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Everything posted by Amateur_Hour

  1. I don't have any experience with your questions, so can't answer, but can suggest you directly message the gyms you're interested in through their facebook page, or write to them via email with those questions.
  2. A few days ago I wrote a very long update about what I've been up to this past month, but when I clicked "Submit Reply", I got an error message and lost everything I wrote... devastating as I spent a few hours drafting it. This website did not work for me for a few days after that. Did anyone else get the error message when coming to the forum? Anyways, I will re-write an update in the coming days.
  3. I'd say it largely depends on your personal endurance, how much time you need to heal/recover from a fight, and your gyms ability/willingness to find you a suitable match/promotion regularly. Are you wanting to fight in stadiums or at small village night markets? I'll share a few of my observations... The Thai stadium fighters I know fight once a month on average. Their routine is... fight, take 3-7 days off away from the gym to recover, return to gym to live/train for 3-weeks, fight. But I've also seen them fight as many as 3x in 3-weeks and 2x in 1-month. For example, they might fight 2x in a stadium then 1x at a village festival to help bolster the promotion and gambling action. You just hope the fighter doesn't sustain an injury that messes with their stadium circuit obligations. Without knowing any more information about your situation, I'd say you could realistically expect to fight anywhere from 1-3 times depending on how favorable everything goes for you. Go for it and report back with your results.
  4. I thought of you just now when I came across This Article from two years ago. I will also post the article text below. Yokkao Founder Philip Villa Supports Transgender Fighter Nong Rose in Fight for Inclusivity - February 21, 2021 Thai trans woman Muay Thai fighter, Nong Rose Baan Charoensuk is on a mission to strive for transgender rights in Thailand and around the world. She now has the popular Muay Thai brand, Yokkao behind her campaign as the brand’s founder, Philip Villa is supporting her with a 3-year sponsorship contract. Nong Rose made the headlines in 2017 when she became the first transgender fighter to enter the ring of Rajadamnern Stadium. Recognized the world over as one of, if not the most prestigious Muay Thai arena, Rajadamnern Stadium had for many decades imposed a dress code that prohibited sports bras and long hair. The archaic rule essentially barred women and transgender fighters from entering the ring. Famous Muay Thai promoter, Songchai Rattanasuban overturned the legacy dress code when he featured Nong Rose in the main event. Sporting a ponytail, heavy make-up and her signature pink sports bra, the trans woman fighter did not let her promoter or fans down, winning the historic bout via the judges’ decision. Nong Rose is not the first transgender Muay Thai fighter to get into the media spotlight. During the late 90s, Parinya Charoenphol caught the attention of the whole of Thailand and subsequently the world. Parinya, now more commonly known as Nong Toom, ignited national interest when she fought with make-up (with short hair and bare chested) at Lumpinee Stadium. She was fighting to save up for sex reassignment surgery, which she eventually underwent in 1999. Her story was retold in the award-winning international film, Beautiful Boxer. Although Thailand is generally seen as being an open-minded country towards LGBT visitors, there is still a persistent stigma towards her own transgender community. Thai transgenders often face discrimination at work and in the case of Nong Rose, she had been insulted many times by her opponents. Despite the name calling and prejudice, there is no quit in Nong Rose. On the contrary, it spurred her to train and fight even harder. The 24-year-old now has over 300 fights (all against men) on her record along with several championship titles to her name. Inspired by her story and fighting spirit, Yokkao founder, Philip Villa is joining her fight for inclusivity. Villa has been a passionate proponent in promoting Muay Thai to a wider global audience, supporting Muay Thai gyms and athletes in achieving their professional goals. On signing Nong Rose as a sponsored athlete, Philip Villa explains “Transgender people should be given the same rights and respect as everyone else and I do believe that in the Muay Thai world when even females are not considered given the respect they so deserve, this will be the beginning of many changes within Muay Thai. For there to be a change, actions are required and this is my contribution to social equality.” Now with Philip Villa and Yokkao on board her journey, Nong Rose’ inspiring fight for inclusivity is more optimistic than ever before.
  5. "The term “kathoey,” which is often used to refer to transgender women in Thailand, has been used for centuries. Additionally, traditional Thai culture has a concept of a “third gender” known as “sak-sra,” which includes people who identify as transgender, as well as gay and bisexual people." You won't be the only trans-person in Thailand, that's for sure. If you look like a male, and you want people to perceive you as a male, then just don't tell them otherwise, unless you want to. You will be interacting with strangers just the same as you do at home, so it's up to you to disclose or not. In my opinion, 99% of people will not care, and will leave you be like anyone else. The only question I would have is regarding fighting rules, and if trans individuals are allowed to compete against formerly opposing, but now same genders. I don't have any knowledge about this. Researching 'Ladyboy Muay Thai Fighters' might be a starting point. The only other thing I can comment on from your post is regarding scars; everyone in every gym has scars... wear yours proudly. And if someone asks, joke with them and say you took a double elbow combo to your breasts in a heated round-4 exchange with a former Lumpinee Champion. Good luck
  6. Kevin- Thank you... I spent time observing this during training last week and see what you're saying. I'll try to adopt the same behavior. I've noticed my breathing becomes erratic when flustered or tired, which only exacerbates the problem, whereas the best Thai fighters in my gym maintain a steady breathing cadence, seemingly never losing their rhythm as strikes are delivered in stride with sharp and deliberate inhale/exhales. I admire their ability to remain relaxed, yet powerful while entering in and out of active recovery. I've been doing controlled breathing exercises at home, and while running to bring more mindfulness to my breathing patterns/behavior. It's already improved my overall endurance. This 38-minute breathwork/pranayama routine is my favorite: Try It!
  7. This topic is near and dear to my heart (and lungs). Professionally, I used to work alongside the California Air Resources Board to help reduce industrial pollution by retiring old combustion engine machines and replacing them with zero-emissions electric equivalents. And now having been in Thailand for 7-months, I feel qualified to share my opinion on this subject. I read your question a few days ago and was thinking about it while gasping for air during my afternoon run in Northeast Thailand. Your post is inquiring about the "Macro" pollution problem, but doesn't consider the "Micro" pollution you'll experience in Thailand. I'll explain... Macro Pollution: Yes, the overall air quality in Northern Thailand (Chiang Mai, etc.) is poor in the early months of the year before rainy season. In fact it's ranked top-5 worst in the world day-in-day-out. Looking toward the south, the air quality naturally improves near the ocean as there's less agricultural activity/burning, and an ocean jet-stream to help circulate fresh air. No matter where you are in the world, the air is usually fresher near the water. An island destination would be the best option for you this time of year. Micro Pollution: Here's a situation from the other day... I was running through the same alley that I always do when I hear a truck coming up from behind me. As I move over to give the truck room to pass, the driver accelerates quickly causing a large plomb of black smoke to belch out of the tailpipe directly at my feet and proceeds to crop dust the whole path in front of me. Now I'm having to hold my breathe as I proceed forward searching for a pocket of fresh air. When you're in Thailand, you'll be breathing brake dust and other grime from the roadways, and occasionally trucks, tuktuks, and motorbikes from 1970 will surprise you with a shower of black soot. This can happen anywhere, anytime. You'll find yourself unable to escape a pocket of heavy engine fumes. But it's not just vehicles... maybe there's a pop-up market on your run and there's 10 bbq pits roaring with smoke, or the guy nextdoor to your apartment felt compelled to burn all the brush in his yard at 07:00a on a sunday morning and the wind is blowing all the smoke into your room even with the windows and doors closed. While I gripe about these annoying micro pollution events, they are part of what gives Thailand its vibrant charm and richness of character. Sometimes you just have to laugh at the hilarity of it. Furthermore, the air pollution combined with 100+/40+ degree weather and 50% humidity can make it challenging to breathe when sitting around doing nothing. It's hard to explain just how heavy the air feels on and in your body... especially when you're gasping for air after a long run or intense round. Some people are able to blissfully ignore the air pollution problem, while others like myself (and you) will dwell on it and worry about potential long-term health consequences. When I first came to Thailand it bothered me quite a bit... physically and mentally. My throat hurt from it and I felt sluggish. But now I've adapted to it and don't really suffer except when the intense micro pollution events like the example above occur. Earlier this year a friend of mine completed her PHD with a thesis on rates of disease in Thai population attributed to air pollution. The facts and figures she showed me were alarming. Long story short... yes, the air pollution sucks in most of Thailand for some of the year, with each region having different weather patterns. If you're that worried about it, use a historical AQindex to choose the best location for the dates you'll be here based on years past. Then once you're here, don't obsess over it, just embrace it.
  8. Kevin- Do you ever watch fights in slow-motion (half-speed) to analyze the rhythm at a different tempo? I've found this helpful in my own training... in watching videos of myself and others. Your video "The Art of Shadow Boxing" is a good example where Kru is slowly dancing around the ring for many minutes. It's easier for the beginner mind to follow along. The smoother your body/motions look in slow-motion, the more effective you will be at full speed, I believe. I watched the fight, at normal speed, before reading your commentary above. My notes were as follows: 1. Wow Solinas has only 15 fights compared to Sylvies 274... I wonder what is going through the mind of Solinas having to go to battle against such an experienced fighter in a high-stakes match. Surely Sylvie has been in her shoes before and can visualize the emotions opponent may be feeling. To what degree does Sylvies prolific fight experience get inside an opponents head. 2. "let's go team USA" before Wai Kru brought smile to Sylvie's face and added jolt of energy to the corner. That was nice. 3. A lot of take downs by Sylvie... a few timestamps to note10:45, 11:55, 13:40 4. Sylvie is putting on strong pressure, continually pesssing forward. Solinas countering and trying to make space / room to breathe with teeps. 5. Timestamp 16:00 Sylive delivers strong body kick then instantly engages clinch where she holds opponent for ~30 seconds while delivering a series of knee blows. Her Muay Khao style on full display for the crows enjoyment. She exits the clinch with an elegant spinning elbow at 16:16 that appears to land on the right ear of Solinas. I watched this at 0.25 speed and it's still hard to tell how hard it landed. 6. Who is Sylvies corner man? Sorry if this is detailed in other writings/posts. Yes it was! I can see why you rewatched rounds 3,4,5 continuously. Well said. Liam Harrison referred to rounds 4+5 as the 'Money Rounds". I also heard this in that video I can't find right now that explains the difference between 'entertainment' and 'gambling' fighting. EDIT: Adding the video I referenced above. The gambling often dictates the tempo/rhythm of the fight. To what degree is that the case in WBC matches? Less so given it's more prestigious title? Congratulations Sylvie!!
  9. In my opinion, an under appreciated and under considered factor in how well you handle the heat is... air pollution. You didn't mention where you've been training, so not sure if the experience you're speaking to is from Chiang Mai during burning season, or Phuket during peak heat etc.. I've found that my tolerance to the heat is greatly effected by the humidity and 'heaviness' of the air. I've noticed the air pollution exacerbates my ability to suffer through the heat as my respiratory system is put on over drive. Some folks are more sensitive than others. I've had a few moments in each place I've trained Pai, Chiang Mai, Udon Thani, where I'm training hard on a particularly hot&humid day and start to get the spins from what feels like beginning stages of heat stroke. When I feel that I take my foot off the gas and try to drink one of those yellow glasses bottled sponsor electrolyte beverages or royal-d powder in 1-liter waterbottle. Sip all of that down while standing in front of a fan after pouring cool water over body. Every week your body gets a bit more used to it and more resilient. When I'm not training, I wear long sleave clothing when out and about... pants and long sleeve shirt or sweat shirt in 32c+ weather. I'm fair skinned and need to protect my skin from the sun.
  10. I'm not experienced enough to give recommendation, but am curious to hear how your fight went. Care to share?
  11. It's Friday morning and my lower body feels worn out. Getting out of bed and flexing my legs to rise up was more challenging than usual. My eyes are now opening naturally every morning at 06:45, I'd like for it to become 06:00 soon. The high impact activity this week has my knees and right ankle feeling cranky. Because it's so hot and humid here at 15:30 when afternoon training begins, Kru has been starting each session with agility training inside the gym; cone/footwork drills, jumping on, in, and around rubber tires, stationary pedaling, free-weight shadowing boxing, rope swinging and hanging, pullups, explosive bodyweight squats.. All of this has been tough on my knees and right ankle as I have previous sports injuries to those parts and I've discovered they're not nearly as strong as they were pre-injury. Yesterday was my birthday and I'm officially 32, so age creeping up. Certainly don't have the same recovery speed as in my 20's when I was also very active. When I think about it, I've been active in sports my whole life. Professionally I worked for a railroad, so that was active too with many miles per day being walked in steel toe boots. It feels like i'm teetering on the law of diminishing returns. It doesn't feel practical or necessary for me to train 12 sessions/week. The 7-9 sessions range feels more appropriate and better for my mind and body. Eventually I think I can kick it up another gear to 10-12 sessions, but I'm just not there yet. Since I didn't train this morning, I was able to catch up on birthday messages from friends and family back home in the states. It felt good to re-connect with them. I like having the morning free from training to focus my attention on writing, video editing, and listening to music. And then train from 15:30 to 19:30 for four hours every evening. I'm going to experiment with this routine plus daily solo morning running in the Wat complex near my apartment. I acknowledge the importance of pushing yourself, but where's the line? Injuring yourself then scaling back? I guess I'm still working on upping the limit of physical pain I'm willing to subject myself to before taking a breather. I really don't want to have any injury set backs. That would/will suck. I'm neither complaining nor moaning about the workload, I'm simply saying it's too much for me right now. But... one of the surprising benefits of training in Thailand at a gym where english is sparsely used, is that you can't make verbal excuses to anyone because they won't understand what you're saying. I've now realized that in playing sports in the past at times (especially when a beginner) I'd make excuses or try to explain my performance when I make mistakes. You can't really do that here. There's nothing to be said, you just try to do better. Show don't tell. The gym is a place to be other than your home that's not a park, bar or restaurant. So often as a new person in town you don't have any place were you can just hangout and commune with friends. The gym becomes that place where you feel welcome to come as you are. I also had this with my old job in Northern California... it was work, but it was a good place for you to be; an extension of your lifestyle. Lately Kru Gig has taken to beating everyone with whatever object is near him. It's usually pretty funny to me, and clearly is to him as he laughs hysterically while beating you with a selfie stick or sandal, but it also hurts haha. At other gyms the old timers walk around with their correction sticks and will give you a nice whack, but here, any object is fair game to come your way. Sometimes I need to stop what I'm doing because I can't hold my laughter from the pranks he pulls on the fighters. He's also very strong in the clinch from I can see.. someone mentioned that was his specialty during his fighting days. Watching him teach clinch technique to others, the fighters would try to push him but could not. He's like a tree rooted in the ground, impossible to budge from the base. I'm about to leave the house for afternoon training and will probably go for a massage tonight with 'Joy' from the shop down the road. She has given me 6-7 thai-sport-massages and knows my body now so I keep going back to her. My flexibility is improving from routine visits with her. She's like 4'11", all forearms and strong! 500 Baht / $15 USD for two-hours... money well spent!
  12. All I know is he used to be instructor for Evolve MMA out of Singapore and most people recognize him from this series of videos Evolve University Fight Breakdown. From what I understand, he will be in Udon instructing at Siriluck for 2-months then move on to teach in China. Unlike the other gyms I've been too (except Boon Lanna), Siriluck does not rely or even advertise training foreigners on a pure fitness plan. It's a fighters gym. I'm the only one not scheduled to fight right now. Therefore I don't think it would be a great place to train for a short vacation. It would be best to have a few months available for a place like this. That's just my feeling, I could be wrong. Kru is laser focused on preparing the fighters for upcoming matches. Muay Thai tourists are more of a distraction than anything I think.
  13. FYI I’m now a $10/month Patreon member. In my search for different bits of Muay Thai information/advice online, I realized there probably isn’t a better archive to learn from than what Sylvie and Kevin have compiled. No need for me to reinvent the wheel or bounce around from site to site when there’s a enough information inside the Patreon to chew on for a lifetime. Kevin- Thank you for the nice words and for continuing to follow along. I'm having a lot of fun as the line between work and play becomes blurred and the environment pulls me in more and more. I really like everyone at the gym. There's nothing negative I can say about the cast of characters there. They're warm, humble, passionate, hilarious, and playful. I read about Isaan people being friendly, but you don't really get it until you're on the IRL receiving end of it. The system they have for scheduling and training for fights is really neat. Each fighter appears to average one fight per month. They will fight, take 5-10 days away from the gym to recover, come back to gym for three-weeks of training, fight again, repeat. Right now, the gym is in full swing with the energy feeling very positive. As I mentioned in previous post, 6-7 fighters have matches in March, so they are training hard. Depending on weigh-in date/time before fight, head kru and fighter will either take an 8-hour overnight train from Udon to Bangkok Don Mueng or fly one-hour, hangout, fight, then return to Udon to repeat process. All of them are fighting to support their families in different capacities. It is not recreation for them, this is a job. After they fight and money is received, their family is taken care of for at least one more month. Take a breathe Nak Muay. There's a few teenage fighers boys and girls who go to school full-time along side their full-time training. Watching him pull up to the gym (where he also lives) in his school uniform, then quickly do homework by himself on the table off to the side before dressing down to get to his real work. This sort of stuff really inspires me. It shows me I have the capacity to do more, like document this experience. I found my apartment on book.com, after staying at a different place during my first week in town while I was getting my bearings. I've been at my current place for one month, having booked it on book.com for a few days at first, I then arranged a weekly/monthly deal with the hotel directely. It's a good fit for me. I don't feel comfortable sharing my specific location on the forum, but if anyone wants to private message me here or on instagram: 'audio.visual' i will happily share that info. I can say that monthly rent is ~$350usd all-in. My cost of living/training here is quite cheap while still comfortable. I will post pictures of my unit and motorbike tomorrow when sun is back in the sky. Today's training was a bit frustrating for me as my kicks are not improving. kru ornono says i'm too stiff; my hips and shoulders too rigid during roundhouse. He's being patient with me, but also stern. Hitting me with pad, grunting, and looking disapprovingly when i do something wrong right after he showed me how to do the move properly. But he gets it, he's trained a lot of people. i'm not the first to have these technique problems, won't be the last. Being whacked in the head by a guy who has defeated Buakaw and Saenchai is now off my bucket list. To be training with such a legend is a real treat and I'm extremely grateful; trying not to waste the opportunity. However, the 7 of us did a lot of cardio today. Begining the session with tire jumping while 1 person pedaled on the stationary bike. Kru Gig was in one of his not uncommon funny moods and was sitting in the seat with his timer whacking the back of the person on the bike. Kind of like they were a horse. It was funny, but also painful. The whipping effect from slight flick of his wrist stung the back. I prefer to believe there's a practical reason to this punishment beyond his personal enjoyment haha. After 25 minutes of that we wrapped hands, shadowboxed, hit pads, heavy bags, sparred (I didn't), Clinch (I didn't); while they were doing the latter two I was working on punch/kick technique. Drilling on the basics. This sessions started at 16:00 and ended 19:15, so 3.25 hours as we ran 3km to the lake and back again tonight. My running continues to feel strong. Lastly, this morning I listed to #42 Mental Training: How I Prepared For My Championship Fight - Sylvie's Technique Vlog (45 min) on the Patreon page. I picked this one as the first to dive into as I feel like my mental game needs ALOT of work. My main takeaways were: Mental Training is a Technique! Have mental training be part of your training all of the time, not just when you have a fight scheduled. Mental Training is not fun, it’s like doing cardio, it sucks but the more you do it, the further you can push yourself before gassing or psyching yourself out. It’s a vague concept, assign colors, tools, mental association- Grab a crayon with your mind and draw a tree with the green, draw a bench with the brown..etc. Perfection robs you of flexibility and is not a good thing. When you become tired brain becomes lazy, over generalizes, negativity appears. Confidence: It’s cultivated, it’s an act before it’s a feeling. Act confident first, then you’ll feel it. It’s something you can do without thinking much about it. Visualization is key. Walk through a familiar place like childhood home and visualize the sights, sounds, smells, feelings of the environment… put yourself there. Can do anywhere anytime, the closest thing to teleportation. Most visualizations don’t come true and that’s okay. Make personal Affirmations, ex: “I am Confident Under Pressure”, “I win Tough Exchanges”, “I always Bring Intensity to Every Training Session and Every Fight”. Act like you’ve been here before, you are always performing. Pressure and Stress are not the same thing. Nervous is good, flow it out, don’t bottle it in, keep it circulating. If this, then that… the world moves on. If the pressure is too big, make it small. No questions, only statements. Under pressure you will never do as good as you do in training. An Octopus can see good enough for what they need to sustain life... and so much more! Thank you Sylvie, the $10 has already paid off after one video haha. There's a lot to thin about here, and I actually cried a bit when you suggested visualizing your grandmothers house... well I grew up in my grandmothers house and she jut died a few months ago while I was in Thailand just beginning my Muay Thai journey in Pai. In a way I feel like I'm training for here. With all of my senses I can visualize and experience my grandmothers house and my youth. I know I'm not one of the rare few that doesn't have the ability to create images in my mind, so I will begin applying this to boxing.
  14. I've doubled down on my commitment to continue training in Thailand by getting a fresh 45-day visa this past sunday, which takes me through April 11 with option for 30-day extension through May 11, 2023. I've also renewed my apartment and motorbike for one-month, all of March 2023. Previously I've been paying for everything on a weekly basis, as I like to keep a certain degree of flexibility, but now I'm confident I want to continue doing what I'm doing here in Udon for at least another 4-weeks, maybe longer. I spent the weekend in Vientiene, Laos and Bangkok to get new visa and see a friend. Returning to Udon late last night, I got started training again today after 2.5-days off. I asked the head kru if I can get one hour of one-on-one private training everyday in March (except Sundays) and we worked out a deal for 9k baht/month which includes 2 sessions per day, and the one hour private training every afternoon session. Today before afternoon session head kru messaged me on facebook to say my trainer today wouldn't be him, but instead someone named Orono. He sent me a picture of the guy holding 7 belts so I knew he had been a successful fighter, but didn't know much else about him. I met with him at 16:30 and was happy to hear he spoke good english. He asked me a lot of training related questions I haven't been asked before, probably because of the language barrier. Veryyy little english is spoken at Siriluck Gym, so most of my learning is done through observation and expression of body language. Communicating and receiving verbal advice from Orono was refreshing to say the least. We focused on the absolute basics; breathing, footwork, stance, rhythm, jabs, cross, elbows, l/r kicks, etc.. he closely observed all of my movements like a scientist doing an experiment and gave me helpful tips. My mechanics are not so good, but by the end of the 1.5 hours together (we went 30-minutes longer), my kicks and punches felt more fluid and powerful. I'm trying my best to lock-in the muscle memory, but it's challenging as any reader here knows. So far I'm really liking Orono's teaching style and his overall personality- cool guy. There were 7 fighters training tonight and we all went for a 3km run to the lake and back, with head kru trailing behind on a motorbike. A few months ago, completing this run after 2+ hours of hard training would have been very tough for me. But tonight, I felt great and kept up with the fast pace the guys were moving at. The three 6k runs I did last week are already paying off. When I got home from training/dinner, I began reading about Orono Wor Petchpun and watching his fight tapes. He's fought and defeated big names like Buakaw, Saenchai, Yodsanklai, Lerdsila, and many others. I'm feeling very excited and grateful for the opportunity to start learning from this legend everyday. I don't know why he is training out of this gym now, or what his relationship to the owner is, as he has previously been living in Singapore with Evolve MMA. There's a lot of high level talent drifting in and out of Siriluck Gym and I'm happy to be around it. All of the fighters have matches this month: 3 in Udon, 1 at BKK Raj Stadium, 1 at BKK Lumpinee Stadium, 1 at Yokkao Stadium. I'm planning to attend all of the fights, so I will continue to travel a lot this coming month. In fact, I've been in Bangkok for each of the past 3 weekends, 2 of which were for matches. Hated Bangkok first time I visited, but I fall in love with the city a bit more everytime I go.
  15. Awesome, thank you for the google map spotlight Kevin! I've never posted much on open forums so still learning about publishing tools. I will include that information next time I post about a new gym visit. What size are the fighters out there? Age range appears to be 12-28, 45-68kg fighting weight, ~6-8 fighters rotating in/out of the gym, 4-6 kru rotating in/out. I'm at the top end of size/weight and want to add another 5-7kg's. I feel like I'll benefit from a bit more size at~184cm. 77kg was a healthy weight for me in the past. Do you feel like your training with them is productive for you at 70 kg? I think so. Then again I'm still a ~3-4month beginner with experience limited to training at 4 gyms in Thailand, so I don't know much. For the most part, all training has felt like good training to me, as I've consistently had a good workout every time I show up. I've learned that it's really up to me to ensure a good workout, kru can only guide you so much in a session. My goals are more general fitness based than fighting camp based, so that colors my experience a bit differently too... more recreational than business/work as it is for the Thai fighters. I'm slowly adopting this mindset of treating it like a job. The 68kg fighter walks around at 70-72kgs at 186cm, so he's big. In fact that's his nickname. Training with him has been great, I just try to mimic what he does. He is very good fighter, taking the victory at Lumpinee last weekend at LWC Super Champ event, where he fought an Algerian in the Co-Main Event. Although the fight was quick with not much action... it seemed like big's opponent didn't really want to fight. Here is The Fight - LWC Super Champ February 18, 2023 - Big is in the thumbnail far left. I see you mentioned 15 minutes of clinch, what is the clinch training like for you? Honestly, clinching intimidates me and I'm still trying to get comfortable with being tightly intimate with others in this way. I've had to overcome quite a bit psychologically with my aversion to close human contact (mainly with strangers). Muay Thai has helped me greatly with this, as I have loosened up a lot. The fighters clinch most days for 1-2 hours. If I join them, I usually only go for 15-20 minutes. Just like my goal to run more (have run 6k both today and yesterday), I have a goal to clinch more. My plan is to clinch with Big as he has another LWC fight next month that he'll be training for. He's relaxing this week, but will be back in the gym next week and I fully plan to clinch with him most days for long sessions. His neck and clinch is insanely powerful so I'm looking forward to learning from him. My immediate goal is to become a strong clinching partner to help the fighters prepare for the bouts. In the mean time, I've been doing neck exercises at the end of every training sessions, preparing for the work ahead.
  16. February 23-2023 - Thursday Morning Keeping to my word, I woke up at 06:00 this morning and ran 3-laps around the lake near the gym. I've been told each lap is approx. 2km, so this morning I ran 6k. Going forward, my daily goal is to run 3-5 laps (6-10km) every morning, excluding Sundays. For not having run too much, and for being a lifelong run-hater, the 6k felt surprisingly easy. My preference is to run alone, at my own pace, so that helped. No pressure. I was back at the gym by 07:30, but no one was training. I felt my phone vibrate and found an alert from my kru saying he wouldn't be there this morning and that we'd only train in the afternoon today. I didn't do any other exercises after my run, just a few stretches and went home to do laundry. My trip to Bangkok this past weekend threw off my training rhythm and I'm just now getting back in the groove in time to leave again this weekend for a visa-run. I've been feeling slightly fatigued and sluggish all week, which I think is related to travel and poor rest. Now trying to hydrate, eat, and rest my way through it.
  17. Thank you Kevin. Siriluck Gym - 183 28 Soi Nongbua, Nong Bua Sub-district, Mueang Udon Thani District, Udon Thani 41000 https://goo.gl/maps/GdJZsq84cjS6UJab6 I've fallen in love with this gym and the town of Udon. Life is good for me here so I've decided to stay to continue training at Siriluck. The 4-5 fighters training out of this gym right now all compete at the big name stadiums in Bangkok. Yokkao Jitmuangnon Stadium, Lumpinee, Raj, etc... and they're all winning. They're very good. The past two weekends I've flown and taken train to Bangkok with trainer and fighter for their matches. I've been able to get an up close and behind the scenes look at these televised fights. It's been fun and exciting. It appears they each fight monthly, training hard in between. This past week the gym had someone fighting co-main-event at LWC Super Champ event at Lumpinee Stadium, and week before that, someone competing at Yokkao Jitmuangnon Stadium, both of them won by knockout. Lumpinee fight was pure entertainment while Yokkao was pure gambling fight. Both televised. I thought the Yokkao event was much more exciting. We'll be back to both of these places for more fights in March. I posted videos of these fights on my instagram page: audio.visual My muay thai skills and overall training confidence are improving quickly. I'm making it to the gym twice/day most days, and have found my body getting used to the increased work load. It was honestly very tough on my body when I first ramped up the frequency, and I felt a little down about just lounging around constantly when not training, but now I see the extra rest was necessary and I'm now much more conditioned for the volume. However, I'm still not running much. My goal for this week is to start each training day with 2km run, with eventual goal of 5k daily morning run. My pre training warmup has been on stationary bike with 05.kg ankle weights. This warmup has been more gentle on my knees than running. I've been practicing the thai language with a tutor and books, as I hope to better connect with my trainer, the fighters, and thai people in public. I feel like a toddler, learning how to walk (box) and speak all over again. My visa expires next weekend February 28, so I'll need to head up to Laos to get a new clock. I think I will continue training here in Udon for another 1-2 months then go to Japan. My 32nd birthday is the first week of March and I'm excited for how I'm starting my next trip around the sun.
  18. February 06-2023 - Monday Afternoon 15:00 - 18:00 I'm realizing now that it won't be practical or necessary to post 2x or even 1x daily, so my updates won't be as frequent as originally planned. Before the afternoon session I was able to eat lunch, prepare dinner, do laundry, and found an hour to lay down/relax. My favorite snack right now is banana-egg-roti. I ordered two today, one to have with lunch, and another to be saved for after dinner. The roti shop shares a wall with one of the vegan buffets I like, so I can eat at both places at the same time and get takeaway for later. The weather in Udon has been very mild and pleasant up until yesterday when the humidity and temperature got turned up. Today was a bit tough for me because of that. Me and five others went out for a 2km walk and 2km run around the lake. There are several well maintained lakes/parks to run around in this town, and the air quality is quite good by Thai standards. The gym was a bit busier this afternoon, with 8 training, and 4 holding pads. A good 2:1 ratio. After the run, I stretched, skipped rope for 10-minutes, 5 x 3-minute rounds on pads, 5 x 3-minute rounds on heavy bag (kicks and teeps), 15-minutes clinching, air squats, pullups, pushups, situps, neck curls, stretching. Today is the first day I didn't spar. Kik had me doing jump knees again and I about had to tap out from those as my right knee developed a tender lump, and my left quad has deep bruising. I'm learning to push through the pain. He's still not happy with my punch/jab motion, so fine-tuning that continues to be a top priority. Since verbal communication is limited in the gym, I've started supplementing my learning by reading muay thai text books in the effort to pickup ideas to bring into the gym. Currently reading 'Muay Thai Unleashed' by Erich Krauss. and have found it helpful. Anyone have other book suggestions?
  19. February 06-2023 - Monday Morning 07:00 - 09:00 Good start to the week. Awake and out of the door at 06:50a, and at the gym by 07:00a. I really should be arriving to the gym by 06:30 to start the day with 30-minute run, but I'll admit, recently have been neglecting this. Instead, I began with my usual warmup of 15-minutes skipping + 10-minute full body stretch. There were 4 of us training this morning with the 1 instructor. After warmup, I sparred for 3-rounds with same person who I had only met briefly sometime last week. Not knowing much about him or his skill level, we felt each other out with light kicks and punch combinations. His idea of light sparring was a bid harder than what I had in mind, which became clear when he landed a roundhouse kick to my temple with a bit of force. I reeled back smiling with a hand gesture pushing to the floor while saying 'Sabai', reminding him to go easy, to which he responded by rolling his eyes. In general, he wasn't very warm to me throughout class. We went 2-rounds with gloves and shin guards, followed by 1-round boxing with gloves only, no kicking. He landed some good combinations on me with a bit more power than I'm used to receiving, which is helping increase my confidence and comfort with standing in a guarded position taking shots. I'm becoming less timid/afraid of being hit and hitting back. Landing a clean jab to his chin felt good in response to a hook he got me with. After sparring, I went 5, 3-minutes rounds on the pads throwing simple combinations. Kik seems to enjoy having me do jump knees. With my hands locked at his neck/traps, he counts to 50, switching pads every 10, shouting suun, nueng, saawng, saam, sii, haa, hok, jet, bpaaet, gao, sib... 1-10 in thai. He has a pleasant high-pitched voice and the melodic rhythm of the counting helps distract from fatigue and soreness as knee/quad become increasingly battered from repetitive smacking against the pad. My leg muscles have become noticeably harder, stronger and thicker from all the kicking/kneeing. Immediately after the jump knees, he'll point at one of the boys standing against the ropes to have him come in and clinch. This is tough for me right now because I'll be gassed from hitting pads and a stronger, more rested person will come manhandle me in the clinch for a minute followed by more kicks and punches on the pads and ending with 10 punching sit-ups with trainer stepping on tops of feet. I'm being pushed pretty close to my limit with each training session and have found the bar moves higher with each session. The rapid improvement from near daily training has been fun to experience, but it's clear I have a long road ahead to reach the skill and conditioning level of my peers. After padwork, I moved to the heavy bag for 3-rounds; push kicks, low/high kicks, hand combinations. Finished session with neck conditioning, pullups, bodyweight squats, cooldown, stretch. Paid 3,000baht for another week unlimited training. My goal for this week is to not miss a session, train 2x/day Monday-Saturday, 12 sessions total. For those wondering about cost of living here, training works out to 250baht/session or 500baht/day, motorbike rental is 250baht/day, and apartment is 432baht/day. I'm eating a lot right now trying to gain a bit of weight, so my food cost is approx. 500baht/day. I don't drink alcohol, but do smoke weed. Main expenses total ~1700-2000baht/day or ~$50-65/day. Therefore, a realistic budget for me is $1,500-2,000 USD/month to live the comfortable, but not excessive lifestyle I have here. If someone was willing to eat less, live at the gym, borrow a bike from the gym, not smoke weed or alcohol, you could train here for much much cheaper. I'm just not willing to make those sacrifices. I'm vegetarian and struggle at times to find good food options in Thailand. They like to eat their meat with a side of seafood here, so it can be challenging at times to add diversity to my diet despite being able to explain myself in thai. Fortunately, there are three buffet style thai-chinese vegan restaurants near each other here in Udon Thani. After every training session I go to one of the three for a meal. I've become a regular at all of them. The food is delicious and people all very friendly. There's also a few western chains like Burger King who has a plant-based burger that I've been a long time fan of as someone who has driven across the USA many times. My daily food budget is quite a bit higher on the days where I have western food. Afternoon training begins at 15:00 and I plan to start with a run with the rest of the crew. In the meantime, I'll do laundry, have lunch, and rest.
  20. Background: 31, Male, USA, 185cm, 70kgs - I've been in Thailand for approx. 5-months solo on an open-ended trip through Southeast Asia. Arriving Bangkok early October 2022, I proceeded to spend 2-weeks in Chiang Mai (did not train during this time), 3-months in Pai, 2-weeks in Chiang Mai, and now writing from Udon Thani where I've been for 2-weeks and plan to stay till end of February 2023 when my visa extension expires. On average, I've trained 6x per week at 4 different gyms during this time. It really wasn't until I left Pai and trained at two gyms in Chiang Mai for 1-week each (Santai + Boon Lanna) that I began taking training more seriously. I'm currently training at Siriluck Muay Thai Gym in Udon Thani, a quiet gym in Isaan. My collective training amounts to 35-40 sessions, so I'm still still very much a beginner, but feel like I'm starting to turn the corner. Feeling more competent and capable on the bags, pads and with the general flow of a training session. This gym doesn't have a web presence beyond a few photos on google maps, so I had to go in person to get information. When I rolled up around 3pm on a Monday there were two unassuming men, out front smoking cigarettes watching tiktok videos on a phone attached to an eye level tripod. One of them spoke a little english and told me the other guy is the trainer. A few students trickled in from their run and I introduced myself to everyone. In total there appears to be maximum 5-6 people, all thai, training out of this gym right now, 1 of which is training for a televised fight in Bangkok on February 12th. The main focus and priority at the gym is on this fighter, which the trainer is pushing very hard in preparation and that has been fun to watch. I got the impression that foreigners don't often drop into this gym as they were quite surprised to see me, and very interested in who I am, in addition to being extremely friendly. People in this region are some of the nicest I've ever met. It can actually be a bit startling when you're not used to it. The facility is clean and quite big, resembling a car repair shop type layout with office in the front next to large roll-up door and long open space with mats, 4 heavy bags and weights on one wall, mirrors and more exercise equipment on the other. There are two rings, but only one of them is used currently. In the back there are him/hers changing rooms/toilets. We talked price, $500 full-day or $8,000/month unlimited training. I agreed and we got to training. I'm writing this on Sunday February 5th after training there 5 times last week. The head trainer is very animated, loud, hilarious, and fun to be around. His general vibe is playful and relaxed, but he's stern with instruction/correction and strong holding the pads. We're friends on Facebook now and his page suggests he had a successful fighting career, now retired in his 30's/40's. He doesn't speak much english beyond the basic 'kick, punch, jab', so I never know what he is saying, but he gets me laughing hysterically. It's never clear if I'm 'in on' the joke or if 'I am' the joke, but it doesn't matter, I enjoy it and laugh anyways. If I deliver a bad punch or kick and he corrects me with a light counter jab to the stomach or head and has been challenging me in ways other trainers haven't. My comfort with being hit and hitting back has improved along with the strength and technique of my punches and kicks. I've began experiencing the common small injuries such as knuckle abrasions, bruised shins, knee to knee impacts, blistered feet, battered ankles.. easing off the gas as these things pop up, but going forward I'm going to push through them more than usual. I've found myself placing a lot of pressure to train and perform well, and get disappointed when I slack or am slow to learn or recover. Getting better has become my daily purpose and I feel good about having something to focus on, even though it can be a painful, lonely and isolating process. My goal is to train 10-12 per week for the next 3-weeks, fully committing myself to improving as much as possible in that time. This log serves to keep me accountable and I plan to update regularly.
  21. You're welcome. I agree that no matter where you choose, you'll get something out of it and will be pushed to train hard. I'm partial to the idea of trying a few different gyms for one-week minicamps, in the off chance that my first gym/neighborhood selection isn't the best fit. On Sundays travel to the next gym+accommodation and repeat weekly training process starting each Monday. I value novelty and diversity of experience, so I'm more inclined to approach things this way. The downsides to this being the continual shallow/short gym relationships you'll build then leave behind, and the lack of attention/guidance you'll get from some trainers who know you're just passing through. Being the new kid can be hard. My experience is limited to training at four gyms in five-months, so take my wisdom with a grain of salt, I'm still new to this world. I will post my experience training in Isaan in a new, separate thread, so look out for that soon :).
  22. SJC74 - Here's my recent January 2023 experience training for one-week at 'Santai', and one-week at 'Boon Lanna', both gyms located outside/south of Chiang Mai city center. TL;DR, I'd pick Boon Lanna Muay Thai for one-month dedicated training with minimal life outside of training, eating, recovering, sleeping. Context: I spent early October 2022 to early January 2023 in Northern Thailand; 2.5-months in Pai, 1-month in Chiang Mai. I learned Muay Thai basics at Wisarut Gym in Pai at a relaxed pace. I wasn't killing myself during that time, but was able to develop a baseline foundation for the sport and improve general fitness. After leaving Pai in second week of January 2023, I went to train at two gyms outside of Chiang Mai, Santai and Boon Lanna. I did not train at Hongthong, but I did stop by in the midafternoon to see it. Here's my two cents as a beginner. First thing to note, and arguably the most important consideration is how far from old town Chiang Mai you're comfortable being. The best gyms in CM are a ways away from the nightlife/tourist action happening in the city. You'll need to plan logistics accordingly. Having a motorbike, accommodation, quick food/grocery options, social life requirements, touristic desires etc. are all considerations that need to be made. There are a lot of gym options in and around Chiang Mai. Hover over the greater city on Google Maps and search 'Muay Thai Gym', and you'll see many of the options. Most have websites and/or facebook pages to glean information from to get general vibe of the gym, while others have a sparce internet presence that requires an in-person visit to get the scoop. I visited four gyms in total, but only trained at two. Santai: I trained here 6 sessions total, once per day monday to saturday mostly in the afternoon. This was the busiest gym in Thailand that I trained at thus far, with an average 30 students per session, and 6-8 instructors. This is a good gym if you want to sleep, train, and be social with other students and not have too much of a life outside of training. People spend months living and training there together, so naturally the "family" like feelings evolve amongst students and trainors. Everyone was friendly, but I kept my head down and didn't socialize too much beyond basic pleasantries. A months time is long enough to develop stronger relationships if that's what you're seeking. English was common enough amongst students and trainers to make communication easy and clear. Despite the gym being a bit small for the large number of students, it's equipped with three rings and many bags. Because of the many people, it was lacking in the sanitation department; it felt a bit dirty for my personal standards, but keeping in mind that I've been a long time mild germophobe so learning Muay Thai has been an exercise in acceptance for me. Standards and personal comfort vary of course, I'm just saying it could use a good powerwash and mop. The general class routine was: run/skip rope, group stretching/shadowboxing technique, padwork, bagwork, clinching, stretch/cool-down. While you're going through group stretch, the woman who handles office/paperwork affairs and the two old-head instructors list names on the whiteboard for padwork assignments. Each pad holder had 3-5 names underneath them and each student would get 3 5-minutes rounds with them. It seemed like the newbies were assigned to go first and each day you'd be with a different pad holder who would work you in different ways, while evaluating your skill level. The two old-head instructors would walk around with their sticks whacking stick correcting form of folks working a bag. You're sort of on your own after padwork, so you'll want to come prepared with a few combinations you want to practice on the bag, otherwise you might be a little aimless and unfocused; at least that was the case for me as a newbie. Overall, this gym was a 6/10 for me. I'm grateful I went and experienced it for the sake of gym comparisons, but I wouldn't return here. Keep in mind I'm rather introverted and would prefer to train with Thai's than foreigners. It was 70/30 foreigners to Thai's training there. I stayed 10-minutes down the road from the gym. There's a main street near gym with accommodation, restaurants, and locals-only night markets. Odds are the only other westerners you'll see around that area are also gym goers. I think someone could quickly improve their skill level dedicating one-month to training here, just don't expect to do too many tourist activities outside of training, eating, recovering, sleeping. Students and trainers fight out of the gym and seem to be in different promotions weekly. If you want to fight, that's definitely possible here. Boon Lanna: The monday after Santai I moved accommodation down the road 20-minutes to a place near Boon Lanna Muay Thai where I also trained for 6 sessions total, once per day monday to saturday mostly in the afternoon. This is the former Lanna gym Sylvie trained at. She mentioned it's a different gym now than it used to be, so I can give an update to what it is like now. This has been my favorite gym to date. The new owner, Master Boon, sponsors Thai fighters from the Hilltribe, so when you train here, you're mostly training with them. It was 80/20 Thai to foreigner ratio and an amazing experience. Sylvie recently wrote about gyms having golden years where there's a bunch of people training/fighting out of a gym an times are good, and other times when the same gym has dried up and it's a shell of it's former self as people move on. This gym seems to be in early stages of new golden period as Master Boon and his female partner seem motivated and have a good thing going. They are currently having new student housing built on the property attached to the facility. The existing facility is very nice, very clean, wide-open-air facility. There was only one non-thai living there, a Canadian, the rest were Hilltribe boys/men. My technique, confidence, and general understanding of the sport improved significantly in only a few sessions as they paid a lot more attention to me. After light conditioning and shadowing boxing, every session began with light sparing where Master Boon selected matchups, randomizing opponents for 3-4 round. Sparing against the Thai boys was very helpful, but at ~185cm (6-foot) felt strange punching and kicking a literal child. These kids were tough and strong though, and I saw in advance pictures of them online bloodied up smiling after a fight. We both knew that I couldn't hurt them, and we both knew they could wreck me any second, which actually helped me feel relaxed in a way I've ever never felt before. After sparing, padwork, then bagwork. Both of which I felt like I received ample and helpful guidance for improved power and technique. Everyone was patient with me which was appreciated. I'm a slow learner. Classes end with 45min-1hour clinching, which I did not do, opting for strength conditioning with a few others instead, concluding with abs, stretch, cool-down. Sit Thailand MT Gym: This gym is closer to old town, next to airport. Has accommodation nearby, I dropped in mid afternoon just to see it, no opinion. Lookup 'joelxthewolf' on instagram. He documents his training/fighting out of that gym and you can get a sense of things from him. Looks legit. Hongthong: Drove past. A bit closer to old town, but still outside a ways. Fighters often on local promotion. Sizeable open-air gym. No opinion. Like I said, there are many others to choose from. Get a motorbike on arrival and spend your first day dropping into several to get a feel before commiting. Manop. Buakaw's Banchamek Gym, Chiang May Muay Thai, Santai, Sit, Hongthong etc. Be prepared to be on the road all day for that, Chiang Mai is surprisingly quite big and spread out. Here is the average weather forecast is for July in Chiang Mai: "This month is known as a warm month. The average maximum daytime temperature in Chiang Mai in July lies at 31.7°C (89.06°F). The average minimum temperature is 24.0°C (75.2°F) (usually the minimum temperature is noted at night). The amount of rain during this month is high with an average of 145mm (5.7in). It rains an average of 19 days of the month. The sun will occasionally show itself with 121 hours of sunshine during the entire month." Something to consider. I should have taken better notes during my training, but didn't, so these are just some of my recollections/feelings. Ask away with any questions, I'll be glad to give my two cents. I am now training at a small gym in Isaan and plan to be more diligent and methodical with documenting my progress and experience. I'd like to post and participate in this forum more. Thank you Sylvie and Kevin for the platform and second hand push to do so, and all the info you've provided over the years- it's been very helpful for me on this journey and I'm having so much fun.
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