Wung is one of my favorite things about Lanna. For a long time he scared me, but it’s more accurate to say I was intimidated by him. Wung’s the kind of guy who doesn’t bother learning your name until you’ve shown that you’re going to be around for a while. He’s perfectly willing to show you technique or help you with something if you ask for it, but you’ve got to have the balls to ask in the first place which is kind of the trick.
He’s often gone from camp because he’s the main trainer up at Hill Camp, so whenever there are people wanting to train up there he’s gone from regular camp for weeks at a time. I’m always excited to see him when he comes back. He stalks around in a way that is utterly confident and simultaneously unconscious of any on-lookers. Part of what’s so intimidating about him is that he just doesn’t give a damn, which is a component of his spectacular fighting style. His technique aims to hurt not just to score, which is the ethic I take from Master K as well. Who the hell wants to play tag? This is Muay Thai!
I think it is a combination of my extended stay at Lanna, frequency of fighting and dedication to training and a few times that I watched Wung show a guy how to do something and then asked him to clarify some small part of it, showing genuine interest that has resulted in Wung giving me the time of day. Without sounding cocky, I think it’s fair to even say that he likes me. The real moment of change was one morning when he started to come at me for impromptu sparring while I was shadowboxing and I stared him straight in the eye and didn’t back down, teeping him before he could even touch me and then standing there in range to see what he would do. He just looked surprised and nodded at me, then walked away. He’s a true fighter in the way he divvies up his respect.
He lies on the side of the ring – basically napping – sometimes when Kevin and I are doing ringwork before afternoon training. He’ll pop in sometimes and show us what we should be doing or add a strike to our drill, making it nastier. For my fight on the King’s Birthday he was in my corner and he wanted me to throw elbows from the clinch. I managed one in the fashion he had asked for and he yelled happily from the corner, but after the fight he was annoyed that I wasn’t even hurt. That shows that I could have done more. So he told me and Kevin to meet him at the gym the following day so he could show me something before he had to go back up to Hill Camp. I was pretty excited to learn something from Wung and even more so that he had made up his mind to resolve something that bothered him in my fight. These videos are what he showed me the next day:
Covering Distance With A Kick
My opponents tend to be backing up all the time and I’ve had many frustrating experiences in kicking air. Wung is showing me here how to trigger the flight response with a fake and then take huge steps with the hips forward to catch the fleeing opponent with a kick mid-run. It’s awesome.
The Fake and Standing Leg
Here Wung is showing how to fake and then step far with the standing leg (pushing off the back leg) to cover distance. Just kicking from where you’re standing results in air kicks.
Elbows, or Why You Don’t Clinch Wung in a Fight
Wung loves elbows. At any fight with the Thai boys you will see him calling for elbows within the first round. He doesn’t mess around. This lesson is brilliant and even though I learned from years with Master K to watch a trainer’s feet to know how to do a technique, Wung flat out shows me what my feet should be doing and how to line them up with your opponent’s stance. And how to hide an upward elbow with your guard. This is gold.