Well, Day 3 was pretty awesome. I had Sunday off as there is no training anywhere. Not one gym is open anywhere in Thailand as far as I know. I skipped the morning session in favour of having a proper breakfast with Claudia and her dad and then explore Wat Chiang Man, which is the oldest temple in the area, built in 1297.
I also wanted to save some energy for what would likely be a grueling afternoon session. I went out the gym around 3 :15 or so to make sure I'd have enough time to battle traffic and to get some food. Glad I did too because the normal 20 minute commute turned into about 40. The Super Highway gets pretty goddamn crazy that time of day.
Anywho, I got to the gym and it was biz as usual. Skipped and shadow boxed for 30 minutes then started on Pads with Gen. Same Same. Then I did my bag rounds for 20 minutes. Unlike Chinnarach's gym there is no one around the bag area to hit you or correct techniques. You're expected to work . That's it. After that we all got in the ring and worked clinch.
The way it's done here is the way I try to do it back home - Sabai Sabai = Easy Easy. Not sloppy or lazy, but relaxed and taking care of your partner. There was anywhere from 8-12 of us in the ring at a time and there's isn't a tonne of room to move, so you're expected to watch out for each other and to move out of the way for others if they're fighting soon or if they just happen to be having a good exchange. By training this way you can work on technique properly, every day, and not get injured.
I was pretty on par with everyone else there, except Cody, who eats, sleeps and breathes Muay Thai. Seriously. The guy sleeps on the floor in the house next to the gym. He got me with some nice trip throws which I was not expecting. When I crossed faced him into the corner he climbed up on me like a koala and did a nice spike elbow to the top of my head. Lightly, of course, but if that was real fight I'd been in big trouble.
After that we sparred full kickboxing. I went with Lennart, who is still pretty new. He hasn't learned to use his reach yet but when he does he''ll be quite dangerous, I am sure. I did really well with him and since he was new took the time to work on some of then new techniques I had been taught. After that Gen saw me and said "NEW STUDENT! YOU SPAR ME NOW!!".
This was a whole new level of fighter for me. The guy has over 300 fights and anything I know or can do he has seen it 1000 times before. That said, I did ok at the start, landing some nice teeps and countering his body shots with uppercuts. But I'm sure at any time he wanted to he'd light me up. We worked on some kick catching - and he corrected my footwork a bit. Near the end we started to go a bit faster and harder and he hit me (lightly) with a beautiful elbow to the body. This was the same elbow he had me working on during pads rounds, which I thought at the time "This would never work!". Man, was I wrong. He hit me at Maybe 10%-20%, just nicking me near the liver. I was ok but I immediately felt that numbing, semi paralysis that a nice liver shot brings about.
Midway through I got hit with something and my nose bled a bit. I hopped out of the ring and stuffed some paper up my nose and got back in the ring after asking if it was OK too do so. I got a few looks from the trainers and a few of the other Thai's who were watching from outside the ring. I am not sure if they were looks of respect, disgust or just concern (maybe a combo of all 3?) but I finished up with Joe and then seeing the time, ended my session at 6:10 with 200 knees and 100 teeps. I was due fr dinner at 7:00 and didn't want to keep anyone waiting for me.
So yeah, the 4:00 heat wasn't so bad and it was well worth it to get to learn some new clinch techniques and to spar with a high, high caliber fighter. Now I know I can handle it I plan on doubling up some days up in Pai at Charn Chai (True Bee) Gym!!
Dan Slobodin -