I went back to training yesterday afternoon at Legacy. I am probably going to stick to training once a day this week. I just want to be sure I ease myself in so I can start increasing the intensity of my training until I am doing at least 6 hours a day comfortably without getting too run down. I have found if you aren’t patient when getting into a serious training regimen (such as that of professional camps, be it in Las Vegas or Bangkok) you will run yourself down and never get out of that rut. If you have for example, three months of hard training be patient with the first 2 weeks maybe even the first month depending on what kind of shape you are in. If you try to increase the rate too fast the amount of QUALITY work you can put in at month number three wont be too much different then month number one. However if you really listen to your body, the improvement you can make from when one arrives in Thailand to when you leave can be astounding. Anyway, that’s reason number one I am training once a week. The second reason is that my friend who has been a monk for two years has disrobed. What that means is that he has left the monastery to be a regular guy, a layperson. This is not uncommon at all, in fact a close friend of his had disrobed a few days before him. He had been contemplating this for a few months, he had let me know before I arrived. So my friend, Niran, is back in his home. We knew each other from high school (Mon’t Kiara International School) when I lived in Malaysia. It’s been ten years but I have always kept in touch with my friends from that period in my life (even before facebook). So, I am enjoying the time I am getting to catch up with him as he eases back into regular life.
The two days that I have had at Legacy since being back have been very good. I took some pictures of the cage area and ring area today to give you all an idea of what it looks like inside. I am not sure if you can tell but the cage and ring are about 12 feet apart. hey got everything you need in a fairly small space. Yesterday I had a good session on the pads with one of the trainers (I think his name is Billy). Pad work, good pad work in Thailand should be unpredictable and similar to sparring. The trainer and the student should develop a communication to the point where you can throw a strike and he can catch it. By the end of the second round me and the trainer started getting into a good rhythm. Unfortunately my conditioning started showing by the end of the third and things got a little sloppy but that’s all on me. But needless to say I was happy with what I got and it motivated me and has got me looking forward to the training that is to come.
Like I said, this definitely has to be one of the most serious gyms outside of Bangkok. Part of that has to do with the fact that it is in Ubon Rachathani. There is not much to do here as it is a pretty plain city in what is Thailand’s agricultural heartland, Isaan. So if your coming here, you are pretty intent that all you will do is train, there is no bustling nightlife no activities geared to tourists and no historical sights to explore. From what I can tell everyone here is very determined to make their Muay Thai better. Another reason the gym has got such good talent coming here is because Ole Laursen trains here and Ole Laursen is a well known fighter in K-1 who also competes in MMA. You can YouTube his fights. I met him yesterday as well, he doesn’t speak much but emits “coolness.” That’s really all I can say about him but I am sure much of that is because I have seen him fight in K-1 before so it was probably one of those incidents of being “star struck.”
Today was another sparring day. I have a previous post where I discuss sparring days at gyms at some length from my first sparring day at Legacy. As before, six rounds 3:30 – 4:00 minutes each trading partners every two rounds. Today was only boxing and not only is boxing one of the weaker aspects of my striking but I am not that tall for my height and even for my height I have short arms. The Thai trainer overlooking the sparring said “10% IQ IQ”, meaning he wanted technical sparring I think he was exaggerating on the power on purpose just to make sure no one went nuts. I held my own with my first and third sparring partner who had at least twice as much striking experience I did (I asked them how long they had trained) but had it been judged they would have definitely won both rounds decisively. My second partner however was a different story. I am assuming he is around 200 plus lbs and 6 foot compared to my 155 lbs and 5 8′ height. He has also fought in Cage Rage before (His name is Hassan and is from from Sweden) and has been competing in MMA for 7 years. Before I sparred with him as we waited in between rounds I looked at the ground I saw smears of blood and I looked up to remark “Hey theres blood on the floor” as I did that I noticed that his arms and upper body also had spots of blood. “Are you bleeding” I asked him, he gave me a very stoic and serious no so I looked across the cage to his previous sparring partner and saw a red nose and smeared blood on his face, “oh crap” I thought to myself. Anyway the two rounds I went with him all I could think about avoiding having my nose broken or getting knocked out. I understand its part of the game but I think it is unnecessary in practice, you cant have that risk 3 times a week. I like my brain. I do believe in having days of hard sparring but I like to know in advance, wear headgear and be with someone who is either the same weight class as me or at least with someone I trust isn’t trying to seriously hurt me if they are heavier then me. Since this guy was going at 85-90% (from what it felt like and the expression on his face) already I knew that if it even seemed like I was trying to match his power he would simply get it up to 100% as well as increase his aggression and considering that I am at least 40 pounds lighter with much less experience that’s not a good idea. I’d like to train tomorrow as well. So even when I got rocked I continued to keep the punches i threw in check. Anyway, I did get slightly wobbled and took some on the nose but I got away without anything serious. But I think it is good to have situations like these sometimes since they remind you what kind of sport we are competing in as well to remind you the importance of keeping your hands up :).
All in all, I feel very lucky that my friends house is so close to the gym. I had no plans to train at Legacy Gym, I thought I was going to stay 2-3 days max in Ubon just to visit my friend and then head on to Sit King Star, a gym in the city of Khon Kaen about 300 kms to the North West of here. I arrived here purely by coincidence as my friends family did not know that Legacy Gym was a 15 minute walk away. SO far its been a good experience and I have added one more gym to the nine others I have trained at and gotten a better idea of the type of training Thailand has to offer.
A heads up regarding this blog. Because I am having a an official Mixed Martial Arts Pakistan web page made I may move the blog there. I will continue posting on here as well but I may eventually stop and do everything there especially if I can move my older posts too.