In just over a week I will be jumping on a plane to fly out to Thailand and train at Sinbi Muay Thai camp which I consider to be my second home outside of the UK.
I first went to train in Thailand in Nov 2011 and had to do some quite extensive online research to decide which camp to train at. There were a few that I looked at, and I eventually narrowed it down to Sinbi, Tiger Muay Thai and Rawai Muay Thai. In the end I decided to choose Sinbi because it had great reviews and they had a large number of students who continuously go back there to train. But the one thing that really stood out for me is that at the time, one of the best Muay Thai fighters in the world, Saenchai, was fighting out of Sinbi. That was it, I had to go there!
I didn’t quite know what to expect when I travelled to Thailand. I went with a good friend of mine, Daz, who had already been training out there at another camp and he loved it. So, it was off to Sinbi we went. The first day I was actually feeling really nervous. It felt like being the new kids at school, I wondered what the level of the other students would be like, would they be nice? Or would they bully me and steal my packed lunch, what would the trainers be like? Would they beat you up if you weren’t any good? All kinds of things were running through my mind. I needn’t have worried at all because Sinbi is such a friendly camp and the trainers are amazing. Sing the owner of Sinbi who also teaches, makes everyone feel welcome and you become one of the Sinbi family. I felt at home right away.
What I hadn’t counted on training in Thailand was skipping barefoot with the Thai ropes. To start with it was hell on earth. My calves and my arms ached the first few days, I would look up at the clock and pray for the time to go quickly. Everyone would be skipping in silence and then you would hear someone miss a jump, smash their toes on the thick plastic rope and utter ‘Shiiiiit… OUCH… Shit’ a few times. Who was that person? Yes, it was me. By the end of my first week my toes were bruised black and blue where I had been catching my toes on the ropes. I had to man up fast.
The three weeks I spent training at Sinbi absolutely flew past. In addition to the classes I also had some private lessons with Mr F and Bao V. They were incredibly patient with me and I learnt a lot, those lessons were invaluable. Practically everything I had been taught before arriving in Thailand literally got untaught and I had to start from scratch. It’s a very humbling experience and one that I was extremely grateful for because to learn Muay Thai from trainers of that calibre is for me such an honourable and memorable experience. By the third week I was beginning to pick everything up and learn how Muay Thai was done in its native home.
One morning as I was getting into the ring to get ready for my pad work I was confronted by a massive praying mantis on the ropes who looked like an alien who would eat your face off. I let out the biggest blood curdling scream ever, much to the amusement of everyone. One of the trainers flicked it off the rope like it was a little bug, my heart rate had sky rocketed without even doing anything yet! There were many highlights I encountered during my trip to Sinbi. Not only was I getting the best Muay Thai training possible by top Thai trainers who each had extremely enviable fight careers, but also getting to meet Saenchai, he is one of my favourite fighters.
Infact, not only did I get a chance to meet him, but he was living in the apartment next to mine – for 3 weeks I was his neighbour! The first time Daz and I bumped into Saenchai was in the local Tesco, we actually stalked him a little because we were so in awe of him (sorry Saenchai). As he was looking at magazines I was trying to look inconspicuous peering at him from behind the bread shelf whilst looking at Daz and mouthing “OMG, it’s Saenchai!” There was also a little cat that I think belonged to his family that took a huge shine to me and every day she would come along to my porch and miaow waiting for me to come out so I could play with her. If she was Saenchai’s cat then she wasn’t very loyal (well, to be fair cats usually aren’t and I had a never ending supply of tuna for her) and so for 3 glorious weeks to that cat I was Rosie no. 1.
I loved my time at Sinbi so much that fast forward a year and I have been busy training for my second trip out to Thailand. To help me prepare for my trip I have increased my running distances, increased my skipping (I actually can’t use a normal rope now and prefer to use the Thai rope), upped my sparring, been lifting more weights and still do my regular boxing and Muay Thai sessions. I am absolutely shattered as I write this, but I know the hard work I put in now will pay off when I’m in Thailand. If you’re going to train at a camp with top trainers and dedicated students the least you can do is make sure you’re fit enough to keep up with the level they teach at. It will also help you get the most out of your stay there.
This time I won’t put pressure on myself to try and train twice a day every day because I suffered from really bad insomnia and was only getting 1 – 3 hrs sleep a night and felt absolutely exhausted most days. The local chemists were beginning to recognise me as I would go in and ask for all the herbal sleeping remedies they had, but they still didn’t help much. If you’ve ever wondered what a zombie would look like practising Muay Thai you only had to watch me, except I was too tired to go round chasing people and try to eat their brains. I’m going to see how I feel when I get there and train as often as I can. Whilst making sure I also have time to sneak off to the beach for a Thai massage and some coconut water out of a fresh coconut.
I only have 8 more sleeps to go and as the days get nearer my excitement levels rise. I can’t wait to turn up at Sinbi camp and say to them ‘Hi, I’m home!’ 🙂
If you want to find out more about training at Sinbi Muay Thai you can go to www.sinbi-muaythai.com