These were a couple of blog posts written upon first arriving in Ko Samui, just getting around to posting them now:
10/4/12 Arrival in Koh Samui:
After a brutal schedule of flying and sitting in airports I arrived at the Koh Samui airport at 7:00 am, exhausted and excited to be here. The flight in was stunningly beautiful with views of the ocean, beaches, mountains, and jungle serving as a backdrop to the man-made attractions visible from the plane, including the Big Buddha at Wat Phra Yai. The airport is essentially a landing strip with a tiny open-air terminal with a single conveyor belt at the baggage claim. The drive to Jun Muay Thai is harrowing, following narrow winding roads through crowded streets congested with cars and motor scooters. We finally turn from the treacherous main highway onto a more palatable country road which is home to Jun Muay Thai. It is approximately 7:30 when I arrive. Jun, the owner and head trainer, comes to greet me and get me established in my apartment, which far exceeds my expectations in terms of space, cleanliness, and quality. I spend the day getting acclimated to my new surroundings, buying groceries and essentials such as towels, water, etc., and trying not to get run over.
10/5/12: First Day Training
7:20 am I arrive at Jun’s for my first session training. He begins by sending me on a run that seems to be about 2.5-3 miles, winding along a secluded road that is at times quite scenic, before depositing me on the same highway I had dreaded the day before. Fortunately, motorists seem to be used to the farangs running down the highway and manage to coexist with us. After the approximately 20 minute run Jun has us skip rope for about 15 minutes, followed by 5 to 10 minutes of stretching.
At 8:00 shadowboxing begins with each trainer giving students individual attention. Immediately, Jun is reconfiguring my stance, tweaking my technique, and correcting my misconceptions of Muay Thai. Shadow boxing lasts another 15 minutes before the real workout begins. A quick ab warmup consists of a set of sit ups during which the trainers come around and give you a significant blow to the stomach as you do your sit ups.
Finally, it is time to get wrapped and start the bag rounds. Rounds last 3 minutes with the final 30 seconds dedicated to blitzing the bag either with straight knees or straight punches. There is a 1 minute rest between rounds with a mandatory set of push ups cutting into the recovery time. Trainers continue to give personal attention to students as they work the bags, correcting technique and emphasizing timing, balance, flow, and the application of all of the attacks at one’s disposal.
After about 5 sets on the heavy bag it is time to do sets on the tires, which are ideal for working on boxing technique and combinations. The tires are responsive to punches and are almost akin to the double-ended bag familiar in boxing gyms. 5 rounds later it is time to work on the pads.
By this time I’m completely exhausted, my technique has slipped, and my power is gone. My trainer incessantly corrects my stance, hand positioning, kicking and knee technique, often slipping away as I attack to demonstrate how poor my balance is. After 3 rounds the conditioning part of the training is about to begin: 100 straight alternating knees, 100 alternating push kicks, 50 left kicks, and 50 right kicks. The session finally concludes with 10 pull ups, 10 push ups, and 50 sit ups.