Sunday, 24 March 2013

A Very Geeky Private At Dragon

So, as mentioned back here, midway through my Tiger experience, I was feeling a bit frustrated. The hefty conditioning:technique ratio was killing my attendance, and leaving my questions about form unanswered.  Overall progress was slow, to say the least.

By the last week, Andy had been promoted to the Advanced class, and in all fairness reported back that the technical content was more focussed in those sessions.

The intensity had once again stepped up a level (20 minute clinch rounds for example) but there was a much smaller attendance, and a definite shift from “just do something fast” to “make sure it’s right as well”.  So it may well be that Tiger training really kicks in at the higher levels (there is also a Fighter class) and they just go through the motions with the beginners.

I didn’t actually do any Muay Thai at Tiger in those last three days, so we’ll never know if I would have got bumped up too. When I asked Andy how he thinks I would have got on in the Advanced sessions, the consensus is that technically I would have been fine, but sparring might have been a bit hairy (I’m well out of the sparring side of things, and still prone to eye-shutting, back-turning and the like).  Anyway, given a few more weeks, maybe it might have sorted itself out. But as I tend to lack confidence in my ability anyway, and being simultaneously clobbered by a pro fighter might not have helped that, I decided to take a different tack.

Fern House is just around the corner from Dragon Muay Thai and as a consequence we normally walked past their gym a couple of times a day.

It’s much smaller, but seemed way more personal. With a bit of spare cash left over, I decided to splurge 500TBH (about £11) on a private.

As it happened, it turned out to be 600TBH (about £13) but it was probably the best money I could have spent at the time. The woman in the office issued me a coupon and told me to come back on Sunday at 4pm for a session with Rolex.

Rolex has been training Muay Thai since about the age of six, and has, by his own admission, had something like 500 fights.  Given my demeanour at this point was about as threatening as a week-old kitten, his experience was about to be put to the test.

What we worked on will sound deathly dull to most of you. There were no spinning, jumping, stunt-style moves here. It was basic, basic stuff – walking backwards and forwards, jabs, cross, single elbows, kicks etc – but analysed and corrected every single time. And weirdly, it was exactly what I wanted.

Anyone listening (thankfully being Sunday, few people were around) would have heard something along the lines of:


“Stop leaning back”


“Don’t jump into it”


“Move your hips”

…and the like, for 60 minutes (interspersed with some water and massages, which, having the inhibited nature of the British, I found mildly awkward).

I discovered a multitude of tiny flaws which I have doubtless had for years, and which I now know to focus on.  Stuff like stepping and then punching, rather than bundling it all up together. 

By the end of it (right after 100 situps) I felt like I had worked, but in a smarter way.

I had things to go away and practice, I knew what I was doing wrong, and at least theoretically how to put them right. Plus I’d really enjoyed myself.

We were leaving for Cambodia a couple of days later, so I couldn’t stack up any extra sessions at Dragon, but we’re hopefully returning to Thailand in March, and I’m definitely factoring more privates into the training equation.

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