It’s 5.40 am when the alarm (an old Nokia3310) starts ringing. A fast check to Whastapp and to Facebook to see if someone from the other side of the world contacted me (not often at all!), contact lens, sport clothes, and I leave my room. I sit down in the hall, searching energies in a squisite mango, while I’m waiting for the other boxers. Between them, there is David, from Civitavecchia, just arrived here after a time in Australia, Carlos, a spanish nak muay with 50 fights, and Vincenzo, from Foggia, nicknamed “Trapano”. Mathias, 7 Muay Thai captain, and champions of several Muay Thai competitions, arrives too.
Running starts. Six kilometers we finish in about 30 minutes, coasting Chak Pong beach, under Ajarn’s eyes, the Master, who follows us by motorbike. Will to joke like teenagers, to talk about some thai-bizzarre-things or to complain about ailments disappear as our oxygen drops. Ajarn, with a cronometre in his hand to check times, shouts something to spur us. Some curious dogs follow us. We come back at the camp, sweating. This is just beginning.
Just a while to take break, drink something to recover, and at 7 am we are in gym. Following daily program, warm-up consist in lift at the bar and 100 knees at the bag. I always make some stretching for femoral too: my legs are absolutely not loose! I’m busy with my knees when Roberto, 7 Muay Thai manager and Mathias’ father, arrives. <<Knees are getting better. Let’s see later kicks…>>, told me. I nod, panting.
David and Vincenzo start working at the pads with the krus, the teachers. David has a long time experience in fighting sports. Boxing, wing tsun, muay thai…his kicks seems could destroy some pads! Soon he will make debut fighting for 7 Muay Thai team against a popular local nak muay, and I’m pretty curious. Vincenzo is here since August. When he arrived, he didn’t know anything about Muay Thai. Well, he had two fights and he kicks very well! I would consider me lucky if I could reach his level someday. Carlos and Mathias, professional boxers, are busy in an high technical sparring.
I keep training by myself, following the program. Jab-direct with weights, frontal kicks, elbows, shadow…until when kru Mek (another local legend with 300 fights!) calls me for pads. I go in the ring, and wait for the gong of the timer. Three very intense rounds of four minutes, working with punches and kicks. Before I leave the ring, I hear Roberto’s voice…
<<Those kicks suck! You have to raise your ass, turn your pelvis better…and be soft with your leg! Don’t think about kicking a football ball…..and by the way, are you good in football?>>
<<To be honest, I suck at playing football too.>>
<<Oh yes???So…2000 kicks at the bag! Let’see if you learn…”
Considering yesterday, today I will reach 3000 kicks. I start my work. Tired, sore, but determinate. Behind me, other guys are busy with abdominal exercises. I can hear the blows on theirs abdomens. There will be time even for me, I think. No laments: this is a Muay Thai camp, not a Caribbean cruise!