So this is a bit of an odd post for me. Writing it isn’t odd, actually the experience behind it is. Not so much odd as it is surreal.
If you look at my old posts you will see that I spent A LOT of time at True Bee Gym in Pai Thailand. In fact I spent a total of 8 months there out of a one year span. Broken up my a 4 month stint in Pakistan where I had come back to promote PAKMMA. Bottom line is, I spent a lot of time in Pai, and a lot of time at True Bee gym. In fact it was at True Bee Gym you could say that I grew most as a Muay Thai fighter even though I didn’t fight as much in Pai as I did down south. Much of my growth here was attributed to the close relationship I had with the trainers at True Bee Gym and to the little town of Pai itself (minus the annoying hippies).
So with that little bit, let’s go on to my experience at Rose Gym. Initially it was very strange even walking up to the gym and seeing a new name plastered on the ring cover, on the corner pads and the main sign over the gym itself. Yet everything inside was the same, even the Boon bag I had bought the gym was still hanging there. That was possibly one of the more odd things to see. Two years ago I bought the gym a nice long leather boon heavy bag, and I see the same bag hanging there.
I was greeted by a guy named Evan who is the gym’s manager, he doesn’t train Muay Thai himself but is charge of running the business end of the gym, which as a gym owner myself can say is not a bad business decision to have someone separate from the fighting and training aspect of the gym to manage the advertising, day to day affairs, accounting etc of the gym. Anyway, I initially went just to watch the training session but decided to go ahead and train that morning myself as well.
There were three others beside me training that morning. A couple from Holland and a girl from Australia. I would say everyone there was at pretty much an intermediate level when it came to striking. The basic class that day and every other day there consisted of 30 minutes or so of technique where we all would circle up and go over individual strikes, combination’s and counters. One ten minute round each on the pads and then sparring.
They only had one instructor at the time. I guy named Chang. Very nice guy but honestly not the most experienced Muay Thai guy in Thailand. I sparred with him and actually connected with a crazy Saenchai Sinbi Muay Thai cartwheel kick. The first time we sparred, I have to say I was the guy in control. However, being a Thai who has been in the game for many more years than I have the second and third sparring session I had a more difficult time as he picked up on what I wanted to do and did just enough to frustrate my game. Either way, not what I was expecting, I am used to getting my butt handed to me by Nak Muay after Nak Muay, so hanging with and being the more technical guy while sparring with Chang should tell most of the story. Chang’s padwork was ok. You can tell he is a work in progress and for that I commend him and can say with confidence that by this time next year this guy is gonna be a real good pad holder. He has an open mind and is very apparently making effort to add new techniques and combos and situations to his pad holding repertoire. However, you can tell that he is still a bit awkward holding them, especially if you can hit hard and fast.
I ended up training at Rose Gym for three days and I had a really good time. It was a really relaxed environment and perfect for my time at Pai which was very relaxed and laid back. However, if you are coming to Thailand JUST TO TRAIN. Or if you are preparing for a fight, than my honest advice to you is to go to some of the other more established camps for that. If your in Chiang Mai and are coming to Pai for the weekend, then for sure please come train here and please leave a comment and let everyone know how it is. I went there a month after it opened so obviously the training is not in full swing to what the owners may want. Down the road like every other gym Rose Gym will go through its own changes and evolution and I would be interested to see where that leads to.