So now I am in Phnom Penh on to the next leg of my journey. I got here this morning after spending a day checking out the ruins of the ancient city Angkor Wat. After checking into my hotel and having some lunch I headed to Paddy’s Fight Club and Boxing Gym. For those of you who have not heard of Paddy Carson here is a quick bio. Paddy hails from South Africa but has been living in South Asia for almost 20 years. He has been involved in professional combat sports for almost 40 years. He has a who’s who list of contacts in the professional boxing and kickboxing world and can be credited with playing a huge role in advancing kick boxing and boxing in Cambodia. He moved to Cambodia 11 years ago to create world champions and from the looks of the guys training at the gym, he is on the right path.
If you want to get a brief look at Paddy and some of the fighters around him you can check out the show on the history channel “Human Weapon”where he was the representative for the Cambodian kickboxing style “Pradal Serey.”
That’s where I first saw him and what led me to initally come to his gym when I came to Phnom Penh the first time about two years ago.
He has since moved gyms, and now has a bigger location with more emphasis on boxing. His last time had one ring, a few bags and a lot of fitness equipment. Now he has got two rings, alot more bags and a wooden floored hall with mirros just perfect to shadow box in. On the side he has all the basic weight equipment you could need.
I came into the gym and said hello to Paddy and got straight to work shadow boxing. He has two classes, one is for the Cambodian fighters and the other is for the expats who live in Phnom Penh and want to train for fitness and some for fighting.
I did not know this when I arrived so I did my class with the Khmer fighters. They have a very open training system like you see in the traditional camps of Thailand. Everyone sort of works together and there is no structured training, no technique of the day. Guys pair up and the senior guys lead the small groups in individual drills and focused sparring, or they do pad work with each other.
Paddy took his top prospect at the moment into the ring with another student for some sparring, and – wow. Kid’s been training 1 year and is moving like Manny Pacquiao, very very impressive. Paddy is currently looking for a sponsor for the kid. He works at the central market in Phnom Penh and sleeps outside under a sheet metal roof. Paddy is looking for someone or some company willing to sponsor him so that he can train everyday twice a day like a professional fighter should.
Made me think of my own situation in Pakistan. I have some guys with lots of potential who simply cannot find the time to train because they have to work and make money to support the household.
Toe 2 Toe was SUPPOSED to help out in this area but like many in the MMA business and in life in general, they were all talk with nothing to back it up.
ANyway so after watching this guy spar and having a nice chat with Paddy about promoting combat sports in third world countries I got called into the ring to do padwork with Paddy.
It’s obvious that Paddy is a master of his trade. I’ve got a decent amount of experience under my belt yet Paddy had me working on my basic jab cross the whole time! Just like the last time I trained with him!
To many that would seem like a wasted session, where are all the fancy moves? But to me, it’s the highest form of training. Perfecting the simple fundamentals that carry you through the fight. Sure a spinning elbow KO is great, but you don’t do that for 5 rounds. You do however, throw a good number of jab crosses. And as I wrote in my previous post its the perfection of the most basic techniques that make this sport and these arts so beautiful to learn. The striving for perfection never ends.
So with a final pad round made to burn me out (probably through like 150 plus punches in that round) I was done for the day.
Paid my respects to Paddy and off to the southern coach of Cambodia, where I will be training at a small and unknown boxing gym in the beach town of Sihanoukville.
Best of luck to Paddy. The prayers and wishes of PAKMMA are behind him.
Til the next post.