If you missed my initial post sharing a few rounds of a private session with Kru Dam, definitely go take a look. All 13 rounds are available for members of Nak Muay Nation – video accompanied by my audio commentary to clarify the techniques – and some more of the rounds will be appearing here on 8Limbs.Us as well. I’m really pleased with the result, it’s great material.
Learning About Sitmonchai and Kru Dam
I wanted to know more about Kru Dam, who is becoming more known to some in the west; so when I was there I sat down with Abigail McCullough, who is the resident Foreign Liaison for Sitmonchai Gym, to ask a few questions. Having a western, Thai-fluent woman in the camp is a big thing, especially for women who want to train authentically in Thailand, but really any westerner. Coming from outside of Thailand, when we look for gyms we want authentic experiences, and Sitmonchai is a top notch Thai camp. However, there are frequent cultural barriers that can really throw your time at any traditional-style camp in unexpected and sometimes unfortunate ways. Having a fluent Thai speaker – she is a long time partner of Sitmonchai fighter “Jun” Thepnimit – and a woman, who can negotiate or explain any misunderstandings that might come up is a tremendous asset, one that would have helped me innumerable times in my first few years here when I just needed someone to ask “Is this normal?!” or “What’s going on here?”. In any case, Abigail sat down and shared the story of Kru Dam, the star trainer of the gym who is starting to get big time international recognition. He’s a rare trainer in that he’s been with the gym for over 25 years (many gyms have a turnover of trainers – some stay forever while others cycle through), but he also almost single-handedly created the gym’s hands-heavy, low-kick friendly, very successful fighting style. It’s Kru Dam’s style.
♦ The gym has only been open to westerners for about 5 years
♦ He’s been with Sitmonchai Gym 27 years
♦ When he was a fighter his fight nickname was “The Piston”
♦ He’s almost single-handedly created the gym’s very successful hands-heavy, low-kick style
♦ Many of the instructors are ex-fighters from the gym, who grew up with Kru Dam’s style
♦ He’s extremely technical in his instruction
♦ After all these years he’s becoming Internationally recognized
So enjoy the story of Kru Dam and get to know Abigail and Sitmonchai too. In a few weeks I’ll be putting up a video tour of the gym – for those thinking of booking some time there you can see what it is like – and also an interview with Pee A, the very nice owner. (You get to see Pee A for a moment in the video when Abigail asks him how Kru Dam came to the camp. Pee A’s father, “Papa,” was the original owner and Pee A is one of the most personable fellows I’ve met in Thailand.)
Below is an interactive Google map of the Sitmonchai location a few hours outside of Bangkok.