First thing first: Muay Thai! I finally was able to sneak my first authentic Muay Thai session in Thailand and it did not disappoint. There was a local gym right next to my dorm, so due to convenience and the price (it was significantly cheaper than anywhere else I looked at), I decided to try it out. I think most of you saw my Facebook post, but I will recap on my session. First off, I was the only woman, let alone farang (foreigner in Thai) in a gym full of short, muscle-bound Thais. I’m sure all the Thais in there were confused as to why this little white girl was in there, but I was determined to get my session in. Next, my trainer. He knew basically no English except for your traditional Muay Thai terms, such as punch, kick, knee, elbow, and naturally fuck up rib. He seemed really dense at first, but once we started working and throwing combinations, he got a huge smile and started laughing every time I hit a combination. He yelled things in Thai to his friends (I didn’t know what the hell was going on but hopefully good things!) and finally gave me a big grin and thumbs up! When we finished our session, they tried to talk me into working at the gym to teach the trainers English in exchange for Muay Thai lessons, but Fulbright has me under lock and key for now. I do have the opportunity to do an internship for the month of March, so maybe this will be an option!
Unfotunately I didn’t get any pictures of me doing Muay Thai, but here’s a picture of my leg the next day. The Thais don’t believe in shin pads, something I usually wear at home, so I’ve gotta toughen my shins up the next eleven months!
One day, we only had four students, who all showed up late. Two of the young girls walked with huge scratches and burns on their arms. Apparently they had gotten into a motorcycle accident when they were on their way to school. When we asked if they wanted to leave or take it easy, they said “No teacher! I’m okay! I want to learn, I’m here.” I couldn’t believe these young girls were that determined to learn. At the end of the week, the students bought us flowers with their own money, something they were not obligated to do. Teachers are treated with such a high degree of respect here and I feel like the last few days of teaching really showed me why I wanted to become a teacher in the first place.