The end of this Thailand adventure is unpleasantly near. Many things will be cherished but something I wouldn’t have ever predicted is near the top of the list: Muay Thai.
Somehow, it had never occurred to me that I would like Muay Thai, nevermind love it. I spent the first 10 months of our 13 month trip without trying it… a mistake I’ll always regret.
It’s a social high, training with the same people many times every single week, week after week. It’s a adrenaline high, dodging punches and kicks and trying to laugh off the ones I don’t dodge. It’s being drenched in sweat, being pushed to keep going when you’re beyond exhausted. It’s an amazing thing, that I never saw coming and will now never forget.
A friend who is married to a Thai guy said I needed to check out this gym which had just opened. The trainers were passionate and had left a famous gym to try to start a gym that would feel more like a family, she said. So I went and met Wanmai and Mok:
I train with Mok every time and Wanmai keeps an eye out for when my technique is wrong. I may be off my rocker, that’s for sure, but getting my ass kicked by Mok has been a real privilege.
I laugh at myself for being lame even as I write this but it reminds me a lot of Fight Club. On my first day I was a fit, abs and all… but I was a wad of cookie dough. Then I got trained, then I got hit a lot, then trained some more, then hit a lot, then trained, then hit, and finally I feel like I can take the hits. I’m no expert fighter, but I’m not what I was when I showed up either.
I’ve been partnered up with Germans, Italians, and Russians. They all beat me up and then kindly give me pointers on what I’m doing wrong. It’s not a bad way to learn actually. You’ve literally just got to take your punches and keep at it.
I came here expecting beautiful beaches, good food, and the famous Thai smiles. I’d never boxed before in my life and not for a second did I expect find myself in a ring with a Thai guy trying to punch me in the face. And if you’d told me that was going to happen, I’d never have expected that’d I’d love it, miss it, and add it to the long list of reasons why I love Thailand.