Chiang Mai – Day 4

Funny little day – I went all the way to Dokmai Gardens to find it was SHUT on Mondays.  Crap.  So it was on to Plan B – the shooting club.  But when I turned up it was $60! for 10 shots at clay pigeons!  No way!  So I went back to town and ordered my blouse.  There are a billion tailors around but I went with Chinese Custom tailors near the ENP office.  They were the cheapest (500B, most expensive was 750B) but I also liked the look of the outfit.  From there I went to the book exchange and saw a cat

A Siamese cat in Siam!

After this I went to the Santai boxing gym (http://muay-thai-santai.com/)  It’s a bit out of town (15km)- the taxi was 300B and he kept having to askif he was going the right way since it was taking so long.  The gym itself immediately looked like a ‘proper’ boxing gym – open air, a lot of bags, and 2 rings.  The training is open to everyone – check before you visit a gym in Thailand because some don’t train women.  The training started at 4pm with a run.  The others (5 foreigners) set off at just below my RFL pace, so I kept up with a bit of effort.  However near the finish I saw that there was another routes for slower people!  So it joined that grup for the last bit to avoid death.  The whole thing was well set up for different abilities – we all the same stretches, then the people that were doing several weeks at the gym split off and I had the head coach take me for some one -on-one to set up some basic drills.  I immediately went in to my Western boxing stance and he just laughed.  The Thai style has the guard a lot further out, the body is square, and only the back heel is lifted.  Then we did rounds of whatever drill we were on, and I kept being given something new.  This continued for 2 1/2 hours, finishing with some focus pad work with the coach in the ring.  He spotted that my kicks were off so he set me up with a balance aid to sort out my form.  Overall I gained a heap of skill and it was only $16, including dinner with all the fighters.  When I walked out to the road I found that the last bus to town left at 7.30 (it was 7.45) but one of the other students gave me a lift.

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