Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Wednesday 14, 2011

Today was much of the same as yesterday which is good. I love a sense of continuity, balance and repetitiveness in my training. That last part was what made me so good at McKrotty (do this kata 1million times and think about being Ryu from SF).

Got there early again (I like doing that, I work late so starting my hobby early makes me feel less umm... like a slave?) and after stretching Karim had me warm up with skipping some rope. My form is finally good. I got the light steps, the back and forth hop, the nice rhythm and everything; only bit I'm lacking is the actual ability to keep it up for more than 10 seconds at a go. Oh well, it's not like I'm unaware of the 10+ kilo sack of shit strapped to my abs or anything and the fact that I haven't run a lap in weeks doesn't help either.

James and Rich (the only others to show) arrive after and I go into "lead leum" (shadow boxing) while they stretch and skip. During this Karim has me do "speed knees" and punches a couple of times and I do another myself but hold it for waaaaaaaaaay less than the "minimum" of 30 seconds he held out.

After that is bagwork. I felt sloppy and not as sharp as yesterday mainly because I didn't have a temporarily crippled MT Master going "Oweeeee" every time I hit the bag and because the massive bruises and near-crippling (maybe not THAT bad) pain in my left foot hadn't really subsided and it was a mutherfucker to hit it each time. I took it easy and focused on good rhythm (the bao bao thing) and remembering the combos from Somboon days. That and my kick checks were a bit better as I tried to stay more on my toes, but he kept teeping me across the ring... still gotta work on defense.

After a couple round of that I get pulled into the ring for some more excellent mitwork. The combos today were 1-2 kick, 1-2 elbow, 1-2-knee-elbow, teep, check-kick, and finished each round with 10 all out kicks in a row (fucking love that part) and I got some go "di di (good good)"'s and "Oweee's" from both the owner and Karim (who I find hard to impress).

After that the others took their turns with Karim and I lazed about again, completely exhausted for about 10-15 solid minutes. After that I did about 2-3 minutes of jumping on a tire, but having never done it before it felt sort of alien and I wished I could ask Karim how to do it properly (I'll try and remember to ask after class finishes tomorrow).

Then we circled up, did 50 pushups in sets of 10 (like last time) and pushups (the others did 100 in sets of 25, I barely made it through 60 in sets of 15). While we were sitting up I noticed Karim's gf snapping photos of us at our most silliest... thanks.

We ended with a group shot of us 4 in guard (I got a good look of how a sweaty, exhausted, run down fat me looks like which is not a pleasant image to keep in my head) and that was that. Good class.

Tuesday 13, 2011

Today was excellent. Well, yesterday was.

Arrived "early" and started warming up and stretching with John. After a while Karim had us start some shadowboxing, emphasizing "move like a boxer" around the floor. We did this for 2, maybe 3 rounds (still too blind to see a clock and too tired to think about it) and it was during this that the rest of tonight's crew arrived (James, Rich, Dylan... the others from my school, no one else from the other English schools aside John made it today which meant a LOT more room and 1on1 time with Karim and Boom didn't show either but it didn't matter so much with the smaller class).

While the others warmed up and started shadowboxing Karim had us move onto a few rounds (again 2 or 3) of bagwork with turned out to be very, very intense (I actually have a massive bruise on my foot from it and from kicking with the foot and not the shin so many times). Ajarn Do (I think that's his name?) had planted himself next to my bag and decided that I was to get some serious tutoring on how to whack a sack of sand.

The main focus of his instructions were to keep a rhythm with what I call the "Thai Bounce" and what sounded like "bao bao" or something (maybe). It is a bouncing on the balls of the feet with an up and down head and hands motion. It helped make a pace that wasn't too rough but didn't let me stop moving either. He corrected various technical fouls on my strikes which were:
Kicks, stay on the ball of the foot and keep the leg fully extended on impact and keep one hand on the chin at all times (the other used in a swinging motion for momentum)
Elbows, keep the back foot planted and on the toes
Knees, pivot and shoot it directly in
Say "ESSSSSS" with all the kicks (He found that hilarious)

After the awesome and devastating (to my legs) bagwork Karim calls me into the ring for my first "full" Thai Pads work. This was incredible. Punches, kicks, knees, elbows the works get thrown in and you go full force against the trainer and his pads. I did 2 rounds and felt like dying from exhaustion.

Again, during this my lack of "bouncy" on my feet cost me getting kicks in the ribs a lot from Karim with little progress made.

So after that he put me with first Dylan (a righty) then James (a southpaw like myself) to practice shin-checking for a while. I really appreciated this practice and hope to get more of the same on Wednesday's session because I still feel it's my biggest weak area as far as the basics go.

After the blocking practice I slowed down as Karim started mitwork with the rest of the guys and sort of skipped rope for *maybe* a minute or two then sorta walked around for 10 minutes until we were all called into the ring for an end-of-session pushup/situp/stretch which sucked (I hate pushups and situps and couldn't really do any).

Things to remember for next class:
Bounce and Block with the Legs
Keep balance and focus (for blocking)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Back on Track

Okay, so while the classes before I was bemoaning a fate of following the "beginners" I am now happy to report everyone is pretty much at the same level now and I followed the rest of class. How did this happen? I have no fucking idea.

Anyhoo, today was all about defense. I show up, stretch out and get warmed up with walking knees. We do this for a while (seemed like forever and I started to slack).

This was followed by about half an hour of shadow boxing and technique work. I am also sorry to report that I slacked here too and spent much of the time standing and staring and making an act of being tired. Oh well, sometimes it happens.

After that we practiced round kick defense with the shin-block and grab as well as lowkick shin-blocks, dodges and defensive teeps. I paired up with John again which seemed obvious but wasn't actually the best choice as we were fairly lackadaisical and spent more time talking about technique than actually getting into the exercises and giving it 100%.

I also slammed my shin pretty hard against his knee a few times which really, really sucked.

We did this for the rest of class with variations and general practice with corrections. Boom (another trainer from Somboon's place) was around and was a huge help to everyone.

Overall it was a good class, and if there's anything lacking it was my own spirit and level of commitedness during training today.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Second day at new locale

Got to the gym and had my mind blown. There was about 5 other falang training in line with Karim and another off to the side stretching (Thai kid champion is in the ring with his brother). Apparently word got out about training and most of another TEFL school showed up. Now the gym is pretty cramped and space has become very precious (I was afraid about this). 

Anyhoo, one of the other falang has also been training with Ajarn Somboon so today I was free of participating with the beginner stuff and allowed to make my own plan pretty much. This was a good and a bad thing, for while I knew basically what it is I should be doing and was able to stay fairly motivated throughout I was kind of caught off guard and my training became a bit scattered. 

Basically I stretched and since there was no room on the 'crete I moved into the ring and did some walking warmups and shadowboxing. Did a bit of footwork drills with one of my friends who started last class and then when he went to do more of what Karim was teaching went off do skip some rope. I'd been practicing at home so I did a lot better than before, but I still messed up a lot and couldn't go nearly a full round (barely a full minute) before collapsing and was still slamming my toes with the tough plastic tubing of the rope every now and again. 

Did some more shadow boxing for a bit, got bored and did a set of situps (25) before moving on to the heavy bag which I worked on and off for the better part of half an hour (mostly off) and became a little discouraged by my lack of focus at this point (I know, "JUST FIND YOUR FOCUS" right?). Lazed around a bit and ended up doing another set of situps (these killed as I hadn't been keeping up with them while I was sick). 

After a while John (the other Somboon, umm vet?) and I did some much needed blocking drills. Kind of like French randori in Judo I would attack and he would defend. We were both rusty and are shit boxers so I would basically through jabs and crosses and he would block and move and then we would switch. After a round or so (can't see the clock and have no perception of time, thanks weed) we go on to teep practice. 

We didn't see any shinpads and both our virgin legs weren't up for round kick blocking practice (shin to shin OUCH) without them so left that for another day. 

The class ended with a group stretch (first time stretching has been really focused on or commented on I think, gotta go back and read this blog to check) and then peaced.

Overall I know what I did right and wrong and know how I can improve my training for tomorrow. It's nice taking a bit of responsability for it, though I really miss Karim's constant presence and focus on me and REALLY miss mitwork and sparring, but oh well. 

Next class this Thursday.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

New Beginnings

LISTEN UP, BITCHEZ! I'M BACK IN ACTION!!! That's right, you heard me, this fat burning, muscle building, hairy piece of sexy is back in the saddle, on track to take the next championship belt! ...Well... maybe not, but I AM back in training at my new, and totally awesome location and I can't express in words how good it feels. 

Now, update: New gym is moved from Ajarn Somboon's place on Chon Kasem Road to a new gym on Wat Pho Soi 4, near the Wat Pho Temple. Why I'm writing that will make sense later on. I am still with my friend and trainer Karim, who got this place by agreeing to train the gym owner's kids (up and coming and former champions) while he healed up from a broken leg from a bad scooter accident. This means there are a few actual examples of true muay thai roaming and training while we are there, which is cool.

The "we" stands for me and two (maybe three) other teachers from my school who've all signed up to train (I'm no longer the only farang looking guy in the room). This is good and bad in that now I have buddies of my own level to work up with, and bad in that I am a few weeks past them in training and even though I've been out of the game for a while I'm still farther up than the "guard, move forward, move backward" shit that they're just learning.

However, since we joined the new gym as a group and because Karim really can't afford to have three different skills levels all training under him at the same time (the beginner, novice and champion) I get to rework the basics with all of them. 

I'm not too angry about this simply because I do need to rework the basics and get my stamina (what little I had) back for the real training to come.

The gym itself is a lot smaller than Somboon's. It has 4 pretty beat up looking bags, a smallish concrete floor section, one situp bench, a ring, and two sets of tires. One hanging fro the ceiling, presumably for elbow practice, and one on the floor for footwork drills or whatever (excited to see it, never used something like that before). It's a little cramped, but the feel is good.

We worked the basics: guard, movement, walking drills. That was the whole night, and I was getting a little bored, but somewhere towards the end I heard something wicked cool (and unique), monks. The local temple (a pretty big one) was chanting, and the haunting echo of their prayers carried faintly into the gym adding a sort of added meaning to the mindless drills were were carrying out (oh, and 100 situps) and reminded me again of why I love Thailand.

That's all for now except my new schedule is Monday and Thursday with possible Saturdays where I go in on my own to work on shit.

Sunday, August 7, 2011


So, it's been a bit (you should see my other blog)... for which I apologize but it's mainly due to my not having trained in at least a week or two, and only one other time since before my last post so I have a bit of a situational update for the readers:

My trainer Karim is looking for a new camp to train me at. The hours at Ajarn Somboon's place are terrible as I'm only now training on Sundays for a few hours (this has wrecked the few strength and cardio gains I've made since starting, even with a 5 day a week run/situp/traditional-Thai-version-of-hackiesack-volleyball routine).

I haven't trained because Karim and I are always busy on the weekend and really don't feel like doing much training when we should be with our girls on a beach somewhere, y'know? I mean, it is fucking Thailand after all.

I've had two sessions since my last post on the weekends and they went down pretty much as drilling what I know and some sparring. My technique is turning to shit with the odd hours I'm having and my stamina is even worse. I told Karim about my personal scheme and he approves but also noted that I'm "Still weak" with a worried frown.

We've been sick to boot so since those sessions I haven't done any running (though I might try a run tomorrow as I've signed up for a 10k at the end of next month on Koh Samui) which is bad. Hopefully we'll be fully recovered with a new gym by next week and back into the swing of things. When I trained 3 times a week I really felt a steady progression from absolute n00b to novice in technique, even if my strength and stamina still lagged far behind.

I hope for any lingering readers (I can't imagine any after this hiatus) will take this as a sign of hope and continue reading and helping me out as I try to keep this lifestyle that I've chosen (and had to struggle to keep).

Sunday, June 12, 2011


First of all, let me just say that I had a pretty good day, showed in that as I rested, exhausted, on the sit-up bench staring at the roofing that even though pretty much every single part of me hurt (some places hurt bad) I was having a really good time and even if I was getting sloppy and slow as I got tired (and lazy) I could have finished my first 4 hour Sunday lesson (instead of the 3 hours we ended up doing) if asked.

^ Oh yeah, that was all one sentence; suckit, Grammar Nazis. ^

Anyways, as I said before this was my first Sunday and they are scheduled to be 4 hours long.

We started with jumping rope again. I am determined to get this shit, but I haven't been the quickest study. I keep loosing my rhythm and balance. I'm supposed to stay in guard and bounce forwards and back as I do it and I keep putting the wrong foot down, jumping too high, or just plain fucking it up. I was told to get to 100 and made it to 38, not even a personal best (I'm just guessing). It's incredibly frustrating and embarrassing when Karim has to just say alright enough is enough and stop me. (I'm panting by now and haven't even gotten anywhere)

After that things got a little (LITTLE) better as we went over all of the kicks, which was fun and I think I'm getting a little looser and better (even if they're weaker than my grandma on Jupiter) at them. If my Thai is right (yeah, yeah it's transliterated, so what) they're:
Dtai chiang (middle kick)
Dtai ban (high kick - head)
Dtai lang (low kick - to the thigh)
teep (push kick)
Dtai krueng kang krueng kao (half kick - half knee, you hit with the upper shin in a kinda dtai chiang motion while blocking)
Dtai .... shit I forgot (it's a sweeping kick with a push from the same-side arm, you want to do it to both legs from the back)

Did a few of those shadow boxing and on the bag (10 or so each, not a lot but I'm still panting by the end of it). Somboon came in and made sure I was pivoting my hip enough when I kick (For some reason I thought the kicks would be a lot quicker to pick up than they have be and I still struggle).

After a bit of that the fun began. Up until this point it's been static, compliant or drills practice. Nothing really exciting except for the fact that I'm fucking training Muay Thai in Thailand. Well, Somboon spoke to Karim for a bit and he gets that evil-I'm about to make you feel like shit- kinda grin on his face (In or out of training I watch out for it) and just walk over, does a grabbing motion and before I know it it's a grapple + knee session. Whooya, this was wild. He came in like a miniature freight train (he weights something like 54 kg) got me by the neck and it was no mercy. I felt like I was at a Judo tourney up against some giant Russian muthafucka, except he also knees me in the gut. I gave it my best and even tried some actual Judo when things got really rough (didn't really help, but I wasn't honestly expecting much, just in survival mode). After I start getting shaky he starts tossing me like a rag-doll and then kicking me while I'm down (laughing).  It was incredible, it felt as real as it gets and hurt like a bitch but I was standing...ish at the end (okay, so I was lying on my back panting in a puddle of sweat... read what you want out of that btw you fucking pervs).

Thankfully Karim's girlfriend (a fellow English teacher) arrives and gives me a much needed break as some sort of family drama was going down and distracted him while I caught my breath. I would need it.

So I thought the grapple would be the highlight of the day. It wasn't. Sparring was. Yes, fucking sparring. I couldn't believe it. He had to say it twice (well, mostly because he called it spare-ing). I put on the gloves, the shinpads and got the living hell beaten out of me. Everything I had learned I forgot. Everything I knew I didn't. My speed wasn't and my power didn't matter (I didn't land a single clean hit. I spent most of the time backing up (running for my life) and covering up as my jab turned into an open boxing session on my chin. I can't remember it all (we went for a while and I was pretty dizzy by the end) but the big things I need to remember are:
BLOCK WITH MY FUCKING LEGS (the kicks, I mean) I kept on doing stupid karate bullshit in the first time since starting training. I thought I got it out of my system but apparently not and I ate plenty of kicks for it. Thanks a whole hell of a lot Goju Ryu, you suck.
Keep my cool. I would get excited, bounce and inevitably get knocked down to the ground.
Combinations, use them
MOVE FORWARD (backing up only gets you beaten up while you back up)

Those are the highlights anyways.

After I failed to get back up after a particularly nice kick to the stomach he decided I had had enough and I got to sit for a bit. Sit-ups that it. 100 in 25 sit-up sets. That sucked, but it was the knell for the end as after that we halfheartedly lifted weights as Somboon chatted up Karim's girl and that was it.

All in all today showed me major flaws in my abilities and a bunch of things to work on.