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Showing posts from April, 2010

Tiger Muay Thai – Full Review

After spending six weeks training and living at Tiger Muay Thai in Phuket, Thailand, I wanted to write up some of my thoughts on the entire experience, the gym, and the trainers.  This will be a long winded post with a lot of detail – I encourage anyone considering spending time in Thailand training Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) and/or Muay Thai give it a read, but anyone else may want to skip it. Background:   I visited Tiger Muay Thai (TMT) from February 22 to March 23, then returned again from April 15 to April 28, 2010.  I had no previous MMA or Muay Thai experience, though I did grow up wrestling.  I came into my visit with above-average fitness but definitely not close to elite level. The Gym Facilities: TMT is amazing, and they finished a big expansion while I was there.  There is TONS of room, with seven+ massive separate training areas of various sizes, tailored for MMA, Muay Thai, weight lifting, and crossfit style workouts (kettlebells/etc.).  Sometimes they definitely nee

BBQ Beatdown at Tiger Muay Thai!

What an honor – tonight I cornered a friend in his first MMA exhibition fight, and he ended up having his hand raised as the winner by Phil Baroni in what was one of the better MMA fights I’ve had the pleasure of watching. Every month, Tiger Muay Thai holds a “BBQ Beatdown,” a night of amazing Thai bbq and fights at the big gym facility.  This month they had a fair crowd of people and served fantastic food that many of us inhaled – it didn’t hurt that they also had Chang by the keg, which I admit is considerably more drinkable than Chang in the can or bottle. Tonight there were also three Muay Thai fights, two Western Boxing fights, and two MMA fights.  Everything was fun to watch, but the MMA fights were what I was really looking forward to since my friend Michael had signed up for it and was going up against Kenny, another guy from our class.  Mike and I have spent a lot of time working with each other (he’s the guy I caught with an amerikana last week in the class tournament) a

I am the champion! Rah rah!

Every Friday they hold an in-class grappling tournament at the Tiger Muay Thai MMA class.  My goal this trip was to win at least one match – today, shockingly, I won my entire bracket.  I am like a god pushing mortals from my path, no one can stop me! Okay, I did win, but I’m definitely not a god.  On my last visit I was only able to participate in one tournament due to injuries and I was arm-barred and guillotined (my two greatest weaknesses) in quick succession.  I worked hard on those weaknesses and while they’re still there, I felt a lot more confident. Today, class started as usual with the warmups and drilling.  I could tell very fast that I was not in the same condition I was when I left three weeks ago, but that was expected – I was surprised to find that I was still in very good condition overall and the heat means nothing to me.  A definite advantage, considering most guys (no matter how well trained) usually look like they are dying on their first day out here. After t

Goodbye, India

I felt it fitting to arrive at IGI in Delhi in the familiar comfort of an auto-rickshaw as I prepare to leave India behind me.  I am ready to leave – in fact, I feel somewhat as if I overstayed myself here, even with two days in Delhi doing nearly nothing. I have mixed feelings about India.  The dust, dirt, and heat of the dry season do not bother me (aside from my allergies).  The frequent squalor, open sewers, trash strewn streets, and clear signs of overpopulation and overcrowding do not phase me at all – if anything, they remind me of my youth in the Philippines and bring a certain nostalgia.  I love the food and breads, and while I’m not a fan of the excess of deep fried street food, it’s enjoyable in moderation.  The fact that I’ve had only one small piece of chicken and no other meat for nearly a month bothers me not at all, since the alternatives are quite a pleasure (mmm, paneer!). In fact, aside from a few things, I have quite enjoyed India.  The people who are clearly i

Rickshaw Run Days 12, 13 & 14: A Melancholy Finish

Yesterday around 3PM Tak & I arrived at the final destination for the Rickshaw Run, turning over the keys to my rickshaw and ending this leg of the journey.  It really was a bittersweet ending, but not for the reasons you might expect – I think that stopping 90k from the finish in Darjeeling for so long felt too much like an ending for me.  The entire day of driving I was filled more with trepidation at the idea of a last minute breakdown than I was elation at nearing the end – it didn’t help that our rickshaw was slowing shaking itself apart, with the clutch plate nearly destroyed and the brakes practically not functioning. Days 12 & 13:   Exploring Darjeeling Darjeeling was not at all what I expected, perhaps because I knew very little about it.  It was certainly the most interesting place I encountered in India (though of course I only explored a small portion of the sub-continent), with amazingly helpful and kind people.  There was certainly a tourist vibe with many We

Rickshaw Run Days 9, 10 & 11: Nearing the Final Push

India is a huge country, and as one of my friends told me, much changes as you explore it.  As we’ve headed further and further north, here are some of the major differences we’ve noticed compared to the south: * There are considerably more women out and about, and in general they are much more attractive (to Western eyes at least).  Most of them are still wearing traditional dress, but we do see many in jeans and the like. * There are less rickshaws!  Today I only counted five the entire day!  This is compared to the south where you could throw a rock anywhere and hit five rickshaws as it bounced around.  On the other hand, people try to wave us down here for a ride in the day, where down south they all just looked at us funny because of my paint job. * We’ve been seeing some occasional nods and head-shake “no’s” up here, a stark contrast to further south.  The head wagging is still there but appears much less common. * This may just be bad timing on our part, but it seems lik

Day 8: The Caravan Splits

There is always a certain amount of stress and conflicting personalities on any sort of adventure like this, which is one of the main reasons I generally prefer to do them alone.  While I did enjoy the company of Mucho Nacho, it has been clear from the beginning that I’m just considerably more laid back yet want to focus primarily on the experience of the journey.  I simply don’t believe that driving a 7hp three-wheeler 3000+km across a country is a mechanism for tourism, if I want to go to tourist spots I will travel as a tourist or a backpacker. As a result of this difference in attitudes and my desire to drive during the daylight (meaning being on the road by 6AM), our caravan has split up today – we may attempt to reform at some point, but honestly I don’t think it’s terribly likely ( *April 5 @ 5:45AM – We may do a shorter day today and see if they can catch up after talking it over with them) .  It has been building for a couple days as Tak & I have gotten up and forged 2-3

Rickshaw Run Video – Part 1

Edited at various hotels, hostels, and resorts in India as the Rickshaw Run goes on, here are some video highlights from the first four days showing the roads and experience of travelling across India on a rickshaw: Direct Link to Vimeo Video – Rickshaw Run Part 1

Rickshaw Run Days 6 & 7: Smooth Sailing

Ah, two days and 800+km across India in a crappy rickshaw with absolutely no technical problems?  Can it be so?!  How long can we keep this rolling? Some random cultural tidbits – around here, they shake their head (more like a bobble-head motion) to indicate affirmative, thank you, etc.  This can get very confusing when you ask something (“Do you have petrol?”) and it looks like they are shaking their head no. The movement for “no” is actually a wiggle of the hand that matches the Western movement for "maybe” – again, confusing.  “Do you have petrol?” answered by “maybe?”  We get all excited – yes or no?  How much?  Just a little?  Then realize they mean no, they don’t have any. We finally figured out the details of this about three days ago and are still having problems adjusting at times, but we’ve found the “no” motion of the hand to be a life-saver in getting pesky merchants off us (to be fair, it probably confuses them when we shake our head which looks like an affirma

Rickshaw Run Day 4-5: The Problems Begin

Breaking down on the side of the road in India is a strange feeling – maybe you feel a bit helpless, and yet you know that eventually someone will help you.  Instead you worry about how long it will take to fix what ails you, and what it means for your overall travel plans.  This is a feeling I’m now well acquainted with. Day 4: ~283km, ~10 hours on the road The plan for an early departure foiled by a fantastic free breakfast (a growing trend on this trip), we didn’t get on the road from the small beach town we stayed in until around 9AM.  Once we started moving, we headed northwest through the countryside in a bid to avoid Chennai completely – by now our experience told us that driving in cities was to be completely avoided when possible (and this was born out by the conversations we had with other teams that went through Chennai).   Tak drove me in my rickshaw behind Malena & Adam for most of the morning doing an admirable job keeping up through some beautiful countrys