I spent the first six weeks of 2020 in Thailand, and half of that time was devoted entirely to mixed martial arts (MMA) and Muay Thai training.
Two of those weeks were spent in the island paradise of Phuket at Tiger Muay Thai, one of the best MMA gyms on the planet. Once in Phuket, I met up with SB Nation video producer Case Harts, and we went to work on capturing the experience of training at an elite level in a foreign country.
Watch Episode One HERE.
Over the course of three weeks, Case and I recorded a ton of footage. Primarily, the focus of all this recording was training and martial arts related. For the first two weeks, I trained at Tiger Muay Thai every day, experiencing as much as I could of what the massive facility and dozens of coaches offered. Then, we relocated to Bangkok, where I visited several different academies.
Over the course of those three weeks and the coming videos, I’ll eat bugs, throw down in an organized bar fight, and get thrown on my head. Until then, let’s dig into the second episode.
Episode Two: It’s time to grapple! In this episode, Case documents a standard pro jiu-jitsu class at Tiger Muay Thai, which involves a brief warm up before lots of live positional rolling. Afterward, we head to a night market in Phuket Town to try some weird foods.
Behind-The-Scenes: Minute-for-minute, Tiger’s pro jiu-jitsu classes were the most fun of the lot.
Now, as a guy with a jiu-jitsu background, I’m likely biased. Still, I loved the way they were run — straight to the point. After a brief warm up to get a sweat going, which required little effort in Phuket’s heat and humidity, we would go directly into live grappling. 10-15 athletes would take the middle and start in a dominant position like back mount, side control, or even just top of guard. The fighter in the better position tried to finish, and the bottom man could win by escaping, sweeping, or submitting.
Winner stays in ... until he eventually loses.
There were more standard jiu-jitsu classes with a focus on instruction available at Tiger as well, but for professionals who know their stuff, that’s a perfect class!
As for the night market visit, it didn’t exactly go as planned. I had been to a good number of similar markets and thought we’d be able to find more exotic fare, but we were unable to locate any weird bugs or strange meats! Instead, I gorged myself on fried goods and weird bread sandwiches. While we did eventually land on some crickets and worms, such delicacies are still to come.
Anything for content!
Stay tuned for further episodes, which should be released weekly from this point forward.