So after a year back in Australia we finally managed to save our goal amount of money that we needed to move back to live in Thailand for another year or more. It was a hard year back in Australia, we had to sacrifice a lot to be able to save to come back. We lived at Dane’s Dad and Step Mum’s house the whole time in a small bedroom. We had to go without all the things we loved and couldn’t go anywhere that would cost money (which is pretty much everywhere in Australia) so we were stuck home most weekends just watching movies. We even had to give up training as we needed to save the money on gym fees. We sold the last remaining things we could sell, we only have a van full of pretty much just trophies, belts, posters and clothes now. I was working some days 15hrs to try to make as much over time money as i could even though i absolutely hated my job, i just stuck it out because i knew it would be worth it in the end when i was in Thailand. So yep the time back home sucked and it was really hard for me to adjust to at the start i was really depressed after leaving Thailand as it felt like our home, like we belonged there. I felt like i was just getting my grove back fighting and stepping up to a new level.
So Thailand was finally here!! We drove all of our stuff from Toowoomba QLD to Armadale NSW which is normally about a 5hr drive but it ended up taking us 14hrs!!! The Van with our stuff in it kept over heating the entire way!! We had to drive for half hour then stop to let it cool down. It wasn’t a great start to our adventure but we tried to see the bright side of it, we stopped at a lot of towns we would have never stopped at before. Then from Armadale we drove to Sydney then flew to Adelaide to spend a week with my family. From Adelaide we flew with Singapore Airlines to Singapore which was a pretty good 7hr flight, they gave us plenty of food and drinks which was good except the coffee was terrible. The crap part was we had to wait in the airport for 8hrs before our next flight. It sounded like it would be easy to start but once we were there and went for a look around we still had 6hrs to wait and we were so tired it wasnt an adventure any more it was torcher. We tried to find a seat to sleep on but it was really uncomfy and we were paranoid about our stuff getting nicked. So after pulling an all nighter we were absolutely knacked by the time we boarded our flight. We flew with silk air to Samui, i was having anxiety about this flight i wasn’t sure if it was just because i was so tired or what, but i didn’t feel good about it. Well the flight was a bit bumpy but most the way it was ok untill we started to land. As we started to descend the plane was twisting, turning sideways, dropping down. It felt like something had broken with the controls and the pilot couldn’t keep us straight. It was really freaky!! we would go down then start turning sideways and then we would have to fly back up. We couldn’t land the first time and had to go back again. I was so scared i was totally prepared for a crash landing, i could have sworn we were going to crash! We finally get down to the runway bouncing all over the place, we land sideways going faster than normal and you could feel the plane struggling to pull up. I can’t believe we didn’t crash, passengers were clapping theirs hands when we landed. When we got off the plane you could now see why we were all over the place, it was super windy and it was blowing across the runway in big gusts. While we were standing in the immigration line the plane after us to land came down totally missed the runway and had to take back off, that was freaky too! All the planes must have been having trouble landing that day because of the high winds. Whoohoo we finally made it back to Thailand! even after a year of crap and a crazy scary travel back. The first day we spent most of the day sleeping in our hotel to catch up from the travel. We weren’t sure what gym we wanted to train at for our first month. We decided to come to Samui first, Dane had never been here before and we wanted to get some training in, maybe a fight before we head to Sinbi Muay Thai in Phuket, we know once we get there its going to be hard because they already know us and what we are capable of so a bit of a warm up for us will be good as we haven’t trained or fought in a year. We decided to try a few gyms before we pay our months training and accommodation. First gym we tried was Lamai Gym (WMC GYM) I trained here for a month in 2008, i had only been training Muay Thai for about 2 months and i was about to have my first fight, at the time i thought it was good and i learnt a lot. This time its 6 years later and i have had a lot of fights so it was different for me. We got to the gym, paid our money and stood around for a bit, no trainers approached us or gave us any direction or really acknowledged us at all. So we started to stretch when a trainer pointed at us and said skip and pointed to the skipping ropes. We skipped for about 10min or so and a few other people joined in. I was expecting to do some stretching after the skipping but as soon as we finished everyone just started wrapping their hands, still no trainers had spoken to us. Then a trainer yells out shadow and everyone starts shadow boxing, after about 3 rounds of shadow, one of the trainers came up to me and said “where are you from” I told him Australia and he said his friend The sting (Paul Slowinski) comes from there and then he walked off. We did another round of shadow which seemed like it went for ever, i don’t think i have ever trained somewhere that did so many rounds of shadow. Then it was partner up to do some drills, they were all basic technique drills that would be great for a beginner but its all things i had already be taught many times so it was very boring for me, these drill were pretty much the whole session. Next was sparring but only punches to the body for 3 rounds then sparring kicks and no punches to the head for a round. Still had no contact with any trainers untill the end when one asked if i want pad work, i said yes and he sent me to a corner of the gym with a trainer. He said “don’t hit my face, hit the pads” I told him i wasn’t a beginner and it was ok i wont hit his face. He didn’t seem very interested in holding pads he didn’t have a belly pad on only Thai pads. I did 2 rounds of pads with him and he asked me after did i fight, i said yes and he walked off. Dane did the same as me and he didn’t have any trainer at all talk to him the whole time. So after the session both of us were not very impressed at all with that gym. I guess if you’re a beginner its good to learn all that stuff but for us it wasn’t want we needed. The trainers were not very friendly and pretty much ignored us, didn’t give us direction. They put us with the beginners when you can clearly see we are not beginners and if they had bothered to talk to us and ask they would have known that. No stretching, no bag work, no serious pads or clinching, all the trainers were small which is no good for Dane we also didn’t like the set up of the gym there was no atmosphere, no music, no loud oooiiiieees. So overall we didn’t like the gym at all it wasn’t what we were looking for or a place we felt we could enjoy, apart from its location which was really good. We were really hoping the next gym will be better or we will be just heading back to Phuket earlier than we thought. Second gym was Pinyo Muay Thai, I had heard good things about this gym and wanted to give it a try. As soon as we got there it felt better than the last gym, a trainer welcomed us and took us to the office to pay. The trainers still seemed very quite there though, one trainer came over and asked us if we had run and told us to skip, we didn’t hear much from the others just got a few smiles. We skipped for 10min then we followed a trainer as he ran around the gym zig zagging in and out and side stepping, i thought this might only go for 5 min but it went for about 20min and since i hadn’t been training i was stuffed! We then did 50 push ups, 30 sit ups, stretching and a few rounds of technique drills. We did about 5 rounds of a circuit where we ran to the first trainer did 10 punches, ran to the next did 10 right kicks, ran to the next did 10 left kicks, next did 10 knees, 10 right low kicks and 10 left low kicks. Next was pad work which was 3x4min rounds as they could see i was tired and i told them i hadn’t trained in a year. The pad holder was good, im fussy with my pads, so it was a relief that i had someone who i could see my self having good rounds with once i was fit. After pads we had to do Knees on the bag you could see the trainers were taking interest in us, standing watching and talking. Then we had to do 50 kicks each leg on the bag, by this time we were dying but it was good that they pushed us and didn’t just let us stop, that’s what we want. The trainers talked to us through out the session and warmed up a lot by the end, they were asking us if we were coming back and how long we stay and if we want to have a fight. So Pinyo was def at the top of our lists so far for gyms, the trainers were friendly they gave us direction, they did stretching, the pads were good and they seemed more interested in holding for us, gym set up was good, they had music playing, the overall atmosphere was good. Third Gym is Jun’s Muay Thai. This gym was a bit harder to find to start as we only drove around on the scooter to find the others which we clearly signed from the main road, Jun’s was off the main road down a side street but no sign from the main road. As soon as we got to the gym Jun came over to us shook ours hands, introduced himself and asked our names which we thought was really good, it made us feel very welcome straight away. He told us if your here for training then you go run, we didn’t expect that since it was our first day haha Jun told us where to run, his English was pretty good so it was easy to understand. The run was about 3km, quite a nice run around the jungle back streets, it was hard for me being so unfit and fat but i made it around and even though i wasn’t to keen on starting my running just yet i was glad i did it. Everyone then skipped for 5-10min. After skipping we wrapped our hands and did about 10min of shadow, the trainers were watching me closely and after we finished they asked me if i had fought before, when i said yes they said ok you can spar with him and pointed to a small Thai boy about my hight but a lot skinnier. We sparred for 3 rounds, It was good i could see my self having some good sparring with this kid when im fit. Next im up for pad work in the ring, im still struggling to catch my breath from the sparring. I only did a short round on pads, the trainer said i can build up as i get fitter. He had a bit of a chat to me while i was doing pads asked how many fights ive had and where i have fought and what gyms i have trained at. The pads were great he really got into it making lots of noise and doing all sorts of tricks on me because i was tired. Dane said his pad holder was really good except he had really hard pads and it smashed up Danes shins and foot. Dane ended up having to cut training short he had a huge lump on his foot, the trainers got him an ice pack and told him to rub it so that was good they actually cared. The trainers were a lot bigger here as well which is good for Dane with pads and clinching, even the Thai boys were quite big, Dane spared with one of them. After Pads i was told i looked good just very tired haha hell yes i was tired! then i was told to work the bag for a few rounds with 10 push ups between each round then knees and Teeps, i think it was supposed to be 200 of each but because it was my first go they said 100. There was a trainer watching the whole time walking around helping people. Then i was paired up with another girl and we did 50 kicks on the bag each leg. After all the bag work i was instructed to do as many chin ups as i could then push ups and sit ups. At the end of the session Dane and i both decided that this was the gym we wanted to train at for the month. We liked everything about it, the atmosphere was great, the trainers were very friendly and helpful, the set up of the gym was spacious and clean, the training was hard and of good standard, the trainers were bigger and there were plenty of people to clinch and spar with. It was also the cheapest gym to train at compared to the others. The only thing they didn’t do is make much time for stretching but i guess if i run a bit earlier i can stretch when i get back. So Jun Muay Thai comes in first and we will spend 1 month training there. I will blog about the time we spend there once its done. Hopefully this blog has helped you if you were looking for a gym to train at on Samui. I know everyone is different and what is good for us might not be good for others but this is just what we thought of the gyms. Follow My Muay Thai Journey and Female fighter Interviews (HERE)