My Thailand is opposite to your Thailand.
While your version of a trip to Thailand might consist of sipping refreshing cocktails as you enjoy the view of the sun setting over the horizon. My Thailand trip is the complete opposite, where the beads of sweat run down my face, for hours on end, six days a week.
A glimpse of my Thailand. Firstly, I set myself up in a dorm-style room on site where I will be training. It’s basic, so if you’re looking for luxury then you’re out of luck.
I’m immersed in a foreign environment with new sounds and smells to confuse my senses. The sound of chickens outside my bedroom window will be the daily alarm clock. Scooter or the two legs I’ve been given are my means of transport. Everything is mostly walking distance anyway and it is safe to do so.
The culture is refreshing and the people are unique.
If you cannot handle spicy foods, you best prepare your taste buds for the Thai cuisine. The food is fantastic and you can expect to pay around 40 Baht per meal.
In the first week I over indulged in the delicious food and copious amounts of sticky rice. Cutting weight? Then perhaps you’ll regret the banana and chocolate roti you bought from the street vendor.
I have experienced many frustrating moments, unsuccessfully communicating with the locals. Looking back, it’s quite funny, when the locals repeat themselves until you connect the dots and decipher their hand gestures. I’m learning Thai, but now and then I need support from Mr Google images.
My new teammates become my family and my friends. You have limited interaction with those back home. Not only because of where your focus lies, but the physical and mental exhaustion you are undergoing.
I stepped foot into the new gym all bright eyed and bushy tailed, faced with many new surrounding to adapt to. Day one hit me like a steam train. Consisting of two runs, each followed by a lengthy Muaythai session.
By the morning of day four, with six training sessions down, there isn’t a muscle that doesn’t ache. My bright eyes have dulled and my tail is yet to dry. I’m struggling to get up and have no idea how I’ll make it through the run.
However, before sunrise, I drag myself out of bed, lace up those trainers and remind myself why I’m here.
No one said it would be easy, they said it would be worthwhile.
Another adaption is the fighting style. In western countries fighters come out swinging for the fences, and continue this for 5 rounds. In Thailand, the judging won’t be in your favor utilizing this style. It is here where you have the opportunity to demonstrate skill.
In the ring, the crowd is twice as loud, the gamblers are getting rowdy and I have to tune my ears into the new voices in my corner. I can vaguely hear them. At times, I’m unable to execute what the trainer is calling. This is not due to lack of skill, but because I don’t understand what they are trying to tell you to do.
In time, you will overcome the communication barrier and you will be fluent in Thai-Glish.
Expect to fight regularly. In January 2017, Sylvie Von Duuglas took three fights in four days.
Sunday finally arrives. Every pair of Thai shorts you own has been worn multiple times and hung to dry, dripping from the session. Needless to say, its laundry day followed by as little as physically possible to replenish the muscles for another week of training.
Train, eat, sleep and repeat.