Thailand Muay Thai Training Journal Update
My Thoughts On My Upcoming Fight and What’s To Follow
Damn, training twice a day wipes me out! It’s been hard to want to write when other options are laying in bed, laying on the beach, or getting a massage, but now that I have a day off before my upcoming fight, I figured it’d be a good time to post an update.
First things first, I’m fighting Thursday!
It’s been over 7 months since I stepped into the ring, and needless to say I’ve been feeling a whirlwind of different emotions the past week or so since I knew I would be fighting. To be honest, dealing with this upcoming fight has been difficult since it’ll be the first one since the broken arm I suffered in August of 2013. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous or scared about re-injuring it, but being in a prolonged state of limbo will make my anxiety grow even more than it is now and I feel the need the get back into the ring.
Although I am nervous about my arm, I am confident in my skills as a fighter and I feel like I’ve improved the past 7 months physically and mentally. For one, my kicks have definitely improved since they were the primary focus of my training right after my injury, More importantly, my mindset entering the ring has also shifted knowing that I can actually be seriously hurt in a fight. Now I’m not saying that I didn’t know Muay Thai is a dangerous sport, what I’m saying is that this is the first time dealing with any kind of worry or doubt since I’ve never been knocked down or injured in a fight before my last one.
This might sound stupid, but when I enter a fight I convince myself that I have no emotion or feelings. It’s helped me fight through knees to the body and hard right hands to the chin, and it’s also helped me cope with the pain of a broken arm for 4+ rounds. However, this mindset gave me a false sense of security since I felt like I could walk through anything my opponent gave me, until Chris Williams made it pretty obvious that I’ll be fighting some strong, explosive dudes that could kick like a horse.
Knowing that I’m a man, not a machine, has made me take a step back and rethink the way I go into a fight. I’m not saying I’m going to completely reinvent myself, because what I’ve been doing has led me to be somewhat successful in the ring, but I believe that I’m going to be more aware that I am a mortal and that I should fight with more brains than brawn.
Obviously this is easier said than done since I’ve had over 20 fights with the relatively same mindset, but traumatic experiences like a broken arm can have a serious impact on the way you think about things.
For my upcoming fight I’ll be fighting a foreigner from Switzerland who didn’t come all the way to Thailand to lose. My game plan is simple though – have fun. I’ve been so worried about my performance for my comeback fight that I’ve forgot about why I started fighting in the first place…because I enjoy doing it. So although I do have certain techniques I want to implement into the fight and I do want to win (badly at that), my main focus is to rekindle my love for fighting and just enjoy the process!
When the fight goes down I’ll make sure to upload a video of it when I get a chance, so make sure to continue to check back for more of my training journal updates!
Alex and Lit’s Fights at Bangla
The past week a training partner of mine, Alex, and trainer, Lit, both fought on a card at Bangla Stadium. This was Alex’s first fight and Lit’s 300th-something, so it was quite a contrast seeing both fighters body language before the fights.
Alex has been my main sparring partner since I’ve got here and he’s been great to work with. For a relatively new fighter, he is very controlled and cool when we spar and understands that sparring is not a fight where we try to take each others heads off. Since he was so composed during training, I knew he would have no problem during the fight.
When the fight started he was a little off, but half way through the first round he started to feel it. After some exchanges Alex landed a super hard right hand that sent his opponent straight to the canvas. I thought the fight was over. The ref gave the guy time to get up and even though he was clearly “not there” the ref decided to keep the fight going. As the round was coming to an end, Alex landed a sick elbow that dropped his opponent hard again! The bell saved him, but he was visibly hurt since his trainers literally had to carry him to the corner.
I was in the corner of Alex and he was super pumped about landing the elbow at the end of the round. I reminded him that although his opponent was hurt, he’s still dangerous. That being said, you don’t want to rush the KO, but you don’t want to give him too much additional time to recover either.
After the round started, it finished pretty quickly after Alex landed another right hand to the temple. To be honest, his corner shouldn’t have ever let him answer the bell for the 2nd because the guy had no idea what the fuck was going on.
Lit’s fight was equally as entertaining with both fighters being super skilled and technical. Lit’s boxing was superior and he landed some really hard shots that stunned his opponent. After a back and forth battle, Lit’s opponent started scoring more points on the outside with kicks and on the inside with knees. Lit fought really well and showed real heart trying to finish the fight, but ended up losing on points.
Either way, Lit is the man and although he was disappointed with losing, he showed what kind of fighter he was. Check out the video below to see some of the fight highlights from the night!
What’s Next For Our Journey
Surin Songkran Festival and Epic Muay Thai Fights
Originally Liz and I were planning on having our base camp at Diamond Muay Thai on Koh Phangan island since it meets our criteria for paradise – beautiful beaches, quiet surroundings (except when the full moon party goes down), solid training, quality yoga spots, and a laid-back atmosphere. However, when Anita (the owner of Nitah Muay Thai) offered me training and accommodation as well as an opportunity to fight up in the Surin province during a weeklong Songkran festival, how could I say no to that?
Before we head out on the 6th of April, we plan on getting another week of training in as well as volunteer some time at the Soi Dog Foundation in northern Phuket. One of the goals of our travels to Thailand was to spend time volunteering to help abused animals and under-privileged children, and since there is an opportunity close by, we figure the least we could do is spend a day or two helping some animals out.
After we say bye to everyone in Patong, we head up to Surin on a 20 hour bus ride with one of our trainers, Dam, to live with him for around a week while he shows us what Thailand without the tourism looks like. I’m super excited to immerse myself into the Thai culture and experience a Songkran festival that most foreigners don’t get to see. The way Dam explained it to us was that during the day there would be Muay Thai fights, elephant parades, and dancing, then during night-time there would be concerts, more dancing and just an overall amazing time.
Dam will be fighting twice up in Surin, and there are also some amazing match ups with the most notable being Buakaw vs. Mike 300 and Saenchai vs. Victor Nagbe… and I’m going to be there! It’s going to be fucking epic!
I have the opportunity to fight as well, but I’m going to finish this upcoming fight before committing to another. Part of me would love to fight and experience the atmosphere of fighting at such a big festival, but another part of me wants to sit back, relax and enjoy the good time without having to deal with the anxiety and stress that comes with preparing for a fight. Say what you want, but I thoroughly enjoy my downtime between fights and I’m leaning towards declining the fight, but I’ll see how I feel after Thursday.
During our time in Surin, we also plan on hopping the border to Cambodia to Angor Wat which is supposedly just a 30 minute drive. It just keeps getting better and better!
Slowing Life Down On Koh Phangan
Like I mentioned earlier, our first plan of operation was to stay on Koh Phangan island and that’s what we will do after the Songkran festival. Most likely we will take a plane from Bangkok to Koh Samui, then a water taxi to Koh Phangan. From there we plan on scoping out the area around Diamond Muay Thai to find a nice place for a few months that’s near a beach and away from the noise.
The plan on this island is to enjoy ourselves, be productive, do some soul searching and explore the outdoors. Although I will still be training consistently, I’ve concluded that training twice a day is not for me. There will be plenty of people who disagree with me and think that training as constantly as possible is the best way to develop your skills, but after 7+ years of training Muay Thai I’ve realized that the only thing that training twice a day does for me is burn me out mentally and physically.
Don’t get me wrong, training twice a day could be for you and a for a majority of fighters, but I’m more of a quality over quantity guy like “Bazooka” Joseph Valtellini. Interviewing him during one of my first podcasts really instilled the idea that it’s not about how much you train, it’s about how focused you train. I feel that training once a day and taking days off as I need them is the best way for me to get the most out of my training. Not to mention, training twice a day leaves little to no time to explore any of my other interests, which leads me to resent Muay Thai.
The main goal for me is to find a balance between training and everything else in my life. I want there to be room for other activities which I love to do like reading, writing, building my relationship with Liz, relaxing, exploring, traveling, yoga and a number of other things. If I focus solely on Muay Thai 24/7, it actually becomes detrimental to my training and my mental health. I know, my slogan is “eat, sleep, breathe Muay Thai” and I’m sure I’ll get some flack for it, but I know that Muay Thai will always be a part of my life and I don’t need it on my mind 24/7 to truly appreciate it for what it is.
Ok, rant done. I just needed to get that off my chest.
With so much planned ahead of me, I’m trying to focus on the day-to-day activities that lead to me feeling productive and happy. I’m also looking forward to fighting and seeing how I fare after a 7-month lay off. After the fight I’ll feel a sense of relief whether I win or lose, not to mention I can’t wait to stop feeling this anxiety!
I also plan on keeping up with the video blog as well as making some more videos. With this fight looming I’ve found it hard to make time (and get motivated) to make technique videos and other useful videos to help with your training, but once I head to Koh Phangan I know that I’ll have more time and energy to do so.
Thanks again for keeping up with my journey! Please share with me your thoughts in the comments below and let me know if you have any questions!