September 02, 2011

Days 27 - 29: "Number 1 Champion Fooood!"

I won't lie, I've been putting off blog entries intentionally. It helps the days go by slower if I don't blog haha. Anywhoooo...

Day 27: Got very little sleep the night before so I justified taking off morning training and sleeping in a tad bit. Pii A busted our chops and I made another joke about the rooster and the dogs. Pii A shot me a smile and said "Ok, Ok."

Afternoon training rolls around and I'm in the ring kicking pads with Kru Dam while Brendan is buzzing around attempting to film me when I hear Pii A call him into the kitchen area. Brendo comes back out the training area with the best 'wtf' face I've seen in a good long while...


Like. A. Pii. Boss.

Your customers being kept awake at night by a rooster? Give 'em a chance to deal the deathblow and then feed it to them.

A fitting solution. I can't say we didn't enjoy that dinner a little more than usual ;]

Aside from slaying that horrid creature, Pii A did make an effort to move P'neh's roosters further back into the backyard area making their cock-a-doodle-doos (Is there a word for that? Their crowing...or cawing...whatever.) substantially easier to deal with.

Day 28: Following the pattern last week, Doug, Brendo and myself did some morning training and Pii A took us to Wat Bang Phra for a little round 2. Of course, before the Wat, approximately 1 hour after eating a full blast Mama meal, Pii A stopped at his preferred noodle joint. Unreal how good this stuff is. He also got us some fried potatoes, fried bananas and some superbeast that resembled a grilled banana inside of a fried shell. Good heavens.

Doug and Brendo headed up to the third floor to get a tattoo of their choice done by a monk (and his apprentice) for varying prices. I went to the second floor to get my Hah Taew done by the monk who resides there. The monk on the first floor who did our Gao Yord had too many people waiting for him and waved us along. I was left all by my lonesome on this one so I kinda went with the flow. It just so happened I would be responsible for approaching the monk with the offering plate and would have no familiar Thai there to help translate if need be. Funny how not intimidating those tasks are when I type them out but I was spazzing a little while waiting. Deep breaths boy, deep breaths.

Turns out lurching forward on your knees, holding a tray full of flowers, money, cigarettes and candles isn't as hard as I made it out to be and neither is letting the monk physically move me to the appropriate position to being tattooing. The Yant Hah Taew was put on my right shoulderblade, not even remotely registering in the pain least not compared to the legit spinal tapping we got last week.

I made my way outside to find the guys and Pii A as I knew they were looking for somethings to bring home. The Wat has a few booths and a bigger 'store' area to purchase amulets, bracelets, statues, charms, prayer scrolls, wooden penises of all sizes, so on and so forth.

Sign of fertility. Get ya mind outta the gutter. Next.

"I'm having such a
wonderful time!"

Doug enjoying every
second, haha.

Doug and Brendan wanted to head back to the third floor monk to get their tattoos done and after some haggling on Pii A's part (again, boss behavior...taking care of his people.), decisions were made. Doug found a Hanuman tattoo he liked and Brendan decided on Yant Paya Thao Luean (Yup, that turtle Yant he's been talking about). The third floor is a little different than the other two floors in that, well aside from the fact you have the choice of tattoo, an apprentice does the intial tattooing and the monk (who resides comfortably in a glass air conned room) finishes the Pali script and does the blessing.

There was a group of (4) Malaysian dudes (and their Thai...girlfriends...?) in there getting their Sak Yants done. In the 2 hours of being up there, I learned that:

A) Malaysian people looking nothing like what I thought they did.
B) Bullet wounds never heal quite right.
C) Grown men actually cry about things unrelated to their family and sports.

These guys looked of Pakistani decent and Brendan noticed the savage markings on a few of them. Overhearing some conversation and putting 2 and 2 together, it was determined one of the guys had 6 bullet wounds, another had a savage probably rifle-caliber bullet wound in his lower back and another had a pretty good stabbing scar in his right rib.

Do we have hard evidence? No. Does it matter? No. We also offered the idea of being attacked by a tiger...maybe a gun-toting, village ravaging tiger.

August 30, 2011

Days 24 - 26: cock-a-doodle-d...FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, SHUT UP.

big boiler behind the rooms


Day 24: Sunday, much resting was done. Like...laying in bed and watching movies till 3pm type resting. After everyone started to wake up from their mid-day slumber, we made our way to the much anticipated saunas as everyone was plenty sore from the week's training.The saunas, run by monks, are a few concrete rooms big enough for 8 or so people, complete with tiled benches, burning blocks and heaps of bundled up greens to burn. Imagine vaporizing Vick's Vaporub and just hanging around a thick cloud of it - boy does that clear you up. They had a little hose outside to wash yourself off before, after and between sittings. It was a really nice day out, some cloud cover to block out some of the sun and a slight breeze blowing through. This time of year has been much more forgiving - weatherwise, than my last trip to Thailand which was in the months of May - June.

The cloud cover soon turned to an absolute downpour which was unfortunate for Pii A as he had to drive into Bangkok and stay overnight with Taam and a few of the guys for Taam's fight at Raja the following evening.

Oh yeah, Muu came back!

Day 25: Nothing of significance here, Apirak seems to be picking up training. He might have a fight coming up. Putting in 6 rounds with Kru Dam now, focusing a lot on elbows and getting my eye much better in the pocket. I think I'm slated to go pro upon return to the states within a month+. Hoping everything follows through and I can start elbowing/getting elbowed real soon.

August 27, 2011

Days 20 - 23: Uhhhhh...

Captain Good Intentions never got around to updating this thing so I'm gonna try my best as I stopped taking mental notes for the last few days.

Day 20: Nothing significant sticks out...Kru Daam is sick so I've been hitting pads with Kru Mee. Kru Mee prides himself over his placing defense (aka "safety") over offense, saying that's what won him his fights. I enjoy these lessons in "safety," defending myself against a man the size of a small water buffalo. He doesn't throw any heat but he gives you a good reason to use your eye. His padholding is remniscient of my trainer, Bill's style minus the getting whomped. Kru Mee focuses on simple punching, tons of strong side kicks and as I previously mentioned, defensive techniques first and foremost. I can't even begin to type the hilarity that ensues when he gets excited, I'd go out on a limb and say his English...err...his ability to get his point across is the best at the camp. He has a few buzzwords/phrases that make things hilarious and easy to understand: "safety" or defense, "dead" or knocked out, "wun-hunnit puh-sent!" or  100% aka a sure thing / best choice, "supah-stah!" is pretty self-explanatory, "fight IQ, no tingtong" or smart fighter, not a brawler...the list goes on. I'll try my best to get a video of him explaining things. He is a very blunt and simple man, no surprises here. He doesn't like it, he makes sure you know....again and again...ask Jen.

Day 21: Brendan, Doug and I did our morning training, ate quickly, said our goodbyes to the English dudes as they continued their journey further into the Land of Smiles and then headed out to Wat Bang Phra with Pii A, Jun and Bai Pai. In classic Pii A fashion, he made sure we ate an hour after breakfast before hitting the Wat. After some excellent noodles, fried banana and fried potato sticks, he made it to the Wat safely.

Pii A's driving is something to experience before you die...most likely it will be the reason you die. This man drives wild even for Thailand's standards. In this country, the size of your vehicle determines your right of way. Pii A drives a nice extended cab turbo pickup with a cab so he commands most of the road unless there is some wild bus driver or supply truck on the road. Regardless of the lane markings, Pii A gets to where he needs to go in record time, every time.

August 25, 2011

Day 19: Stadium days.

Knowing today would only be a half day puy my nagging knuckles a little at ease. I snuck in my own workout as Kru Daam, Kru Mee, and Pii A were already in Bangkok with P'neh for his early morning weigh in. Everyone is fighting or has just fought leaving the numbers really low in the gym which is A-OK with me. More time for padwork and technique but less people to clinch with and tech spar, takin' the good with the bad.

We ate a quick breakfast and split up into groups to head in for the fights around 3pm. Jen and I went with Mama on the public minivans, Brendo and the Englishmen went with Papa in the car and poor Doug kinda got screwed with miscalculations and had to head in by his lonesome via bus.

After milling around the gear shops, eating some zany soup with all sorts of unfamiliar fungus and meats in it, we headed to our ringside seats (which are 2000bt but we paid 1500bt. every little bit counts.) for the night's battles. Pornsaneh would be the 4th fight of the main card, one before the main event. He would be squaring off with Palangtip, who according to Rob Cox is fast and technical but doesn't deal well with getting hit hard...that's not verbatim.

The first fight of the night featured a Kiatphontip (Rob's gym) 100lber fighting for a massive side bet. He would come out on top convincingly demonstrating proficiency in just about all 8 of his limbs.

The next few fights were great, back and forth battles that sent the bettors into a frenzy for the last 2 rounds of every single time. The fight before Pornsaneh's...good lord. Talk about "weathering the initial storm." I'll be checking Rob's site ( - you're a fool if you're not already wise to it!) to catch these guys' names because the fight was just phenomenal. A true battle between two types of nak muays found on opposite ends of the spectrum. Blue corner (again...names unknown) came out heaving each shot in with 100% power looking to close the fight early with either his right cross, left hook or right leg kick or any combination of those. Each shot was felt in the first few rows ringside, inciting some serious cringing from the unprepared foreigners just looking to catch some "authentic mai tai." Red corner soaked up some savage punishment for 2 solid rounds, 6 straight minutes of the unrelenting assault. His lead leg looking worse for wear but managed to teep his opponent to keep him out and tie him up in the clinch before the elbows starting following the hooks and crosses.

The 3rd round, when the real fight begins, usually determines which fighter is awake and ready for the long haul. The judges are now making pencil marks on their score cards and aware of which way the crowd is swaying with the deafening roars of "OOOOAHWHEEEY." Red corner begins to come alive now sensing his opponents frustration and semi-depleted gas tank. To completely empty that gas tank, red corner begins heaving in those body kicks knowing just how much they really matter to the judges, the bettors and his opponent. His clinch became active, never letting his opponent catch a moment's rest, continually burying knees that only get harder and heavier as the rounds progressed. By the 5th round, Blue corner's corner had enough and began to wave him off as to avoid further damage and take the defeat gracefully. Red corner seemed to sense this and wasn't ready to let him off that easy - the toe shaped bruises on his lead leg may have reminded him not to let his visibly winded opponent off just yet. Red corner pushed forward with teeps to the chest now, jarring his opponent into the ropes where he would fall prey to the clinch again. The knees were now more exaggerated, red corner leaping into the air using his opponents neck as leverage to swing in punishing tip knees knowing his opponent would not have the energy to muster a sweep or a turn. Soon red corner honored the last 60 seconds of his opponent, backing away and began celebrating his hard earned win.

August 22, 2011

Days:16, 17 and 18...I think. Slackers gon' slack.

Definitely a bit behind. The internet has been in and out, so I think I'll just blame it on that.

Day 16: Banged out morning training quick (still no Kru Daam), ate breakfast and fresh off the tree coconut that Jun hacked open with a giant butcher's blade and then the Englishmen, Doug, Brendo and myself headed to Bangkok via an 80 baht minivan ride. $4 for a 2 hour trip, can't beat that. The van ride wasn't bad, not the most comfortable seats but there was A/C which was very necessary on that 92 degree day. Pii A waited for us to get on the van safely before taking off. Sho' nuff I'll be doing an entry dedicated to just Pii A, pictures and all.

Anywho, we did some gear shopping and minor sightseeing. The weather was pretty unforgiving but it could've been worse. Thanks to Doug's great navigational skills, we made it to all our destinations without a hiccup.

First, we stopped by Boon. Grade A gear shop that carried just about everything. We got some gloves, some guys got shorts, shirts, jump ropes, wraps, etc. Again, great store and the young girl working spoke some good English. Met a French dude who was training out of Kiatphontip who spoke well of the camp and wished us luck training. I guess that's not a big deal to some people, but it's pretty cool that even with the language barrier - a few charades and some Thai boxing buzzwords, we were able to have a full fledged conversation. We took a motorbike back to the end of the street as Brendan had never took one and why wouldn't you want 3 dudes on one bike?

Next off was Actionzone, which I was fairly familiar with from my last trip. This shop has tons of hidden gems, cheap Songchai DVD's, cheap bags, all sorts of gloves and shorts...most water from the shop owner! Super nice lady with some good english. 

We all got what we needed and hoofed a taxi over to Rajadamnern to grab some food at this spot Doug spoke very highly of. Sure enough, Likit did not disappoint.

Straight up frog. Bones and all.
After dinner, we parted ways with the Englishmen as they would choose to stay overnight and carry on with the English debauchery and such. Doug, Brendan and I walked around for a bit...bought oreos and ate poorly before heading home on a nice air conditioned bus that gives you a complementary water.

August 19, 2011

Days 13, 14 and 15: Serious dog beef / While the cat is away...

Day 13: Took today off to rest the great machine. Walked down the street to get a shave today with Brendo. Not bad, the guy spoke a little English to boot. The shave took literally 5 minutes and he managed a decent shave on my less than forgiving facial hair. I can't imagine how hard it would be going from shaving little to no facial hair on your clients to short, plentiful, thick, going-in-every-which-way western vanilla face facial hair. He stuck to the grain and did pretty well save for a few cuts. How much you ask? 20 baht. Less than a dollar. At home, while it may be a bit nicer, it would cost upwards of $25 - $30. I tipped him 20 extra baht because he had a great ponytail.

Day 14: Pii A is has been in Bangkok and will be for a few days. No camp manager = lax camp. Can't say I'm super siked on that. The focus was on the fighters today, I guess as it should be but we are still also paying customers. I think Doug and Jake #2 didn't get pads come to think of it.

Saw some seriously awesome dog action on the AM run. One of the dogs at the camp, a younger rottweiler whose name sounds like "oo-lee-ay," trots with us at the beginning of the run and takes a few short cuts staying with us for a good portion and meeting up at the end, occasionally barking at the neighborhood mutts for the sake of keeping the runners safe. This morning, one of the dogs down the street (trash dog) attempted to nip at Pornsaneh - this did not rub boss dog (Oo-lee-ay) the right way, and a true dog fight was soon underway. "Oo-lee-ay" completely broadsided the trash dog, rolling around with it on the ground in a flurry of saliva, guttural growls and the occasional glint of large white teeth. They both stood up after a good 10 seconds of dog-jitsu with trash dog looking to back away from the altercation. Suddenly boss dog leaps and grabs a mouthful of trash dog's scruff in it's mouth resulting in trash dog slinking to the ground, accepting utter defeat. Like a boss, Oo-lee-ay released trash dog and continued trotting alongside Pornsaneh.

August 17, 2011

Day 11 and 12: Informative information informing the uninformed.

Ok that title was a stretch, sorry. If you haven't had a chance, check out these sites as they were my guide as to making the final decision to come to Sitmonchai: - my go-to website for Muay Thai in general. Easy to navigate, plenty to look at and some pretty knowledgeable people share their two cents in the comments section. - another great site with some awesome visuals. The guy, (guys?) that runs it shoots some awesome pictures, keep good account of their travels and it's got a great read on Sitmonchai.** - good site that is run by Greg, a guy who's trip to Sitmonchai coincided with the above mentioned website's main man, Michael Galvin's trip. I think that last sentence was terrible English. Anyway, another wicked informative read on Sitmonchai and it's denizens. This site also has plenty of BJJ information, outweighing the Muay Thai about 60/40 but is a great read anyway. Greg is an MMA fighter who has stayed in Rio to work on his BJJ, Thailand for his Muay Thai - an honest martial artist, I'd say.

Onto Day 11: I forgot to mention, Just as quickly as the Norwegians left on Sunday - Doug from America arrived. Turns out, he posts on as well. Doug also took part in the inaugural Muay Thai Tours put on by Nop of fame and fell in love with Sitmonchai his first time day-long visit in May.