Thursday, December 27, 2007

Internet cafe

Today is boxing day, monday, wednesday, and friday after our short run we box. Our short run is about forty minutes long. The long morning run takes about an hour. I've gotten used to the conditions and the training so the afternoon run actually does seem short. Right after I get to the gym I'll put on my hand wraps and mouth piece then start sparring. There's a new Japanese guy, named Akida, who I've been sparring with a lot. He's not as good as me, but is my size. Its pretty fun. I gave him a bloody nose the first time we spar, and our subsequent sessions together hasn't made his nose less leaky. On wednesday he made my head ring though, and I punched incorrectly so my right index finger feels slightly sprained. My fist wasn't curled in enough I think. Besides my head ringing he also made my earing dulled, I think he boxed my bears. By cupping your opponents ears you can dizzy them, and dull their hearing. Dee Pooler showed it to me once.

The training life is pretty routine. Get up at 6am go to the gym. Find food. Nap. Read. Write. Go to the gym. Find food. Explore. Go to sleep. Its harder doing shit over here though. Everything takes more effort to accomplish. Being in the states is really comfortable. Not being able to fluently speak the language is like being a fish out of water. It has made being vegan pretty difficult.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Back in Bangkok

I decided to come back to bangkok after spending six days in pattaya. I trained about twice a day at Sityodtong for five days. I would wake up at six in the morning to run the three or four miles to the camp. After doing a few laps around the camp I did light pad work. Pon, or one of the other trainers would hold pads for me. Next it was twenty minutes of knee sparring with this kid named Bpee. One of the instructors jokingly told me that he jerks off a lot. Bpee had bad acne but was pretty good at muay thai. After knee sparring I'd do some sit ups and push ups then go home to eat and sleep. The afternoon session was a bit longer but basically the same. Instead of knee sparring right away I'd hit the bag for a little while. The pad holding is the same pretty much everywhere, although I did like this one trainer at Sityodtong named Geek. He really emphasized working on my power and technique. However, the actual work took up about half the round, the rest of the time Geek would be talking to other people, looking outside the ring, or otherwise distracted. When doing bag work i noticed Pon answering his cell phone a lot. I guess he's got a lot of girlfriends. The trainers at Sityodtong seemed pretty burnt out on all the vacationers and transitory tourists. The prices were expensive and the attention level low. Mike Regnier told me that they'd be pretty jaded by the tourism but I didn't think it would be that bad. I decided I didn't want to stick it out and wait as I wasn't super impressed with the training of their fighters (like Bpee). A lot of the time the fighters (mainly thai teenagers) would be hanging out waiting for the instructors to do pad work with them. So here I am back in bangkok and back training at Ingram's.

Thursday, December 6, 2007


Ingram's gym is located a short distance away from the Asok BTS (sky strain) stop. After walking east past the sukumvit hospital with its advertisements for liposuction and the usual street side food venders you'll turn left down a short side street. The large metallic gate will be open and at 3 o'clock Bokpuu will be sweeping up the mats while Nine will be rolling the handwraps. To the immediate right is a mid sized raised ring. In front of me is three ring size sections. The first section is for heavy bag work. Three worn down bags hang off of a blue contraption. The frame for the heavy bags looks like it was homemade. Its base is made of a tire with concrete inside of it. The next area is bordered by shin pads and gloves. To the left of the 2nd area is a large mirror used to inspect facial blemishes and for shadow boxing. The third area has another set of heavy bags and more matted space. To the right of the three areas is the main building. There are several bedrooms, a washing machine, a kitchen area, a bathroom (with both thai and western facilities) and an office. My exploration of the building was pretty limited, as I thought it would be pretty impolite to go searching around. The initial entry area is lobby like and has pictures of the various Ingram star fighters. While Samkor, Buakaw, and Neungsiam have all been there I didn't see their pictures (but I also didn't really look). There is a small glass case that has a few different styles of Ingram shorts. The gym has an introductory cost of 900 baht, individual sessions after that are 300 baht (about $28, and about $9). A short form is filled out and then you're told to start jumping rope.

Since I didn't bring my running shoes I ended up skipping rope for twenty minutes. The rope is thai style, a little thicker and heavier than american boxing ropes that I'm used to at Pacific Ring Sports. Skipping rope for that long is tiring and boring. The rope weighs down the biceps. On monday I trained at both Ingram's and a falang camp called Jitti. Doing both trainings made my calves really sore so I walked funny for a few days. After twenty minutes of jumping rope I put on handwraps and shadow box for one round. The rounds are longer than in the states, four minutes instead of three. There is a one minute break between the rounds.

Bokpuu and I do three or four rounds of muay thai pad work and then one round of boxing/elbow work. The round will start off with ten alternating kicks, first a right kick (1), and then a left kick (2). All kicks and knees are down twice. So if Bokpuu holds the pads up for me to kick I kick twice, if he holds for the right knee I right knee twice. A common combination was: jab, cross, right knee, right knee, left knee, left knee, right elbow, right kick, right kick. The pad work felt similiar to doing pad work with Coke, or with another fighter at Pacific Ring Sports so I liked it. Interspersed with the combinations would be more singular activites. Four straight punches, left uppercut elbow, right elbow, jab followed by a spinning back elbow. Knowing a little thai helped when Bokpuu made corrections, knowing muay thai pretty well helped a lot. I was able to follow his body movements and do the corrections myself. In order to demonstrate my understanding I would usually do what I was doing wrong and say "mai tham" then do what I was supposed to followed by "tham dii." Like Coke Bokpuu told me to keep my chin down, unlike coke he seemed to want me to widen my stance and to point my foot downwards when blocking. The round would end with ten right kicks, and ten left kicks. During the one minute break I would drink water, pour a little on my head (which would make me shiver) and spit a mouthful of water all over my torso. The last round which was boxing orientated was a welcome relief. I'm a bit fat from a month of eating a lot, drinking a lot, and not training so I consider myself to be out of shape. We didn't do a lot of hooks, or uppercuts, mainly straight punches and elbows.

After the pad work was complete I would do three or four rounds of bag work. Bag work is the same everywhere. Kick, punch, kick, blah blah blah. Next came sparring. Unlike in the states sparring in thailand is done very lightly. The point isn't to bang but to work on timing, technique, and accuracy. I assume that a lot of the reason for the hard sparring in the states is the egos of many of the people who train out there. That or they just don't know. I've sparred with a handful of people. I sparred with Nine once. It was both fun and fustrating. He toyed with me a lot. He would hold out his glove for me to knock it and then would kick me right away, pretty dirty. It reminded me of Coke sparring with Kenyan at the gym. I sparred with three or four novice falang. All of them were bigger than me, and less skilled, so it was light hearted fun. Sparring with the two young thai guys was more of a learning experience. Both of them were younger than me by 9 or 10 years but weren't out of sight better than me. They also took sparring a little more seriously than Nine. After sparring would be four rounds of knee sparring. Again knee sparring with the falang was fun, although usually they would just use their weight to out muscle me while knee sparring with the thai guys was more of a learning experience. Their technique was better than mine. They also used slightly different locks which was both interesting and fustrating.

Immediately after sparring would be twenty right kicks and twenty left kicks then some calethenstics. I only had to do 50 sit ups and 20 push ups, light fare. I was lazy so I acquiesced to the low repetitions. The whole training from start to finish would take a little over two hours, sometimes two and a half hours. After training I would go behind the building to shower. The shower was ghetto thai style. There was a bug waste bucket full of water. A hose would go into the bucket to put more water in it. A large bowl was used to dump water on oneself then you would use a bar of soap to clean yourself off.

I like going to ingram's the three times I did. If I was staying in bangkok I would consider going to Ingrams. I'd probably get a place off the BTS somewhere down the line and would go there twice a day. I'm going to pattaya tomorrow to check out sityodtong. Its the camp that Mike Regnier went to and he recommended it. I'm excited to go there and settle down into a pattern of life. Bangkok can be pretty distracting. There are bars, and friends. I suppose that's just like anywhere else. Its up to me to stay focused. I'm pretty sure that I'll be able to.

Monday, December 3, 2007

MD Place

The complex is composed of three buildings. The apartment building in which Mike Wong has his decent sized studio, a small run of shops (including a club for girls) and another apartment building. The second apartment building has a restaraunt which services the apartments, and a pool hall. The pool hall is called the snooker room. In between the run of shops, and Wong's building are washing machines, and two food stands. One offers some sort of thai corner food and the other will produce you with pineapple, mango, guava, etc. for 20 baht. The restaraunt which I attend at least once a day dishes out cheap thai food for about 45 baht a plate.

Mike pays a little over 200 baht for his apartment with utilities. Included in the room is a small table, a tv stand, and a desk with a mirror attached to it. The toilet has the western amenity of a toilet roll holder along with the thai amenity of a water spout to shoot water into your ass after a mean shotgun shit. The shower is large and has a big ass drain in the corner of the tiled area. The small sink on the patio that pours out tainted water and is next to the small clothesline (there are no dryers in thailand). There is no kitchen area, this is due to the plethora of cheap food stalls. Many people in bangkok eat out all the time and don't make their own meals. The room has a hotel feel to it.

The restaraunt is called the Red Chaba. Its usually empty when I go in. Most of their business is to the residents in the complex. The workers take turns running dishes up to the apartment rooms. It seems that the workers do long hours. When I've gone in the morning the same people will be there as at night. There are two nice ladies and a hipster looking boy who do the front of the house work. One of the women is about 35, the other looks like she's my age. The older women has been telling me lately that the younger girl thinks I'm cute. Every time I go in to eat while the younger woman is there she gets flustered and embarassed. Mike said that she was constantly telling him that he missed her and loves him. When Mike brought in a female friend she quit making declarations of love. She's always in there working. I assume that she works close to 11 hours a day along with most other thais.