Friday marked one week since we arrived at Superpro Samui, so I thought I'd write a bit of a recap of the first week of my Muay Thai training in Thailand, and share a few things about Muay Thai that are swirling around in my mind.
These thoughts are in no particular order and are possible very random - my brain and body are tired from being used so much over the past week... it has been one heck of a learning curve, thats for sure!
- Muay Thai training is much, much harder than I anticipated it was going to be. I have a new found respect for those who train as hard as this!
- The structure of the class is essentially 20-30 minutes warm up (skipping rope or a run - normally I run up the hill behind us, the view from the top is worth the run, plus skipping sucks!), hand wraps on, warm up drills, shadow boxing, gloves on, drills on the punching bags, 4x 3 minute rounds in the ring with a trainer, more drills on the punching bag, gloves and wraps off, ab work, cool down drills and some stretches. Indispersed with push ups throughout. This goes for two hours with just a few minutes break here and there to guzzle some water. Did I mention it was 32 degrees celsius yesterday? Phew!
- In the first class, I felt way, way out of my comfort zone and completely overwhelmed. I’d never done anything like this in my life, so apparently I didn’t even know how to throw a punch correctly! I was constantly being told by the trainers to shift my position, go faster, harder, etc. Not to mention I was the only female AND only beginner in the class! At some points I wondered if I would be able to stick it out the whole month. The second class was slightly better, as I was more prepared as to what to expect. By the third class I was finishing with an exhausted smile on my face and its been onwards and upwards from there.
- Females are always made to be right up the front! This made my initial class even more overwhelming, as I had expected to be able to stand at the back and copy the person in front of me (and also kind of hide the fact that I had absolutely no idea what I was doing from the trainers). I’m used to being up the front now, though, in fact surprisingly I quite like it!
- There is so much to remember: jab, punch, hook, uppercut, side kick, front kick, knee, elbow, spinning elbow…etc, in forever changing combinations. Its like learning a dance routine when you don’t know how to dance!
- Muay Thai is the hardest workout I have ever done! I used to do pump and spin class at the gym plus run up Rapaki (a giant hill in Christchurch, New Zealand) twice a week. In my uni days I was a fairly speedy half-marathoner. However, I’ve never dripped in sweat quite like after two hours of Muay Thai. It is so hard but so good!
- Each training I guzzle at least one 1.5 litre water bottle. SO THIRSTY. We find ourselves topping up our water supply almost every day, luckily Tescos up the road sells cheap 6-packs of water (but we can’t fit more than one pack on our scooter at a time).
- Despite not sparring, I’m covered in bruises. Both shins, both knees, right elbow, right thigh, right forearm - how did I even get that many? Alan looked over at me the other day and said he could count eight bruises just from where he was standing. Two of the knuckles on my left hand are raw and slowly healing. Alan has been kicking all his life (Taekwondo) so his shins are really hardened to the impact, whereas my body is still just trying to figure out what on earth I’m putting it through!
- One thing that has changed for me already is my goals, and my reasons for being here. Before we arrived I figured Muay Thai would be a great workout for a month, I’d get some of my fitness back that I’d lost after a couple of months eating my way around Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore, and maybe even be able to rock some abs in my bikini (in my dreams!).
- Sure, I still want those things, but now I want to achieve SO much more than that! I want get more confident in my footwork and perfect my left kick, I want to punch harder and faster, I want to get through my rounds in the ring without becoming breathless, I want to prove myself to the trainers and not look like a wuss, I want to not struggle when we’re made to drop to the floor for pushups (which happens way too often during class!) and I also want to be able to run up the hill before class without stopping for a breather. Achievable? We'll see!
- Having a comfortable room makes such a difference! We’d booked a simple double room but after some issues with the water pump, we were super thankful to be upgraded to an apartment room which is so nice! Alan and I have been living in close quarters for months so its wonderful to have a bit of extra space, a dining table, being able to prepare some of our own food, and just relax after a hard training session. Of course the palm tree view out one window and the pool just a few steps out the door, helps too.
- I can see how Muay Thai becomes addictive! I feel like I've discovered a new world...I go to bed reading Muay Thai blogs and watching Muay Thai videos on Youtube...is this normal?
Have you ever tried Muay Thai? Is Muay Thai training in Thailand something you would consider doing?