Friday, July 22, 2011
At a café in Chiang Mai, we met Peter Pan the Polish man. (Yes.) We shared the brownie that we both thought looked delicious (and it was), and as we chatted it emerged that he was in Thailand as a professional Muay Thai fighter.
Muay Thai is a particularly violent form of boxing that emphasizes elbow and knee strikes rather than punches, which are considered the weakest type of strike. It is hugely popular in Thailand. You can tell when a boxing match is going on because all of the usually-insistent taxi touts are clustered around the TV instead.
Anyway, we told Peter Pan that we were thinking about taking a Muay Thai class. Apparently, our bonding over the brownie was enough for Peter Pan to offer to take us to his training gym for a 2-hour private training session for both of us with some of the teachers at the gym. When we arrived, we were taken for a run, then led through the basic movements. Punch combinations, throwing elbows, and high spinning kicks.
Once my teacher was satisfied, we moved into the ring, where we spent a good 45 minutes of almost non-stop training, kicking, kneeing, and punching the bags my teacher held. Every so often, we were allowed to gasp over to the side of the ring to the water station, which consisted of a young Thai guy handing you a pink plastic ladle of ice-cold water from the barrel next to him. For good measure, we did 20 more minutes of push-ups and footwork/jumping training.
It was the most I had sweat since my last volleyball season! (The black workout clothes in the photo help to obscure this, but they are in fact soaked.) It felt great.
That night, we treated ourselves to foot massages, and spoke with the massage ladies about the upcoming Thai election.