Tigers Gym Part II

So here’s part two about my visit to Tigers Gym. Before I get into that I’ll give you a quick update on the training at Legacy.

I am still very pleased with the training at the gym. I finished my first full week there, minus the Monday I came back from the monastery. My pad work is improving to the point where I can now do 2 rounds HARD. Full blast. Start tiring out in the 3rd round but still keep form and then by the middle of the 4th round I start looking like an idiot. It’s OK though. I see the conditioning coming back and I suppose in another two weeks I will be pretty much back to a good baseline of being able to do all 5 rounds at a consistent pace, maybe slightly slowing down near the end (which is ironically the point in Muay Thai matches where they speed up) but not gassing out to the point of wanting to quit. I won’t be at the peak of conditioning that I got to here, which was doing 5 rounds continuously without any breaks between rounds but I’ll set the foundation to get there and hopefully above it. Today I got my full power back in my kicks. I think I have pretty strong kicks for farang standards, and this is based on what I have been told and the reactions I get from the trainers. Although I must admit the trainers like to make a comedy routine of pretending to get hurt when someone hits the pads, like they just got hit by a truck. I can’t tell you if it really does have power, but I can confidently say that each time I kick the pads, a very loud crack emits. It’s my blessing and my curse. My blessing because, well being able to kick hard has it’s obvious benefits. It’s my curse because then the trainers make me do LOTS AND LOTS of them. Kicks are tiring, way more tiring then punching. I have done 7 rounds of boxing at 4 minutes per round without too much fatigue. To think of doing the same workload with only kicks to me is almost unimaginable. The Thais love their roundhouse kick. In fact many fighters believe that the Thais have perfected it. The Thai roundhouse kick is known to be the most powerful kick in all of martial arts. Anyway, I have to guess and say I probably had to do about 35-50 kicks with my right leg per round and about half that with my left. At the end of it all I had to finish up with 50 kicks in a row per leg. It sucked, but its all going to make training easier down the road so I am happy.

I have grappled once here since I arrived. The grappling instruction here is very solid. I would do it more but since I am leaving soon and wont be doing any ground fighting for a few months I am going to make sure my Muay Thai is up to par first. I need a good base before heading to Khon Kaen and then later on to Pai. I’ll train ground fighting later in the month I will be in Phuket before I leave to go back to the States to get myself ready to get back to training with my Jiu Jitsu class at Synergy MMA academy (SynergyMMA.com).

On to Tigers Gym. I left off at making my intention of going to Tigers Gym to train. This was in Fall of 07′. In Fall of 07′ I was also making plans to graduate university and leave the states for at least a year to train and travel. On my list of things to do was train at Tiger’s Gym. I made plans to go in the new year of 09′. I had already contacted Danial Isaac and he gave me the go ahead to come check the gym out. He didn’t know that I was planning on setting up MMA in Pakistan. I figured I would talk to him about all that in person. So, end of January of this year I left Lahore and crossed the border (about 30 kms away from Lahore) into India. I was the only person going across. It was quite bizarre being the only person in an empty immigration hall. I crossed the border, took a taxi to Amristrar, a plane from Amristrar to Delhi and then another flight from Delhi to Mumbai. I got to Mumbai late that night and spent about 50 bucks for a crappy hotel room. In Delhi I thought it was really weird at the look of astonishment people had on their faces when I spoke Hindi. Hindi and Urdu (which is spoken in Pakistan) is very similar. Except for academic and bureaucratic vocabulary the day to day words that are used are the same. Urdu speakers and Hindi speakers can understand each other perfectly. I still don’t quite understand why people were so amazed to see me speaking Hindi. In Pakistan, people could tell I was a Pakistani living abroad but it wasn’t shocking. In India I would have people come up to me and ask me if I was from Kashmir or more likely, where I learned Hindi from!. I think people who look like me are a rarity in Southern India, either way it was pretty funny. The bell hops at the hotel I stayed at thought I was the coolest guy in the world. They thought I was even cooler when they found out I was a fighter (they asked me how I got to look so strong) and I was in India to train. They were constantly bugging me asking what they could do to be like me. I’m not joking. It sounds conceited but I am being 100% honest. My only guess is, is that these bell hops who came from the slums of Mumbai have watched a lot of Indian movies and have seen the light skinned Indian guy with a muscular body strutting around with his hand picked wardrobe. Well, there in their hotel was a light skinned Indian (other then proper Caucasians everyone was much darker then myself on the streets of Mumbai) with muscles and a cut off T shirt that said Sinbi Muay Thai. It was all very bizarre. Anyway, the next morning as I was leaving, I gave them advice that they should train MMA in their spare time and showed them some websites (including Tigers Gym of course) and maybe they could be fighters, I tipped them well and went off towards the bus station.I caught a bus to Nasik, the district where Tigers Gym is at and spent 5 hours watching Indian movies on my way there. On my arrival I called Danial Isaac and he met me outside of a restaurant near his house. His arrival was actually pretty cool as well. Most if not all Indians I had seen up to that point had been pretty skinny. Well, here comes this Indian on a really, really nice bike with a solid build wearing a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu T-shirt. I must be in Bollywood I thought. He just rode up and told me to get on in the middle of traffic. It was my first time meeting him and immediately I could tell he was a very genuine, very nice and really cool guy. I felt comfortable about my stay at once. He checked me into a nearby dorm room and we later met up for dinner. Over dinner we discussed what he had done so far and I asked him some general questions about the gym and what to expect during training. I briefly told him that I was working on getting MMA over in Pakistan but we didn’t go into details. After dinner I went to bed pretty excited about my stay.

The next day, Danial picked me up and took me over to his house to register for training. His office is full of trophies and accomplishments of Tigers Gym. It’s pretty impressive, there is stuff from all over the world and some pretty cool fight pics as well as posters of his fighters. We discussed training, he gave me my Desi Fighter shirt (Desi means of the soil in Hindi, it refers to anything native to the subcontinent) and told me one of his fighters Alan “The Bull” Fernandes (first MMA fighter in India) would be picking me up for my first training session.

Anyway that’s enough for now. I don’t want to make these entries too long. I’ll continue tomorrow.



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