First the lifestyle. I've always been a city boy who loves his big city, first-world distractions. And here it's quiet, the internet is terrible, I know almost no one, the food is pretty much the same every day, and I can't get a decent cup of coffee to save my life. And yet in spite of all that I'm happy here. I wake up and train while in a fasted state, and so I'm pretty much down to eat anything when I'm done. Then I'm tired and it's time for a noon nap. Then it's time for the afternoon training session and the process repeats. I'm in bed well before 11pm and I don't really have time to think about not having my industrialized-world comforts.
As for the training, I think it helps I'm a little more fit than I was last time. When I came to TMT last time, I had been training consistently for a few months in Hong Kong, but certainly not as hard as I was this summer/fall in Vancouver. Maybe it's the pollution or that I get less sleep but I definitely train harder in Vancouver. That fitness level leads to an increased ability for me to do multiple sessions daily without too much fatigue, whereas in April I felt I was truly crawling out of the gym after every session. And I think most of the classes are a 7/10 in terms of difficulty as opposed to a 9/10 where I wouldn't be able to do multiple sessions daily. Doing more sessions also means I sleep more and have less downtime in which to get bored.
I have met a few interesting people while down here. A lot of the long-term students I've met here are actually pretty cool people and not typical bro/meathead fighters at all. I don't know how social I'll be here -- after all, I don't go out and party back home so I'm certainly not going to do it now when I'm wiped from twice-daily training -- but it's nice to at least be able to have a decent conversation over dinner.
Training is definitely good. Muay Thai is great, especially for the 7am class, because so few people show up for it that the trainer/fighter ratio is often close to 1:1. Thus you practically get a private lesson and many rounds of padwork, which is great. They also seem personally invested. I've had the same Thai trainer holding pads and coaching me every day, so he is quickly learning my strengths and weaknesses. Without question this is the biggest advantage of doing this second trip here at Phuket Top Team as opposed to the gargantuan Tiger Muay Thai.
The no-gi/BJJ training situation is a little different. Classes are similarly small; there are a lot of people who are complete newbs but there also appear to be some real studs and pro fighters. I don't think I have a large enough sample size to see what's going on there yet but I haven't encountered anyone like me who is just sort of intermediate level. The instructor is a former instructor of mine from Hong Kong, Silvio Braga, whom I like and have learned a great deal from in the past, so I'm sure I'll end up getting better no matter what the sparring partner situation ends up being. I haven't trained with the MMA instructor yet but I look forward to doing that on Monday or Tuesday.
This feels like kind of a boring blog entry, but that's because to most people this trip would be pretty boring: wake up, train, eat, sleep, wake up, train, eat, sleep. It's not what exciting blogs are made of, but it's keeping me happy. And it had better, because I still have 26 more days of it!