It was 2011, Dane and i had been training at Sinbi Muay Thai for a few months. In this time Dane and i had become quite good friends with Saenchai who was training at Sinbi also. Saenchai was a pretty crazy guy to train with, always having a joke messing around with you. Most days would end up in some type of Saenchai kicking comp or a clinching comp with students or trainers. There was never a dull moment when he was around! everyone loved the energy he brought to the gym with his infectious playful attitude. He was nothing like i ever expected him to be, since he was the living legend of Muay Thai and a huge super star, i didn’t expect him to be so friendly and just a really nice guy. Every day he would come into the gym and kick me in the back on the way past with a giggle, i seriously don’t think he could walk past me without whacking me in some way and running off with a huge joker smile on his face. Dane always had a good laugh at himself when sparing with Saenchai who was like sparing a ghost, you couldn’t even get close to him, he would dance around hip thrusting at you and laugh while you are punching and kicking the air. Not to mention the clinching haha Dane was like double the size of Saenchai but some how he would climb up Danes body and kiss him on the top of the head and laugh. Dane said no matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t shake him off. I didn’t do much Muay Thai training with Saenchai but i often went running with him when he could be bothered running (seriously the guy hardly ran it was crazy but i guess when you have had over 300 fights you know what you are doing) I run at a decent pace, Thais run really slow and Saenchai was no exception.
The first few times we ran he tried to keep up with me but by the end of the 5km run he would be gassed out walking telling me im going to fast and id be yelling at him to hurry up. After a while i started to slow down a bit, we would run together most of the way until the last 1km where we would end up in a comp of who could get back to the gym first, which always ended up with one of us getting pushed off the road into the bushes so the other one could make a run for it and claim to be number 1 haha. At that time he had a few young kids that stayed with him that also fought out of Sinbi, im a sucker for playing with kids so they all became my little friends. The kids used to come over to our place everyday after afternoon training and swim and play in the pool with us, quite often Saenchai would come to pick them up and end up spending hours swimming and jumping in the pool with us. Who would have thought 6 months ago when we were back at home in Australia planing our trip to Thailand that we would be having pool parties with the King of Muay Thai! Not us that’s for sure! so speaking of parties, it was Seanchai’s birthday so there was a party at Sinbi for all of the students and trainers to come too. It started out quite just everyone chilling out on the mats with a few drinks, eating the Thai BQQ the gym had put on, just chatting away with all the trainers and students from all over the world, listening to music.
Until someone decides to get the pads out and tells Saenchai he has to do 100 kicks for his birthday. Well by this time Saenchai is pretty drunk, so he takes off his jeans, gets a pair of new shorts from the Sinbi shop and puts them on. The whole gym is cheering his name and he starts kicking, apart from a few stumbles you wouldn’t have thought he wasn’t that drunk, his kicks were still amazing but i don’t think he made it too 100. The whole gym is still cheering his name when i thought to myself, i wanna hold the pads. I said to Saenchai “Can i hold the pads for you” he looked at me and said “yes are you sure” i was like “hell yeah” but i was nervous as hell! I took the pads, everyone at the gym stopped and stared at me like what the hell is she doing. I couldn’t help but just laugh because i was so nervous, thinking to my self do not mess this up.
Saenchai proceeded to kick the pads really light several times, i said “no hard, a real kick”. I don’t think he was to sure that i could take it. He joked around a few times pretending to throw a kick before actually throwing a proper kick. I told him it was easy, trying to egg him on a bit and the gym started laughing and cheering, when he realized i could handle it he threw kick after kick asking me if i was ok and i kept telling him more. After about 15 hard kicks he stops and chases me laughing trying to clinch me. He said “you win, your strong, i want to fight with you”. That wasn’t the end of our party fun. Some time later the pads came out again but this time it was the students who had to do the most kicks in 30 seconds. The winner of the comp would win the shorts that Saenchai had just been wearing, signed by him. I was like yep i can kick pretty fast i think i can win this. I told them i’m going to win it, the trainers and Saenchai said no because i will win easy (as i won the kicking comp a few days before in the gym) the boys all started doing there kicks while i sulked because i wasn’t allowed to compete. The first one up was a young boy who ended up having the most kicks up until the end.
Then the boss is asking me why im not doing it, he said they had to let me haha! I was in! I think about 12 guys went in the comp and i was the only girl. I watched everyone else try it, most of them pretty drunk by this stage so some of them were really funny. The gym was cheering and each student had their trainer there trying to give them advise, trying to get them to win. No one was really using good technique just speed, so i thought ok i can do that from my left leg. I start kicking as fast as i could hoping i get the most, what do ya know i get the most kicks, I did it, whooohoooooooo! I think it helped that i was the smallest one and the only one that wasn’t drunk. I stood there while Saenchai singed the shorts, gave me a hug and then gave them to me. I was so happy and excited i had won! It was so much fun but it was even funnier watching all the guys faces as i got the shorts hahaha suckers!
So that night turned out to be one of the biggest highlights of my life! getting to hold pads for Saenchai was something i don’t think many foreigners would have ever done and id be pretty certain id be the only female that has done it, plus it was on his birthday! What an experience an absolute honour! Then beating all the boys in a kicking comp to win the shorts Saenchai had just been wearing, signed right in front of my face by him, was so cool!!!!!! Honestly such an amazing and funny experience training along side the King of Muay Thai and making friends with him. The time we spent with Saenchai is something that Dane and i will never forget as we often have a laugh about some of the things we would get up to with him. He really is a living legend and an absolute champion in and out of the ring.
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Natasha Sky – Professional Female Muay Thai Fighter from Australia.