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Micc

First Timer Questions - Training In Thailand

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1) is it possible to fall into a 2 trainings a day regimen when I never trained like this at home? Should I train like that for a week or so before my trip to get used to it? (Combining it with work might be exhausting an counter-productive though)
2) what currency is most popular beside Thai Baht? Is it possible to pay in some places in other currencies? Would you advise exchanging money at home or after coming to Thailand? i'm dealing with Euros and Polish Zloty. The exchange rate is better from zlotys for me right now, so i'm wondering how to plan out the money issue.
3) I'm not a beginner, but I'm also not near fighting level. Would it be still possible to get some sparring or do the trainers just observe my training and then say I can do this or that?
4) this might be a bigger topic: what could make someone 'lose face'? If you have links to articles, I'll gladly read them, to learn more about this issue

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Hi Micc, from my experience :-

1. It is advisable to attemp training twice per day before going to build up your stamina,even though you think it may be counter productive. Sleep and rest hours will at least be adjustable accordingly. However,this might not prepare you to the exhaustion from the intense heat in Thailand. From the extra session a day,you will gauge your stamina,need for hydration and food. I personally suffered dehydration once in Thailand and needed a saline drip from the hospital. 

2. The most popular currency would be the USD and Euros.Never seen it being used for trade,most vendors accept only Thai baht. I would advice changing a little for your initial expenses,like bus or taxi to the gym,gym fees,sundries,toiletries and the balance,change in Thailand as and when you need.

3. That depends on the gym,and your length of stay. It may take some time for the trainers to assess your level and for both parties to be familiar with each other. Some trainers are quite opened to sparring after just a few sessions. Some gyms maybe quite commercial and do not include sparring,even if they advertised that on their webpage. It doesn't hurt to ask for sparring,if you have spend a few sessions getting to know the trainers and the rest of the gym members.

4. Sorry,can't help you on that one. I am sure another member here would be able to help you with that topic. Enjoy your trip out to Thailand,Micc.     

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Thank you Nalyana for the info! I still have over 7 months left, but I start to think about it more intensely as I want to plan it out during the next 2 months and buy flight tickets.

I'm sure I will have more questions, I was scared to ask before to not sound silly, but I decided it's better to ask than do silly things later on ;)

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You are most welcome,Micc. Hey...its alright to ask questions,some will offer more help and current advice to your questions as the time draws nearer. It may help too,when you know which gym you have decided to train at. I went over to your profile and saw that you plan to go early next year,always good to be well prepared.

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1) I think jumping in to 2x a days here is definitely doable, just make sure you really take care of your body and listen to what it is telling you. The heat really can take a big toll on you so I would shoot for 2x a day, but take it easy at first and don't sweat it if you need to slow it down a bit.

 

2) Not sure on this one, but in my experience places will only accept Thai baht (and many times only accept cash).

 

3) As mentioned by Naiyana, this will totally depend on the gym you go to. Here everyone spars (if they want to), and the trainers usually try to pair up someone more experienced with you if they know you are new. This is so the more experienced person can control the sparring session a little bit and let you know if you are going too hard.

 

4) I don't know if there are any articles (or if Sylvie has blogged about this) specifically regarding this issue, but I think if you always try to look at things from the other person's point of view then you will be doing better than most people who visit Thailand. Just try not to embarrass anyone or be disrespectful (insulting/arrogant), and I think you'll be fine.

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3) I'm not a beginner, but I'm also not near fighting level. Would it be still possible to get some sparring or do the trainers just observe my training and then say I can do this or that?

 

In Thailand you are fighting level from day 1 - if you want to fight, they will find you a fight with an equally unexperienced opponent. At least that was my impression.

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In Thailand you are fighting level from day 1 - if you want to fight, they will find you a fight with an equally unexperienced opponent. At least that was my impression.

Oh yeah, technically that's true. The thing is, I've never fought without shinpads...when I forget myself and block someones low-kick with my shin (without pad) during some light drill, it hurts so much! I have never conditioned my shins, because I never thought I would fight without shinpads. This will probably be a problem during fighting in Thailand, right?

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Oh yeah, technically that's true. The thing is, I've never fought without shinpads...when I forget myself and block someones low-kick with my shin (without pad) during some light drill, it hurts so much! I have never conditioned my shins, because I never thought I would fight without shinpads. This will probably be a problem during fighting in Thailand, right?

In training a shin-to-shin clash hurts way more than in a fight. In a fight your adrenaline is going and you don't feel anything. I can win any shin clash any fight, but if I barely graze the edge of the bed it's like torture, haha.  But you do need to condition your shins. It doesn't require anything other than just kicking on the bags and pads without shin guards and allowing the conditioning to build up - no special "tricks" required, nor do they work, though simple heat massage like this does help with recovery, especially in the beginning.

You can change money at banks or kiosks while you're here, or use the ATM's to withdraw cash as you go. (That's what I do.) I've never used a currency other than Baht in Thailand. You can exchange at the airport when you arrive in order to have money for a taxi or whatever.

How to avoid losing face is like asking "how do I avoid offending/embarrassing somebody?" You never know what might offend someone, but there are really broad ways to avoid it because politeness and manners are fairly universal. Be polite in your own culture and generally that's polite anywhere. There are some areas that don't overlap so well - for example, Thais don't really show any emotion to an extreme. Put a smile on every single emotion and you've got Thais. It's rude to correct someone of higher status than yourself, which is something my culture doesn't adhere to anymore, so I have to keep track of it for myself. You can disagree or correct false information, just do it really gently. For example: if my trainer says I'm fighting on Wednesday and I know the day is actually Friday, I don't say, "no, it's Friday," but rather, "I think maybe it's Friday." That's a tiny example and one that, if you forgot, wouldn't be a huge loss of face. A huge loss of face is like when I yell at my husband in public at the gym. That's not good at all.

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Thank you Sylvie for the information. I was a bit confused about what "losing face" really means, now I understand it.

I hit the bag and pads every training without shinguards, so it seems I'm doing conditioning without knowing it :D

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Micc- I trained in Thailand earlier this year having only been training twice a week beforehand. During the two months leading up to my arrival in Thailand I had been unwell so had actually not trained at all- not even light exercise- on doctor's orders! Whilst obviously this isn't advisable, I was surprised at how easy I found adapting to a full- on schedule. For the first five days I trained just once a day (two hours each morning) before upping it to two sessions (four hours) a day in the following weeks. I found it benefical easing myself into it rather than going in all guns blazing. A couple of guys at my gym went straight in at four hours a day plus extra cardio and weights etc, and were unable to sustain this beyond a week. I would say take some time to understand what your body can do, rather than risk injury/ exhaustion that could ruin the rest of your trip!

Looking back I think I could have achieved more if I'd have been better prepared, but still feel like I trained pretty hard and learned a lot! I am in no way an expert- probably the least experienced person on here- so don't take this as gospel, it's just my experience :)

Since I got back I've found it much easier to maintain my training/ exercise regime. I did two hours the evening I stepped off the plane- I was pretty jet lagged but it meant I never lost the momentum I had in Thailand.

You will have the time of your life and I'm insanely jealous- enjoy!  

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Annie, thanks for your post! I was actually thinking about easing into it, just like you said, first week only one training a day, second week - two trainings. And it's almost set that I will be staying around 17 days in Thailand in mid-January. I'm planning to arrive on Thursday or Friday, look around the gyms I previously pick out and just get used to the climat (I have NEVER been to a hot climate, only stayed in Middle/North Europe all my life :D), and then have two full weeks of training at the gym I finally choose. The first week I also plan to enjoy some of the tourist attractions if it will be possible to combine it with the training.

Do you guys think this will be a good plan for a first-timer like myself?

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It seems like a good plan to me :) Presuming the gym you choose has a similar timetable to mine, you should get about 5 hours free between sessions which allows time for exploring (and sleeping!)

I arrived on a Saturday which worked really well- I got to spend the evening getting to know everyone over a few drinks without the worry of training the next day, then had the Sunday to acclimatise before starting to train on Monday. I was really worried about the heat, as I'm not so well travelled and used to English weather! But again I was surprised at how quickly I got used to it. I've just noticed your other question too- I actually had never sparred properly before I got out there but they had me sparring within a week. There were lots more people my size (I'm 5'7 and about 65kg) than I was used to at home, and (as I think someone already mentioned) they started me off sparring with trainers or more experienced people who went a little easy on me. 

This might be an unecessary piece of advice (I know finances/ work get in the way) but if you're uncertain I would recommend staying as long as you possibly can! Once you factor in travel times, jet lag, and then Sundays (presuming the gym you choose has a rest day) the sessions whizz by! I stayed for one month and got a good deal with my gym so it would actually have made more sense financially for me to stay there longer, considering the amount I spent on flights. 

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Annie, I would love to stay longer, I originally planned for a month, but as it turns out life will not allow it ;) for now. And finances are a big issue for me here, too.

I treat it kind of like a make-your-dream-come-true adventure, so even two full weeks will give me plenty of experiences and food for thought :) Unfortunately I don't make as much money as I would like to, so even if I think it's great in Thailand I will probably be able to come back in two years or so. Or later, if I want to finally have cabinets in my kitchen or my flat furnitured ;) or a car. or or or...true sacrifices going on here ;)

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What's the first day at the gym in Thailand usually like?

I will arrive early on Sunday, so I will have all day long to get to know the neighbourhood and also gather some first information. Then on Monday I plan to start training. 

Is there usually someone who will show me around the gym, ask me what's my goal or stuff like that? 

Will I be told, who's my trainer and do I get to talk with them before training? 

I will be training at Rawai Supa Muay Thai gym in Phuket, maybe someone has any exprience with this place?

As the reality of the training gets closer it makes me nervous, as in how will I deal with it all? Should I chat up people I see around the gym? 

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What's the first day at the gym in Thailand usually like?

I will arrive early on Sunday, so I will have all day long to get to know the neighbourhood and also gather some first information. Then on Monday I plan to start training. 

Is there usually someone who will show me around the gym, ask me what's my goal or stuff like that? 

Will I be told, who's my trainer and do I get to talk with them before training? 

I will be training at Rawai Supa Muay Thai gym in Phuket, maybe someone has any exprience with this place?

As the reality of the training gets closer it makes me nervous, as in how will I deal with it all? Should I chat up people I see around the gym? 

It's best to tell your trainer or the boss (whoever you meet to get oriented) what your goals are. They might ask, but they might not and offering that information make sure they know.

I've never been to Rawai so I can't say what their orientation process is, but you basically suit up and get right to it at most gyms. 

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You will have a great time, I'm sure!!

When are you going to visit Thailand? You visit BKK first or go straight to Phuket?
​If you have to opportunity to be around BKK on a Sunday you can visit the channel 7 fights, for free. It's really nice (or you can watch them online/on TV, as long as you are in Thailand :smile: ).

I'm also happy to be in Thailand soon :sorcerer:  (21 December - 16 January).

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You will have a great time, I'm sure!!

When are you going to visit Thailand? You visit BKK first or go straight to Phuket?

​If you have to opportunity to be around BKK on a Sunday you can visit the channel 7 fights, for free. It's really nice (or you can watch them online/on TV, as long as you are in Thailand :smile: ).

I'm also happy to be in Thailand soon :sorcerer:  (21 December - 16 January).

Thanks and that's so cool that you're going, too! I'm going 14 January - 31 January. First we arrive in BKK and have 3 days to sightsee, then I'm off to Phuket on my own to train for 2 weeks. At the end of the trip I'm going back to BKK and have one day all to myself - and it's a Sunday, I checked it now, so maybe I will visit the channel 7 fights! :D 

Will you be staying in BKK? Maybe we can meet for dinner or coffee or whatever it is you meet for in Thailand :D which will be pretty funny to meet in Thailand when we're both from Europe :D 

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Thanks and that's so cool that you're going, too! I'm going 14 January - 31 January. First we arrive in BKK and have 3 days to sightsee, then I'm off to Phuket on my own to train for 2 weeks. At the end of the trip I'm going back to BKK and have one day all to myself - and it's a Sunday, I checked it now, so maybe I will visit the channel 7 fights! :D 

Will you be staying in BKK? Maybe we can meet for dinner or coffee or whatever it is you meet for in Thailand :D which will be pretty funny to meet in Thailand when we're both from Europe :D 

 

If you have 3 days I would advise you to visit the Chatuchak Weekend Market also if you can, it's a really nice one (but only opened in the weekends also).
I'm leaving the 16th January in the early morning, back to the cold Belgium by than, so yeah maybe we can meet up for some foods or training :D and mostly I will stay in BKK maybe around new year a short trip to Khon Kaen.

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