Muay Thai Training in Phuket

New YouTube Channel Launched – Muay Thai training videos, fitness, nutrition and travel

By | Muay Thai Training in Phuket, Phuket, Training, Traveling | No Comments

I’ve been working on a few different projects for the past 3-months. One of them involves video production as I learned how to shoot with a DSLR camera while living in Bali and how to use Adobe Premiere, which is what Hollywood uses to edit and cut film.  I recently came back from a 2-week trip in Phuket and filmed some Muay Thai training videos, along with local attractions ie. beaches to visit, gyms to train at (Tiger Muay Thai, Phuket Top Team, Dragon Muay Thai, Titan Fitness and Unit-27 Strength & Conditioning), and restaurants to eat delicious Thai food at.  Here’s the link and don’t forget to hit the YouTube Channel Subscribe button to be notified when I upload new videos:  Also, if there’s a specific topic or area of interest you’d like for me to film/ video blog about, please leave a comment. I’m open to anything 🙂



My 1-Year Anniversary in Thailand + Book Review “12 Weeks in Thailand: The Good Life on the Cheap”

By | Muay Thai Training in Bangkok, Muay Thai Training in Phuket, Preparing for your trip, Training, Traveling | 6 Comments

Happy New Year everyone!  It’s crazy to think that 2013 is done with, which means it’s almost my 1-year anniversary in Thailand (Feb.1st to be exact).  While trying to figure out where all the time went, I made up a list of some highlights and goals achieved (this is a very condensed list).   This is also a reminder to myself to stay grounded and be grateful for the special opportunities life has afforded me.

  • Obviously my biggest accomplishment involved leaving behind a stable job & all familiar facets of my daily routine – and trading it in for an ex-pat life in Thailand – to try something “new” and be out of my comfort zone.
  • Did a 10-day silent meditation (vipissana) retreat at Buddhist temple Wat Ram Poeng, Chiang Mai.
  • Enrolled in Thai language school with classes 2 – 3 times a week.
  • Found part-time work for – worked on projects for Chupa Chups and Movember (yes, the mustache fundraising campaign).
  • Traveled to other countries in South East Asia – Malaysia, Indonesia and Burma/Myanmar.

I’ve always enjoyed taking a step back and analyzing my past to see how it has shaped my current situation, as well as my future.  With that said, it’s interesting to see what I was doing exactly 2 years ago, January 1st, 2012.  As someone that’s into self-improvement/ human optimization, I subscribed to various newsletters…one of them contained a motivational speech on how to start the new year right and be a better man.  Immediately after watching the video, I decided to get off the couch and take action – try something new that makes me uncomfortable.  I searched Google for Muay Thai and chose a gym.  As you can see from the receipt, after my first free session on Jan.6th, I came back a week later to pay for another class.  This quickly became a passion of mine, which ultimately lead me to Thailand.



 Anyways, who is this man that became influential in my life choices?  He is Johnny FD, author of the book “12 Weeks in Thailand: The Good Life on the Cheap”  As a way to show my gratitude towards him, I purchased his book, even after I moved to Phuket.  Below is my review, which unfortunately has been sitting on my hard-drive since March, 2013.

If you plan on buying it (just $9.99), please use this link as I’ll get a small affiliate commission, thanks.   You can even check out the first chapter for free.

BTW – Johnny now has a few other blogs that are geared towards “life-style design” ie. Tim Ferris and The 4-Hour Work Week.  They’re a useful resource to anyone considering a non-linear life or trying to get out of the 9-5 rat race (I wish these were around when I was grinding it out on Wall Street).  Definitely recommend them plus they’re all free.


Book Review – 12 Weeks in Thailand: The Good Life on the Cheap

Even though I’ve been following Johnny’s blog – for a while now and read almost every post he’s ever written, I still wanted to buy his book.  He’s actually one of the few people that “enlightened” me about having a better life in Thailand (he’s a pioneer in that he did this years before me) and I wanted to support his new project.

Recently, I moved from NYC to Thailand back in January of this year, on a perm basis. The book was good to have because I could use it to refresh my memory on all the little details in terms of packing and preparing for my big move (I previously made a short one-month trip).  The book is very comprehensive – it goes into detail as to where you should train, why, how to prepare, survive and make the most out of your experience, whether it’s one-month or one-year.

Although Thailand is comparatively cheaper than Western countries, Johnny talks about how to stretch your hard-earned dollars so you can stay here longer ie. tips on how to not get ripped off by taxi-drivers.  He even gives potential business plans should you decide to live here and need to support yourself.  The money you save will pay for the book itself.

Last year when I planned for my first trip, I spent most hours at work researching numerous blog sites for information (while my boss thought I was working, haha).  For me, this type of reading is actually fun..but for some people, this can be time-consuming.  I highly recommend picking up the book so all the information is at your fingertips in one-central location.  It’s a quick and easy read as well.

My favorite thing about the book is not just the critical information needed to plan a life-changing experience in Thailand, but rather the personal stories Johnny is gracious enough to share with the readers.  His experiences living “impoverished” off a fighters purse (income) and his romantic pursuits at the different island ie. Full-Moon party are very entertaining…big-ups to Johnny for having the balls to share these intimate details as I’m not sure I’d be able to do the same. 🙂

Do yourself a favor and stop being cheap (it’s only $9.99) – this book is for anyone thinking about visiting Thailand, whether you’re into Muay Thai or not.  The advice can be applied to any traveler.

If you plan on buying it (just $9.99), please use this link, thanks.   You can even check out the first chapter for free.

7 Month Update – Manop Gym, Phuket, Lanna Gym, Chiang Mai

By | Chiang Mai, Deep Thoughts, Muay Thai Training in Phuket, Phuket, Training, Traveling | 8 Comments

Wow, where did 7 months of my new life go?!?!  I know, the last update on this site was from the end of February…although I don’t have a “normal 9-5 job” my time has been filled with many other valuable time-consuming experiences, aka just living life 🙂  Here’s a quick run-down of all that’s been happening during my time here in beautiful Thailand.


  • Started training at Manop Gym.  This has been my long-term / home gym here in Chalong, Phuket.  I’m very happy with the trainers & the training…a review will be posted.  If you would like to train here, please leave me a comment and I will coordinate for you.  For more info, their FB page is –

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  • Celebrated Songkran, the traditional Thai New Year holiday.  From wikipedia:
“The most obvious celebration of Songkran is the throwing of water upon others. Thais roam the streets with containers of water or water guns. In addition, many Thais will have small bowls of beige colored talc sold cheaply and mixed with water which is then smeared on the faces and bodies of random passerbys as a blessing for the new year.”
In Phuket, this translates to a 3-day party – day-time drinking, water-gun fights and celebrating in the streets.  I didn’t wake up early enough, but my friend Nathalie took pics of the Buddhist monks arriving very early in the morning to our street, in which alms/ donations for merit were received.
  • I also got to experience another culture here, Brazilian…one of the owners of Manop is Brazilian and has hosted many BBQ’s at his house…the meat is delicious and very flavorful.  It’s been a great way to get to know the other fighters and trainers outside of the gym.

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  • Because I’m on a 3-month tourist visa, I had to do a border run to a neighboring Southeast Asian country to get my visa extended for another 3-months.  This was accomplished by taking a van to do a day-trip to lovely Ranong, Myanmar (the country formerly known as Burma).  When I say lovely, I mean “not so nice” lol.
  • Although I enjoyed my time at Anchan Hotel, I wanted a place more permanent to call “home”.  Thus my friend Sue and I moved into a lovely 3-bedroom house and signed a 1-year lease. It’s fully furnished and looks very modern, Western.  During the rental search I wasn’t looking for anything special, but we definitely lucked out.  My rent is around $400 US plus utilities. Back home this would easily cost me $2-3,000 US.  Yes, the cheap cost of living and better quality of life are two of the main reasons I left behind the US.
  • Since I’m living here long-term I decided to buy a new Honda Click 125cc scooter.  No more renting!  When you break down the numbers, it makes sense.  Plus if I ever decide to move, I can re-coup most of my cost since I’ll get descent money in the used-scooter market.
Buying – 54,000 baht/ $1,700 US (one-time payment)
Renting – 3,000 baht/ $95 US (monthly reoccurring payment)
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  • Spent three and a half weeks in Northern Thailand – Chiang Mai & Chiang Rai.  About an hour plane ride from Phuket.  I had a completely different experience from my first trip there (last year) and was only meant to stay for 1-week, but fell in love with the chilled out vibe, night-markets, restaurants, people and beautiful NATURE – mountains, lakes, waterfalls & quarry’s.  These are probably some of the best-memories of my time here in Thailand so far, as I got back in touch with that feeling of adventure and discovering new things, which is what originally brought me to this country.  It’s definitely one of my favorite places now 🙂
  • Besides sight-seeing and exploring, I also fit in Muay Thai training, mostly at Lanna Kiat Busaba Muay Thai.  I got to train and meet with one of my favorite blog-writers and fighters – Sylvie von Duuglas-Ittu and her site –  It was nice to change up my Muay Thai training routine as I learned new skills and techniques.
  • On the last day there, I went to train with my old trainers from my previous trip.   They finally opened up their own new gym – Hongthong gym. For more info –
I’d recommend both of these gyms to anyone and will post individual reviews as well.
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  • Back in Phuket and back to training at Manop Gym.
  • Started working part-time for my good friend (and new roommate) Nick M. as a project manager for his Facebook app-development company  I met Nick last year during my first trip to Thailand – he is someone I look towards as my idol, mentor and role model in terms of who I aspire to be, both in my professional and personal life.  He’s Aussie but has been living here for almost 2 years.  This opportunity affords me the chance to work from a laptop while living in paradise 🙂
  • My 6-month double-entry visa was going to expire and thus I booked a flight to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for a 3-day trip. As I’m packing, I realize that I was supposed to visit the local Immigration office in Phuket…this was to be done back in June.  I ended up having to pay to a 15,000 baht / $500 US visa overstay fine at the airport 🙁 Chalk it up to “learning” and to the total cost of living in the Land of Smiles, haha.

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  • I celebrated my 34th birthday.  Usually my immediate family would drive down to Hoboken, NJ and take me out for dinner.  With distance, this is no longer possible.  However, I’m blessed enough that my Phuket family threw me a b-day party and was able to spend the day celebrating with all the special people that have since come into my life.
  • Took a 3+ hour drive to Surat Thani to watch one of my trainers, Kru Kongbeng fight at a local festival held at a school where he was the featured main-card.  Only a handful of us from the gym were able to go and we were the only foreigners there…it was very surreal to be in this type of environment, where it had a vibe that was a bit “more authentic”, as opposed to the fights I’ve seen at Bangla Stadium in Patong, that mostly caters to a foreign crowd.  I’m not trying to say the fights in Patong are fake, but rather emphasizing the “off-beaten path” feeling of the experience in Surat Thani.  If you ever get the chance to goto something like this, do it! 🙂  And yes, my trainer won by decision.
  • Nick, Mike, Gerri and myself partied & explored Koh Phi Phi and Railay islands for 3-days .  The ferry ride was about 2 hours from Phuket Town and only cost about 1,100 baht round-trip.  Railay is a stunning island that is peaceful and has plenty of lime-stone rock mountains.  We plan on going back for a longer period so we can actually trek up them and enjoy the views.

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  • Besides Muay Thai, one of the major factors that ultimately influenced my decision to move to Thailand was a desire to simplify my life and be away from all the distractions & trappings that encompass the NYC Rat Race.  This choice was made in hope of giving myself a conducive environment to change not just the outside/ exterior of myself, but more importantly to take a step back & focus on the inside ==> SELF-ACTUALIZATION.  With that said, I’ve had many enjoyable highlight moments during the past 7-months, but August/September has probably been the most important, valuable and somewhat painful time period for me.  This is due to the amount of time I’ve dedicated dealing with underlying issues, as well as cultivating my self-awareness and meditation practice, thus helping me to mentally grow into a stronger, happier and improved version of myself. I’ve gotten a taste for what it feels like to be “at peace” with things and to have stillness of the mind.
Here are a few of the resources I’ve used to help me along this path (I will definitely be writing a more comprehensive piece on this topic)
A few of the books I’ve read:
  1. The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
  2. The Way of the Superior Man: A Spiritual Guide to Mastering the Challenges of Women, Work, and Sexual Desire by David Deida

If you can, get a tablet reader…I bought one in July and it has made it easier to read whenever/ where ever I am, truly enhancing my productivity.  Also, for traveling, it’s the perfect size/ weight.  Surprisingly it’s cheaper to buy in the US than Thailand (luckily a friend packed it in her suitcase).  The model I have is the 8.9 inch Amazon Kindle 2 Fire HD.  If you decide to get one, please use this link as I’ll get a tiny commission.  No BS, this model has my endorsement…or you can wait a few months for the new version of Kindle to come out between October – November.

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And here’s a Q & A section, haha.

Am I home-sick?
No 🙂  Do I miss my friends and family, obviously yes…but I know I will see them eventually.  Some people go on vacation for 2 weeks and complain about how they miss sleeping in their own bed or the smell of dirty Jerz air pollution.  To be honest, I don’t have any feelings of home-sickness at all.  However, good pizza, toasted bagels with cream-cheese and cold imported beers are on top of my “what do you miss most about the US” list.
So when will the next time I go home to visit?
Originally I was planning on going home to visit for Thanksgiving and Christmas…but now my rents and youngest brother are flying here to visit me in November.  It’s a long-ass flight (26 – 30 hours) to the States and a bit of a wasted trip if I were to do it right after they come here to visit.  Instead, I recently found out that my younger middle-brother is getting married next June, 2014 so that is when I will return (temporarily).  By that time next year, it will be about 16-17 months of total time living in Thailand.  I plan on spending at-least a month seeing friends and family all over the US. My cousin Sarah (out in Colorado) had baby-twins just as I left for Asia.  The month of August brought news of babies being born to one of my best friends from college, Brendan and my other cousin, Michelle.  Can’t wait to meet them.
So what’s next?
  • This month I enroll in a Thai language school.  I really want to be able to have a full conversation with the local Thai’s here.  Private classes cost about 29,000 baht for 200 hours and will give me an educational visa…meaning no more visa runs.
  • Hopefully I have my first fight in the next few months.
  • I’ve already started thinking about which places to visit next – possibly 3-4 months back-packing in South America, as well as living for a few months in Spain and maybe some other European countries.  But these won’t happen til next year and Thailand will remain my “base” country to come home to afterwards.
I will leave you with an article and Youtube video for some knowledge and inspiration, enjoy.
Thanks for taking the time to read this.  Please leave any comments or questions you’d like to ask.  I always enjoy feedback from family, friends and Internet strangers 🙂

Training at Lion Muay Thai Gym Phuket (review) – Week 3 – Feb.18 – 24, 2013

By | Muay Thai Training in Phuket | One Comment

Mon. Feb. 18, 2013

  • Again had trouble falling asleep last night and didn’t pass out til 5am-ish 🙁 Still got up around 10:45am. Had a 100 calorie yogurt then went with Nick to run up the windmills at Nai Harn beach…did a 15-20 min walk up, then 4-5 sprints with dips, pushups and sit-ups near the top.  My right knee is feeling better so that’s def a good thing as I can push a little bit harder in my training.  After we went to Nikita’s restaurant right on the beach in Rawai…had a delicious burger with cheese, bacon and fried egg on top. The view was nice as well 🙂 I planned on training at Lion Gym for Muay Thai, but being that it’s after 2pm and I’m about to pass out from lunch, I’m going to skip today (yes, I know sooo lazy!)
  • After an hour and half nap back in my air-conned room, I motivated myself to do the Buddha walk again…however, today I wanted to mix in a bit of jogging, especially the steep parts, then power-walk the flat parts.  About 1/3 the way down, I walked backwards because my knees were starting to hurt from the incline.  This worked out a lot better and puts less stress on your knees, highly recommend it.   For dinner, I drove to the top of the mountain to eat a local resto up there.  After was a Magnum ice-cream bar, my favorite here :).


Tues. Feb. 19, 2013

  • I usually don’t burn easy, if ever.  However, the sun out here is much stronger…I’ve been using SPF-55 which is surprising b/c normally I stick to SPF-15 or 30.  Every part of my body has peeled (shoulders, neck, chest, arms and even my upper-quads!).  However, the most painful is what I’m currently experiencing, my lips!  They are white and cracked/chapped…they’re so burnt that they formed blisters then cracked open…eating the spicy Thai food out here is torturous.  After googling solutions to help, there’s not much relief…the first step is DON’T GET BURNT IN THE FIRST PLACE STUPID! lol…So here’s some advice, pickup the Blistex SPF30 (it’s blue) chapstick at the local pharmacies here…it’s around 100 baht ($3 US) and will save you from this pain.  I brought regular Cherry Chapstick w/ SPF5 and obviously it didn’t do jack.
  • Did a back workout @ Chalong gym and got a 1 month membership. Since I know the owners, they gave me the discounted rate of 1000 baht/month which is around $30 US.
  • Did guided meditation.

Lion Muay Thai training session #1 (4pm – 6:30pm)

  • Cost 300 baht
  • Class size not too big, about 15 people
  • The trainers recognized my  Sitmonchai shorts b/c of Thamaka (one of the trainers was from this small town) and Pornsaneh…then called me Saenchai! lol
  • Skipped rope for 15 min…my calves were def tired and sore after this. Maybe that jog/walk up to the Big Buddha yesterday wasn’t a good idea! lol
  • Group stretches
  • Hand wrapped by trainer
  • 2 rounds of shadow box
  • 5 rounds on bags
  • 5 rounds on pads w/ Kru Mario  – Did 1-2, elbow combos, lots of front teeps, lean-back then right elbow. Kick then check.  Left-knee, then right elbow.  Also had me do quick switches w/ my stance then left kick or right kick.
  • Somewhere between the 2nd and 3rd round, I had a moment where I asked myself: do I enjoy this?!!  I’m gassed and fatigued already.  This heat is killing me and my body is tired.  Just trying to breath and get oxygen into my lungs and chest during breaks was a task in & of itself…and I got 2 -3 more rounds of this?!  But before you knew it, the 4th round was done and that’s when I decided to finish off the 5th round with everything I got.
  • Clinched with an fighter from Australia – Hayden…I recognized him from Bangla fight promo poster.
  • Then did neck-weights…since I’ve never done neck exercises or clinched much, I need to strengthen this part of my body.  There’s a harness for your head with a chain on it and you loop it through the kettle-ball or weight-plate.  I did a set with 12kg and my head felt like it was going to pop-off.
  • We then finished off with group cool-down stretches.  Then a 100 sit-ups.  I did 300 and a few other ab exercises.  I stuck around to do 100 knees on the heavy-bag myself.  Last thing I did was the neck-harness again with a 7kg plate.  When it was all said and done, it was around 6:26pm.


Wed. Feb.20, 2013

  • Went to get haircut…found a place that ended up charging me 300 baht which is kinda pricey.  The guy couldn’t even give me a proper fade! Def not going back.
  • Did guided youtube meditation tutorials.

Lion Muay Thai training session #2

  • Class not too big, about 10-15 people.
  • Jump rope for 15 min – again calves tired by end
  • Group stretches
  • 2 rounds of shadowbox
  • 1 round on bag
  • 4 rounds of sparring w/ Yan, probably only 12 – 14 yrs old.  Kid was fast and I had to do a lot of defending.  Got caught w/ kicks multiple times.
  • 5 rounds on pads w/ Kru Mario – same combos as yesterday…also worked on hook.
  • 2 rounds of clinching with a German girl, Freida…she’s a fighter and recognized her from Lion’s website.  She helped me with keeping straight up, neck/back strong, strong base.  I need to keep chin in, stand straight up and keep core tight/ flexed to prevent from being thrown around.  If there’s one thing in my Muay Thai game that needs t he most improvement, it would have to be my clinching.  Back home in NYC, I only got to attend the basic MT class and this was just conditioning and pad work….no clinching as you can only fit so much into 1 hour.  My neck is really sore.
  • Finished off with 100 teeps on bag, 100 knees on bag, then 300 situps. Did my own cool-down stretching.  Then neck harness lifts w/ 7kg weight.
  • Calves are sore again so will take off til Monday.  Just do weights and cardio Thurs/ Fri.
  • After dinner at JaJas, went to Maria’s for an hour-long Thai oil massage, 300 baht. What a hard-life, lol.


Thurs. Feb.21, 2013

  • The first two weeks here I was feeling a bit depressed and had some anxiety.  The reason is b/c I haven’t been able to get much Muay Thai training in.  I made a drastic life change by uprooting myself in the US to pursue my passion here in Thailand.  But for some reason, I felt like I’ve been unproductive in terms of training and beating myself up for it.  However, I’ve been getting back to my meditation practice and came to the realization that I still need to take it easy, adjust to the time-zone, the weather, the food and just settle into my new home.  No need to rush things…sabai-sabai 🙂
  • Chalong gym – chest workout
  • Had lunch at a local restaurant near Nai Harn beach…it has awesome BBQ food.  Had chicken salad, sticky rice and grilled pork.
  • Did guided meditation –
  • After went to Big Buddha.  Today I only had the intention of jogging up the beginning part of the walk up, meaning just the steep parts then walk back down.  This should only take about 20 min going up as I timed it on Monday.  Don’t be fooled – although 20min doesn’t seem like a lot, this is def the hardest part of the 6km up.


Fri. Feb.22, 2013

  • Skyped w/ the rents for the first time. We kept missing each other due to the time difference.
  • Meditated with youtube – Jon Kabat Zinn Guided Meditation Lifescape (Everyday Life)
  • Went to Chalong gym – Shoulder workout, stretched, abs
  • I love living in Phuket because of the beachy-laid-back lifestyle..Most of the time, I’m walking around in a bathing suit, no shirt, no socks, no sneakers, just flip-flops 🙂 But it gets hot!
  • Drove down to Nai Harn again for lunch. Ate papaya salad w/ rice noodles, pork or chicken dish in a spicy curry with rice.
  • After went food shopping at Tesco – picked up iced coffee, yogurt, chocolate and tissues, 330 baht/ $11 US
  • Bought new Honda helmet for 380 baht, around $12-14 US.
  • Had dinner w/ Nick & Natcha at local spot.  Lab Moo and fried shrooms are my favorite dishes from the northern style cuisine.


Sat. Feb. 23, 2013

  • Was planning on taking off but trained at Phuket Top Team w/ Mike.
  • Did 15 min of skipping rope.
  • Stretched.
  • Shadow boxed for 2 rounds.
  • 3-4 rounds w/ Kru Neung again.
  • I think I’m finally getting my kick right…Kru Robert showed me I don’t have to start swing leg so wide…instead it’s a kicking up motion with a twist of the hip.
  • During pads, although my kicks weren’t as powerful, technique-wise they were much better.
  • This humidity also doesn’t make it easy for me to breath.  I feel like i have no power or endurance during my pad-work.  Totally gassed.
  • After 3 weeks of tough-training (the most I’ve done in months!), I think I’ll take next week off before checking out a 3rd gym here, Manop.
  • Also googled some Yoga studios so maybe do that instead.
  • Did 1 round on of kicks on wide-pad, 2 rounds on regular bag.
  • Did drill w/ Mike that involved leg checks, moving backwards/fwds.
  • After, we had to do slave-manual labor – moving one of the bamboo huts.  The funny part is the Thai guy who lived there had a black t-shirt in yellow writing that said “f*ck every thing” lol…i doubt he could read English or really speak it and prob had no idea what an offensive shirt he had on, lol…imagine walking around NYC w/ one, you’d def get dirty looks, lol.
  • Did our own cool down stretches and abs w/ mike.
  • Showered, meditated then went to Tiger Muay Thai BBQ Beatdown dinner party…for 600 baht, it’s a pretty good deal…all you can eat Thai food and free drinks and alcohol for 4 hours…plus free MT and MMA fights.
  • Went to Patong with Kim and his family afterwards.  They invited me to check out Koh Phi-Phi island next week.


Sun. Feb.24, 2013

  • Slept til 2:30pm…ate lunch, then it rained…rained some more…napped.  Laid in bed and read some E-books.
  • Bought Koh Phi-Phi tix from Tony’s resto, 700 baht round-trip (open tix).
  • Did mindscape meditation, then packed since I had to leave early Monday AM.

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Muay Thai Training Begins at Phuket Top Team – Week 2 – Feb.11 – 17, 2013

By | Muay Thai Training in Phuket | No Comments

Mon. Feb. 11, 2013

  • Nick & I took Jersey and Mary on a tour of the island stopping at Nai Harn, Patong and Karon beaches.  BTW, if you don’t know what Patong is, look it up on Youtube for some “cultural education” lol…it’s basically an adult Disneyland.   The place is so much tamer during the day-time then at night-time.
  • I had planned on going to Muay Thai training today, but being out in the sun just drains your energy.  When we got back to the hotel, I passed out for about half an hour by the pool.  When I woke up, I felt guilty and drove down the road to Phuket Top Team to observe about 40 minutes of class and just talk to some people.  During my last trip here,  I trained there and did a few private sessions as well.
  • Did my first 20 minute meditation at night.  🙂 It was a guided video on Youtube that Nick sent over.  The last time I did meditation was months ago, probably October or November.  This was one of the skills I wanted to practice while here in Thailand.  I still had a bit of anxiety/ NYC in me and just trying to adjust to my new lifestyle, ie. taking it down a notch…so figured it’d be a good-time to start getting into a routine of daily practice.


Tues. Feb.12, 2013

  • My firm disabled my US sim card so finally went with Nick and picked up a Thai sim card/ phone number.  He suggested the phone carrier AIS for dependability and quality so went with that one.  It costs 100 baht for the card and 200 baht for minutes (not sure how many that equals too).  Also exchanged some US currency that I had brought over (look for a small booth with “Currency Exchange” sign and a window with lady inside it).  Both of these places are right across from Tiger Muay Thai, next to each other.
  • Today was the big-day I start up Muay Thai training so went to the front office Phuket Top Team and paid 300 baht for the afternoon session.  Also picked up a fancy new Fairtex duffle bag.  I had meant to buy one last time but I found it hard to find Fairtex equipment after I left Phuket.  The bag was 1700 baht which is reasonable, about $56 US.
  • When I came back around 5pm for my training session, the class had already begun…WTF!!!  The front office guy I paid earlier was there and said he was looking for me.  Apparently the schedule changes daily – 4pm-6pm on Tues/ Thurs/Sat and 5pm-7pm on Mon/Wed/Fri….ARGH!!! I was a bit frustrated, but as in Thailand, you have to learn to just sit back and not stress out about it – or as the Thai’s say:  mai pen rai.  This attitude is one of the things I learned during my first trip out here – to have patience and not lose my temper so easy.  It’s also one of the reasons for returning 🙂  In Thai culture, it’s frowned upon to raise your voice in anger at someone or to disrupt social harmony…”losing face” which is big in Chinese culture also has it’s place in Thai culture as well.  Check out this link for a quick explanation on Thai values –
  • Drove to Chalong gym instead and did a back workout.
  • Later that night went out for Indian food with Mike, Suhaila, Nick and Natcha…had my favorite dishes – chicken tikka masala, garlic naan and samosas 🙂


Wed. Feb.13, 2013

  • Went to Tesco to pickup my staples – Thai chocolates, iced-coffee in a can and yogurt.
  • Picked up lunch from fried chicken cart and found my favorite food cart – FRIED BANANAS!
  • Did meditation video again.
  • Trained at Phuket Top Team (finally!)

Phuket Top Team Training Session #1 (5pm – 7pm)

  • Got there early for my own stretching.
  • The trainers remembered me from last time…but this time they called me Saenchai (a very well known Muay Thai legend that currently competes), lol.  This is not the first time it’s happened.  Here are some pics:
  • Jump roped for 15-20 min…was really hot but still bearable.  About 5 min into it, the time-keeper yells 15 MORE MIN!!!! WTF I thought, lol.
  • Made it to the end and was surprised at my stamina and endurance.
  • Group stretching/ warm-up exercises.
  • Jump in place, box in place, teeps, knees, leg blocks, shadowbox in circle, carried partner on back (some guy from Cali who was about 200 lbs. !)
  • Hand wrapped by trainer
  • Shadowbox with Kru Neung (from Isan and he knows Kru Lucky, my favorite trainer from last trip but no longer there since he went home).
  • 3 rounds on pads in ring with Kru Neung…told him it was my first day so we went slow and went over lots of technique which was perfect.
  • Jab, cross, left elbow, then step right and do right elbow.
  • Right leg check, step back away from kick, then right kick
  • Worked on knees….for right knee, left hand up to block, but right hand down.
  • On left switch knee, I need to have left knee land in same spot (lead leg position) that way I can right kick if I want to.
  • On left switch kick, I do a quick foot switch then kick with left.
  • Worked on combo incorporating all the moves mentioned above.
  • I really liked Kru Neung because he stressed technique rather than trying to get me outta breath.  That’s one of my training goals here, to get proper form in everything I do.  He also spoke good English.
  • After 3 rounds, I did 3 rounds on the bag with pushups in between.
  • After was 3 rounds of clinching…worked with a big Aussie Ralph, then German guy Chris.  Then another German. My neck was sooo sore.
  • 200 knees on bag
  • Ab exercises
  • I’ve never seen this in Thailand, but one of the guys training had one of the kru’s kick him 10x’s in the ribs on the right-side…then again on the left-side.  The dude didn’t look happy…but then I gave it try to see how bad it was.  Let me just say it was definitely painful! lol
  • Cool down stretches and just hung around to talk to other people.
  • The crowd training tonight (about 20-25 people) was  a diverse one with  beginner and intermediate people.  It was a good way for me to transition back into training since I’m just getting over my torn MCL.  Plus I’m familiar with the gym/ trainers so a bit more comfortable with the environment.
  • I felt really good after class…wasn’t totally wiped out like previous classes/ training I’ve done…nothing was sore or hurting. 🙂


Thurs. Feb.14, 2013

  • I tried to goto sleep early Wednesday night so I could do the 7:15am fighters run at Phuket Top Team but couldn’t fall asleep..maybe because I was anxious to train again.  Didn’t sleep much so passed on the morning training session.
  • Instead went to the beach with a girl who’s training at PTT.  I suffered my first injury by banging my ankle and foot on the rocks at the bottom of ocean…it’s already bleeding. Ehhhh…be careful of Ya Nui beach.
  • Before training, had to stop by the pharmacy to pickup bandage tape to wrap up both of my big toes…they got blisters already.  Usually the blue carpets gives this to me.

Phuket Top Team Training Session #2 (4-6pm)

  • The hour difference in start time (4pm vs 5pm) made it a lot hotter to train in and was definitely noticeable.
  • Did 15-20 min of jump rope.
  • Group exercises: jog in  circle, side step, stretches
  • Hand-wrapped by trainers
  • Shadow box – on knees, push hip forward more. Worked on over-hand right cross with Kru Robert Lek.
  • 3 rounds of bag work – first round did kicks on wide bag, 2nd round uppercut, hook wall mount, 3rd round on egg-shaped bag.
  • 4 rounds of pads with Kru Neung
  • Worked on same combos as yesterday..however, today we really worked on balance and foot work. After jab, cross, left elbow, right elbow, I need to get my right leg back to starting point after the right-step.  Otherwise I can’t counter kick or knee.
  • On switch knee, I need to land my left knee into the same starting position, which is leading.
  • Same thing with switch kick.
  • We also did 10 kicks on each side.
  • Was outta breath and cramped up a few times.
  • 3 rounds of sparring. We put on shin guards, gloves and mouth guard (first time using my new shock doctor one).  Previously, I’ve only sparred with Thai’s who are more technique orientated and only go about 50 % power…and everything is slowed down so we can work on proper form.
  • However, today I sparred with 3 foreigners…first was Nicholas from Sweden…at first it was really light…then he stopped and told me to punch him in the chin….he said “see, no hurt”…then he had me teep him in the belly and same thing…Then I asked him to do the same to me…Revelation #1 – wow, it really doesn’t hurt that bad!  So now we went a little bit harder in sparring…I wasn’t that scarred to get hit 🙂
  • Next round was Cooper…not sure where he was from.
  • Last was a big Aussie, Phil….he definitely had height, reach and size advantage.  Whenever our jabs met, I could feel his power.  I tried to work on my foot work and dodge him…also threw in teeps, jabs to keep him at distance.  I was able to do some fake kicks then work a cross or jab at him…that caught him a few times.  He got me with a couple of kicks I didn’t check and got caught on the outside of my quad…even with shinguards, that sh1t hurt! lol  The round seemed longest…when it was over, I felt really good about the 3 sparring sessions..that was definitely the hardest and most realistic fighting I’ve done and didn’t get totally dominated either..these guys all had more experience than me.
  • Next up was 30 kicks on each side of a heavy bag with a partner…I partnered up with Nicholas…he threw a right kick, then I a left one…then we started again…all the way up to 30 with the kru counting.  I wanted to puke after this!!!
  • After, we got in line for the other bag to do the alternate side. Again, wanted to puke after…But Nicholas said I threw good kicks with power, so was happy…other people I watched were pretty gassed and just throw up light-kicks with not much force.
  • The last part was sit-ups in the ring…after I chugged a 3rd bottle of water….damn this weather is no joke!!! 90+ degrees.


  • My calves and rest of my legs are pretty sore, along with my abs…just breathing out hurts.  My right ankle that I banged on the ocean rock is swollen now.  Definitely taking off on Friday, maybe just weight training at Chalong gym and the Buddha walk.  Saturday I might do an AM session so I can take my friend Mary before she leaves for Chiang Mai…she’s from NYC and never tried Muay Thai before.
  • It was Valentine’s day, but Nick and Natcha insisted Mary and myself accompany them to dinner…glad we did, because we went to a local Isan place towards Central mall.  After we went to Wine Connection (a Western styled resto) for drinks and desert.


Fri. Feb.15, 2013

  • Chalong gym – shoulders workout
  • Meditation video
  • Did the Buddha walk
  • Went out to Old Phuket town for dinner to Tung Ka Cafe Restaurant, which is atop a mountain and has a beautiful view of the city.  Definitely recommend it to anyone visiting.  The food was really good and surprisingly reasonably priced.  After had a few drinks at a HiSo bar.


Sat. Feb.16, 2013

  • Didn’t sleep well..tired and have heart palpitations
  • Did meditation video.
  • Drove down to Wat Luang Pu Supha.  This was the first temple I ever got to see in Thailand last year.  It’s in a remote area and very quit, very peaceful.  Across the street monks live there and you can hear them chanting, praying and bang on the bells.  Here’s a video After, I found a dirt road in the back and decided to do some exploring.  The area that was cleared out was huge and looked like an excavation site for dinosaur fossils or something.  Found elephants roaming around. Video
  • Later that night, went to Phuket Top Team BBQ.  Had dinner and checked out the live band there.  People were going to Patong afterwards but I didn’t feel like having a crazy/ boozey night so instead went to check out Wat Chalong for the annual Chinese New Year festival.  On the way there, I saw fireworks.  It was a carnival / night-market atmosphere with rides, games, shopping, food and live music.  Tons of people too.  I tried was a bit adventurous and tried some new dishes from the food carts.  The fish ones I didn’t care for as they were way to salty for my liking.  Here’s a video I shot of the festival


Sun. Feb.17, 2013

  • Had a late lunch with Nick & Natcha in Old Phuket town.  Stopped off at some small spot for spring rolls.   Then went to a noodle house (Me Ton Poe) Nick found on a blog.  Good cheap food, but service was really slow.
  • After went to a coffee-bike shop across from the night markets..came home and took a quick nap.
  • Then off to a view point near Kata beach and the tidal-surf pool.  The line was too long so Nick just skipped it this time. I’d like to try it but abstaining since I don’t want to risk any injuries that may prevent me from training/ fighting.
  • On the way home, we ate dinner at a little side outside restaurant that was setup in the parking lot.  The kitchen was a small booth/ cart and the tables/ chairs were setup outside.  For 200 baht each, we had enjoyed a delicious Sunday night dinner 🙂  BTW, check out the “facebook” sign they had, lol.

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Day 1 & 2 (May 27th – 28th) – Surviving the plane trip and my first day of Muay Thai training…

By | Muay Thai Training in Phuket | 10 Comments

The “adventure” getting from JFK to Phuket was long & strenuous.  On the 1st leg, 12 hours to Doha, Qatar, I watched the Hangover II and caught some shuteye (Benadryl, melatonin and free Chilean vino, ha).  When I landed and went through airport security, that’s when it hit me that I’m far, far away from the states.  Lots of people in traditional “middle-eastern” clothes…we also flew over Baghdad and other places that I only saw on the nightly news during the war coverage.   On the 2nd flight to Bangkok, I sat next to 2 Brits (Jigs & Amit) who were going to Koh Samui for a 2 week bachelor party.  I might meet up with them for the Full Moon party, we’ll see.  Before boarding, myself and few other people behind me got pulled aside by Thai security and wanted to check my suitcase…the stories from “Brokedown Palace” began to flash in my head, greaat!  I told them I was here by myself, from NY and Nak Muay (Muay Thai fighter)…after they saw my gloves, they apologized and let me go.  Since Muay Thai is their national sport, I guess they have a bit more respect for people who travel all the way here to learn their ancient sport. The 3rd flight to Phuket was an easy one, just an hour.  A cab drove me for about 40 minutes to my hotel…it took a bit longer than it should have because he couldn’t find the place…the streets don’t really have signs…After about 25 hours total travel time, I arrived, about 1:30pm local time…but no one was there to check me in.  So a guy (Dave) staying there gave me the manager’s cell number…called her but couldn’t tell if it was her. Luckily another guy Mike, who actually blogs was there and called again but spoke Thai this time…she came (Tanja) about 15 min later and got me sorted out.  Took a much needed shower, unpacked a bit then decided to take a nap….well I never heard my alarm clock and woke up around 10:30pm because I had hives up and down my body….insanely itching.    Don’t know if it was from the mosquito lotion I used, the water from the shower or the diesel bug-bite that was on my face. Popped a Benadryl and luckily it knocked me out about an hour later.

So this morning I got up around 5ish because 1 – the loons were wilding out 2 – the mini-monsoon was raining hard and decided to knock down a huge branch in front of my room (video).  I still laid in bed and just checked emails.  After having breakfast down the road, I walked around the area a bit.  Chalong seems a bit quiet and has lots of vegetation.  Definately feels rural.  Went to visit a wat (temple) down the road.  Then took my first training session at Phuket Top Team .  I was a bit apprehensive because it went from 5 – 7pm…normal sessions back in NYC are 1 hour, and half the time your holding the pad for your partner.  Started off with jump-rope, jumping on a tire, group jogging, sit-ups, stretching and shadow-boxing…then came the fun, pad work for 2 or 3 rounds.  Got to work with Kru (trainer) Cho, Lucky and Salem.  They helped a lot with my technique.  This was followed by a few rounds of bag work.  Then I got to spar for the 1st time with this young Thai boy, Tim…probably only 11 – 14 yrs old.  He helped with my kick and punch defenses.  About 2 rounds with him.  Next was clinching, for the 1st time as well.  Kru Lucky tossed my ass around a bit, falling to the mat a few times, lol..we also used knees to mix it up.  Then I did a minute with Salem where he basically kept me in a headlock and I had to try to escape “the clinch”.  The “warm-down” was group drills…20 leg kicks on a heavy bag, sit-ups in a small circle where everyone had their legs intertwined and hands locked…and then squatting and jumping-forward in that position, while everyone was in a line with arms locked together.  Last came stretching where everyone counted off a different stretch.  At the end, everyone bow-wei’d (hands together and bowing) and shook hands.  Someone wanted a picture so the trainers and everyone else all got in front of the ring and we posed.  Some of the stuff reminded me of “pledging” lol, but the gym really does have a small family feel to it and I def see why people bond here.  The guys (some were fighters) in the class were really friendly and invited me out to dinner afterwards.  Some were from the UK, Switzerland, Serbia and Florida.  I’m pretty shot right now so going to pass out.  We ate at a place down the road called Tony’s, named after the owner…he walks around with his belly out and shirt slightly upward so you can see it, lol. Quite a character.  On the big-screen, they had UFC 145 Dos Santos vs Mir playing…this was odd since the event already happened Saturday on Pay Per View (unfortunately missed it since I was on the plane).  After it was done, some guy unhooked his laptop from the TV, so he was playing a recorded bootleg copy, lol.  Nothing surprises me, but was happy to catch the fight anyways.  I had a chicken & rice dish for 130 baht total, which is about  $4 US (forgot to take a pic).  Exhausted, going to go pass out now.

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