Without a hobby here in Bangkok you are leaving yourself open to feeling vulnerable and lost during those bad times. And what better hobby than one that improves your health and mood? So I'm pleased to say that I am a runner.
I continued running when I had time and then started taking part in races, see Jog and Joy for information. First a 10 km, then a 11 km, a 14 km a 16 km and most recently the Standard Chartered 1/2 Marathon in 1 hr 59 mins! The best thing about it is that in Thailand, it's not a serious thing. One ambassador for the races is an old Thai lady who runs with her 5 little dogs and then thrusts flyers into everyone's hands at the finish line. Everyone can take part AND you get a running top and a medal when you finish!
I love running because it depends on me, so I can take it as far as I choose to. After a good run I feel de-stressed as I've had that time to catalog my thoughts, it's a bit like meditation almost. There is a running group in Bangkok called Bangkok Runners, although I have never met with them due to unsociable work hours, they have always responded to my enquirers and the whole community seams supportive. So even if your not a 'runner' yet, maybe you could be.
Please Note: Currently at Lumphini Park there is a ongoing demonstration and people are living in the park. Although they are friendly and don't take much notice of the runners, it could still be dangerous.
Muay Thai is a great sport to get into especially as it's the national sport of Thailand. You needn't be worried if you haven't done combat sports before as the Thais generally don't take anything too seriously and are welcoming to beginners. Muay Thai is empowering and gets you fit quickly. You will be aching all over after a good session, if your not you didn't do it properly! If you don't want to compete you don't have to, and if you don't want to be put in a situation where you may get hurt that's also your choice. There are some gyms in BKK that have ladies only sessions if your not to keen on being surrounded my the guys. If the guys don't phase you then joining a mixed class is fine too. I have been going to Fighting Spirit Gym in Silom and recently took part in a amateur competition. The result was a draw and I was happy with that. I probably wont compete again as the aftermath of injury was not good, a swollen knee and foot so I couldn't run for a while. And also a kind of whip lash feeling from being punched in the face.
Advice for training Muay Thai
- Don't sleep with the trainers. Yes their physical appearance represents that of demi-gods and their so cute, but if you want to train there long term just don't. Yes sometimes it can work and flower into a beautiful relationship but 9 times out of 10 it goes the other way. Pleople at the gym don't respect you, the other trainers don't want to train you and it effects your training that you've paid for. There are plenty of other guys at other gyms if you want to date a boxer.
- Buy your own Muay Thai shorts that fit, and then wear some spandex shorts under them or every time you kick/stretch everyone can see your knickers and other stuff.
- Buy your own wraps, you don't want to borrow the gyms supply.
- When you have finished training rinse your clothes in a bowl of hot Dettol water. Muay Thai is not the same as running, you end up covered in each others sweat and sometimes blood.
- Your feet will become torn to shreds from footwork training until you've built up resistance. So soak your feet in hot Dettol water after training to ensure you stay free from infection and cover any open blisters etc.