In this blog I’ll be sharing my experience of training in Muay Thai for 4 weeks, in Phuket last year.
Week 1 – The beginning
On my 1st day of training I arrived at Sutai, a muay Thai gym on Surin beach, in Phuket at 6:30 am, and took in the atmosphere as I paid the gym manager for the month of intense Muay Thai training I had ahead of me.
After quickly been shown around the facility, the fighters of Sutai took me on their morning running route, which was about 10 km in total and lasted about 1 hour. Getting back just after 7:30 am, we launched into the first class, starting with two 5 minute rounds of skipping and 10 push-ups in-between rounds.
The coaches then nominated one of the fighters to run us through some post-warm up stretches, having us form a circle around the stretch leader copying the various positions he put his body into, as part of prep for the punishment to come. Once we’d wrapped our hands it was time to shadow box for two 5 minute rounds with 10 push-up in between rounds.
The class was then split into 2 groups, divided by weight class, having 1 half sparring each other in the ring, whilst the other undertook bagwork for 3 rounds of 3 minutes and 10 push-ups in-between. Once this was completed the groups would swap over and complete another 3 rounds of 3 minutes with the inter-round pushups thrown in. The morning session would be topped off with further bagwork followed by a strength & conditioning circuit.
The afternoon run began at 3:30 pm but this time we took a shorter route of about 5 km. After the run we would follow a very similar skipping, stretching and shadow boxing routine as we did in the morning, however the afternoon training was mixed up by featuring 3 groups (further divided by weight class) each having a 3x3s of pad work, bagwork and boxing sparring. Clinching was the final exercise in the afternoon session and was the sign that we were done for the day, with the evening too ourselves.
I found the training enjoyable even though the strength and conditioning was light, and sweated non-stop, drinking 1.5 liter of water during each training session. This routine was followed Monday – Saturday, although the coaches would add variations to the exercises/drill we did, with Sunday being our day off.
Week 2 – Getting used to it
By the 2nd week I felt I was getting use to the routine, as I adapting to the lifestyle both inside and outside of the gym. It’s a tried and tested simple formula for any fighter looking to progress – training hard when in the Muay Thai gym, resting well and eating properly after it to recover as best possible.
As I started getting to know the people around me and my training partners, I quickly realized most of them had a lot of fight experience and only a small number were new to Muay Thai. During sparring I found out who were the hard hitters (the newer fighters) and who were willing to give advice to aid your in-ring development (the ‘seniors’). I still feel some pressure when I am sparring the hard hitters and senior, and I know I need to buck up my standard if I want to be better.
On the Saturday we trained at the beach nearby in the morning at 7:30 am, the scenery of the wave splashing along the shoreline was beautiful. Training on the sand was tiring on the legg as my footwork was restricted by sinking into the soft sand, there are lot of shadow boxing, padwork, and some form of game we played. After the training we all went for a swim in the sea in our training attire for a short time, after the afternoon training I went for a massage before heading back to the hotel.
Week 3 – Growth
On the 3rd week I felt that I am stronger since I first arrive at Sutai, I have pick up a lot of new technique, my mind and body felt stronger, becoming more fearless of getting hit hard, knowing I am ready for anything enjoying the people around me.
The difference of training in Phuket and back home are, in Phuket your only job are training and resting. Back home there are schools and work involve in it, that is where I felt the difference when I am training in Phuket.
Week 4 – Fight and flight
On my final week in Phuket I had a fight on Wednesday night I continue my training on Monday as usual and rested the next two days. Coach Ryan and Kelvin come and visit us on the fight day, we went to the gym in the morning for the fight preparation.
Night come and we head to the fight stadium everything when so fast from getting hand tapping, oil massage and did a little of shadow box before going to the waiting corner, in my corner I meditated telling myself to stay calm, fight smart, stay strong and have fun.
Round 1 started, I placed myself reading my opponent movement as I give a few strike to test out his reaction doing what I am good at slipping strike a counter it making sure I won the 1st round. At round 2 I bring up the paced as I done reading his movement, noticing when I move in for the fight, a jab or a push kick will come 1st slipping them and counter with some punches or a kick. On Round 3 I am being counted with barrage of punches which I know I lost this round. Then on Round 4 I sense that my opponent becoming lazy and start kicking him as he is not blocking my kick anymore. Round 5 was a short one we were both really tired still exchange strikes throughout. Fight ended, I won the fight and receive some money from it.
On my last day, I give whatever I had leftover to the trainee in the gym and said my goodbyes to them, had a massage before heading to the airport to check in, and a safe flight back.