Tigers Gym Part III
Also, I am leaving Ubon to go to Khon Kaen tomorrow. Another Isaan city about 300 kms northwest of here. There I will be training at the gym Sor. King Star. This is the gym where the famous Thai fighter Saenchai started out at. At least that is my assumption. I will confirm all that when I get there because there may be a similar named camp. I will miss Ubon. Legacy is a good gym and I am staying at a very comfortable house with wireless Internet. However, at the same time, it is a little too comfortable because although I had plans to train once a day for the first week my sleep schedule has gotten messed up having a real nice comfortable bed and staying up on the Internet all night. One week of this is OK but I definitely can’t make this a habit. So tomorrow after morning training I will head to the bus station, check into a cheap hotel and on Wednesday have my first training session at Sor. King Star. I will also be spending my Songkran (Thai New Year) here in Khon Kaen although I may get out of the city and into a smaller nearby town called Phu Wiang which is next to a national park.
Now onto Tigers Gym. I left at the point where Alan the Bull Fernandes picked me up to take me to training. Now, I had seen Alan on numerous HL videos from Tiger’s Gym so it was quite odd finally meeting him in person since we had never met or spoken to each other ever. However, despite the fact that he looks like a mean dude in his videos he is a really, really nice guy. You would never expect that this guy has been a fighter for several years and enjoyed giving and receiving punishment in the ring. So he picked me up outside of my dorm room and we headed over to the gym. The gym is about 10 km away from business of Nasik road and in a smaller village called Baghur. I was already used to the traffic in Pakistan so the 10 km ride on his motorcycle to the gym was no big deal really. I actually found the traffic, in Nasik at least, to be much tamer than that of Pakistan. We arrived at the training center, and although I had seen it before in videos from the inside and outside. It really is a very non descript place. There is no big sign proclaiming Tigers Gym, nothing like that, just a large 2 story building with very old walls. On the main gate in Hindi, I believe is written something like Balkawde Akhara which is the same of the wrestling camp which also functions there. In fact the building had been a wrestling camp for a quite a while before Tigers Gym was invited to start MMA training at the facility.
Inside the building is a labyrinth. There are so many different rooms and corridors. various staircases leading here and there, hallways into dark corridors, my first day the building was alive, wrestlers going here and there, wrestlers families coming in, random people, it was a beehive. There are multiple shower areas, a kitchen for the wrestlers meals to be prepared in, a weight room, a room that I did not see but heard chanting coming from (wrestling has kept strong ties to Hinduism), an office, A gigantic warm up area with wrestling mat, a kickboxing hall where the heavy bags are strung up, another wrestling room, a traditional wrestling pit and lots of other nooks and crannies I did not see. The place is massive.
We went down some stairs, a few twists and turns and into the warm up area which is connected to the kickboxing hall and also has a large yellow wrestling mat. When I got there I saw a large poster with CLASH OF CHAMPIONS on the wall at the top of the concrete bleachers that overlook the warm up area. Actually poster isn’t a good word, more like Billboard. It’s huge.
The other students were already there and were beginning to stare at me. I don’t know if I looked so different but this was a small town and so any newcomer is quite an event. Luckily Alan told us to get on the mat and start running. After a few minutes of running in circles with shadow boxing in between I got to thinking “This isn’t so bad.” Then he had us to tumbling and rolls. I haven’t done drills like these since I left the states and not only was I really tired, I was really dizzy and couldn’t walk in a straight line. I wanted it to stop. Luckily after that he told us to partner up and do ground and pound drills. I thought the hard part was over. We did about three 2 minute rounds of this drills and I was in bad shape. I was really really tired, the kind of tired that you equate with torture it was so painful. The dust and pollution that had accumulated in my lungs in Pakistan was trying to get out and I was coughing a nasty, raspy cough that made it feel like my lungs were gonna tear. Luckily after that drill things started to ease up. We did a few rounds on the pads with partners and then switched over to the heavy bags. Although I was still tired I could force myself through the rest of the workout.
The afternoon training was typically 1:30 to 2 hours in length. The class is conducted at a very fast pace. You go from one thing to another, and switch from striking, to grappling and clinching drills. Most of the class is drilling with a few days of sparring. I think it’s very smart because with limited time to train guys totally unfamiliar with MMA you get the basics drilled into them along with conditioning at the same time. Most of the classes were like that except for a few exceptions like when we would train outdoors. I’ll save some of that for another post.
I’ll leave my summary of Tigers Gym at this. I will write some other posts later about my time there. I was in India for about a month. Tomorrow before I leave I will try and write one more post about the training at Legacy. Til then.