January 6, 2013 by Melissa Ray
Muay Thai training is repetitive by nature. Routine, practice, and drills are all important for good habits to be established, and for the numerous techniques to be committed to memory. However, the occasional change from the normal training routine can be extremely stimulating and keep the mind interested.
Just before Christmas, I had a change of location—spending a few days away from Bangkok in the beach resort town of Hua Hin in Prachuap Khiri Khan province. I also experienced a brief change in gym.
Since early 2008, the only Muay Thai gym I have trained at in Thailand has been Eminent Air Boxing Gym in Bangkok. Of course, I love the training there, and after so many cumulative hours on the gym’s premises—despite a lengthy absence last year due to a cruciate ligament injury—I know the routines and the people extremely well.
However, with much work to do to regain my former fitness and return to my pre-injury weight (as I am kindly reminded by the Thais on an almost daily basis!), I was loath to being too lazy during my holiday in Hua Hin.
So, I saw my trip as an opportunity to try out another gym, gain some different training experiences, and hopefully learn something new. I opted for Por Promin Muay Thai after hearing several glowing reports from previous students including English fighter Darren O’Connor.
Por Promin’s head trainer and owner Kin Prayun Thawang has credentials that include more than 250 fights at venues including Lumpini and Rajadamnern, and overseas in England, Australia, and Korea, as well as 15 years’ experience teaching foreigners in Thailand, England, and Spain. Having fought as recently as 2010, he is still extremely fit, very fast, and has a wealth of knowledge and experience to share.
I attended two morning sessions at Kin’s gym. On both days training started with a run around the village. The run was slightly more scenic than my usual route in Bangkok—up and down a subsoi of Sukhumvit 101—and the coastal air was undoubtedly cleaner than the city fumes I am used to inhaling.
On return to the gym, after stretching and shadow-boxing, we kicked the bag for a few 4-minute rounds until being called individually into the ring for pad work with Kin or trainer Sek, an experienced Isaan fighter.
At Eminent Air, once assigned a trainer, we tend to stick with them throughout. So I do admit to feeling strangely nervous when hitting pads with someone new. Once I’d relaxed, pads with Kin was great—fun, varied, and very tiring. Kin has a huge repertoire of techniques and excellent command of English; so—although I have a good understanding of Thai—he could also explain the intricacies of any particular move in my mother tongue.
For example, one technique we practised involved me throwing a right body kick, which he caught and held, then me elbowing the pad with my right elbow before he released my kick. However, I wasn’t turning my hip sufficiently for the elbow to strike with power. “Open your bum!” he exclaimed, which—as strange as it sounds—was advice that really worked to improve my execution of the technique.
After pad work I was invited to join in the clinching. I had not clinched for almost a year due to my knee injury and still had some fears of re-injury and further setback.
But, not wanting to refuse in the new environment, I bit the bullet; clinching with Suzie Wylie (UK) and Toni Antilla (Finland)—both preparing for fights on the Banchamek promotion in Surin on January 5th—as well as Kin and Sek. Of course, nothing untoward happened, and I was pleased to have been encouraged to participate and to have finally overcome a mental barrier that had affected me for so long.
As in most gyms, the final stage of training at Por Promin was assigned for conditioning exercises and stretching, with free weights available for anyone to use.
On my second day at the gym I was also able to experience a couple of rounds on the pads with Sek after training with Kin, which were also highly enjoyable despite my shocking lack of fitness by that stage! Although I did not manage to attend an afternoon session, I was told the routine is similar to that of the mornings, and also includes sparring and extra kicks/knees on the bag for fighters.
I would highly recommend Por Promin gym to anyone interested in training in the Hua Hin area. Hua Hin can be reached from Bangkok in just over 2 hours and is a pleasant coastal town with several attractions including the beach.
Por Promin offers a clean and friendly training environment. Kin clearly has genuine love for teaching Muay Thai and he and his trainers provide every student with individual attention and guidance. Kin’s wife Miriam is also integral to the efficient running of the gym, and her being English makes for ease of communication with international students for directions or enquiries.
I gained a lot from my two sessions at Por Promin. I gained the confidence to clinch again (which was significant for me), learned a few new techniques, met some great people, and returned to Bangkok with revived enthusiasm for training. While I do think loyalty to one gym is important, change and experience of another gym’s training can also be extremely positive, as I found during my holiday.
Please check out Por Promin’s facebook page for further details on the gym, pricing and accommodation.