After the tour of the camp Kru said “Do you want to see Muay Thai fights tonight? One of our fighters has a match.” After blurting out “YES!” he said “I’ll be back at 7 PM to pick you up.” Sure enough he scooped us up at 7 sharp and we headed to MAX Muay Thai in heart of Pattaya city. He walked in like he owned the place and grabbed two intensely discounted VIP tickets and showed us where to sit. Over the next hour and a half we got to see some incredible action about 12 feet from the ring. It was clear from watching Kru Toy that he had an important role in the production of the event and coaching many of the fighters. The Sityodtong fighter lost a close decision, which was determined by the fact the he had showed his back to his opponent a couple of times toward the end of the bout.
After returning to the hotel we crashed HARD. The following morning we walked down to HQ camp to train. Training was from 10 AM to Noon, and like the nerds that we are, we were there and ready to go at 10. Kru Toy introduced us to Kru “Dit” and Kru “Wara.” They are two of the workhorses of the camp, performing most of the instruction and training there. Since we were the only ones there for the first hour we were grilled in one-on-one training with Kru Dit and Kru Wara. This was a bit challenging given the jet-lag and 90-degree heat, but invaluable tuning up our own skills and learning to be better coaches.
The following five days consisted of a repeat of that first day, except on Sunday, when we did roadwork because there’s no training at the HQ. We were essentially given intense private instruction in the morning by virtue of the fact that it happened to be a slow time of year. In addition to getting some ‘tweaks’ on the technical aspects of our Muay Thai, we were given some amazing new moves that we will share with our students. However, the GREAT news is we are doing a lot of things right thanks to our primary teacher, Kru Mark DellaGrotte!
In addition to the amazing training, we spent a lot of time soaking in the culture, language and FOOD of Thailand. Interestingly, Thai fights are often a part of regular TV there, and we took complete advantage of that. We visited some incredible cultural sites like the ‘Sanctuary of Truth’, the ‘Thepprasit Market’, the ‘Crocodile Farm’, the ‘Million Years Stone Park’, the ‘Suanthai Cultural Park’, and the ’Pattaya View Point.’ On our request our new instructors and friends took us to many Thai eateries that were off the beaten path and had the most phenomenal food imaginable. An important Thai phrase to know is “Phed Keinpie” or “not too spicy.”
Whenever we travel, there are always some unexpected moments that stand out as absolutely incredible experiences that are burned into our minds forever. There were several moments like that on this trip, but one of the most memorable was speeding through crowded city streets of Thailand on the back of a motorbike. Just to add to the excitement on that, our drivers would cover their faces on dusty dirt roads and drive with one hand. All good with a warrior’s spirit and small leap of faith.
We'll soon post about the incredible Okinawa leg of our trip and Sensei Connie's promotion. For now, we'd like to thank everyone for keeping ZenQuest moving forward while we were away including all of the instructors covering classes, Dee Bradly for running the front desk, and Kyle Pezzano for keeping the place clean in our absence. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU everyone!!!
Senseis Connie and Mark