Thailand Muay Thai Training Journal Update #3

sean and man resting at diamond muay thai thailandWhoa, it’s been awhile… again! I guess it’s no surprise since I’m pretty hit or miss with keeping track of my personal journey here on the blog, but at least I eventually getting to it, right?

Anyway, a lot has been going on since the last time I took the time to fill you in with what my life has been like here training Muay Thai in Thailand. So, before I go into detail about what my training and life has been like recently, I’ll jump back in time a bit to share with you what I’ve been going through and struggling with the past few months.

Why I Needed Time Off

For those of you who have been following my Muay Thai training journal, you probably noticed that I took a little over a month off from training during May and June. There were a couple reasons behind my decision to do so.

Initially one of the first things I wanted to do when I came to Thailand was to fight at a Songkran festival in the Surin province of Issan. Unfortunately, after a joke of a fight at Patong Boxing Stadium, I suffered a lingering shin injury that eventually got split open and limited my ability to train. I was hoping the injury would heal by the time I went to Surin, but it didn’t, and I had to sit out the fight I was looking forward to the most.

This whole ordeal demoralized me a bit, especially since everyone in Surin was looking forward to a farang fighting at one of their Muay Thai festivals. It really hit me when they asked me to jump in the ring just to say hi to the crowd. Not only did I feel super awkward, but I also felt very disappointed that I wouldn’t be able to showcase my skills in front of the rural Thai audience.

After my time in Surin, Liz and I headed to Koh Phangan to train at Diamond Muay Thai. Although I was able to get back into a decent flow of training, my shin still had an open wound that was a major pain in the ass. I tried to treat it, but I ended up subconsciously using it as an excuse to not train as hard and avoid fighting, which I am not proud of.

This stupid little nagging injury along with that fact that I haven’t had a “real” fight since August 2013 really hit my motivation hard. I was going through the motions of training, not focusing on improving much, and not really enjoying putting in the work. Needless to say, I needed to take a step back and reassess things.

Spending Time in Chiang Mai

Don’t get me wrong –  we loved Koh Phangan and the island life, but we needed was change of atmosphere and environment… so Liz and I decided to pack our bags and head to Chiang Mai.

care for dogs animal shelter chiang mai thailandWe figured Chiang Mai would be a good place to spend some time to reflect and reassess our goals since we’ve heard so many amazing things about the city and it’s surrounding beauty. Besides exploring the area, we also wanted to spend our time productively, so instead of being tourists the entire time we were there, we decided to do some volunteer work a little south of Chiang Mai at the Care For Dogs animal shelter. It was an amazing and very insightful experience.

Spending a couple hours a day at the dog shelter was great. Although it was very, very stressful at times, it was so much fun getting to know the personality of the dogs each and every day. Not to mention, there is something very meditative about taking a dog for a walk, and I believe having that time to relax and reflect helped organize my thoughts.

Our initial plan was to stay in Chiang Mai for two months, but just like almost all of our plans, our priorities shifted and we wanted to head back to Koh Phangan. Part of it had to do with the fact the Liz wanted to get herself in good shape for her yoga teaching certification course – another part of ending our trip in Chiang Mai early had to do with the fact that I ran into pro fighter Tony Manoharan and talked to him about his journey. Hearing his travel and training stories really motivated me and got me antsy to punch and kick someone again!

After saying good-bye to our pooches (and human friends) at Care For Dogs, we jumped on a train to Bangkok and then headed to Koh Phangan to get back into our flow of life.

Jumping Right Back in The Ring

After arriving back to Koh Phangan and getting settled at Joon Bungalows (which is dirt cheap and right next to Diamond Muay Thai and the beach) I basically got right back into training thinking that I would fight in a few weeks or so… but the head trainer Mon had different plans for me.

Mon figured that after about a week or training I should get a fight. I non chalantly agreed with him figuring that this idea would pass and I’d eventually fight in about a months time. I mean, I was working out and doing some running while in Chiang Mai, but I was no where near the type of shape I’m used to being in when I fight. But sure enough, Mon kept his word and set me up with a fight only 6 days after I arrived!

At first I was a little hesitant to agree to a fight when I didn’t feel in good enough shape. However, I convinced myself that I would be able to pace myself, use my technique, and most importantly, have fun! Honestly, the most important aspect of feeling mentally ready for the fight was to remind myself how much fun fighting is and how rewarding getting my hand raised at the end feels. After some positive self-talk, visualization, and shadowboxing, I was ready to get oiled up and fight!

You can check out the full video of my fight below. For a in-depth breakdown, check out this video breakdown by Lawrence Kenshin.

It felt great to get back into the ring and it felt great to have an actual opponent rather than a tuk-tuk driver. Although he wasn’t necessarily the same level as me as a fighter, he did possess solid technique, aggression, and a willingness to fight which made the win actually feel rewarding. Make sure you let me know what you thought of the fight in the comment section of the youtube channel!

What’s Coming Next

You know what’s really badass which I’m totally pumped for? Well, do you know the TV documentary series on Muay Thai called Warriors of the Mongkon? Guess who’s going to be featured in one of their episodes…. this sexy bald guy right here!

Needless to say, I’m fucking stoked to be a part of a series that is as popular and recognized as WOTM. Although I feel like I’m not anywhere near the level of fighters they usually feature, it’s still cool to know that my hard work has gotten me some recognition and exposure.

Anyway, my next fight is August 3rd against a supposedly tough opponent and about a week or so after that, I’ll be meeting up with Owen from WOTM to do some video shoots.  The next few weeks are going to be epic!

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