After my fight I took it a bit easy for the week. I didn’t train for 2 days and then for the three days left in the week I would only train once a day. I started getting back into training the week after (one week ago) and I ended the week very well. I can tell that over the next few weeks before my next fight I will improve even more. I’m excited, I am feeling strong already and want to know how I will feel and how my technique will be a few months down the road.
Last Monday, one of our trainers Tree fought in a temple fight near his home, about 50 kilometers from Pai up in the hills. It was a small town at the top of a hill with a very old temple, the name of the place was Baan WatChan. Very quiet place, must have been what Pai was like 20 years ago.
Tree is Karen hill tribesmen who started working at True Bee soon after I left from what I understand. He has the least amount of experience in Muay Thai than all the guys. He was actually a professional boxer and has traveled to overseas to fight on behalf of Thailand. Boxing matches as a sort of “diplomacy” seems to be somewhat common in Thailand. Often on TV you see very official looking matches with a lot of pomp and speaking between Thailand and visiting nations. It seems to have a lot of diplomatic overtones that I don’t quite understand. Regardless, Tree has a handful of Muay Thai fights compared to the other guys, around 50 I would guess. He know Mr. Bee from having followed him during his career and was excited to see him at the Loi Kratong festival where I fought at Nov 07. I guess he got excited to know that he had opened a gym in Pai, not too far from his town and asked if he could get a job.
His training style is very bread and butter in terms of combinations and how he holds the pads. However, this guy does not stop. I think he averages 6-7 minutes a round. I don’t know how he does it. He’s also very open to new ways to train students because he didn’t grow up holding Thai pads for the past 25 years like some of the other guys so he is very open. He was watching a MMA instructional I had and has started using some of the pad holders techniques. He is a really good guy to have here for days when you want to have long sessions on the pads just doing your basics and doing them well.
Anyway, Tree he was a hero during his fight. He wasn’t the last fight of the night but he certainly got the most attention. Before his fight, there was probably about 20 minutes of speeches with a whole bunch of officials standing in the ring with Tree with flowers around his neck. Everyone else had to stand in some serious rain the whole time. I was hoping the fight would start soon because I got to be one of his corner men and I would be able to get underneath the tarp and away from the rain once the fight began.
Tree fought a very young looking guy, like the guys face looked like he was 12. He also looked absolutely terrified, almost in tears. I guess the focus on Tree really intimidated him. All the boys fear went out the window as he kept coming forward despite getting clobbered by punches from Tree. By round three the tide had really shifted and Tree had his hands by his knees gasping for breath swinging for dear life. Luckily, a couple of hard leg kicks in quick succession knocked the kid down with a serious look of pain on his face. Saen, one of the trainers and the other corner men jumped in the ring and being a natural showmen (He was the trainer who has fought MMA in Art of War in China) started pumping up the already ecstatic crowd which was heavily in Tree’s favor.
A very good night. The whole time it was like a field trip with the whole camp renting a van and heading out to some serious boonies by the jungles border with Burma. A night like this is only possible at True Bee located in one of the most unique places in Thailand.
Next entry will probably head back to Pakistan and write a little bit more of my experience there.