Most of the people who are passionate about Muai Thai dream about traveling to Thailand to train with the best at a traditonal old-schoolMuai thai Gym.
So they save up some money and plan their amazing trip to tain the sport they love in a paradise country. Most of them al ready have several amateur fights under their belt once they come up to Thailand, to them it’s like the ultimate test, coming to train with the best to have one fight in Thailand before going back home. But what can you expect of your first fight?
1) Listen to your coach. Your coach will tell you if you are ready, what you need to work on, and what to prepare for, they will set you up with someone with similar experience and weight (well… considering that they are Thai), however keep in mind that in Thailand they aren’t as accurate about fighting someone your exact same weight like in other countries, that you are disqualified if you don’t make weight. Its more of an approximate, they kinda look around the same weight kind of thing.
2) Cardio, cardio, cardio. This is a tournament 101 tip, and the Thai people know it well, once you get closer to your fight they will make you up your cardio to adapt to the weather over there, this means sometimes running at least 8k’s a day. So pack up your best running shoes! We used to warm up with a 4k jog before every class!! (an intense 2 hour class).
3) You don’t have to do the dance. When fighting, fighters are expected to bow at the corners of the ring and sometimes do the dance, it’s an ancient dance done by Muai Thai fighters in respect for years of tradition (it has a lot of other meanings but we won’t get in to that today), but if you don’t want to do the whole shabang, you just walk around the ring sealing the corners for protection (bowing at the corners).
4) Remember that these guys do this for a living. At K.C. MuayThai there was a 12 yearold kid who fought every week to support his whole family, more surprisingly he had more than 200 professional fights!! That was his job, as many other fighters, all fights in Thailand are Pro fights, there’s no amatheur-get-your-pads-on-fights, these are real elbows and knees to the body, so if you are not ready, take your time to get ready.
5) Respect your opponent. If you win and your opponent is badly hurt show some respect, don’t be the guy doing cart wheels while they wait for your opponent to wake up from a K.O. We all know someone is bound to get hurt in a fight but it’s always good sportsmanship to be respectful about it.
6) Thank your trainers and your corner. These guys showed you what they know, gave you knowledge and support, so show some love! Buying them a beer is never frown upon.
7) Dont expect to make a lot of dough. Thai fighters don’t make a lot of cash they actually have to fight every week or every two weeks to support their families, so as a western fighter don’t expect to get as much fights or make as much money as a western amateur, western fighters mostly do it for sentimental reasons, honor, knowledge, experience, not to make a living out of it.
8) Prepare for a possible Doctors visit post fight. If you fought before I don’t even have to tell you this, theres fights you win and fights well, you win but the money sometimes goes towards a medical bill to stitch you up. Medical attention in Thailand isn’t as expensive as other places in the world, but be prepared, Ice packs, tiger balm and tiger balm patches are the s@%$ over there, they are much stronger than the ones sold in the U. S. great for bruising and swelling.
9) Get proper rest before getting back on the road. After your fight you will be beaten up, no fighter goes out without a scratch, so plan on spending a couple of days resting and recovering before planing on going home or continue to travel. They are great kickers so your knees and ankles will be swollen and bruised up, make ice packs in advance and spend a couple of post fight days enjoying movies and some ibuprofen.
10) hydrate and eat well. One of the worst experiences I had was training while dehydrated. It’s easy to not eat properly if you are a little iffy with the food at the beginning, the ingredients smell different, food looks different, Hell!! even the chips (yes, they have Lays brand potato chips in Thailand) are different flavors like shrimp, or octopus flavored.
Gatorade is a little expensive over there so try the alternative Thai brands, they’ll hydrate you and keep you a live, I’m not kidding its super hot, and we are not all from cities that are used to that intense heat, (specially if you are training).
One time, after waking up late for training, we decided to skip breakfast and just go to the gym. Bad idea! I wanted to faint, puke and die!! LOL. I was dehydrated and even tough I finished my work out (like a Boss) I felt shivers and nausea, NEVER had I felt that horrible during a training, like I was about to pass out.
I can’t stress enough how important this is, specially the first days that you are getting used to the spices and minced pork everywhere. The food is good but will take some time getting used to, the heat as well; after the first month of training you will feel your cardio has come back from the dead. But in the mean while take care of your body, remember that you are training in a new environment, altitude, humidity, climate, the heat! and the food. It’s a lot to take in, so listen to your body.