Monday – Day 13
I was excited to get started and woke up at 5:30am today. At 6:25am I went downstairs to get Gene and we headed over to the camp. The woman there told us to go for a run first to get warmed up. I told her that we didn’t know the area and she said “No problem, just start down the street and turn right at the first street then another right and another right and it will bring you back here to the camp.
Hmm, sounds easy enough but after turning right at the first street we were presented with many options. There were many streets shooting off to the right, some were dirt roads some were paved. We finally picked one to turn on and of course it was the wrong one. We ended up in some dead end residential area and had to turn around and backtrack the entire route. When we got back to Rawai we had about 10 minutes before class started (I was tired already) so we put our handwraps on while waiting.
Everyone lined up, bowed & signed in before class started. Some people were sorted into small groups (the ones who had been training here for awhile), and others who were training for fights paired off with their trainers.
The rest of us we taken down to the large area to begin stretching. Two instructors worked with our group showing us the proper way to throw a jab, cross, hook and uppercut (yes , I already know these but it never hurts to review basics). Then we move on to horizontal elbow, veritcal elbow, knee, thai kick and front kick. In between set we do push ups and sit ups.
Proper positioning is stressed, don’t stay stationary, keep rocking back and forth on the balls of your feet. More push ups, more sit ups. After 1 hour the heat is getting to me and we still have an hour to go. The training is done outside and even at 8:30am it is already 90 deg (32 C).
Basics, basics, basics…….jab, cross, hook, elbow, keep rocking, keep rocking, knee, thai kick. I’ve already gone through a liter of water and need to open my 2nd bottle. Up until now all of the techniques have been done in the air but now we move to the heavy bag, here we do more punches, jab, cross, hook, elbows, my arms and shoulders feel like lead. More push ups, more sit ups.
Are we finished? No, we now move to the banana bag (long punching bag that reaches the floor) to work on our kicks. Front kick, thai kick, knee strikes……….kicking, kicking, keep rocking, keep your hands up. Finally class is over, my clothes are soaked with perspiration.
Gene and I hobble back to our rooms to shower, change and meet outside to get something to eat (it’s getting close to 10am now). Just as we are heading to the Bamboo Cafe my wife and company arrive to join us for breakfast. After a great breakfast I ask Gene if he wanted to take the next class at 3pm. Luckily he is as worn out as I am and we decide to take it easy this first day of training. Instead we decide to go to the beach on the other side of the island.
I don’t remember the name of it but it was a very nice beach. Very clean, nice coastline, plenty of area for people to relax or play. I had to buy some sunscreen because after the last week my skin was really getting burned and being at the beach all day was too much.
Late afternoon we decided to head back. We got into the back of a songtaew and waited. The driver wanted to wait for a full load of passengers before he would leave. I was the first one in so I was sitting behind the driver and was able to see in the rear window. He reached under his seat and pulled out a package which he then unwrapped on the seat. It contained about 30 leaves all uniform in shape and neatly stacked one on top of the other.
I nudged my wife and pointed at what the driver was doing. He then took his package and walked to another area of the parking lot. I asked Thana what that was and she told me that it was a type of amphetamine and illegal. I guess driving wasn’t paying enough so he had to supplement his income other ways.
We got back to the hotel, ate and then called it a night.