Another Training Day at Legacy and Student Profile

This entry is going to profile one of the kids that I was/am teaching in Pakistan. However, before I get into that I will tell you an update on my training here in Ubon at Legacy Gym.

I woke up with that all too familiar post workout stiffness this morning. It is nice to be back into training. In Thailand’s Muay Thai camps there are traditionally two sessions everyday. One in the morning and one in the evening. The first few times I came to Thailand to train I always made the mistake of training hard for both sessions immediately and each time I would be sick with some sort of illness after a week for a few days due to over training. I’ve learned my lessons and so for the next few days I am only going to do one session a day. I went to the afternoon session today and I guess it was a sparring day. In my experience, sparring at Thai camps are generally rare as Thais fight about 300 times in their career so their skills are honed not during practice but in the ring starting from age 6 or 7. A foreigner with close to 100 fights (like Ramon Dekkers) is highly unusual and I would make a guess that the average number of pro fights for a foreigner usually does not go above 50 and I am being very liberal with that number. Just check out some of the stats for top K-1 fighters and you will understand. Point being most non Thais who practice Muay Thai generally spar as they do in Western Boxing which is a couple of times a week or more. Because of this, Muay Thai camps that cater to farang (foriegners) generally do spar at least once a week. These sparring days at Thailands Farang Camps will often tell you alot about the attitude the camp cultivates amongst its students and also about the current attitude

prevalent amongst that rotation of students. Because Thais are generally non aggressive and non confrontational Thai trainers typically don’t let students beat the crap out of each other or let more experienced students bully novices (sabai,sabai or easy, easy is what you will often hear). However, because the type of students change every few weeks, sometimes you will have a camp full of jocks more interested in hurting someone as opposed to learning technique and enhancing skills. Sparring days is where you find this out.Today’s sparring session was very good and this is coming from someone who has a bit of ring rust so I was kind of nervous as to what to expect. What I noticed is that the the ring was for the advanced fighters, the cage for the intermediate and the novices did not spar at all. This is my perception and I may be totally wrong about this. Regardless, everyone kept their power in check and sparring was very technical and supervised by a trainer. The intermediate group in which I was a part of did 6 rounds at about 3:30 to 4 minutes per round switching partners every two rounds. I was happy with my performance, I must say that due to the time I have spent in the country training I was probably at the top of my group level but not quite up to par with the guys in the ring, some of whom looked like Lumpinee level fighters. So far, Legacy is living up to its reputation as a good gym to train in. I am happy with the training so far, although I cannot yet comment on the pad work which is in my opinion the standard to judge a camp by. The students who come here who are overwhelmingly Scandinavian have all been very nice and serious in their training. Although I have seen a couple of what I like to call “Muay Thai Nerds.” No offense to these guys because to each his own but what I mean by this label are the guys with all the Muay Thai Tattoos who like to Wai everyone and their mother every two minutes (absolutely unnecessary) but still look like they were taught to throw a round house kick yesterday. Maybe I am being harsh but I would think that putting i all that effort to show how hardcore Mr Muay Thai you are would
also show up in your skill level. These “Muay Thai Nerds” are at every camp and though I would say there are less at Legacy then at some other places, I still saw a couple. Anyway, so far so good. I will keep you updated and add some pics (I know I keep promising them, they will be here, be patient).

Now onto a profile of one of my students. I am gonna give a few profiles over the next couple weeks in these entries so everyone can get a feel of the human element at play in all this work. I asked the boys to dictate to me most of their profile so much of it is their thoughts paraphrased and translated by me (they spoke to me in Urdu).

The first kid’s name is Shakeel Ahmad and he was born January 5th 1994. He was from the first group of kids that started training with me a year ago when I showed up at their Tae Kwon Do class. In my honest opinion he is one of those guys with lots of raw talent and because of this he sometimes gets lazy when it comes to the conditioning, doing half assed push ups and taking breaks when he could push himself further. However when it comes time to spar or roll, pound for pound (he is about 125-135 lbs) he is the most athletic one of the group and is known throughout the town for being a top player in every sport he takes part in be it cricket, hockey, track and field, you name it. He started Martial Arts three years ago in a field near his neighborhood. He has trained in mostly Tae Kwon Do and also has trained in Drunken Monkey style. A year and a half after training informally at the field someone told him that good training was available (Again in Tae Kwon Do) at Nasir Fighting Club at the nearby community sports center. He trained there for approximately one year a half. It was in that same club I came and he started training Mixed Martial Arts. He’d always been interested in the fight game and saw MMA was a little different. He particularly liked the ground aspect because he thinks it really requires thought instead of just sheer aggression. He’s trained one his own and with friends since I first showed up and so has trained for one year. He wishes that MMA becomes famous throughout Pakistan. He wants to help in spreading knowledge of Mixed Martial Arts to others. In my opinion if this guy keeps it up he alot of potential. He is still very young and has alot of natural talent. I hope to keep coaching him over the years and to get better with him. The picture you see up top are of him at one of our makeshift “training centers” (we’ve had three so far, this one in particular is in my grandparents backyard).

That’s it for now. Tomorrow I head to the Monastery to visit my friend for 2 days. I will be back on Monday. Til then.




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