In my first post I mentioned being inspired to attend a Muay Thai camp (and specifically Sitsongpeenong) by someone I’d met in one of Singapore’s many rooftop bars, after bending his ear about my upcoming travel plans and ambitions to escape the rat race. Well I was fortunate enough that he continued to impart valuable advice upon me (skip, run, pull-up, push-up and build as much endurance as possible), as well as encouragement for the challenges that lay ahead. In another act of generosity, Marc has kindly written the below post, offering a snippet of his own take on the Muay Thai training experience at Sitsongpeenong. This is particularly significant for myself as prior to our chance meeting, I only knew that I was planning to travel and improve my current level of fitness. Where I am now is greatly due to his words that ‘sold’ me on the idea of training twice a day, six days a week, in the heat of Bangkok.
Marc is a 28 year old English man with a thirst for adventure. He has spent his entire working life working in different places, in a never-ending search for the holy-grail; a job he enjoys, that pays enough to ensure his extravagant lifestyle choices aren’t affected in any way. After graduating from university he moved to London, for a year. This brief stint in the greatest city in the World was followed by a 2 year adventure working in Kuala Lumpur, the greatest city in the World. Then, back to London for another job, returning home to the greatest city in the World. He decided, after a year in London, to pack his bags, and begin the excursion of a lifetime; a trip so legendary, Frodo would be telling his grandchildren about it instead of his own meagre happenings. Travels so extraordinary, Gulliver would claim them as his, and neglect to tell his own. This journey’s aim was to launch an offshore finance company. As with all things in life, things did not go exactly to plan…
9 months after this journey began, there has still been no company launched (regulators are dragging their feet… what a pain!) but in the time it took to get to this point, Marc has lived. He has seen the World! (N.B: In this case, ‘the World’ refers only to Thailand, Malaysia, China and Singapore.) With only the bag on his back, a fire in his heart and some sheer grit Marc undertook adventures more daring even than Winnie the Pooh’s honey-pot escapades.
Marc has agreed to record some of these occurrences while he can, as if they are retold by another person they would instantly be ignored as legend; as tales so magnificent they can’t possibly be true.
He is currently living in Singapore, has still not decided which is the greatest city in the World, likes to exaggerate profusely when writing, and referring to himself in the third person.
I looked over at the alarm clock I just silenced. 6:10am. I was late! Leaping from my bed with the adrenalin that now coursed through my veins, released by the realisation of what was to come, I rushed to the bathroom to wash my face and brush my teeth. I’d need to wake up properly and cool water usually provides the revitalising boost I needed.
Getting dressed, I looked over to the other bed; Pierre was still snoring loudly, oblivious to the previously noisy alarm clock. His wasn’t due to sound until 6:45am, so he could still enjoy the sweet embrace of the sandman for a while longer.
Let the man sleep. The longer he sleeps, the less he will beat me; kick me… punch me…
Having turned off the bathroom light, I gave my eyes a couple more seconds to adjust to the darkness of the room. It was a sufficiently spacious room for two people to share; each had his own single bed, separated by a nightstand with a no-longer functioning lamp perched precariously on top. A TV was positioned on the other wall, equidistant from each bed, although only I used it. The Parisian sleeping mere feet from me had only a rudimentary grasp of the English language, and of the TV’s 30 or so channels, the only three not in Thai were in English.
Bending down to open the bottom drawer in a cupboard in the corner of the room, I felt the familiar ache in my thighs and calves. Picking up my vest and shorts, and putting them on, then reaching down to slip on my trainers brought on ever-more aches and pains. Even flexing my fingers to tie the laces made me realise, through the stiffness and soreness, just how mortal and fragile our bodies truly are. Just then it dawned on me: I’ve only been here 12 days! How much longer must I stay?
After composing myself, holding back the urge to break down and weep, and subsequently forcing myself to perform a 5 minute stretch of as many muscles as I could, I opened the squeaky door, entered the corridor, and began the walk. Looking at my watch, I did a quick calculation: 5 minutes to get to there, 5 to get back, 25 to run, 5 to stretch again and get some water… time now is 6:19am. I’ll need to walk a little quicker. Come on Marc, don’t quit now.
We all had to be ready by 7am. It was time to start.
It was time to push through the pain. Time to do what was required of me. Time to endure the beatings and public humiliation. Time to do what I was born to do; what I knew I would do until every fibre of my being screamed to stop.
Time to fight…