I’ve been in Edinburgh for the last five days visiting my sister, who’s lived here with her boyfriend for quite a few years now. Coincidentally she lives less than a mile from a well-regarded Thai boxing gym - Hanuman Muay Thai, so I’ve been doing a bit of training there.
I shouldn’t be too surprised (this is Scotland, after all!) but it was probably the toughest intro I’ve had to a gym. Sort of like the bit from No Retreat No Surrender when the main dude goes to the new dojo for the first time! I went in, talked to the head coach for a minute, and got changed. We did some skipping, stretched a little bit and did some shadow - and then straight into sparring. It was a bit of a shock since the few sessions I did at Hammerhead in Dublin are the first sparring I’ve done in over three months, and although it was supposed to be technical it got pretty gnarly at times. It was full sparring, with knees and elbows, and there were only three of us there. Myself with 4 fights, another chap with no fights and the head trainer with 50+ fights! We took turns doing one minute rounds, one person out each time, and did clinching after. It was pretty full on due to my rustiness and current lack of conditioning. The most worth I got out of it was mentally readjusting to the reality of fight training, but in reality it was quite demoralising. The chap who was the trainer was friendly and had some good tips, but he was also showing off too much. You know how I mean - throwing from the clinch too hard, walking away without looking after dropping myself or the other chap, enjoying his dominance too much. Not very posi in my book. The next day was similar, except with more people, a longer warm-up and three rounds on the bag. By the end I was wrecked, as this time I was sparring and clinching with the trainer plus two of their fighters, both of whom were pushing hard.
The interesting thing though was although I was thrown right in at the deep end, I realized I’m no longer intimidated walking into a new gym. Despite these lads’ greater experience and better present condition than me, I could still hang with them in full sparring. Eat the fear!