What We’ve Been Up To In Thailand
So, life has changed a bit.
Last training journal update I was in Patong, Phuket which is one of the most touristy, loud, and expensive places someone can stay in Thailand. Now I’m in the Isan region of Thailand the province of Surin, which is the complete opposite.
Besides there being dirt roads, farms, and cattle roaming the streets, Surin is also full of friendly Thai people who are shocked when they see two whities walking down past their house. Every time we say “sawadeekrap” (hello) they immediately respond and usually laugh at our horrible Thai accents. Every time we drive our little motorbike past a Thai, they stare at us until we are out of sight. I guess you can say we’re like mini-celebrities here.
We’ve been learning a little bit of Thai, but by no means are fluent. The language barrier has been a little rough, but we are getting damn good at charades and smiling while the Thai’s speak to us and assume we know what they are saying. Fortunately our trainer Dam and his younger sister speak enough English where we are able to communicate through them.
Needless to say, it has been a bit of a culture shock for the two of us, especially since we’ve had to adapt to the Thai way of life. That being said, it has been really humbling seeing everyone be so happy with so little.
The kids run around, play in dirt, and color in coloring books. There’s no internet and no video games, yet the kids seem as happy as ever playing with the stray dogs or chasing chicken across the road.
While the kids are doing their thing, the adults are usually sitting outside relaxing and socializing with each other. They keep it simple, and it works for them.
Besides getting used to the laid back, minimalist type of living, we’ve also had to get used to eating all different types of foods.
Probably the most intimidating was eating some grilled bugs and fish intestines (at least we think that’s what it was), but they both ended up actually tasting quite good. We also have been eating rice and noodles for breakfast and having to sweat through some spicy soup for dinner, but we are learning to open our minds to a different way of life.
Speaking of a different way of life… how about using a squat toilet! It’s rather difficult for me to find a comfortable position to take a dump and I find myself trying all different types of yoga poses while straddling the toilet. O yea, our showers also consist of using a bowl of water to wash ourselves with, so that’s been different as well.
Lastly, we’ve also had to get used to living and sleeping with no air conditioning. Although the fans do just fine, it’s taken a bit of getting used to. The Thai’s are crazy because they can sleep on the rock hard floor or an uncomfortable, wobbly chair while in the blazing hot heat. They’re hardcore yo.
Thailand Muay Thai Vlog #9 – Surin Tour & Eating Bugs
Training in Surin
Muay Thai in Surin is different than one of the westernized gyms back in Phuket. The gym doesn’t have much, but it has what you need to get a training session in it.
The ring is made of carpet and some rope, the heavy bags don’t have much weight to them, and there tires are good for some punching… but other than that, that’s basically it. My training sessions have consisted of doing some pad work with Dam, some light heavy bag training, clinching and abs at the end. It’s been enough to keep me in shape for my possible fight on the 13th.
Speaking of my fight, I’m not sure what’s going on with it. My shin was burnt after I was trying to help it with the swelling from my last fight, and now it has an open cut which I’m kind of worried about. It has gotten better, but I’m still a bit worried about stepping into the ring with it, especially since Dam has been telling me my opponent likes to throw a lot of right kicks (which can hurt my leg and my arm).
Fortunately Dam is very understanding and said if I don’t want to fight that it’s totally fine. It’s a tough situation because I keep battling these thoughts that are constantly running through my mind:
“I want to fight because it’ll be a once in a lifetime experience. I mean I would be fighting at a Songkran festival in Isan where not many foreigners get to visit, let alone fight at a festival… that’s totally badass!”
“I don’t want to make my injury worse and have it affect the rest of my trip. I’ve had an injured foot, thumb, and wrist in previous fights and only made them worse by stepping in the ring. If my shin were to get worse where I couldn’t train or fight when I make my move to Koh Phangan, I’ll be very disappointed.”
“Dam said my opponent throws a lot of right kicks, so my arm and leg are sure to be tested during the fight.”
“I’m in better shape and bigger than my opponent, so I’m confident I would win but I’m not confident I would get out of the fight without further injuring my leg.”
Those are just a few of the thoughts going through my head. It’s tough to come up with a decision, but I guess all I can do is wait another day or two and see how my shin is looking. If it doesn’t look good enough to fight, I won’t fight. If it looks healed enough to fight, I will fight. I’ll try to keep it as simple as possible.
Thailand Muay Thai Vlog #10 – Training in Surin
Well first Liz and I are going to enjoy the rest of our stay here in Surin. Whether I fight or not is besides the point, I just want to have a good time here and enjoy the festivities like I would regardless if I fight or not. Dam and his family have been so friendly and accommodating it’s unreal. We thank him everyday for what he does but we feel like there’s nothing we can say that will express our gratitude enough. Hopefully he understands how much we appreciate his help.
We plan on leaving here the 16th to travel to Koh Phangan to find a place to stay. I’ve been in contact with Diamond Muay Thai and the guys there have been great in helping us figure out our plans for when we arrive.
When we do get settled in in Koh Phangan, we’ll most likely be staying there for the majority of our trip. I plan on training, working on the website, doing yoga, exploring the island and maybe taking a cooking class. Liz plans on doing yoga, taking a yoga teacher class, building her own website, exploring and also taking a cooking class.
We are both super excited to be by beautiful beaches and away from the noise in Phuket. I think it will be a good balance between Patong and Surin, and I think we will fall into a productive, meaningful daily way of life.
That’s all for now! Thanks again for following my journey. If you ever have any questions or comments please feel free to ask. Until next time, peace and love!
- Sean "Muay Thai Guy" Fagan owns & operates the largest online Muay Thai community and the #1 training resource for nak muay of all levels.