Monday, December 1, 2008

Muay Thai

I know I haven't posted anything in a few days and that's primarily because nothing really noteworthy has happened. I finished up my training at the Sathorn offices last Sunday and now have the next two weeks off. My plans to head North are shaping up and it looks like I'll leave probably Wednesday or Thursday night on the overnight train to Chaing Mai then motorbike over to Pai. I haven't hammered out any of the details beyond that (except maybe the elephant ride).

So in lieu of any current news I'll tell you about my trip to the Muay Thai stadium a couple weeks ago which got overlooked in the posts about job seeking and finding. The stadium is just only about a 20 minute walk down the street from me which is pretty cool. It had all the usual sights, sounds, and smells of a sporting event back in the states which was comforting and also pretty cool. Some things are universal. The way the ticket system breaks down is there's three different levels. The pricey ones are on the floor right next to the action and have concession girls constantly wandering. The next level (which is sightly elevated and divided from tier 1 by chicken wire)has chairs and seems like an alright place to watch the fights from. The third level is pretty wacky. We went for the tier 1 seats (this is back when Ryan had a friend visiting and we didn't want to risk getting bad seats) but if I go again I'm definitely going for the 3rd level. There are no chairs and it's packed with Thais standing up and shouting. I should mention that a lot of betting goes on during these fights. There's supposed to be none in tier 1 and then the next two are where the action is. The upper deck looked like the floor of wall street. People were all shouting and holding up different numbers of fingers which I didn't quite figure out the meaning of. Where we sat was great to watch the fights but I've always gone to sporting events more for the atmosphere than a good view and tier three seemed like the place to be. Whenever the two fighters grappled and were exchanging knees, the different corners would yell out every time their guy landed one. It was kinda silly to hear "oooh....eeee....oooh....eeee.." in surround sound.

There were actually 7 fights each of which lasted around half an hour. The re were 5 rounds of 3 min with a 2 min break. I liked watching the trainers during the breaks because they would be very physically expressive with the strategy for the next round. There was a lot of pre-fight ceremony which included both stretching and prayer. The coolest thing was that it was all accompanied by a live band that played bongos and wild snake-charmer flutes throughout. The restrooms backstage were also right where they were prepping all the fighters which was pretty neat, there were people asking for autographs and everything. It was a pretty cool experience and not nearly as barbaric as I had thought it would be. I'm glad it's so close because I definitely need to make a trip back and sit (stand) in the cheap seats.

be excellent to each other,


yatpay said...

Haha, me and Bryce were big fans of this line: "The coolest thing was that it was all accompanied by a live band that played bongos and wild snake-charmer flutes throughout."

Bryce wanted to know if they played music in reaction to the events like a live musical score

Mike said...
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Brandon The Unqualified Critic said...

I always wanted to take a muay thai class. You should see if there is any chance to train at one of those down'n'dirty gyms. It might come in handy at the bar if some popped-collar thai gets all up in your grill. You could just kick his fucking head off and use his blood as a mixer.

Keep showin' Thailand the American way.