Muay Thai is the national sport of Thailand. If you sit down to eat dinner at a authentic Thai restaurant chances are there will be one of two things playing on the television: a truly horrible sitcom about a overly dramatic teenage love triangle OR Muay Thai. Thai professional kickboxers can have upwards of 300 fights during their careers. To put that in perspective, if a professional boxer has 50 fights that is considered a very seasoned career. Nobody fights as much as the Thai. So, people come from all over the world to train in Thailand.
One of my goals this year is to get in the best shape of my life. In one of Shannon’s other lifetimes he trained for 8 years in Vegas and had 2 amateur Muay Thai fights. So he was already planning on training in Muay Thai and I decided to see what it was all about. Three weeks ago I went to my first Muay Thai class at Team Quest Thailand and started the best brain and body workout I have ever had. I knew it would be great exercise because I have done some kickboxing aerobics classes before. But I learned quickly that my Tae Bo skills would be of no use here. 🙂
Luckily, my first two training sessions were right after a fight and in the low season. So all the fighters were either out of town or recovering. This meant that Shannon and I got a private lesson and I got one-on-one training with one of the trainers, Khru Nee. We spent the first couple days going over all the proper technique. I learned to swallow my pride and look silly. Khru Nee would correct my every move yelling “Noooo Alexit!” and shaking his head at me because I looked absolutely ridiculous.
The workout is two hours and looks like this:
20 minutes of jumping rope to “warm up”, and by warm up I mean dripping in sweat because of the 100% humidity and this is an outdoor open air gym 🙂
15 minutes of stretching
3 rounds of hitting pads with a trainer– The trainer holding a pad yells out a certain kick, punch, elbow, knee etc and you gracefully figure out which limb they are talking about and the correct technique (this is where the brain workout comes in). Each exhausting round is 5 minutes with a 1 minute break in between.
3-6 rounds hitting the punching bag- same as above but with a punching bag
Technique drills and sparring- This is where people pair up to practice techniques at low impact. Because I am inexperienced, I haven’t done much sparring yet. And I am usually the only girl in the class so I never have a partner.
Conditioning (usually abs and pushups)- By this time your arms feel like they will fall off and your legs are so tired from kicking you walk like a straight legged zombie so your knees don’t buckle.
We went to our first live fight at Loi Kroh Boxing Stadium, which is in the Chiang Mai red light district. Verrrrrry interesting surroundings to say the least. The night starts with the very young fighters, probably around the age of 8.
At the beginning of each fight, the fighter pays respect to their teachers with a sort of ritual dance, called Wai Khru Ram Muay. And via Wikipedia I learned that Muay Thai kickboxing was traditionally done in front of the King and the Wai Khru was also done to apologize for the brutality in fighting.
Each day I get a little less awkward, but I still have a long way to go. I think I will draw the line at getting punched in the face, but I am still excited to hear, “Alexit, in the ling!”. 🙂