Bangkok: A Week of Muay Thai Training


Our weeklong Muay Thai bender started with an evening at Rajadamnern Stadium where 10 fights ran from 6-11 PM.  Each fight is 5 rounds, each of which is 3 minutes long.  At the beginning, there is a short traditional dance from each fighter.  These guys are ripped, not an ounce of fat on them.  Most fights were in the lighter weight classes.  We saw a few knockdowns and one semi-knockout.  

The next morning, Annie researched some local Muay Thai training gyms and found one via Facebook.  We arrived for our first class in the middle of the afternoon.  It was roasting outside (mid-90s), but the ring was outside, under an overhang, without air conditioning.

Our warm-up consisted of 10 minutes of jump rope, 10 wind sprints, then speed footwork on top of a tire. On the first day, the jump rope was incredibly hard on our calves.  We’d gone through about 4 minutes of jump roping and wanted a break – we were out of shape.  But we kept going.  Adam was paired with a trainer named Gip and Annie trained with Kwan.  After the warm-up, we suited up with our hand wraps and gloves before completing 4 rounds of shadowboxing.  This segment covered different moves: single jabs, 1-2 jabs, side elbows, upward elbows, upper cuts, side kicks (high and low), blocking, and knees.  The blocking is really difficult, because you’re never expecting it.  We were both pretty bad at staying on our toes enough so that we could move quickly into the next move.  Every round was timed by playing “Eye of the Tiger” from front to back.  Every round.  Seven training sessions multiplied by 4 rounds in each session means we listened to that song 28 times.  Somehow we never got sick of it though. 

    1.5 hour Muay Thai Workout

    • 15 minutes Jump Rope
    • 10 wind sprints
    • 100 tire touches
    • 4 rounds shadowboxing
    • 3 rounds of 25 ab hits
    • 3 rounds 25 side-kicks on punching bag

    Gib and Kwan, Our Muay Thai Trainers

    It was sad to leave to leave Mankong Phranai on our last day.  We really enjoyed working out with Gip and Kwan.  There was a major language barrier between us, but we loved hanging out with them, and one way or another, they always got their point across.  Gip had a wonderful smile, despite only having a few teeth.  Neither trainer had any qualms about kicking or punching us.  By Day 3, Annie had bruises all over her legs and arms.  The owner of the gym came over and pushed her thumb deep into Annie’s bruise on her calf – she said, “doesn’t feel good, but it helps the blood move.”  None of them had any hesitation about touching other people’s bodies.  In fact, Kwan could see how sore Annie was and gave her a butt massage in front of everyone one afternoon.  It wasn’t sexual – it was like a physical therapy session.  Adam has a bunch of bruises on his abs from their “belly slapping” exercise.   One of our favorite memories was watching Gip laugh after Adam punched Annie in the butt.  Annie’s trainer friended her on Facebook after we left.  Sports really are a leveler.