about muay thai and how it can benefit everyone. If I was the all,powerful emperor Ming, I would decree that it should be in every school's phys. ed. programme.
    9 points
  14. I don't mean to imply that ALL of Muay Thai is not aggressive. The point I try to make is that aggressiveness is not in and of itself a positive quality, but dominance always is. Sometimes that looks aggressive. Dieselnoi was aggressive; violent, even. I love him. Rotdang is fun to watch, he's very "aggressive," but also unaffected when he's hit back. Kevin and I used to follow the UFC, we don't anymore. The fights just aren't as good, as far as my eyes go nowdays. That's fine, it's just not interesting to me anymore. Even when I was watching it pretty regularly, the problem with MMA in general to me was the caliber of knowledge from each fighter was pretty low. It's like being able to ask where the bathroom is in 5 different languages, but can't hold a conversation in any of them. But there are some fighters who had depth of knowledge in one martial art, like Lyoto Machida. He was interesting to watch. Rousey, before she tried to become more "well rounded" with shitty boxing, she was interesting to watch as Judo player against very different skills.
    9 points
  15. I love your write up. Something that I see when I watch his waist is how his knees bend. They don't bend like a soccer or tennis player, they don't even bend like any other martial arts that I've seen, but they bend like a Golf swing. Keep in mind, I've never played golf in my life and I'm not truly adroit at watching it, but the twist, to me, looks like golf. The first thing I noted when walking into the room yesterday and sitting behind you was your breathing. I smiled and pointed it out to the General, I said, "he remembers to breathe... not like me." Even being able to hear it is more "right" than you can imagine. But your observation of the subtle differences means you do, actually, know what he's talking about more than you might give yourself credit for. I reckon his question to you about whether you know what he's talking about is actually if you know where to look, or what aspect he's picking on. I watch my trainer Kru Nu show someone a punch and they stare at his fist. It makes no sense. They're not looking anywhere near where the important part is. His balance is just like he's from another planet. He never, ever draws outside the lines, so to speak. He never breaks his frame. He never leans or bends. I thought Sagat had pretty incredible ability for maximum efficiency out of minimum movement... but the General even complained that Sagat couldn't do his uppercut right. Hahahaha.
    9 points
  16. Cost of living and training are HIGHLY variable. Thailand is a big country and different camps have different priorities (some are purely commercial, others are a little more traditional). Just living in different cities is going to skew your budget in large directions. I tell people that if you can't afford $1,200-$1,400 USD a month without including your airfare then don't bother to come long term. You can absolutely get by on less money, but life happens so it is better to be prepared. Here's what I would suggest: Figure out your exact time available to be in Thailand (i.e. 3 months/6 months/etc.), then look at the visa information available for South Africa and figure out which visa will work for you or if you will need to modify your trip time to match up with your visa (you might be able to afford a year here but your visa may only allow 3 months). Once you know how long you can legally stay in Thailand, figure out which area you would like to be in or if you would like to hop around. If you are going to be in Chiang Mai, Phuket, or Isaan I would recommend living at the camp just to make things easy for yourself though this will likely be more expensive than finding housing yourself. If you are going to be in Bangkok then either stay at the camp or find housing nearby using renthub, facebook, craigslist, etc. Food costs are going to vary depending if you eat street food, cook at home, or go to restaurants. Restaurants are typically about 3-4 times the price of street food in Bangkok and will likely be higher if you are in a touristy area like Phuket. That may be fine for a short term stay but will add up over time. You may be able to cook at home if you have a kitchen but I wouldn't count on that. Here's my minimum cost guess if you are going to be in BKK (I do not recommend this, but will lay it out as a starting point just for reference): Rent - 5,500 baht per month (you will also need 2 months deposit, 11,000 baht which you will likely never see again) Electricity (no aircon) - 1,300 baht per month + 700 baht to buy a fan Water - 300 baht per month Food (eating only 40 baht noodles, assuming you find a noodle cart nearby) - 120 baht per day x 31 days = 3,720 baht per month Drinking water (from street dispensers which require your own bottles) - 14 baht x 4 bottles for initial cost, then 4 baht a day to refill = 180 baht Transportation - 80 baht roundtrip motorbike ride to top of the street for food x 31 days = 2,480 baht (this is a very low estimate, I would honestly account for 4,000 at a bare minimum) Phone service - 499 baht a month (10gb data) Training cost - 7,000 baht a month Visa extension - 1,900 baht + 600 baht round trip taxi to immigration (assuming you don't need to have passport photos taken) Total estimate - 23,479 baht per month or $765 not including initial "start up" costs for your deposit, buying a fan, etc. Again, this is MINIMUM cost, I cannot stress that enough. I would not consider this a safe budget because things out of your control WILL come up (your gear might break/go missing, you'll get ripped off by a taxi driver, you can't find food for 40 baht, immigration will want some additional paperwork which means an extra trip, etc.) not to mention you'll be bored out of your mind after a month. Keep in mind that training cost is going to be a big part of this as well since most gyms charge 15,000-25,000 for a month of training. I have lived off 28,000 baht a month for about a year and I was getting down to less than 600 baht by the end of the month almost every time. That was living at the gym and never really going out anywhere. I currently live off approximately 40,000 baht a month and its fairly tight though comfortable (costs have gone up in Bangkok and I live in a more affluent area now). I have some additional emergency reserve and budget 5k a month for unexpected costs which I always always run through in some way or another. I could bring that cost down with some better financial tracking or if I lived in a different area, but I would consider this to be near the minimum if you are going to be training daily, taking care of your body properly as an athlete, and don't want to survive off rice and water. I hope this helps
    9 points
  17. 1. Breath 2. Use the waist 3. Transfer weight The General says this is what he must get me to do before I go or if I am going to teach effectively. These task are deceptively difficult, especially the breathing. It’s not that these are new concepts to me; it’s the way in which the General ask you to use and do them. There is a beautiful subtlety to the way he does them which is obviously the product of how long he as been doing it. 1. Breathing - I’m very aware of my breathing. I thought I did it quite well. There are breathing exercises I preform with some regularity and I when I roll jiujitsu I take a lot of pride in using my breath effetely. However, the General’s specific breathing strategy is proving to be tricky. The general emphasizes his breaths at almost opposite points then I’m used to. They’re shorter and the exhales come on the recoil of the punch - rather than at the impact of the strike. 2. Use the waist - If anything the General asks me to do that seems “new”, it’s the way he uses his waist. I’ve understood and even taught my own students the importance of turning the hips during a kick or punch, but I’ve always started this movement from the feet. The feet push through the ground first and the hips turn second. Rather, the General says the power comes from the waist (and the transfer of weight). During our lesson today, it was noted that often it’s the legs or the arms which turn the waist, which is not good according to the General. Rather the waist moves first, and then the arms and legs will follow. 3. Transfer weight - This is by far the most beautiful thing the General does. There is an effortless transfer in his body weight as he strikes. The only other shift in body weight I can compare it to, is ballet. I took ballet a few years ago, and it’s by far one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. There is no jerk or dramatic shift as the General moves. The only indication is a slight lift on his heals. It’s not a push off the ground like I’m used to. It’s a shift of his weight from one leg to the other. The General likes to say, “it’s the same, but different”. He usually prefaces with asking me if I know what he showing me. This is my least favorite question, in any art. I don’t think I KNOW anything. I’ve seen a lot, and I’ve practiced a lot, but knowing is something different. So when the General ask me if I know something, I try to respond with something like, “similar”. The General will smile and say, “it’s the same, but different”. This phrase is bigger than just our training, it actually encompasses my outlook on this trip. I’ve been to a few places. All over California, a tour through Europe, and now Bangkok of course. There are elements to each city that are always similar. There is crime, there are high rises, there is good food and bad; and so on and so forth. But each city has it’s own style, its thing which makes it unique. Bangkok is the same as any other city I’ve been to, BUT absolutely different (in the best possible way). Lertrit is the martial manifestation of Bangkok, if you will. It can look just like sport Muay Thai, but it is very different. There are subtleties which go almost unnoticed if they aren’t pointed out. But they make the world of difference. Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone offering their support and encouragement! tm
    9 points
  18. Hi everyone, I recently read the blog from Emma Thomas that Sylvie had re-posted (I am posting the link to it below). https://8limbsus.com/female-fighters/by-emma-thomas-muay-thai It gave me the impulse to write the few words below and I wanted to share how Emma's post touched me to the core: If you would ask me what kind of individuals I look up to… I would answer that I admire people who have incredible personal qualities such as Courage, Kindness, Generosity, Determination, and Dedication… If you also have great wisdom, chances are you are a role model to me. Emma's post touched me in many ways and I’d like to express support to this incredible person. I am one that agrees that the best learning outcomes come from our failures. And more often than not, the harder you fail, the greater the lesson. This is where I stand anyways and I have yet to have managed to deal with successes better than with failures. I noticed in the article that the rationale for the person to tell Emma to quit was the amount of consecutive losses she had had. Not a valid argument in my opinion. You do something because you enjoy it, want to improve, are passionate about it, want to share the moment and practice with someone who shares the same passion as you, sense of accomplishment, to gain wisdom, know what you are made of and so on… The list of valid reasons for doing something can be endless. I really don’t think that the opinion of the judges sitting ring-side (no matter how qualified they may be) and the official outcome of a fight would be the main reason why fighters fight. It could be the main motivation for spectators but that also has to be proven (many spectators can actually appreciate a fight regardless of the official outcome, unless they bet money). Let’s not mention that stepping in the ring is, alone, a win each time. Let’s also not mention that Emma Thomas stepped in the ring right away at the most difficult place to do so: Thailand, the mother land of Muay Thai. How could anyone with a little bit of common sense tell her to quit after only 11 fights in Thailand. That just doesn’t make sense at all… I have had successes in life, although I do not recall any of those successes occurring before failing first. I have failed more times than I could ever count; from every failure, there was a learning outcome. At times it was a big lesson and sometimes a smaller, more subtle one. In many occurrences I repeatedly failed before any kind of incremental improvements. All the times I failed helped me become a better person. For each time I failed there was a lesson around the corner and incremental improvements arose. On another hand, the ego trip and euphoria provided by unexpected successes have blurred my thoughts and ultimately set me back. Things that worked out on the first try have had a tendency to make me stop pushing and searching for a better self. The kind of feeling that gives the illusion that you’ve got nothing else to learn after all. Retrospectively that feeling is infinitely detrimental to one’s mind and soul.
    9 points
  19. I 100% get what you're getting at with the Dexter vs. Conan example, but I chafe at the serial killer comparison because I believe you have to actually be quite empathetic to be a good fighter. You have to know what fear and pain and shame feel like to be able to impart them on your opponent - and to a softer degree your partner in training scenarios. But yes, definitely not the "beast mode" of the Conan approach. I've found that for myself, a degree of insistence is what works the best for me in training. I'm slightly pissed off, but not in a way that's directed at anyone or anything. It's just that my version of slightly pissed allows me to let go of judgement, I think. There is a kind of Hannibal Lector quality to feeling the emotional and energy state of your partner and calmly guiding them toward the deep end. Like, "you look close to quitting, let me just nudge you a bit." I've personally had a hard time learning how to have that "killer instinct," or your version of a kind of sociopathic instinct, in aiding your partner's weaknesses because it feels shitty. For a very long time, if I knew that what I was doing was putting my partner in an emotionally difficult place, I'd back off. Even though in part of my mind I know that's no favor at all. There's a fighter at my gym who is the universal little brother. He's literally the little brother of one fighter, but he's the youngest (without being the 7-8 year olds, who are kind of their own set), and he's a butterball who gives up and hates being tired, so Kru Nu is always working to toughen him up. Like, if he can't finish the morning run in 1 hour, he has to run more. A few times, he's been running on the road, all of us in the van with the doors open just kind of crawling alongside him. It's punishment, for sure, but it's not just him. If Alex comes in behind so-and-so, he has to run extra or do pushups or whatever also, and he's kind of a "star" of the gym. So, I struggle with this because I have a compassionate impulse to get out and run with the little brother. Just so he has a partner, a friend, something to make it less all-eyes-on-you. But I also know that a lesson is being taught and by jumping out and doing that, it comes off as "motherly," which I 1 million percent do not want to associate myself with in the gym. It's that same struggle when I feel my partners wanting to quit, or having a hard time, or hitting an emotional wall. I've been there. And I've had people ease up on me - so I know that just lets me stay exactly how I am. And I've had people not ease up, and I know that helps me grow. So, it's a weird version of "serial killer compassion," as it were.
    9 points
  20. I don't think 35 is too old at all! We've had people in their 40s join our team and fight for the first time and do really well. A lot of fighters stop by 35 because they've been doing it a long time and want something different or feel like they are slowing down. Part of that is the amount of wear and tear they have after training and fighting for more than 20 years though. They've been pounding on their body for decades. A vehicle made in 1983 with low miles will still run just fine
    9 points
  21. I'm also 35, so I don't think that's too old at all. I plan on another 10 years or more, so long as I can keep doing what I'm doing with adjustments where they're needed. But I do think that as a caveat, you just have to consider what YOU think is enough. A guy at my gym the other day asked me whether I think someone could fight, training only one session per day. I said for sure, but you'd really have to put the work in during that one session. I think you could fight with NO training, but it's about what you want out of your fights and what you want out of your training. So, if you think you're to old, probably that's going to direct your mind a lot. If you think otherwise, you can go farther.
    9 points
  22. First of all, apologies for bringing Myanmar traditional boxing (Lethwei) into this but as far as I understand muay boran (and other fighting styles in the region) originates from Lethwei. I feel there are some people who want to create an impression of animosity between lethwei and muay thai, but I just experience it as two beautiful versions of the same thing. Anyhow, one of my teachers sent me this old photo from his home in Kachin State, northern Myanmar and one of the most active armed conflict zones. And I wanted to share just to remind foreigners who come to fight in Thailand or Cambodia or Myanmar what cultures they are actually interacting with and where your trainers actually come from. My teacher in the photo is a sweet, friendly guy in his 20s. He works at three different gyms in Yangon that focus martial arts fitness and he leads his classes with enthusiasm and smiles. He sleeps at the gym where I'm training. Regardless of skill level he'll find and push you beyond your boundaries. He has had about 30-40 fights and is currently recovering from a nasty knee injury and subsequent surgery, waiting to be able to fight again. He's also waiting for an invitation and visa to go teach at a western gym in a western country. To prep for the visa process he goes to English school in his free time. His biggest dream is to become a One Championship fighter. And he keeps his body fit in the meantime. This photo simply got to me. It's just such a harsh reminder of what it means to really want it. The endless hours you put in that no one is there to see. And it, as so many times before, painfully reminded me of how spoiled I am as a foreigner when trying to choose the most suitable gym for me, or complaining about pad holders style, or not getting fights, or the whatever. And the caption I was given with the photo also summarizes the attitude so well: "Now ok before ok you know?"
    8 points
  23. Hi guys I just came back from Santai and want to do a review as it was a really good experience. I will use the same categories I used for my other review. Instruction - 5/5 I have been to a fair few thai gyms (mostly in Phuket) and Santai blasts them out of the water when it comes to instruction. Rounds are 5 minutes each and you will always get 5-8 rounds each day even when there are 35-40 students (though you might have to wait a bit longer). You are also deliberately placed with different coaches every session which is great as it allows you to experience different personalities and different fighting styles - ranging from stoic boxing champion/Muay Khao Boraphet to playful Muay Femur twins Lop and Phon. Every coach I've had at Santai watched and corrected my technique. They even stayed behind to hold extra pads for me when I had a question or am struggling to grasp something. The younger coaches will also spar and clinch with you - especially if you have a fight coming up. Re the Pinsinchai style - I really didn't notice a particular style per say but everyone's technique was very clean. Santai teaches traditional MT - so standing very tall, back hunched, big emphasis on kicks and knees etc. The coaches will also often talk about the point system when they explain to you why they are putting specific combos together. If you are looking for more of a dutch/MMA style of Muay Thai then this is probably not the gym for you. Class Format: 4/5 Training "officially" starts at 6am each day but the first part is just running. There are 3 running tracks to choose from - 4.5km, 7km and 10km. The 7km is the prettiest scenic wise but the 4.5km is the only one supervised by a coach. For the longer ones, especially if you aren't as fit, I highly recommend you get a local SIM first as you don't want to get left behind by the fighters and have no idea where you are halfway through. If you don't run, arriving at 6.45am is perfectly fine. Except for the running, training is pretty guided. A coach who will lead you through shadowboxing and stretching then you just look at the whiteboard to see when you are meant to have pads held and who by. You do bag work while waiting your turn and, after all the pads are done, you usually do sparring or clinching or repetition work. All supervised. Then its warm down stretch and conditioning - where again, you are guided through the entire process. Everything is nice and easy - if not a little too routine. Atmosphere: playful but also serious This gym is the best of both worlds in terms of training environment. The coaches and other long term students will joke around with you and won't judge you too harshly but, at the same time, they are very serious about the art. Most people who come to Santai are there solely to train and, therefore, push themselves fairly hard. There are beginners of course but there is also a pretty high percentage of foreign fighters - ranging from people who are about to have their first fight right up to girls who hold multiple world titles. There are also two Thai fighters there who are high level as well as 3-4 foreign guys that do Muay Thai as a career. If you are good enough, getting a fight is easy - male or female. The whiteboard listing upcoming fights is often 75%+ full all the time. Facilities: 3/5 This is where Santai struggles a bit as it just isn't as well put together as e.g. Khongsitta or Sinbi is. Although still functional, the equipment in the gym is clearly on the older side of things and the weights section is really small and needs to be updated and fleshed out asap. The gym isn't overly dirty but it isn't sanitised every day like western gyms are either. There are also cats everywhere. As for accomodation...its ok I guess. The room has everything you see on the website but, except for Baan Nak Muay, none of the rooms are cleaned once you move in. One of my teammate also had bed bugs in his room. There is an onsite Fairfax store and it has everything you need. However, the Fairtex gear isn't that much cheaper than it is back home. Location: 3/5 Santai is outside of Chiang Mai city. The gym can organise airport transfer so getting there isn't an issue but there really isn't much to do once you get there. You've got a bank (for currency exchange) and stores like 7/11 of course. There is also plenty of cheap, healthy thai food (and two or three western cafes) but there is no beach and no nightlife except for the Saturday night market (which is still only street food + clothes/misc. accessories). San kamphaeng is very much a residential area. One thing of note though is that there is a temple where you can get massages for 150 baht. Ask for the monk who used to be a Nak Muay - he is very good. Santai doesn't offer any guided Chiang Mai tours. However, they do organise a 11-12km run every Saturday where you'll be running up to a very famous temple. Be warned though - the view is beautiful but you'll be running up a hill the entire way essentially. Female friendly? Yes, very. Lisa who is a multi-time world champion is there right now. Lommanee also trains out of Santai. Both are sponsored by the gym and there are photos of female champions hanging in the gym wall. There are heaps of foreign girls who fight out of this gym and they get the same treatment and pad rounds as the guys. Final word: this isn't the prettiest gym but its got a lot of heart. Hopes this helps!
    8 points
  24. This is a somewhat complicated question in that, especially in Thailand, there's a moral component to alcohol consumption that will be included in how it's viewed by your gym. Trainers who drink aren't viewed as super dependable by those who don't, students who drink are socially engaging with those trainers, but will also be dismissed in some ways by those in the gym who don't. If you're showing up and working hard, you'll be appreciated for that. If you're tired and drained - even if it's occasional - and it's known that the reason behind it is that you were out drinking, you'll be judged for that in addition to what you'd be chastised for if you were just having a "bad" day. I'm in the same school as Madeline, where I just can't afford feeling shittier than I would if it were simply a rough night of sleep or being tired from the work I'm already doing. So, I abstain for the same reasons I don't eat sugar or stay up too late to watch Netflix or whatever else. If it's compromising my training, it goes. But people have different goals and different motivations. The 5AM runs make me a total asshole for the day and I still go do those, so we all make compromises, hahaha.
    8 points
  25. Hey guys, this is where i'll be making my daily blogs with training in Manop's gym, might be interesting to some of you and also good for me so i can remember experience i had in depth. I'll cover how hard it was for me physically, emotinally and mentally, physical and mindset struggles along the way. I came to Manop's gym in Dec 2nd 18:30 had a long 24+ hr day with flights and so on so didn't train that day, got introduced to the people here, seemed fun and good people to be around with. I noticed one thing tho and i had big concern about training. As a person who has asthma i had hard time breathing just doing nothing, walking around or even laying in the bed, i thought this might be the problem because if i'll train it will certainly get harder. I used some of the meds but they didn't help 2 much. About 8:30 we all went to the market and this was the first time i had a taste of thai food , was really good and prices compared to my country seemed small. Around 22:00 came back to my room went to bed, this was 1st day, no training.
    8 points
  26. Out of my little training experience in Thailand, I would say as long as you're doing something they most probably will appreciate the effort. I trained at Lamnammoon Muay Thai (in Ubon Ratchatani) for about two months and during that time I saw that most people (foreigners) weren't always doing the full 10k in the morning, and some had to walk or skip altogether because of injuries or exhaustion, etc. Even the Thai fighters didn't always run non-stop. Sometimes they walked, especially in the afternoon run. Also their running pace were usually quite slow. Not that they can't run fast but most often they couldn't be bothered. That said, the more you run (and the harder) the more the coaches will be content and take you seriously. My coaches basically told me I could fight when they saw how much I ran. Not when they saw how hard I hit or how slick my techniques were (Lol I would still not be ready then). Running is really essential. You say you're an awful runner, but how many days per week do you run usually? Unless you're a rare exception, your running endurance should definitely improve if you run everyday. It sucks for a while but that's okay. It should stop being awful once you're used to it. Unless you personally want to keep improving your pace for whatever reasons, then running will suck forever haha.
    8 points
  27. Hmmm kind of difficult to answer but I'll think about it some more and maybe come back with another answer. As to men training with women: I like to train with some of them if I like them but training with other men, especially of around equal or higher skill level (as long as they're not assholes about it) usually feels more "free". Especially as a tall and heavy guy (I'm not exactly well trained but have a certain natural level of strength from my bodytype) it kind of feels like you always have to low-key take care about your training-partner more. Of course you should always take care about your partners, but it's different here. Then for me there is the added problem that most women are quite substantially smaller than me which distorts some stuff for both of us. And yes, having to be more careful is a thing too of course. I've trained with women who were much more on the tough side and when you find out about that and the right level of intensity has clicked into place that's cool. There is still that bit of risk remaining that you have to be careful not to overdo it anyways. Then of course you sometimes get other women who are or act much less tough which brings it's own set of problems. Me being naturally introvert and shy doesn't help either of course but that's also the case (though to a slightly lesser extend I think) with other guys. It's not that I don't like interacting with people and of course training needs partners but I sometimes find it more difficult anyways. Then or course there is this male dominance thing. Comparing yourself to others, not appearing weak, also the thing Sylvie talks about in the text Kevin posted about being more careful about how much you tire yourself out. I'm not one of the guys who have been doing some form of training all their live. I'm actually pretty damn untrained right now and it pisses me off when I see that I'm holding a partner back because I'm gasping for air all the time and also that it keeps me from concentrating more on the technical aspects of what I'm doing. Also it's a showing of weakness that doesn't feel great of course. I remember doing a bit of boxing-sparring with someone at the gym (I've never trained much in boxing so far. We did a bit of it in Kali as our trainer was a firm believer in that you should at least know the basics of what you might be up against though) and it kind of felt embarrassing. Objectively I know I had no business looking great against someone much more experienced but I wasn't really used to the contact and feel of punches against my own body and I couldn't even use my legs which I seem to rely on quite a bit so that made it worse. I got a short video of the session taken and I actually look kinda scared from the outside which is what I was feeling, too. It felt somewhat embarrassing because, as someone else mentioned, as a guy you are kind of expected to know how to fight to at least some degree and somehow you end up believing this to some extend as being a natural thing. Then in a situation like this you kind of get this image shattered to a degree. It's not like the guy was going hard or beat me up or anything. It's just that the ego get's kicked down a little when something like this happens. It's this kind of thought that you HAVE to be strong. You can't appear to be weak because being strong is supposedly the standard for a man.
    8 points
  28. Interesting post. I'm curious to see what others post. I think the main thing I have seen is the constant competition and pressure to "make the grade" (be good enough to be accepted). Being "tough" is something that is ingrained in a lot of us from a very young age and most of us have no support network. Most women I know have a good support network if they have a bad day or something goes wrong in their life; men are left to struggle through on their own. We don't help each other out or support each other when something goes wrong. Instead the answer is to simply learn to deal with it and do better. That's a lot of pressure, especially if you are having a tough time and already feeling down.
    8 points
  29. This is a topic I have been meaning to bring up a while, but being hesitant since it might get a bit heated. However my curiosity won this battle as I am very interested in hearing other peoples’ views, especially trainers/coaches/teachers/instructors. So here goes. The self-appointed assisting coach or as some name them, mansplainers. The person, not a teacher, who comes with unsolicited advice in the gym. I have always done some kind of exercise one way or the other, but it never became a true interest until I started yoga seven years ago. And with yoga, only the teacher will adjust your alignment (with few exceptions). The teacher understands anatomy, the asanas (posture/movements), and is trained to perform physical adjustments. If you have a good teacher, physical adjustments are done with such care and compassion. You are gently but firmly guided into the posture. It is a great way to learn. On a job mission a few years back, I visited a studio that offer Budokon yoga, a special kind of modern yoga which is infused with martial arts. A great experience and highly recommended. Afterwards though I was talking to the teacher and this fellow student chats me up and out of nowhere he says he noticed I had over-extended my knee during practice. I am what you might call an experienced, advanced level yogi in terms of difficulties of the asanas I can master. But yoga has very little to do with difficult arm balances and so much more to do with presence and his comment brought me out of my presence, out of my physical body and mind, and into the thinking and judging brain of mine where I started over-thinking of where I kept my limbs and if I am doing things correctly and suddenly hyper-aware of the other people in the room. And this to me is what unsolicited advice does. It robs me of my presence in training and learning and suddenly I become aware I am being observed by others. When learning muay thai in Thailand as an adult. Well, it is an incredibly humbling experience. Due to language barriers, you will be made fun of when teachers instruct you, with exaggerated charades they will show you what kind of mistakes you do. And there is a clear hierarchy you need to submit to. And if you do not speak the language, you will have a hard time explaining yourself when being criticized and you can just nod and say yes. People will laugh and make jokes you do not understand. In these situations it is wonderful to have training buddies who know you. Who can help you. Where there is mutual trust. What you don’t need is someone you do not know giving you advice you did not ask for. And I think it was Timothy who said it well in a different thread, you need the space to make your own mistakes. As stated above, this is just my perspective and I am interested in other peoples’ views on this.
    8 points
  30. This is going to be one of those things that I say and you go, "oh yeah, totally," and then go right back to thinking the way you already think. That's okay. What we think is a habit. But I'm going to say it and I want you to try to really understand it: you do not make your trainer feel any way at all. Not good. Not bad. He feels how he feels because of the thoughts he's having and, in a room full of students, he's not thinking only - or even primarily - about you. Don't try to please him. Don't try to frustrate him. Neither are your responsibility. A few years ago my trainer was in this terrible mood. He walked through the room I was in, didn't acknowledge me at all, got in his car and left the gym. I was the only one there. He didn't train me. I had a fucking emotional breakdown, thinking I'd done something wrong and he was mad at me. I was obsessed with it and when I finally grew the courage to confront him about it, I realized it wasn't about me AT ALL. He was going through something very upsetting and instead of being compassionate, I was obsessing over myself. That taught me a lot. It's a relief, honestly.
    8 points
  31. I think the shame you feel comes from your expectation of how you would perform, given that you had been able to perform well sparring with the guys at your gym. You know, I felt shame even when I won. Because there were things that I thought I should be able to do but couldn't. When I told that to my coach, he said that you will always feel that (having things you should be able to do/do better) unless you have a 1 second KO. In contrast, I had lost in an open tournament against an opponent with 10 fights when I had only 1 fight at the time. I was outmatched and got dominated the whole time. It was a tough beating to take. But I didn't feel shame. While I didn't go in expecting to lose, I didn't actually hold any expectation to win OR lose. It might be rare situation to never have expectations of yourself. What makes fighting beautiful is perhaps that dignity is on the line. But maybe while you feel shame, you may also remember pride at the same time. A CBT technique I have used is that I save screenshots of the fight of moments that made me feel proud, and whenever that feeling of shame rises up, I look at those screenshots to teach myself to recognize pride as well. Not to override shame, but to have both shame and pride at the same time (if you've watched cartoon movie "inside out", it's kinda at the end when Joy and Sadness both touch the memory ball). Kudos for having your first fight
    8 points
  32. I'm a bit inspired by Coach James's recent thread about kids "fighting" (they're sparring, but James is bothered by it and in his mind used the word fighting in his title, which I think is significant), but also because I just was watching some hard sparring at my gym here in Thailand. Here's the set up. In the West, we tend to have this "holier than thou" attitude toward "technical sparring" over "hard sparring," usually accompanied by some kind of credit to how "technical and light" sparring in Thailand is. Okay, sure, I've seen very little sparring among Thais in which they're trying to hurt or knock each other's heads off (I have seen some), whereas I have seen that kind of sparring in Thailand but usually when one or both of the people participating are not-Thai. This said, when Thais spar with shinpads and gloves, it's not "light." The word for sparring in Thai len cherng, literally means to "play techniques." That's the point, and usually the spirit of it. But it's not "light" in the sense that the West tends to characterize it as for their own uses and purposes. It is more "lighthearted," but the actual power of strikes and intention is well over the 60% that I'd qualify as "going light." I was watching two sets of sparring at my gym yesterday. The first couple were both not-Thai. One guy was from India, the other from Italy. The Indian guy always goes too hard, as judged by me for what's appropriate for practice. But he's never told by the coaches to turn it down, which means they see a purpose to how hard he strikes. He also tires easily. And they never put him with someone who is close to a fight, because they know he goes this hard. The Italian guy has way more experience than the Indian guy and, while he got battered pretty good by hard leg kicks and punches in the first round and a half, he took the lead with clinch and knees to "win" the sparring - as if it were a fight, judged by others. The thing is this: the punches and kicks were 100%. The emotional stress and intention was 100%. And the guy who goes too hard, by gassing and ultimately being bettered in the end, his disappointment was 100%. All of those elements are important for learning how to fight. You have to deal with real stress. You have to deal with the consequences of coming out too hard, too early, if you don't have the stamina to keep it going. You have to learn how your power overwhelms someone and then doesn't. And likewise, the Italian guy has to learn that you can't only practice going in and having everything controlled for you. I was pretty impressed by the way he handled it, honestly, and I'm not very generous in things I like about this guy. As an important note, while nobody was told to take their power down, there were shinpads, large gloves, a referee and spectators to break the two men when things were too heated or stagnant, or to stop the time early if needed. It's still being supervised, just not interfered with very much. The next couple were two Thai boys, both about 14-16, same weight as each other but a gulf in experience. One has been training and fighting since he was 8 and surely 100+ fights, the other a handful of years with only 20 or so fights. One loves to go backwards (the experienced one) and gets yelled at for it, the other likes to come forward and strike pretty hard. They both kicked and punched less than 100% power, but not far below that. There were exchanges when the power would go up, but then it would come back down. There was never any "danger" throughout that match, unlike the other one. The biggest difference, however, was the emotional charge. There were moments when the two Thai fighters were amped up a bit, the dominance was real. But they weren't trying to hurt each other. They were trying to dominate each other and shut the other down. It wasn't like that with the non-Thais; there was an element that felt not in control with them, an emotional derailment that felt dangerous... although the Thai men who sat around the ring to watch found it incredibly entertaining. So here's my point: there is a purpose to hard sparring. There is purpose to "technical" sparring. There is an art to both, and I think both are required for the development of a fighter. But what's "light" about Thai sparring is not the power of strikes; it honestly is in the "asshole factor" of emotional energy put into the sparring itself. It's a lack of control that makes hard sparring dangerous or not worthwhile, not the power itself. Stress is an important training tool. Disappointment is a training tool. Gassing out is an important training tool. To only ever advocate for some kind of pantomime sparring robs fighters of those tools. This was Jame's original post discussion that lead to these thoughts:
    8 points
  33. Good morning, I have started a journey of self healing through study of the origins of Muay Thai... Okay. I've started this journey at least three times now. Seriously; this time is different. This time is different because of the wholesome content available to us learners via the Library and YouTube posts. A special thanks to @Kevin von Duuglas-Ittu for all his hard work behind the camera (And editing software? Or is that all Sylvie?) I've spent hours behind glass myself and respect the challenge of capturing real life. A mentor has told me many times that an injury of the body impacts the mind. An injury of the mind impacts the body. I have scars in both places from years of mistreatment of self and neglect of self. Short take-away from the lesson was that where we choose to address the recovery from the injury is up to us. Since the mind and body are linked; we are in control of where we begin treatment. Getting out of whatever pattern is causing the injury and the subsequent guarding reactions our body is the first step toward healing. Dealers choice; treat mind or body first. I sort of view it like hopping on a merry-go-round and then going for a 10 mile run around it while its spinning. Stepping off the ride is... stepping off. Short summary: I'm currently a devops engineer. Formerly a research engineer for autonomous vehicle systems, and before that, an IT guy and engineering student. Life brought me home from the adventures to have a family. I'm a well trained, but casual low brass player (mostly tuba now.) I ran 5-10 miles a day for half a decade. Over night that was stripped from me. On that path, I discovered a few things which led me here; to post on this site. 1. It's hard to work out at sea. There was a punching bag in the forward hold next to my cabin. I had a stop watch. After 8 weeks of playing around, completely unaware of what I was doing other than some basics I'd been taught as a kid about how to shift weight; I was still hooked. I used some of my sea pay to buy a bag and some gloves 2. I learned that trying to lift-push-rock a 3500 lb station wagon with one foot on the ground and the other on the clutch to skip the starter past a broken tooth on the flywheel is stupid past the age of 30. One sneeze and 2 days later; I was in the ER. 3. Three years of struggle later, we camped on a sheet of 5" ice. My crampons went to my wife. I fell on the ice a bunch of times. (8-10; I lost count. ) Just felt wrong afterwards, stopped running. Almost stopped working out. On the way back to active, pushed things too far. Ended up in the same boat of not being able to walk for a few days. I had no time for myself and never addressed it. Almost 5 months later: 4. First Maine snowstorm of the year. I went out to shovel. First full handle and I'm limping back in. 2 weeks later, taking X-ray's. Insurance denies MRI, so I do PT for 6 weeks. At the end of PT, I'm way worse. Have an MRI confirming ruptured L5-S1 lumbrascarpal joint. Get an epidural. Yay. It helps. They recommend surgery. 5. Acupuncture and PT instead with some good people. I'm just good 2 months later. Back to walking and running. Still don't take time for myself so I know I'm going to ... During this time, I rediscovered the "Thai Low Kick". Had to perform surgery on my cheap bag as I'd blown out some of the sand bags. The concepts of forward-facing stance, high guard, and mental focus appealed to me. I just didn't take the time. 6. 2019 first snow storm; I shovel. I end up on the ground. GRRR. 7. I'm pretty much at rock bottom now. I'm looking at local gyms; and no one does anything other than stuff I know I shouldn't do with my limitations. Closest PT apt with someone I know could help is 5 weeks + out. For almost a month, I had been falling into a pattern of sitting on a heating pad for hours to get my piriformus, hamstring and glutes under control. One day I tried to go force myself to run on the treadmill in the garage one day to "get back on the wagon" and found it covered in sand, broken kids toys, and boxes. A few days later, I came home from work, motivated to get back into my PT and make the burning pain stop and found my work out spot was covered with random boxes and decorations. Enter the mind injury. I got worse. I was eating poorly. Ramen twice a day some times. Frequently skipping meals. . Occasionally consuming more rum or beer than I should to dull things. Lots of coffee. Not enough water. I was gaining weight. And I was getting pissed off that I was gaining weight. I was getting pissed off that I couldn't find the time or space to do the PT I had known would help. I was wasting hours, aimlessly watching videos on YouTube on topics I was passionate about. Some where in this, I caught on to the "I was getting..." meme. We were old friends already. I was sad to see this one return. And also the realization that "I was searching..." meme was active too. I was searching for a way out. Searching for inspiration; for purpose. I've been at this game of life in interesting situations long enough to know there are no easy answers or ways out. Any one who thinks otherwise is fooling themselves, Richard Feynman style. One of these particular nights when I knew I couldn't sleep due to my leg being locked up, and maybe a few beers, I got routed into a sequence of MMA fights. In that, sequence, some how, I stumbled upon a video from this site's Heroine, @Sylvie von Duuglas-Ittu. For some reason now (probably because I've watched over 300 of her and Kevin's videos since) I can't find the original in my history. It was her discusing the low kick after a training session with a legend from the golden era. 8. It got in my head, in a good way. It may have taken a few weeks for it to get hold, but to me *now*. I'm 12 days in to "now" with 200 knees on a bag every day. I'm not wasting away on a heating pad, chowing down on random videos and ramen anymore. I've finally discovered what "teep" means and I'm working towards 200 of every strike a day. Then 500. (My Jab was already pretty good, but my cross was weak.) What inspired me to "step off my circle" was the nature of the fighting style. The origin is a pure form of "root vs root". Posture vs posture. After 200 knees in the morning; I don't hurt anymore for the rest of the day. Next posts; ( assuming I don't get banned <grin> ) will be about what I'm actively doing to restore my breathing and posture while studying the Library entries (and YouTube bits) for insight about root mechanics and maintenance. The origins of my injury would have been prevented if I had experienced and internalized the origins of the craft this site aims to save.
    7 points
  34. I do it because I really enjoy it. I really regret not starting when I was younger, but nothing I can do about that. It keeps me fit, my flexibility is getting better, but mostly I think its learning new skills and seeing myself slowly improve. It also provides me with a connection to Thailand (I love it there, see). I’ve also really enjoyed learning about the history of it - reading up about all the golden age legends, then looking up their fights on youtube, studying them in Sylvie’s library. I’ve been able to get over to Thailand a couple of times this past year and train with some of them, which was amazing. I think another thing that fascinates me about Muay Thai is how the sweetest, most softly spoken people you could ever meet have developed such an explosive and brutally effective martial art. It’s all about causing the maximum amount of damage in the most efficient way possible. No fancy unifroms, no grading system, they just put on a pair of shorts, train real hard and fight!
    7 points
  35. I discovered Muay Thai about 4 years ago (I'm 29 now) but only really put myself into it 2 months ago, because I was scared of the risks, of the "Why da hell should I suffer so much if I can be in my sofa?". But now I am addicted to it. For me, every 2 hour Muay Thai training session is a way to rediscover my body, my sensations, feel pain so I can feel good afterwards. It might sound very "spiritual" and bullshitty, but that's what it is. When I practice Muay thai, do Sparring, I feel like I'm ressucitating. I've always been looking for my "passion", after reading "The Monk who sold his Ferrari", and Muay Thai just might be it.
    7 points
  36. Lamnammoon Sor Sumalee was an absolute legend from the Golden Era who specialized in knees. He won his first ever fight with a knee KO (He was nicknamed the Vampire of Knees by the press). He has his own gym now, situated in Ubon Ratchathani, one of the four great city of Isaan. It's the region he grew up in. I went to Lamnammoon's gym last year (2018) between end of September and early December. Damn, I don't even know where to start... It was SO great. I love this place to bits. Before I keep going whoever reads this may want to check out Sylvie's take on "Gym recommendations" if they haven't done already. It's always difficult recommending a gym because gyms are not frozen in time and everybody has their own expectations about what they want out of things in their lives. Lamnammoon's gym, like any other gym, go through changes all the time. The training partners I had during my stay there and some of the coaches I was blessed enough to learn from are not currently there anymore. And those people contributed a lot to my progress and happiness. Now, Lamnammoon is Lamnammoon no matter what. His gym has a its own soul that he's slowly been nurturing for years with all his heart which I think has remained the same to this very day. It's an intense, old school, leaning toward Muay Khao (but not exclusively at all. He adapts to the fighter's nature), big on fight kind of gym. If you give your heart to the gym and work hard, you will get the equivalent attention and focus right back to you. If you'd rather train not too hard and just be a chill tourist, you won't get ignored or looked down upon or neglected but you'll get the same kind of nonchalance in return. It's a fair place where you reap what you sow. Unless you're a woman. However to be fair the disparity between genders really is not as great as what you'd expect in a gym that not so long ago still didn't allow any woman in the ring. Clinching put aside I got absolute great training and attention like everybody else. No shady behaviors from anyone either. First day you get there Lamnammoon will probably take you on pads himself to assess where you're at. Then he might advise you to take it lightly the first week, and gradually build up the intensity of your training to match the overall level. Definitely take it light the first week! Don't go all in at the beginning. He told me how he saw SO many Westerners coming to his gym and going crazy berserk the first few days to try and impress everyone, before quickly dying out like a deflating balloon. I don't know whether you wish to fight or not, but if you want to fight you should be serious and consistent and not skip training (unless you're ill). Lamnammoon absolutely loves people with good heart. That means: being humble, training hard all the time, never quitting, not showing fatigue, not complaining about comfort issues. When he was a young fighter Lamnammoon used to sleep on the ring alongside his buddies and his pillow was a pad, and that's it. So, I don't encourage you to complain about being in pain or feeling uncomfortable unless it's really serious, or unless you don't intend to be taken seriously as a fighter. .Accommodations. > Staying at Lamnammoon's home: you can choose the whole package of training/room/food for 28 000 baht per month. You'll be housed at Lamnammoon's own home in one of the several rooms he rents mostly for foreigners. There's aircon in the room. You can also get WiFi. No TV though. And if you have the same room I had: no warm water and an annoying mouse running around and munching on your bananas lol. His home is situated 6km away from the gym. You get fed twice a day (Lunch + diner after each session) with delicious home cooked local dishes (it's absolutely wonderful I kid you not). That's the option I took and I don't regret it one bit even though it's far from cheap. But investing in such a great gym feels awesome, and being around Lamnammoon and his family all the time is too precious for words. Sometimes he takes you out to the restaurant alongside his family. What an honor. His wife and his son are very welcoming and kind. He also has a daughter but I didn't interact with her much. I saw his dad a few times and I was too intimidated to discuss with him much. He had an aura of pure wisdom and kindness about him. Such wonderful people. > Staying at an hotel near the gym: some of my fellow training partners from the West were staying at this hotel very close to the gym. It's 5000 baht a month I think and the quality is pretty decent. The cost of training at Lamnammoon's (without food and lodgings) is 10 000 baht per month. So hotel + training = 15 000 baht. There are restaurants around the hotel and one meal usually cost around 40 baht or something. If you do the math you'll see this option is way cheaper. You'll also be more free to leave the gym whenever you want, whereas if you stay at Lamnammoon's house you've got to leave when the driver leaves (the driver being Lamnammoon or his son or whoever gives us a lift). Unless you have your own vehicle: you can rent a motorbike if you wish. Lamnammoon can take care of this for you. It's not expansive. Sometimes I had to cut short my conditioning/stretching at the end of session cause we were leaving. It's simply out of order to make anyone wait for me. This was a bit of a downer for me sometimes. .Training. After the first week of adaptation that was quite light (yet still painful because I was running on mostly no sleep and I had weird cramps all over my body), this is what my training schedule there looked like: > Morning session (6am to between 9 and 10am): ° Run between 10-14km (mostly 12k) from 5.45am until around 7am, time when you should be arriving at the gym, getting ready for the morning session. The running route goes from Lamnammoon's home to the gym. You can wander off track to make it a long run since the actual distance between the two places is only 6km like I said. You leave your gym bag in Lamnammoon's car and he brings them to you later on in the morning. ° 10min shadowbox ° Many rounds on the bag (I can't give you a number. It's until you get called for padwork. And when you're done with padwork you go back on the bag until you get called for clinch.) ° 3 rounds on pads. If you have a fight coming it's 5 rounds and they're more intense. (The young Thai fighters there get 7 rounds sometimes. I honestly envied them a little. Some days I didn't envy them at all though. Lol.) Depending on the coach you're assigned with, it can go from a slightly boring and chill to real fun and tiring as hell. Lamnammoon is the absolute peak of both great fun and so fucking hard as hell it's like you're climbing Mordor without Sam by your side. ° Around 30min clinch. A bit more when you have a fight (if you're a woman you get less unless you are very insistent I suppose, which I wasn't) When clinching is done it's back on the bags for endless reps. ° Drills/reps on the bag. Sometimes on your own, sometimes supervised by Lamnammoon or Kru Lampang (when it's supervised, you fucking die). The basic instructions for the drills are as follows: 200 hundred speed kicks, 300 hundred knees, 300 teep, 5min of only elbows. This is the bare minimum. After a while my own routine looked like this: 300 hundred speed kicks, 200 hundred knees on the "uppercut wall bag thing", 300-400 hundred knees on the normal bag, 200-400 teep, 5min elbows, and whatever else I felt like adding as extra bonus if I have time left. °Conditioning (abs, pull-ups, push-ups, whatever) + stretching. This part is almost always up to you. There were times when we did it in groups, but mostly not. Then it's around 10am and training is done for the morning. You go eat. Afterwards if you're silly like me you skip sleeping and instead go for a walk into the city center to do errands that aren't necessary or you just chill on your bed watching Netflix. When afternoon session finally comes, you curse yourself hard for not having slept. Lol. > Afternoon session (3.45pm to 7pm): ° Run 6km. I never did more than 6km, never less either. I fucking hated these runs because of the heat, the traffic, the road work, the dust, and the occasional acidic reflux from not having digested my lunch properly yet. ° Around 20min skipping rope. I remember one blissful day when Kru Lampang was talking to another trainer while we were skipping rope and completely forgot about us. They always tell us when to stop skipping and if you're a good student you just don't stop until told to. That day I must've skipped for about 35min haha. Sweet hell. ° Rounds on the bags, same thing as morning. ° 3 rounds of padwork (5 if you have a fight) then back on the bags until called for clinch. ° Around 30min clinch (when I wasn't clinching I just did a mix of shadowboxing and bagwork. Or I worked drills with another partner that wasn't clinching. Or I got extra technical instructions on stuff from available coaches) ° Sweet drills of hell on the bags (same thing as in the morning) ° Conditioning and stretching. Then you either eat at the gym or at Lamnammoon's or wherever and I don't know about anyone else but usually at around 9pm I'm dead on my bed. Except for the first week: it was sleepless nights after sleepless nights. /!\ Some important notes: - All rounds last 5 minutes. - The last 30 seconds of each rounds must be done faster and more intense (the coaches all go leow leow leow at you which means speed speed speed). - After the end of each round you go straight on the floor and do around 20 push-ups, then off you go drink some water. - On Tuesday and Saturday mornings you get Muay Thai sparring instead of padwork. We all get to spar each other in turns. No exclusions here. One round lasts 10min. The whole sparring time usually lasts around 1h or so. If there are a lot of people, they have to make the rounds last only 5min so as to make sure everyone spars everyone. But you don't get one min rests after those 5min, you just switch partner quickly that's all. - On Friday morning it's boxing sparring. Same thing as Muay Thai sparring when it comes to rounds and such. - Sometimes we get a session that's all freestyle and looks like no other. But mostly they're all like what I've described above. - You drink water from a shared bucket filled with ice. The water is super cold. You can bring your own bottle if you'd rather. - There's a stereo blasting Thai music. Mostly country sounding Thai music. Sometimes one of the boy or the foreigner would connect their phone to the speaker and put their own music, for a change. - There are showers and toilets at the gyms (one for women, one for men). You can shower there if you wish. Frogs like these place too. - You can leave your gears at the gym (gloves, shinpads, skip rope, bands). Just make sure you don't leave them lying around it's not polite. - There are dogs at the gym. They run all around you during training. They're adorable and so cute. At first I was annoyed by their clinginess but eventually they grew on me. There are also ants. Those on the other hand are real painful fuckers. You'll see. .The trainers. > Dam: he was a young padholder same age as me (28). He stayed at Lamnammoon's house too so we bonded like friends, which means his padwork never brought about any kind of anxiety to be "worthy of your coach" or something like that in me. His padwork style was enjoyable, even though boring at times, but some days I really liked the fact that it didn't stress me. He was insecure and sometimes asked me afterwards whether his padwork skills are good or not. I had to comfort his insecurities which felt odd. I liked him though. I don't know if he's still there because he didn't enjoy that work so much (it's very tiring and doesn't pay so well) and I don't see him on Lamnammoon's Instagram posts anymore. > Kru Lampang : he's absolutely awesome. Very cheerful and cheeky and so fun to work with. He's very tiring but his padwork style is not linear and while you do suffer a lot you also don't feel the time fly by, cause he's so much fun. That said I will never forget my last rounds of padwork with him before my first fight. It was on a Sunday morning and he made me start the very last round with 50 kicks and 50 knees. It doesn't sound so bad like that but living it was quite something lol. > Kru Rengrad : he's as awesome as Lampang but more bear-like in his aura: at first you may think he's grumpy and not interested in you, but in truth he's such a teddy bear and he's very generous. He's so good with punches. His padwork is awfully tiring because it's relentless. He doesn't stop the rythm and hardly ever stop to correct you. Thank God he never makes you do speed kicks at the beginning or ending of his rounds otherwise... Well, our loss I suppose. > Lamnammoon (aka Kru Yo): the big boss is plain batshit crazy. Padwork with him is like a hyena on crack doing a bunch of summersault on a rollercoaster at full speed without brakes while singing the Pokemon theme song with a chipmunk voice. I love his padwork style so much despite getting anxiety attacks every time I know I'm going to be on pads with him. Pressure to not suck and all that. I didn't experience any other trainers while I was there. When I look at Lamnammoon's Instagram posts nowadays I notice several new heads. Kru Lampang is still there but Dam and Kru Rengrad are not. They might come back or not. God only knows. .Thai Fighters. > Robert, Petch, Bahn, and Top are the main fighters there and they are still very much there and thriving. They've been at the gym for around four years when I got there last year. They're still teenagers and all except Top still go to school. They are so damn skilled and a joy to train with! They're pretty small and light but it doesn't matter. Unless you are truly way way bigger than them, you'll progress a ton by their side. Even if you're a giant you'll progress. I'm very introverted so I didn't get to warm up to them fast enough before it was time to leave. I suppose it's for the best. They see so many people come and go they may not be so enclined to become best pal with you and then having their heart broken because you must leave. That said, they're still welcoming and fun to be around. Just watching them in their home (they live at the gym) is a blessing in itself. > Wut was a new fighter when I arrived and as of right now he's not there anymore. He was 18 I think. I was amazed by him so much. I loved watching him blasting the pads. I have a printed picture of him stuck on my door hahaha. Yeah I'm a fan of his. .Ubon Ratchatani. > The city itself isn't really pretty at first sight - but there are some really beautiful spots if you care to go look deeper around. I'll let you discover them for yourself. It's a big town with big shopping mals like big C and local street markets and you can go to the movies or get massages or go swim at one of the local swimming pools that are almost always empty, etc. If you're like me and you don't care much about night life and distraction from Muay Thai, but still likes to wander around sometimes in huge mals (I don't have those in my own city so they were novelties too and I was fascinated) and still occasionally feel like going to the movies, you'll like it enough. If not, well... You'll get bored quick. But then again you don't go to a gym like Lamnammoon's to be chill and comfy and waste yourself away at night, do you? It sounds almost paradoxical to me. _________ Lamnammoon really values hard work and dedication. When he saw how much I ran and faster than everyone else on most days, he seemed genuinely pleased. The two weeks leading up to my first fight (after almost two months being there), I didn't wait to be told to go up to the gym on Sunday mornings to get extra trainings even though I didn't have to. Yeah the gym is open non stop Monday to Sunday. The Thai boys train every single day, morning and evening. They fight often and they usually get between three days to a whole week off after every fight. I only went to train on two Sunday mornings once I got a fight, otherwise I usually took that day off. But you can definitely train everyday if you feel like it... There were some Sunday mornings when I still did a morning run, for example. Lamnammoon is really kind and funny and helpful. If you ask for help he will definitely help you, and he never forgets about you. But if you need something and you don't ask, he's not going to be a mind reader and check up on you every single second of every single day. He still very much cares about you having a good training and being happy at his gym. A few times throughout my stay he asked me with concern whether I was homesick, and if I was happy at all. Because I'm introverted and very quiet and intimidated by his charisma he thought maybe I wasn't happy. So, if you go there do make sure to let him know how you feel if it's something genuinely positive. He has a big heart in every way. Also, something that my introversion made me miss (until I got some company at his home who were chattier people than me): he's got a lot of stories to tell but you need to ask him questions otherwise he won't tell you anything. Thanks to Broke, Rocky and Jodie for doing what I couldn't do at all which is basically talking to him. Lol. Now the only downside: if you're a woman, you'll get less clinch practice. You won't be prompted to do it by the trainers. The Thai boys might feel awkward clinching with you (not all of them. Wut definitely did not like clinching a woman...). The pre-fight massage you get is less thorough than the boys' for obvious but still frustrating reasons. You may actually get less fights, though I'm not so sure about that last one at all. I got only one fight because of my height, or so I was told. I'm tall for a woman and most Thai women are relatively small which is not an appealing disparity for most gyms with the smallest fighter. I was envious of the Western men at the gym getting fights after fights after fights. Some even complained of having too many ones booked... Tsk. They don't fucking know their damn luck. _________ This answer turned out longer than intended. I probably still left out lots of stuff though. Don't hesitate to ask me more questions if you have any. If you do go there you can contact me anytime on here for any kind of things. Although you may not need me at all because there's a super British guy that lives in Ubon called Mickaël who used to train full-time at Lamnammoon's not long ago and who still goes to the gym occasionally to train or help around or serves as guide for the fresh new farangs. He will definitely help you if you meet him. Or Kru Yo (Lamnammoon) can put you in contact with him if it's needed. I intend on writing a day by day account (diary style) of my whole stay there. I'll post updates in here as I go along in this little project. If you're interested I encourage you to follow the thread. In any case, thank you a lot for reading me. I hope you found this review useful. Good luck on your own journey, fellow travelers! > Anyone interested in going to Lamnammoon's gym should regularly check out his Instagram page to see how his gym is doing and what the training looks like at any given time. He post videos often : https://instagram.com/lamnammoonmuaythai?igshid=11qff920fl1ol > Also a must see is this recent short documentary made by a woman named Angie. It's wonderful:
    7 points
  37. Thanks for the comments, everyone. It seems like the gym is trying to find a new hire by the time the back to school season starts. They've been bringing in potential trainers to observe and assist with classes over the last week. It seems like progress, so I'm willing to be patient a little longer.
    7 points
  38. I trained in Lanna from 95 to 98 off and on. I thought someone may be interested in what Lanna first looked like. This was right after Andy (RIP) opened the gym (if I recall he was involved with another gym in the city "Joe's Gym", I don't remember the name). As for the Thai's there, Khom (see pic) RIP, and Taywin were doing most of the training. Kem and Mike were the main Thai fighters and Boon was maybe 12? I remember his first fight. So here's a couple pics of that era.
    7 points
  39. Kali (Pekiti Tirsia to be more specific) is the only other martial art I have practiced for a significant time (about 8 years or so). It's a Filipino art that is not very "sportified" and is based on the use of blades and impact weapons (empty hands training is done, too though but its based on the same patterns and concepts as the blades). I found it really interesting how similarities between different arts pop up, especially with the more traditional styles. There is so much that sounded very much familiar to me in the Muay Lertrit sessions. Things that are either very much the same as I learned in Kali or at least follow the same principle. There is this thing about "let them try to strike you but make them pay every time" that we also did a lot. Directly counterattacking instead of blocking is a central concept there. Stuff like parrying a punch with a move that, if done well, is supposed to strike the opponent in the same move as it parries their punch. Or making someone who uses a leg kick on you pay by not only blocking with your own shin but dropping your knee on their ankle while doing so, very similarly to what the general demonstrates in that one session. Also I've watched the session with Gen Hongthonglek a few times and only the last time it suddenly occurred to me that the way he uses fakes, delayed timing and counters is actually very similar to how I used to do sparring with the stick in Kali when I was more experienced. I'd typically move back to keep range (I'm a very tall guy with long arms) and would constantly weave my stick in front of me or throw my opponent off with some weird position kind of like Gen does with his feet before he lands his big kicks. This kinda stuff is really fascinating to me. Sure there are differences between arts but often there are also overlaps or concepts that can be applied to other arts as well. Did you have similar experiences? PS: Of course there are differences, too: For example Kali teaches you to give not getting hit (at all if possible) top priority because an opponent could always carry a weapon even if you don't see it right away so every hit might be very dangerous. Thats something I have to practice to overcome a bit in Muay Thai where the opponent is guaranteed to not have a weapon and getting hit is not actually a mistake in principle.
    7 points
  40. Hi! I need some advice on how to handle my shame after losing my first fight. So, the fight was yesterday. I’ve had the date to work towards maybe six or seven weeks and I’ve trained like a freakin’ mothereffer. I’ve sparred at least four days a week with a lot of hard sparring with guys much better and bigger. My gym is quite big with several pros and national champs so I’ve really had the best possible chance to get good at this. Or at least good enough for a first fight. Leading up the fight I’ve been reading up on mental training and Sylvie and Kevin’s discussions on shame and fear and all of that. I haven’t been afraid and I’m tough physically. I’m tall and heavy and the guys go pretty hard at me so I’m pretty conditioned like that. The nerves have been manageable, every other day wondering if I’ve lost my mind for doing this and the next feeling like yeay this will be fun!! The goal was to breath have fun (and then of course win). Not to stand there with the shame. Anyhow, the bell rang and I leaved the room. Not really, my body was still in the ring and the other woman was punching and kicking and kneeing but I heard nothing and felt nothing. I vaguely heard kick and I kicked. Like in slow motion and without power. I so totally lost control of myself and my body and the whole situation. None of the sparring, NONE, has been anything near this experience. The closest situation I’ve been in where I’ve so totally lost control of my body was delivering my two children. But by the end of that I had a baby in my arms. And I did not have an audience seeing me lose my head. I picked up in the third and final round with a fuck it attitude since I’d already lost but it wasn’t enough. She didn’t totally dominate me. I’m not at all bruised today apart from my shins from kicking. Today I’m just leaved with such shame! I’m so ashamed. Not really for losing the fight but for not being in control of myself and the situation in front of all those people. I’m used to being super in control of things and myself and I can’t see how one ever could do anything rational or conscious in the state I was in. The fight was filmed but I can’t bare to watch it. Sorry about the essay. What are your experiences of your first fights and adrenaline rushes and losing your head? Thank you!
    7 points
  41. Two background articles on this project: The Lone Master In Need of a Student – Saving Muay Lertrit Legacy Projects: Documenting 3 Student Weeks with General Tunwakom a video clip of General Tunwakom
    7 points
  42. Thanks for your thoughtful response and kind words, Joe. It's really interesting for me to look back on that post with the perspective that I have now. I knew at the time that the person who'd told me to give up was wrong, but it seems even more ridiculous now. It's crazy to read that I'd only been training for a year and a half at the time, that I'd had 11 fights, and that I'd only had three consecutive losses at the time. Those numbers are so insignificant, they're almost nothing! A few years later, I would go on to have five losses in a row, and even that doesn't mean much at all. Also, looking back, I think I was way too kind to the person in question in my writing. But, I respected them a lot, and that's part of why it hurt so much. You're absolutely right about that not being a valid argument, and the reasons for fighting being so much bigger than winning. I actually haven't fought now for over a year and a half, and I go back and forth constantly on whether or not I still want to. Sometimes, all I want is to get back in there. Other times, I'm fine with letting that part of my life go. It's bittersweet to think of that, but the important thing is that those feelings are coming from myself, rather than someone else who thinks they know what's best for me. That guy wasn't the last person who told me to give up, either. After one of my last fights, my boyfriend at the time did, too. Yeah, he's an ex now. Thanks again for your post and for bringing this article to my attention. I never liked to revisit this one because it always brought up some feelings of shame and inferiority for me, but this time it was a very different experience. I actually really needed this today
    7 points
  43. We were talking to Chatchai Sasakul, a fighter who fought so many of the greats in the Golden Age in Muay Thai, and then came into fame winning the WBC World Championship western boxing belt. He's in the Library here, and we are about to add another session with him. We were asking him why in his fight style back in the day he wasn't doing many of the things that he was advocating now. He said, "back then I didn't know". He looked at us like we were crazy, like "what do you think I've been doing for 20 years since I retired" or "of course I didn't know, I was young". It brought home for me one of the most special things about the Library. We talk about it as if it is preserving the literal techniques of the Golden Age, but it is much more than that. It's preserving those techniques AS they have undergone a period of reflection and refinement. If you talked to an active fighter you may very well get some very noteworthy pointers on how to fight. But if you talk to that fighter 15 or 20 years later you get something very different. You get those elements having passed through a very long stage of reflection. You get to see those elements, very often, taken up as craft. Sometimes, if that fighter has fallen out from the fight game entirely, like maybe someone like Samson Isaan (in the Library here), and who is a taxi driver, this is mostly the craft of recollection, of memory. What he knows and thinks about are all the things that worked for him, and probably some of the things that didn't work for him, things that had success against him. The whole thing goes into a process of memory's slow boil, low and slow, and what you get is a condensed essence of fight knowledge, his style, under refinement. Even if he isn't actively working on improving on or conveying his fighting style, it has been worked on by memory and reflection. It is the art of his style, his knowledge. On the other hand when you have someone like Sagat - you can find him in the Library here - this is someone who has been teaching Muay Thai for probably three decades. Not only is he bringing his fight style, the one he once had, but he has become a craftman about it. What he is teaching is a rarified, purified form of his fighting style, something that has been honed and polished over decades of communication and thought. What he is showing you in the ring today is very different than what he would have showed you 30 years ago. It is enhanced, has been worked on endlessly. Not in the "I've got to be a better teacher" way, but rather that each time you try to convey something you touch it a little, you change it, you add reflection on it. Sagat teaches a great deal of precision and correction on his strikes, as does Chatchai, who also has been teaching for years. Chatchai as a fighter would drift away on his jab. Today he insists, do not do this, this is stupid. I've seen Sagat incorporate things into his teaching that I know he recently has experienced - for instance he has been helping General Tunwakom teach Muay Lertrit lately. These internal elbows are now in his mind, as he teaches movements. Sagat is 60 years old, and his Muay is still evolving. I've watch Karuhat come up with brilliant throws, things he is simply inventing on the spot, feeling his way on, things I've never seen before, because Karuhat when he was a fighter in his gym would always be experimenting, stealing things from others, dreaming up new wrinkles. When we look back in time, through our telescope of the Library it isn't like how starlight is reaching us from far away, how it was years ago. It's instead coming to us with immediacy, having passed through the reflections of these men, as they have become craftsmen, working on the raw materials of their fight days, lifting it to art. Perhaps nobody is more like this than Master K, Sylvie's first instructor back in America. He's 80 years old now, and his Muay Thai is this incredible time capsule of Muay Thai before the Golden Age, the Muay Thai of the late 1960s 1970s. But...it also is filtered and hand sanded by the mind of a Thai man who was no longer in Thailand, reflected on, improved and dreamed up through watching the great boxers of the decades, long ruminations in his own basement kicking the bag until 2 AM, the result of a craft-work of elaboration and self-creation. I think that is what a lot of us miss. These men, all of these men, are producing the work of their mind, as artists, as creators, bringing to life and carrying forward a new thing. It isn't just their techniques, or even their fighting styles. It's the fecundity of the years since they stopped fighting. It is their meditation. What is also kind of incredible is that these ruminations, these craft-works, have been documented and continue to be documented. And that Sylvie has first hand seen them. You can see the full library here.
    7 points
  44. Jeremy, do you teach a kids class? I imagine it would be a lot like teaching pre-teens and even younger. By strict (and Id get them to operationally define that) they might mean structured. So maybe 10 mins (play it by ear) warm up of basic exercises. Then maybe some balance work to help prep them, then 15 mins of stance and basic punching with focus on shifting weight. It might not hurt to find games that they can do that fit the sport. Coach Patrick feom Valor Muay Thai has a great kids program that works for everyone, he might have some suggestions. I know hes posted in the forum before. Kevin might be able to tag him.
    7 points
  45. This is a great point and something I think about with former fighters who've retired, those that stay retired and move onto other ventures and those that cant seem to stay retired even if the majority of fandom thinks they should. I feel like its part of the reason some cant retire to save their lives and others end up with major personality problems that end up on the news (like domestic disputes, etc). Its a tough subject one has to individually address. If your only outlet for certain emotions is fighting then what do you do when you cant? Personally, Ive had to deal with this aggressively. I know now that Im not completely made up of rage and aggression, but it took years of learning to deal with these emotions when they werent appropriate to the situation. Finding other outlets (like exercise) and learning dealing tools (like meditation, psychology, etc.) became invaluable. It became about finding a balance between the things that have become who I am. Not an alter so much as a blend, or a mix that has more of a percentage at the surface during specific situations. Its a work in progress, one I think Ill always be working on, but its always better the longer I live and deal with it.
    7 points
  46. When I lived elsewhere I was on keto on and off most of the time, having access to veggies, ghee and plenty of fatty beef this was easy. It definitely helped me change my body composition and I suddenly found myself having a very athletic frame. I assume this because of doing Olympic lifting and crossfit while eating more than enough, especially protein. My skin and hair enjoy the extra fats and my stomach is calm. Before I was low carb due to history of blood sugar issues (hyperglycemia). I also did longer water fasts (5 days) always supplementing with sodium. In Thailand though, I cannot. Maybe it's the lifestyle or fats available or that I prefer to eat fatty beef while on keto which is expensive here. It just makes me lose water weight fast then something kicks me off keto and I start retaining water etc feeling very uncomfortable. So I settled for something paleo inspired. Being in ketosis was great, I felt the mental clarity and never hungry. Energy was also never an issue. However, I felt it was difficult to combine with longer workouts that contained high intensity. And I got so hyper I couldn't sleep which is a big issue for me as an insomniac (diagnosed and all). Regarding potassium I actually went to hospital once for chest pains and shortness of breath. I felt extremely awful and a heart attack was suspected even though I was in my 20s. However tests came back showing signs of low potassium levels, they gave me some water with potassium powder and within 20 minutes I felt awesome again. I discussed this with my GP but she wouldn't prescribe any potassium before doing a new test which came back normal. And the pharmacy in Germany, where I lived at the time, wouldn't sell potassium over the counter. They made such a big deal out of it that I never tried supplementing and I also never felt that awful again. I would definitely try keto just to get to know your body. I do believe it has amazing benefits. But also be aware of the keto flu, it's temporary but you can feel really awful for a couple of days while body is adjusting to new way of producing energy. Also apparently there's something called keto rash, also temporarily.
    7 points
  47. Yes, the way he's always watching. Kevin took those. Kru Nu is very handsome but hard to photograph, haha. This is what he looks like when I take his photo:
    7 points
  48. I still get nervous in the last training sessions before any fight, because I think that how I "perform" there should be a copy of how I will perform in the ring. And I'm very often tired, sore, mentally fatigued, and hurt somewhere or many places. All of that comes with you into the ring, but you don't have to give it importance. To have doubt os very, VERY normal. You can fight against it, or you can fight with it there but it's not significant. Physical pain is the same. You can't "leave it at the door," as it will be in the ring with you, but you don't have to give it significance. "It hurts, but that doesn't MEAN anything." Remind her that she's already done the work. There's nothing more that needs to be done. Confidence is not first a feeling, it is first an action. If she's not feeling confident, fine - just ACT confident, whatever her version is, days and hours before climbing into the ring. Like putting on a coat. Those thoughts are just as real as her doubts; doubts, also, are only thoughts. They are no more real than self-belief. She has both, both can be real, but you have to breathe life into the one you want. Also, fights don't mean anything more than what happens during the minutes they are taking place. They do not determine ability, or worth. They determine if you like fighting or not.
    7 points
  49. I had my first sparring tournament a little over a week ago and lost. She was a good bit smaller than me so I’ve taken a bit of ribbing from my coaches. I’m not sure if I feel shame but I do feel a little bit of frustration and maybe some embarrassment for not using the tools I know I have. Im chalking it up to first time jitters and hoping next time my nerves calm down a bit. I’ve only been training for a year so I guess I can hardly expect my first experience with someone outside my gym to be a stellar performance. Lol I’m any case, I’m telling myself that many people who train Muay Thai or other combat sports never step in to any sort of competition. I won a different kind of battle by being incredibly nervous and doing it anyway. Good on you for doing the same. The hardest one is behind you and now you know what to expect a bit more.
    7 points
  50. Lisa... this never goes away. It changes, like you have only a moment of shame, or glimpses of shame, or rounds of shame, or you feel it like an echo... but it never fully goes away. And there are times you don't have it, when fights go great and you feel awesome, and then it appears again and your thoughts are "what the f***, I thought I was over this." It's okay. Firstly, the fact that you fought yesterday and are already trying to get over your shame is a really good sign. The thoughts and emotions are still fresh, so it's a bit raw feeling, but lots of folks try to hold on to those shitty feelings for a long, long time because they feel like they SHOULD be ashamed, even when it's time to let those feelings go. It's good to feel them for a short time, I think. They have meaning. But the feelings and the fight are not necessarily a 1+1 equation. Consider this: when you're sparring in your gym, you know everybody. You know the space. You know that you're training, even really hard sparring has a slightly different intention and emotion to it. "Doing well," or whatever you tell yourself in training is under conditions that are not as similar to a fight as we think they are. We think creating the physical conditions, like getting hit a lot, will prepare us. But the emotional unknowns are a big deal. It's incredibly hard to recreate those in familiar spaces. So the fact that you blanked in your fight is not unusual at all. The way I see it, if you hadn't put in the work and then blanked in the fight, that's shameful. Folks who don't put in the work, that's a shame. But you get to keep all the hard work you put in in the gym beforehand. Losing a fight doesn't change any of that. Kevin and I call it "shitting the bed," when a fight just goes totally the wrong direction from what you know you're capable of. If you wake up and you've shit the bed, you're embarrassed and ashamed, don't want anyone to see it are afraid they will, etc. But it doesn't mean you don't know how to control yourself. It means the conditions for that situation to take place were all in line. There's nothing wrong with you to have performed the way you did. There's nothing wrong with you to feel the way you do. But don't hold either of those as permanent states. Just wash the sheets and move on.
    7 points
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