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Muay Thai Camp

Hi Folks, as most of my friends and family know, I'm off to Thailand for a month of training in the art of Muay Thai Boxing. I'll use this page to keep a diary of what I'm up to, or more to the point, use it as a handy log of bodily injuries and a place where you can no doubt offer constant ridicule via the message board. See you all here from time to time (if you are actually that bothered!).

Diary Entries

Friday, 22 December 2006

Location: Thailand

It had to happen didn't it.......... 30 degrees outside and the Mark Blair immune system strikes again...... I got flu!

I'm not talking man-flu either, I'm talking not been out of bed for 4 days flu!!

I must have been the only person in Thailand to have been laid in bed with my clothes on, with the aircon turned off and still shivering!

Anyway, all better now so decided to go out and celebrate last night by getting pissed in Patong! If anything is going to banish a fever, I figured Thai Whisky would be the best option. I was right, I feel fine now.

Soooooooo, what have I been up to?

Well, we decided we should go do some sight seeing and some tourist stuff rather than just spend 4 weeks hitting bags so on Sunday Dan, Chris (a Kiwi from the camp) and I all thought a trip to Phi Phi would be the order of the day.

The trip would be a one day affair, collection from the camp by minibus and transfer down to Chalong Marina, where a speed boat would then take us to several points of Phi Phi (monkey beach, Phi Phi Don, the beach where the beach was filmed, blah, blah, blah) and then return us home safe and sound on Sunday evening...... that was the theory!

Reality..... minibus picked us up as planned, went to harbour as planned, got on speedboat as planned..... all sounds fine so far.

Then we got to sea. Now this wasn't just any old sea. No, this was a rabid, raging monster of a sea, foaming at the mouth and hungry for its favourite breakfast snack - western tourists in a speedboat. Yum.

Let me picture the scene, the speedboat is a fairly old beast, bench seating around the side, kit and lifevests piled up in the middle, 3 x V8 snotters on the back. There's about 40 of us on board and Dan, Chris and I decide the smoothest and most comfortable place to sit is at the back, in the middle, near the motors. WRONG.

As we get out to sea, its apparent we are not about to enjoy a smooth crossing and what follows is 40 minutes of some of the best fun ever, followed by 40 mins of wishing you never signed up to this bloody trip.

The 45 minute trip took and hr and a half. The hr and a half seemed like 2 days. Imagine trying to ride a raging bull with no hand grips for over an hour non-stop whilst someone continually fires buckets of cold, salty water at your face (bucket included) then you have the picture.

Of course, this started off as being hilarious. Chris and I managed to crawl (literally) to the relative sanctity of the front of the boat, whereas Danny stayed where he was. I remember looking back to Danny at one point and seeing him sat in abject misery, soaking wet with snot dripping off his chin just as another wave came over and smacked him clean in the face..... Hilarious.

Then of course people started to throw up. And its so rough, they cant get to the toilet. So they are throwing up into clear plastic bags provided by the guide, who himslef looks like he's gonna throw up at any moment. Now its fair to say, the fat Japanese guy sat near me must have had a hearty breakfast as he did a fine job of filling his bag with a veritable treat of part digested chunks (I'm heaving as a write this). All I could think of as the boat coninued to slam against each wave was, "thats gonna make a hell of a mess if he lets go of it"........ thankfully he didnt.

Anyway, eventually we arrived and to be honest it was all a bit package tour for me, which i expected but it was literally, " right you have 30 mins to sit on this beach", "right everyone back on the boat", "right, everyone has 30 mins to go snorkelling", "right, back on th boat"........ Phi Phi is beautiful though and I have some great photos of the sea, beaches, etc. I even have a video clip of the boat ride (complete with girls screaming!)

On Saturday night, Danny and I went out for dinner with a very attractive girl from Israel and her mum, who was cool (she was a writer and also did a bit of share trading so we got chatting about that).

Funnily enough, the girl was one of the first people to throw up and thats how we got talking.... ever the hero, I offered her a couple of my sea sickness pills. Needless to say, the fat Japanese guy didn't get any!

The following morning was d-day, which is where my 4 day fever period started, so nothing to report other than I haven't trained at all this week, I have watched Casino Royale & Miami Vice on some dodgy dvd off the market and I've read a massive chunk of my study books - so some good has come out of it.

I'm training for the first time again tomorrow, which I know is going to be right back to square one. Not a pleasant prospect.

Then of course, we dont train on Sunday and then its Christmas, so I'm kind of officially on holiday now for 4 days.

We're heading off to Patong for a night out tomorrow, which will be funny. Dan and I have hooked up with this guy from London (also from the camp), who's a great laugh. He's ex army so is slightly mental - but in a good way!!! We're also meeting up with a girl who we met last night from Australia. She's a good laugh too, but what makes her more special is that she came out with us last night and got right royally trollied whilst she left her fella and their baby back at the hotel. She got home at 4am. Top bird!

As for Christmas day, there's a full blown tudor style english pub here on the island, so there is talk of us going down there as they are doing a full on xmas dinner. However, its about 30 quid, which by Thai standards rates it as f@@king extortionate (did i spell that correctly Mr. Brown?).

So folks, I wont write any more until after Christmas day now so I wish everyone a wonderful time and I hope that that you've all been good so Santa doesnt bring you a cabbage in your stocking.

Enjoy the turkey. I'm sure I'll be tucking into a well browned bird myself (boom, boom).

Byeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

Saturday, 16 December 2006

Location: Thailand

Hey folks

Saturday afternoon and I've only just got up.......

I've trained every day this week and so I'm taking today off as a well deserved rest.

I've been attempting to study for my FSA exams every day since I've been here but if anyone knows of a more sleep inducing read than the Guide to Financial Service Authority Regulations 2006 then I challenge you to present it to me!

I managed a marathon 2hr read today which is precisely 1hr 50mins more than I usually manage before heading off to the land of slumber!

By the end of today's reading I'll have finished the first book, which means I can now look forward to the second book, which is twice as thick!

Life has been fairly relaxed over the last few days. I seem to be settling into a routine of training, eating and sleeping quite nicely now! ;-)

We all headed off to Patong again last night as one of our trainers was fighting again. He lost! Both trainers from our gym have lost their fights now..... I'm thinking of joining a better gym! ;-)

It was a great atmosphere at the fight again last night. There were actually two big international fights on the bill, so the stadium was packed and the action was intense.

I saw my first knockout last night as well. A flurry of punches saw the guy fall towards the ground just in time to take a swift knee to the face! Nice! Judging by the size and angle of his nose when he was lifted to his feet, I think it's fair to say it was broken!

Following the fight we took an hour to strole around the sights of Patong. There's one road (which I can't remember the name of) where all the bars, clubs and go-go bars are. I've never seen anything like it! There's one arcade that can only be described as a melting pot of sexually charged electricity! Under one roof is a labarynth of individual bars, all brightly lit and hosting girls dancing on any available surface. In the narrow walkways between each bar girls prowl looking for customers and men prowl looking for girls, all charged with a heady mix of alcohol and sexual frustration!

The crazy thing is, nearly all of the girls are beautiful! The type of girls you'd want to bring home and show your mum, "look mum, I married a hooker!"

I'm off to Phi Phi tomorrow for a day trip. Its an early start so my only party night (Saturday night) will be replaced by an early night in prepation for the day ahead. I think we take a speed boat over to the island and then visit all sorts of caves and beaches to do some snorkelling before heading back some time in the early evening. If I get back in time then there is a jazz festival on Sunday night in Nai Harn beach, which is my favourite beach on the island so far.

Anyway, I'm off to do some stretching and consider going for a run, otherwise come Monday I'll be back to square one, "No, No, how many time I tell you, more power, keep leg straight, you fight like lady boy....."

Tuesday, 12 December 2006

Location: Thailand

Ok, it’s Monday and it’s raining (only a little bit – and it’s still 400 degrees outside) so I thought I’d take this opportunity to excite you with the second installment from the Muay Thai experience!!

I arrived here at the camp on Wednesday night to a very friendly welcome from Ray, who looks like a Thai but is in fact a Red Indian, I kid you not!

After signing us in, taking our money and telling us some of the rules of the camp Ray showed us to our bungalows, which I have to say are rather nice – basic but nice. Mine is actually brand new, complete with wet paint and wet concrete and all come fitted with bed, wardrobe, aircon, TV and shower. However, the TV is for decoration only as I have yet to find a TV channel on it! Also the shower is positioned pretty much directly over the toilet, which I find is a handy time saving device, allowing you to wash your hair and take a dump at the same time.

Anyway, having dropped off our stuff in the rooms, Ray took Dan and I out for dinner at a local Thai restaurant, where we chatted about life at the camp and life in Thailand in general. Turns our Ray runs some online grocery service over here catering for timeshare holiday makers and is making a fortune….. hmmm….. I feel a Mark Blair money making scheme coming on….. “must focus on banking, don’t lose the focus….”

Following a fairly late, although booze free evening, we decided against training on the very first morning, instead deciding to break ourselves in gently with the afternoon session instead.

Not that this made much difference to my level of sleep as my hut is right next to the camp, so as I laid in bed all I could hear was the sound of pads being whacked, music blaring and the Thai trainers shouting words of encouragement to the brave soles that were up and training at 6:45am!

Lunch time came around and so we donned our training gear and ventured into the unknown. 30 mins of skipping later, standing in a pool of sweat, I started to wonder why I’d made this decision! This wasn’t feeling like a holiday any more!

Following the skipping we ventured into the ring to work on footwork and some basic kicking techniques. Now, given that I’d consider my kicking technique with my right leg to be my main weakness (an impressive weakness to have given that 80% of all striking is done with the right leg!!) I was expecting some trouble. Well, I was right….. Phet (the trainer) picked up on it straight away and 30 mins of shouting and bollocking ensued. That done, we moved onto another 1hr of torture (sorry training) on the bags, followed by 1hr of basic grappling and close kneeing techniques (Tully, you would like the grappling as it involved two sweaty men with their arms round each other!!)

3hrs 30 mins later it was all over!! I was still alive, although I was a shadow of my former self. I told myself I’d enjoyed it in the hope I could convince myself I did!!

The following morning we opted for the morning session, which involved a 6:30am start. I have to say this is where I got a little bit spiritual. I-pod playing my favourite tracks, sun rising over the palm trees and skipping in the warm morning air was something that made you feel glad to be alive….. haha, I savoured the moment because I knew I’d be feeling somewhat different less than 1hr later!!

Training once again was brutal……. After 2 sessions I am now sporting a bruised shin, bruised elbows, bruised knees, no skin on my big toes and muscles I didn’t know existed hurting!!! Call me a masochist but I’m loving it!!

On Friday night, one of the trainers from the camp was fighting in Patong so we all took a minibus over to the stadium to watch the fight. I have to say that Patong is a little bit much for me. Lots of neon lights and bars full of Thai girls with old guys or Thai girls smiling at you and beckoning you in to pay for their services. It’s actually quite hard to differentiate between the girls who are smiling because they like you and the girls who are smiling because they want you to pay them to like you!! I’ve come to the conclusion that they all expect you to pay so a free one is a bonus!!

I have to say there are some seriously beautiful girls out here and as I found to my peril on Saturday night (although thankfully I found out plenty early enough!!) there are also lots of very good looking girls that aren’t actually girls!! I owe my trainer a lot of money for bailing me out of that one in time!!

The fight was awesome on Friday night. There were about 8 fights on the bill in total and was a real spectacle. The atmosphere is electric and the music they play whist the fighters battle in the ring certainly adds to the experience. It wasn’t as brutal as I had expected with every fight going the distance. An awesome spectacle all the same.

We took Saturday off training and Sunday nobody trains so I’ve actually had 2 days to recover and came back into training this morning, which was an equally awesome experience!

I managed to go out Saturday night and we had a great time mixing with the locals and some of the trainers from the camp. Most surreal experience of the evening came in the gents bogs in a live music club we went to! Whilst standing at the urinal, the bog attendant came up behind be, whipped a hot towel over my neck and proceeded to give me a massage whilst I was stood having a wee!! As I strolled over to wash my hands, I tipped him obviously more than I should have done as he then proceeded to give me a full chiropractic going over, including the one where they place their arms under your armpits and behind your head and lift you 6 inches off the floor…… all whilst everyone around me was taking a leak……. Hilarious. People must have thought I was odd coming out of the gents laughing uncontrollably!!

From there we took a scooter (yes you can fit 4 people on a scooter!) to a local club where we drank and danced the night away until 7 in the morning!! Being the stud that I am, I managed to pull a rather nice Thai girl with my robot dance moves, yes that’s right Mr. Green, you know everyone loves the robot!!

Sunday was then spent recovering in bed and on the beach. Nai Hairn is about 5kms from the camp and it’s a beautiful beach. I have taken a photo of it and will try to upload it when I next come to the computer.

Anyway people, that’s enough for now. I’ll sign in again in a few days time with the next installment……. Sawasdee


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Recent Messages

From Don Betson
its not really a kickboxing camp is it? I have seen some inside hidden camera footage: http://www.elfyourself.com/?userid=9f5d82d57cd4...
From Young'un
How did the op go? Have the made a good job of your quim or was it one of this nip and poke it all inside jobs?

What time you back on NYE? Dropping Jude off at Heathrow around 6pm if you want a lift back.

Shuuuuuuuuuuush
Response: The Op hasnt gone to plan. My arse is now on my front. I'm not happy. I land at 7.30pm on NYE all being well...... a lift would be awesome!
From Jooth
MERRY CHRISTMAS OLD BOY

Have a good one
From Don
Blair.. a great read on the sloooooooowest day of the year.. keep it up lad.. see you in '07
From Jooth
Alright Jooth

Bet your glad your somewhere warm, its been -2 for the last 2 mornings here and with the looks of it outside its colder again today!!

If i dont get to speak to you before - christmas beatings from us!!

TTFN

Jooth
Response: Happy Christmas to you too jooth!!!! Hope Santa brings you everything you want!!!
From Mum
Hi son, all this sounds pretty painful, but as long as you are havin a great time im sure its worth it.Dont neglect your FSA work its important.Watch u dont bring anything dodgy bac with u! but enjoy.. Yes M+J's news is brill xxx
Response: by anything dodgy, do you mean a wife???? x x
From Porridge
sounds like being told "you've got a good elbow" is a bit like telling a billy "you hold the steering wheel nicely"....
Good to hear you're still in one piece...
Response: they haven't told me that..... they dont tell u u are good at anything.... just whack u with a pad when ur not!
From Becky
Hey Mate
Tres tres impressed with your training, have your right kicks got any better, coz mate, lets be frank... they were shite!! told the master about your little trip, he is expecting you to give a demo when you get back in the do jo.
Response: Haha..... I don't think after one month I am capable of giving any demonstration, other than how to walk with a limp!! Training is going great though, my right leg is getting better and I have a killer elbow!!!! Still a long, long way to go!!! Could do with another 6 months!
From Steve
What are you like Yeuth, will still whoop your scrawny ass at squash on return. Sounds fun and can't wait to meet 'Ting Tong' when you both get back! Great news about Bro Blair. Keep well matey.
From Sexy Dave the thai l
Thanks for rast night you were gleat.
xx
Response: Nob!
From Porridge
Blair, you're an idiot but hope you're having fun all the same.....is your pot belly prooving to be good armour against the beating you're taking. Remember crying is a sign of strength in Thailand...if you're a lady-boy
Response: I have no pot belly now Mr. Porridge.... I am carved from pure granite! Or my complete lack of flexibility would seem to prove so!
From Oli
Sounds wicked out there dude - bet you're looking forward to coming back to blighty :)

So how's the studying coming along..? Oh, and Tully is wondering why you didn't "make friend" with your beautiful girls who weren't girls! Tuuuullllllyyyyyy!
Response: Studying is coming along very slowly! After I finish training at 10am I am trying to get a few hrs in but every time I've done that so far I've fallen asleep within 10 mins!! However, I did try some practice questions yesterday and got them all right so something must be sticking!!!

I am in no rush to come back to London, thats for sure!!
From Dad
Hi
I thought the training you were doing was for FSA and banking ! how did this one come about, is it in preperation for a future in films ? Anyway have a great time speak to you soon.
Response: I'm trying to do all three!! Although so far all I seem to manage is eat, sleep and get beat up!!
From London Bird
Sounds horriffic!! Still if it gets you the bod of Daniel Craig...

Definite masochist signs.

Have fun and see you soon x
From James Brown
Why are you not posting your messages?
From Mum
Glad you arrived safe and sound son. Bangkok sounds, well !!brilliant.
You will have to find that lovely swedish girl to massage those hurting bits for you. Hope you soon recover xxxx
Response: Swedish girls will have to wait now mum, i think i might get me a thai bride!! hope all is well at home..... I take it you've heard Michael's news!! xxx
From Jooth
Jooth,

glad you arrived safe and sound!

got a bit of exciting news for you...........uncle mark!!

i'm not firing blanks and baby blair should be with us in august 07!!

Hope the fightings going well

ttfn
Response: No way!!!!!!! That's awesome news jooth. Nothing like starting starting a new business and having a baby to keep you on your toes!!
From Young'un
I still can't believe that you are trying to cover up your gender transformation trip with an elaborate story about kickboxing.
Response: I told you that in confidence!!!
From Rich Kung Foo Green
The Essentials: Muay Thai Terminology

Dtee Mat =
To hit with the fist

Mao Mat =
"Punch drunk

Sawk Tad = Jab Elbow

I could not find, stopping hitting me punk face...

So try this

Chan ma chark saha rat = I can't speak Thai

May the Force be Strong

Rich
Response: How do you say "stop f@#king kicking me, my leg hurts enough now"?????
From Mikey B
jooooth!!

hope you got there safe and sound

speak to you soon

mnyaaaa
From David Tully
Mark,
Just a short note to wish you “Good luck.” God knows you need it. Just reading a story about another guy who did the same. Awful tragedy. Anyway. Enjoy 
Tully
From Bruce Lee
Hi Mark,

Just a quick note to say that i am looking forward to giving you a beating when you arrive on Tuesday.

Regards,

Bruce
Response: Bring it on Bruce. I've had 3 lessons now..... I'm a frickin kung foo master!!!