As the taxi pulled in at Rawai Muay Thai butterfly’s filled my belly as I realised that all the talk was about to become reality. We had made no booking (not sure if this was due to lack of commitment & being terrified of actually doing this) but it did not matter. The girls in the office had us sorted in no time. There are many accommodation options at Rawai so you will never be stranded. We had decided on a deluxe bungalow – if we were about to experience the most intense week of our life we deserve a bit of luxury to retreat to…right?!
Rawai Muay Thai Camp
The bungalow was equipped with flushing toilet (a luxury for us compared to everywhere else our budget has allowed us to stay), t.v with a few english channel’s, air-conditioning and fridge. We were set! Next stop, Muay Thai shop to buy all our training gear. Authentic Muay Thai Shorts, shirt, shin pads, boxing gloves, ankle straps and hand wraps – so many things to purchase as all the rental gear was already hired to others. We weren’t counting on having to buy all the gear but we figured we might as well just do it – onwards and upwards and the new gear would leave us with some great memento’s.
The next morning we awoke nervous and excited – day 1 of training was here.
We both felt like we were getting ready for some sort of ‘Dress-up’ party putting on our Muay Thai shorts that first morning, such foreign clothing compared to what we are used to.
Our hands were wrapped by an instructor then it was time for warm-up skipping. We managed surprisingly well with the skipping but this was only the warm-up and we were already dripping in sweat. We had no idea at this stage what we were in for; but now looking back we can both say with 100% certainty that neither of us had ever sweat as much as we would in the following week at Rawai!
We completed the warm-up stretches and then they called the beginners to another area – phew! We spent the next 2 hours practicing jab’s, punches, knees, elbows and other crazy moves that we never really understood the names of. The morning session was intense, fun and challenging. Exactly what we dreamed this experience to be.
Morning training complete (and still alive, high-five to that!) it was straight back to our bungalow, a shower and then a short walk down the road to Cashew Nut – the best restaurant in town. It turned out we ate at Cashew Nut every meal, every day for 6 days. They are closed on Sundays. We would enjoy the ‘Healthy Breakfast’ including fruit, yoghurt, poached eggs, baked beans, toast & a protein shake – The perfect meal after morning training.
Home for a sleep – nothing beats a nana-nap after a morning training at Rawai. A nap became part of our daily routine and our bodies would have not coped without it.
Then it was onto the Afternoon session – it was similar to the morning but we would start with a hand wrap lesson. This was something we both wanted to be able to learn to do ourselves pretty quickly so it was intense concentration from us. This evening we were in bed by 7pmwhich soon became the usual for our time at Rawai.
The following days were similar however on day 3 we ‘graduated’. Moving from the beginners to normal class. In with the big boys. We were in the rings with the trainers doing pad work, on the bags working on our technique and on occasions sparring with other students. It was the most intense physical challenge either of us have ever faced and we loved it.
There were moments of laughter, moments of tears and moments of pain. This is no walk in the park. The trainers push you as far as you can go and yes, Kim broke! Kim turned into a blubbering baby feeling so frustrated during one of the sparring sessions with one of the trainers. She didn’t know what to do to correct what she was doing wrong and was worked to exhaustion by the trainer – it wasnt long and it all became a little much. After 4 days of intense 6 hour a day training sessions you get tired and it is easy to become overwhelmed. You find a passion for something you never thought existed and all you want to do is be the best you can be. In the environment of being pushed, pushed, pushed and challenged at every turn this will make or break you!
The next afternoon however Kim came back with vengeance. The trainer was not letting her off lightly, 20 repetitive kicks right, 20 left, 20 right, 20 left – on and on. Kim was physically exhausted; could hardly walk and every part of her body hurt but it didn’t matter, she was not giving up and would not break today. Kick, kick, kick. That is what this place does to you, makes you dig deeper each day to make you stronger and more focused. It makes you reach beyond the pain, beyond the fear and achieve results you never thought you had in you.
Duane’s Muay Thai Journey was similar in the way of routine to Kim’s but beyond that you could not compare how the experience was for us personally. Duane thrived under the pressure and never missed a beat. He pushed himself harder than he ever thought he could and every day he felt stronger and more confident in his abilities. Duane spent a few rounds sparring other students and picked up all the skills quickly. He would then give Kim secret lessons when training had finished to help her along.
Duane’s time at Rawai was unlike any other challenge he had encountered and quickly realised he is capable of much more than he had ever given himself credit for.
Rawai is a beautiful sleepy section of Phuket far away from the chaos of the usual Phuket Holiday. The food (we recommend Cashew Nut!) is fresh, healthy & oh so yummy. The people are extremely friendly and there are many amazing cheap Thai Massage shops around (we recommend Bee’s Massage).
It’s best to hire a scooter (you can hire from the camp) to get around Rawai. There is a beautiful beach nearby that most students visit on a daily basis (but not us because we were always having a nap). Kim had an encounter with a scooter but this was no surprise, most people crash a scooter in Thailand at least once in their life don’t they? It was definitely a lesson learnt.
Rawai was an amazing experience that put us so far out of our comfort zone and made us work hard for our results. We found in just one week the results were amazing, we felt fitter, stronger and extremely proud of what we had achieved.
About Duane - Wright2TravelDuane one half of the team behind Wright2Travel - He loves the simple things in life and tells it how it is. Share your thoughts and comments below.
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