terrencechan (terrencechan) wrote,

at Tiger Muay Thai in Phuket

It's past 1am in Phuket, and I'm settled into my small bungalow here across the street from Tiger Muay Thai and MMA, where I'll be training for the next week. The bungalow will seem a bargain by first-world standards at about US$230, but I'll be training alongside people who have paid less than one-third of that price to train at the same location.

I've heard both good things and bad things about TMT. It does seem to be polarizing. Those who like it -- and there are many, many positive reviews scattered across the web in addition to the pages of testimonials on their own site -- do really seem to like it. It also seems to inspire a lot of ill-will, as well; there is a Facebook group entitled "The truth about Tiger Muay Thai" whose profile picture is a man in a suit with a dollar bill covering his eyes; the implication is obvious.

If you tour the website, TMT does seem quite nice. Indeed, one of the more common, if somewhat unoriginal, criticisms seems to be that it is too nice. There is, naturally, the perception that fighters are forged not on beautiful islands like Phuket and farang-friendly gyms like TMT, but rather under dusty tin roofs on the chaotic streets of Bangkok. In a way similar to those who fancy themselves true fans of music are drawn to indie bands no one has ever heard of, those who think themselves badasses are drawn to Muay Thai gyms with unprounceable names and harsh living conditions. Of course, there is some chance they are right. But too bad. I will take my air conditioning and smoothie bar.

In any case, I don't need the hardcorest of hardcore Muay Thai training anyway, since I'll be here to train no-gi grappling and MMA for the most part, and Phuket is probably one of the better places to do MMA in Asia (maybe third behind Japan and the Philippines). I've been training the last two months consistently in Hong Kong, but my gym there is almost 100% gi BJJ for grappling. I miss no-gi grappling quite a bit. My game is more underhooks, transitions and scrambles than it is a tight, suffocating game. I'm lazy as fuck when it comes to grip fighting, and that is a recipe for disaster in gi grappling. Finally, for someone who has MMA ambitions, I have trained almost no MMA. I've taken a handful of MMA classes at Universal in Vancouver, but most of what I would call MMA skill is really just cross-training in isolated disciplines. I can box a little, kickbox a little, grapple a little, wrestle a little, but I have yet to put this together in any sort of coherent way. It's a lot like having spent a ton of time learning to dribble, learning to pass, learning to shoot, learning to rebound and learning to defend without actually ever playing any basketball.

So, while a week probably won't do a whole lot for me in the skills department, it will probably give me a decent assessment of where I stand, and what my attributes are as a fighter. But really, I just hope to have a lot of fun. I've enjoyed the last couple months training in the gi, but I'm also getting substantially diminishing marginal returns on fun. I'm hoping slip-sliding around and scrambling in the warm, humid, sweaty environment of Phuket punching and getting punched by 6oz gloves is what the doctor ordered. Figuratively, anyway. I don't think any doctor would actually order traumatic encephalopathy. But that's a blog post for another time.

If you're interested in following my training at Tiger Muay Thai and MMA more closely, bookmark/subscribe/friend/RSS/whatever my MMA/training blog at http://potlimitfighter.livejournal.com where I hope to update throughout the week.

9:00am training, so off to bed with me!
Tags: mma, phuket, thailand, travel

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