Friday, May 27, 2011

Saturday with Muu

Okay, so now after three Saturday sessions I'm still completely confused at to what's going on here. I mean, the first Saturday I trained with two other new kids at around 13:00, the second I arrived and mostly watched the kids train at 10, today I was completely by myself except for the trainer Muu who taught the little pros last weekend and paid me no mind. Granted, I am fully thankful and relieved I did not have to relive the awkwardness of the second Saturday again this morning and even got in a really good workout, but I am a bit unsure as to what the regular schedule (if there is even one) will look like.

Aside from massive amounts of confusion it was a great day: I started off with Somboon telling me to stretch then having me do the stepping drill again as a warmup, after which he added another step which is the stepping drill but with a 1-2, hook-hook, uppercut-uppercut step pattern (instead of just one at a time). After that I did the same walking drill but now with knees, having to remember to keep my hands a little above eye level, twisting into the strike, and keeping my balance while "bouncing" as I knee. That last one really took the wind outa me.

Sometime during the warmup Muu arrived and took over while Somboon took off for a bit. After the stepping drill I did combination practice standing in place, with 1-2's and kicks from both sides, then 1-2 with knee and kick from the same side (so you punch, then knee, switch step to get back to where you were and kick with the same leg you just knee'd with). He had me then repeat the same combos on the bag (which is frakking hard with the whole switch step timing), that is until Somboon came in, told him I wasn't ready for bagwork (which I felt a little torn on considering I'd been doing it for almost the whole two weeks but I was in fact struggling pretty hard on the timing aspect and was sloppy) and made me do the "knee drill" which is just standing in place throwing as many knees as you can for as long as you can (my record: 59second).

After that Muu told me to put on some gloves and we worked blocking techniques for a little bit. Having already seen them all with Karim I was confident and Muu seemed pretty pleased with my performance as we only worked on it for a little bit before he put on the boxing pads and finished up with a bit of mittwork which was again totally fun.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Wednesday 2

Karim had a cold (how do you get a cold in Thailand?) today so he wasn't able to join me in the warmups and bagwork (as he usually does to show me the proper form and help my shitty sense of timing).

After a quick stretch I started out with the stepping drill: punches and elbows. Then moved on to two rounds of shadow boxing. My physical shape is as such that if it weren't for repeated stops to discuss my dumbass combo attempts and piss poor technique I would not have likely been able to complete even the first round (I don't know how many minutes because I can't see the clock with my glasses off).

After shadow boxing Karim put some gloves on and I did a round of punch defence then a round of kick defence, with constant reminders to circle round to the back after blocking and to move to the same-side as the punch/kick (kick with the left, turn around his left).

Afterwards I put on some gloves and did a short bit of bagwork with some basic combos:
1-2-kick, 1-2 x2 hooks, 1-2 x2 uppercuts, 1-2 elbow, 1-2 knee

My knees are still horrible, as I keep hitting the sides of the bag instead of the center and keep attacking with a square body instead of turning my hips and shoulders to deflect counters. That and my arms and knees are too low.

After the disappointing performace on the bagwork we moved onto my so-far-favourite drill: boxing pads (no muay thai padwork yet). We did a couple of rounds and after each round he had me do a "flurry" of 1-2,1-2,1-2's for as long as I can. At the moment my best is 30 seconds.

The end of class I did 2x25 situps with him hitting me in the stomach with the mitts.

Monday, May 23, 2011


I got in a little late today because our uniforms finally showed up to work after two weeks, right as I was gearing up to leave (Oh well, rather be a 10 minutes late and feel a little more professional I guess). So all I had was a pastry from the 7/11 going in (it didn't sit all the well either). Bitching aside though it was a great session:

Started with stretching (first day with a proper stretch, this helped alleviate a lot of the lingering after training-pains I'd been feeling) then moved on to the stepping and striking drill for punches and elbows. This was followed by a couple rounds of shadow boxing, learned how to move a little smoother (lighter on the feet but still well planted, that last part being a little harder for me) put better combos together and keep up the right-side (I'm a soutpaw) work, keeping the left for the power shot.

After the warmup and shadowboxing it was technique time, but before we got into the thick of it there was a quick break as Karim explained a bit of the Thai clinch and appreciated a bit of what I had to say about Judo clinch-work and takedowns (he seemed to really like ippon-seioi nage). This lasted a few minutes before we moved in front of the mirrors (which I am positive make people look taller and thinner, which is fine by me) and he showed me the basics of the direct knee strike:
Keep the hands high and arms tight to protect the face. The toes pointed down, the standing foot up on the toes (like the kicks) or jumping, and get the knee higher (always higher!) with the leg angles slightly outwards (foot point out, not in).

Then he had me do a series of them in front of the mirror as fast and high as I could while maintaining proper technique (not well, and not high enough). Satisfied I didn't suck too much we went to the bag where I tried out my new knees on it for a little under a hundred good hits. Again, I felt like I disappointed him on my stamina and strength, unable to go as long as he originally said (and after at least one large pause where he restarted the count on my lazy ass).

They felt amazing though, and the THUD and dent in the bag they made is second only to the satisfying KRACK of a proper round kick. After that we shot the shit for a bit, I wrote down a few combinations that were written on a poster to try when I shadowbox on my morning runs and we took off. Over all had a great time, felt stronger shadowboxing (but not by much) and loved learning the infamous Thai Knee.

Saturday #2: Aimless Wanderings and getting in the way

I'm lucky I showed up early today (NOTE: Today will always mean the day I trained here being Saturday the 21st) as I was put through a set of warm ups and then shown all the elbows before any of the kids showed up (late: at almost 10).

The warm ups were walking with strikes coming off the opposite foot. First straights, then hooks, uppercuts and later the different elbows.

The elbows are called "sok" and there is:
sok tee = downwards elbow
sok ngud = sideways elbow
(I forget the Thai) = upwards elbow
Backwards elbow
And a spinning elbow

So it went: Stepping drill punches, learn new strikes (elbows), practice on bag for a bit (really sore elbows now), stepping drill with elbows.

This took about an hour and by then the other students had arrived and this is where things got a little weird. Until now I'd either been training with Somboon or Karim on a 1-on-1 or small group basis and hadn't really done much interacting with both the other (the real) students and Moo (the other trainer) and today that's pretty much all I had.

This would have been fine if I was allowed to tag along with what the group was doing (at my own fatass pace of course), but I was kind of pushed to the side as they took the floor and from then on the class pretty much went:
They jumped rope - I warmed up and stretched (on my own accord)
They stretched - I did more stretching
They shadowboxed - Okay! So at least I can do this! (I joined in)
They did bagwork - I shadowboxed
They Sparred - I watched
They did more bagwork - I did random callisthenics and conditioning
They did muay boran - I watched
This carried on much in the same way from almost 10 to about 13:00 and mind you, all of the things I ended up doing (most of which, despite the list was merely watching/gawking and getting in their way) was not because someone kindly said, "Look here, lad. We know that our focus has to be the lil' pros here because most of 'em have fights coming up but go do this in a corner for a bit till the next rotation" or something. No, I was just told "Martial arts you can do on your own" and was left with that.

Oh well, I got by fine enough (maybe not much of a workout but I did have fun watching the real deal all morning). Still, next time I'm definitely following the group as much as I can (when they jump rope I'm finding a fucking rope) until told otherwise.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Day Three: First Wednesday

Today was rough, I couldn't really keep up with the instructions and my shoulder was nagging me from the get-go. Still, I tried to push through it and K seemed to take a little pity on me (though I really feel I let him down).

We started with stepping and moving warmup then moved to combinations on the boxing mitts. We worked on the 1-2-3 combo with hook, upper and other variations and then he began working on my blocks. First is the jab with the left hand on the shoulder block for counters, the key is keeping the shoulder high with a strong left arm on the shoulder itself. We went over the blocks against the jab and cross (arm blocks with dodging to the side, same side as the punch) and the teep (swing arm down and catch it with the glove and swing it away as you move.

After that it was on to bag work, where I was given a series of combinations to try. Series 1 is:
1. 1-2-3 Combo
2. 1-2 Right (front) round kick
3. Jab Round Kick
4. Round kick Jab
5. 1-2 Left Round kick
6. 1-2-3 Left Round Kick
(Actually... I might be wrong... I kept screwing it up so bad and now I can't remember it exactly)

After that it was more blocking drilling, and then seeing my fatigue K showed me a new exercise where you walk normally and on the oppose hand of the step you punch, doing either straights, hooks or uppercuts on both arms as you walk. I think this will get my upper body technique a lot of practice while hopefully strengthening my right shoulder more.

We ended with 50 situps and a puddle of sweat. Overall, I wish I was stronger and quicker so I can keep up with K's instructions better. I plan on beginning a roadwork routine tomorrow (we'll see how that goes in the morning).

Second Day: First Class after Work

I can tell you, after chasing around a group of small, screaming kids while trying to teach a lesson you sometimes want to hit something after work. This is perfect because this lesson was the first time I got a lot of heavy bag work and also my first time with padwork at all.

I met K, who had agreed to stay late every Monday and Wednesday to give me private lessons so I could train (my work schedule prevents me from joining all but the Saturday regular class). It's dark by 19:00 now, and only half the lights were turned on which meant it was a lot cooler than my last lesson at 14:00 on a sunny day; sadly this did not reduce the amount of sweat that poured out of me at all.

After a quick review of the guard, movement, jab, teep and 1-2-3 combo K gave me a pair of boxing gloves and put on a pair of boxing mits. We practiced movement, timed strikes, combinations, I learned the hook and uppercut and made combinations with them. Movement and a weak jab plagued me today as I got tired quickly and started to let my guard drop.

After padwork K brought me to the heavy bag where I did a few teeps then was just told "okay, do the round kick". I was a little stunned, having seen enough muay thai on TV I just decided "what the Hell" and after he did a couple of kicks to make sure I knew what he was talking about I gave it a shot. While the teep is a fun little kick that makes the bag swing nicely, the thud and feel of a swinging round kick smacking into the side of the bag just feels amazing. All the kicks were with the foreleg and I was seriously winded by the time he told me "Okay, last ten!" which I stumble-sped through as best I could.

After that he showed me how to do a few blocks from punches to the face with the left and right arms, and then against teeps from both sides. Both inherently involve side-stepping to the outside of the attack while making the block.

Completely exhausted and barely able to raise my arms, the lesson finally ended and I was allowed to relax. We talked a bit afterwards as I cooled/dried off and then it was back home to shower, eat and sleep. Overall, if my classes keep going like this I'm going to both have an amazing time training here and also loose a tremendous amount of weight (which would be nice).

Oh, at the end K told me I'd be fighting on Koh Phangan (a nearby island) in two or three months. I can't tell if he was joking or not...