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Published: September 18th 2007
Mac Training a Guy
Mac giving a private lesson
The last few days have been relatively uneventful, except for the plane crash at Phuket airport that killed several dozen people. It's been all over the news here, as I'm sure it has been everyhwere else. That was somewhat scary to hear about, but the owner of gym made an announcement that there was nobody on board who was on their way to Tiger Muay Thai. The main reason for the crash, news people are saying, was the poor weather conditions.
It rains a lot here. It will show up without warning and torrentially downpour harder than I've ever seen, for an hour at a time. Sunday was my first whole day off of training, so I planned on heading to the beach, and taking pictures of temples and giant Buddhas and the like, but the rain did not let up for the entire day. So I guess I'll go sight seeing another day, and upload those pictures later. It's coming, I promise, just not yet.
On a different note, I saw a sign for a restaurant that said "Open 7 days a week, closed on sundays". I thought it was funny.
The trainers here are paid a
Health and Safety nightmare. This is what most of the power lines look like here.
decent wage, relative to other gyms in the area. This encourages them to give good training, because it is a good opportunity for them to make a living. Other gyms in the area are less well equiped and the trainers don't seem to care as much. There's a gym down the street that I've only seen people training at once, and there weren't enough trainers to go around. The trainers here also give private lessons at a set rate. You buy the little Private Lesson coupons from the shop and give them to the trainer that you want a lesson from. Then they get to keep 70% of what the lesson costs. Although they'regetting paid a decent amount, many of the trainers rely on their private lessons to get by. Every trainer has a specialty, and depending on what you want to work on, you pick a different trainer. O, for example, can teach you basics very well, and also give lessons on old styles of Muay Thai and Thai weapons. Ngoo is very good at ring craft and generalship. Saohin can help you with your punching. Watt has a very good clinch. Phet works your conditioning and just kills
Tavis the New Zealander
people with his workout. And Mac has all sorts of dirty little tricks and knows all the proper entrances for takedowns. After the morning session, yesterday, I decided to take a private lesson from Mac. It wasn't the toughest workout, because he spent the whole time teaching me some very sneaky stuff. Elbows from angles where elbows shouldn't be coming from. Effective ways of clinching people that are stronger than you. Dirty tricks. Plus, in the middle of the lesson he broke into a Jerry Seinfeld-esque standup routine ("What's the deal with big thai men not fighting? Little thai men are tough, big thai men dress like women, etc."). It was good fun.
In the afternoon, Phet evaluated me and decided that I should be bumped up from the beginner class to the Intermediate class. The main differences that I have found between those two classes has mainly been conditioning. The intermediate class is much heavier, and more frantic. There's less explanation as to what's going on; they're not holding your hand anymore so you have to pay a lot more attention. And you get given a really hard time if you look tired. So I've found that the
Road in Chalong
secret is simply not to look tired, even if you are, and they'll bother somebody else. It's a test of will to make your technique look good, and tokeep hitting the bag hard when you've got nothing left, and then joke around at the break like there's nothing wrong with you. It's not that I'm tougher than the other guys, it's that I don't want to look like a wuss in front of the thai trainers. You'd be surprised how much of a motivation that is. When the training session was over, I went to the juice bar and ordered two dinners, which I promptly demolished. It's important to note that even though the training is that much harder than the beginner group, the atmosphere is relatively light. The trainers still joke with each other and make fun of each other. And you.
I skipped out on this morning's training session, not because I was sore (My body is starting to get used to the frequency and intensity of the workouts), but because I was slightly feverish. I'm feeling better now, but I woke up in the middle of the night with a headache and the shivers. Don't worry,
Mall Parking Lot
Mopeds are the way to get around
I'm good now, but I certainly didn't feel like training, especially if I wasn't 100%.
So I went to the shopping mall with Tavis, a New Zealander, and did some gift shopping. Took some pictures. I was talking to Will, the gym owner about his philosophy with regards to running a training gym. He is of the firm belief that most Thai fighters have very poor boxing ability. So this gym has very much emphasis on boxing, especially with trainers like Saohin and Nazee walking around. Many of the trainers have had pro-boxing matches just to work on their hands.
Phuket is the richest province in Thailand. But you wouldn't know it to look at the houses. It's not the style here to dump a lot of money into your home. I've never seen a Thai person who lives in a mansion. But
they do like expensive cars. It's an amusing contrast to see a Mercedes parked next to a log hut. Ngoo, for example, got paid close to $7,000 American for his last fight, which can go a long way here, but he still lives in a tiny cottage without air conditioning.
Every single trainer here
View of Mall Parking Lot
View of the parking lot on the way into the mall
has several tattoos. It's a cultural thing, and is a lot more revered here than in North America. O is a very skilled tattoo artist and has given many of the trainers their tattoos. Different symbols and designs with different significance. Very neat to look at. I've taken pictures of several of their tattoos, and they were quite willing to explain what they mean. Some of them have very deep meanings, others just look cool.
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