Earlier this year (Jan 2017), I moved to Chiangmai, Thailand with my partner Brian because we heard the place has friendly people, nice lifestyle, big digital nomad community, and cheap prices, all sounds pretty perfect!
As soon as we settled in, I started looking into gyms and yoga studios to get myself back on a healthy exercise routine.
One week in, I met my new friend Shaheen and told him about my search. He said “dude you should try Muay Thai, it’s fun, I’ll hook you up for a free class!”
I was never interested in boxing or any type of fighting sports, and the only thing I had heard about Muay Thai was how brutal it is… but FREE? Hell yea I’ll try!
He took me to the gym, R Boxing. It’s very new and modern, and it’s located right inside a mall. I walked in with Shaheen, filled out some paperwork, and class started. The students were a mix of Thais and foreigners, and the vibe was relaxing and welcoming.
After stretching, my trainer Meow came to greet me. He’s this small, friendly guy. I would’ve never guessed he has a belt at Lumpini, the most prestige stadium in the world.
He wrapped my hands, and started teaching me the basics: stance, jabs, punches, kicks, etc. Then we started pad work (trainer holding the pads in different positions and you strike accordingly)…“Jab! Punch! Right kick!…Block! Left kick!”
90 minutes after, my muscles were sore, my legs were red and swollen, and my knuckles were blistered. However, I felt freaking awesome! I felt so alive!
The explosiveness and intensiveness was just so different from any sports I’ve done. 100% of your focus is required to coordinate your body in such a complex and powerful manner. I love it!
“Screw yoga, Muay Thai it is!” I walked to the front desk, and signed myself up for a 3-month package.
Despite all kinds of pain and soreness, I showed up every single day for 2 weeks. My kicks still looked horrific, but I felt great!
One day during class, my trainer half-jokingly said “Your body is long and flexible, and you learn very fast, you should be a fighter!”
I had no idea what being a fighter means, but it definitely sounded cool! “Sure! What do I do?”
“If you want to be a fighter, then you train like a fighter!” He said with a smirk.
In my head I thought, go big or go home, plus this sounds like it could be an interesting experience, so I said Yes to the offer right away not really knowing what’s going on.
At this point, I saw Muay Thai as just a fun exercise, and I had never seen a Muay Thai fight, not even on TV. So as soon as I got home, I searched “Muay Thai fight” on Youtube…HOLY FUCKING SHIT!! I DID NOT JUST SIGN UP FOR THAT!!
There, it marked the start of an unexpected journey of fighting Muay Thai in a ring in Thailand, one of the craziest and most physically and mentally challenging experiences in my life…
Next post coming soon…