Big thank you for Damian Mavies, the TLD master who contribute his story for my website. His story is about when he came to Thailand and join some of martial arts camps to learn self defense and of course, including Muay Thai. The whole story has 7 episodes altogether (so far) and may be useful for you who are thinking about come to train Muay Thai in Thailand as well as learning how perception towards Thailand his perspective (for Farang, not Thai like I am). Mavis also has review of Muay Thai camps in Thailand on his websit www.honourtkd.com, which you may interested in further reading.
Adventures in Thailand 1
You know, so much crazy sheet happens to me here in Thaialnd that I feel like I'm living someone elses life, it's too surreal. Something nuts will happen and I'll forget about it because all the nutsyness is just starting to blend together.... but I've decided to write mini memoires to try to keep it all straight. Here is one: Just a few nights ago I went to Pattaya to train with Sifu, training was great, it's called Shaolin karate but it's like a blend of striking and submission grappling... basically it's like MMA only they don't stick to the strictly used techniques in MMA events.
Anyway, after training I'm in his office discussing business when in walks an extremely powerful man in Thailand, I only know this because my good buddy standing next to me tells me. He leaves and comes back with 3 other people that I assume are big wigs too and me and my buddy start "wy - ing" like crazy to show respect. One of the things I noticed is even though some of them didn't dress really well, they still had expensive jewellery on. This is important because that was a quick lesson I sorely needed for later this evening. Later on I'm booting around on my scooter like usual in Pattaya, I swear the dangerous ride is one of the reasons I come here every week, I'll talk about my accident in another memoire!
Anyway, I'm booting around and this big guy on a powerful Ninja comes right up behind me fast and is very close, he is almost hitting me and the other scooter blocking him. We are trying to turn left and he won't let us because he is so eager to get by. So I almost stop and say "Go F*ck!" So he goes and as he rides away I'm yelling "asshole!" I should know better, but I was pissed and have a hate on for other farangs (foreigners) in this country so lost my better judgement. I'm a kilometer away up another street when he comes barreling up beside me almost hitting me saying in a thick European accent "who's the asshole? who's the asshole?"
I'm trying to pull over since I don't want him knocking me off my bike and potentially killing me but he's not letting me, so I slam on the breaks and veer off the road. He pulls over and comes to me. I'm 5' 10" and 160 lbs, this guy was easily 6'3" and 280 lbs... he was a monster. I left my helmet on (which only covers the top of my head) thinking maybe it would protect my head a little if he landed a punch there even though there was just an article in the paper discussing how cheap and ridiculous those Thai helmets were and that they wouldn't save you in an accident at all. It was like wearing nothing they said, but I figured it HAD to be better than nothing!! heh. So up he walks and he starts throwing his hands up towards my face yapping away in an accent I can't discern, but something was nagging at me that it might be Russian.
Everytime he threw a hand up near my face I parried it away, HARD. I kept smacking his hands down as soon as they went up and he started to get frustrated. He made a slightly more aggressive move and after the last parry I brought my guard up and he starts yelling, "hit me, hit me and I kick your ass!" I tell him I'm not the one threatening him and I'm not going to hit him, I'm just defending myself. I know it sounds like cheesy martial arts propoganda they teach you to say in case of an altercation but I was under pressure and that is what came out.
He was being very threatening and totally invading my personal barrier and space, he had already committed to a fight as far as I was concerned. The whole time I was thinking, I'm so ready to fight, this guy was a giant but for some reason that didn't bother me at all, I had never fought a guy that outweighed me by this much, it's all testicles and eyeballs to me and his were big enough to make easy targets. But then after I brought my guard up and was committed to fighting.... I suddenly started to evaluate my opponent. His accent seemed Russian... he was dressed better than most Farangs in Pattaya, meaning he was wearing a button down shirt and dress pants intead of a tank top, dirty shorts and tattoos. His fingers he was waving in my face were covered in gold rings, his neck had at least 3 thick gold chains around it.
I suddenly realised this guy was most definately Russian mob. There are a bunch of them in Pattaya at all times and my buddy has warned me a million times never to get into anything with farangs in Pattaya because bad men from everywere go there to party, especially Russians. I suddenly lost all my anger, amazing how the need for self preservation can do that to you! He could see in my eyes something changed, that I had lost my resolve, so he started getting nasty and saying stupid shit. I could see in his eyes that he knew he had won.
I was forced to swallow my pride and back down, I just let him say whatever he wanted and I backed off of him, let him wag his fingers a little and then he walked away looking back at me repeatedly to make sure I stayed cowed. He drove away. We would both have probably landed up in jail, I would have gotten out pretty fast since Sifu knows the police but then I would have to look over my shoulder everywere I went in Pattaya and hope I don't get shot any time soon...if I didn't get shot on the spot of the fight. You know what, an hour later I forgot this had happened.... I'm sitting here trying to think of the weird stuff I go through here and I thought of this event. I'll write some more soon.
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Adventures in Thailand 2
So last night I go out for dinner with my interesting friend Jak and his boyfriend... Yes that's right, he's a gay Thai Salsa champion, world class, ranked 13 in the the world. At first I thought he was a bitch, you know, mean, bitchy and malicious like an exagerated jealous female, but now that I have gotten to know him he's actually a nice guy and not catty like I thought he would be. Although he plays it up sometimes and tries to act very girly, he speaks excellent english and is very intelligent and very funny.
So him and his young boyfriend drive me outside Bangkok to this Seafood market restaurant that only Thai people go to and we sit down to a veritable feast. I'm talking HUGE shrimp the size of you hand, 20 of them, and 6 crabs and a big fish with crab fried rice. and it all tastes so damn good and extremely fresh. All this cost $50 Canadian, his treat. I'm having the best meal of my life and I'm sitting there thinking, would I be doing this in Canada? Having a great meal with 2 blatantly gay men? Salsa dancers of all things?! heh No probably not, but for some reason I deliberately limitted my life experiences in Canada... now that I'm in Thailand I seem to relax a bit and am less uptight.
Anyway, everyday I'm constantly reminded of how good the food is here and if you love food like me, it can keep you in a constant high and state of happiness! Last month they were shooting the movie Alexander here and I lost out on the opportunity to be in it... man what a drag. Directed by Oliver Stone and starring Colin Ferrel. A whole bunch of people I know are in this movie and if I had my act together and went the right route I'd be in it too, hard lesson for me. I learned quick that this a backstabbing and rough business to be in... and I'm not even in it yet!! haha. I trusted a friend to look out for my best interests only to realise that he sees me as competition and would never probably help me.
I have to go it alone, shoulda done that from day one 4 months ago when I arrived here. AH WELL! Near the end of the shoot I was at a bar at Conrad Hotel, and decided to leave early that night.... man what a mistake! After I left Colin Ferrel, Oliver Stone, Val Kilmer and Angelina Jolie walk in! Sucks to be me! haha Talk about bad timing, it would have been cool to meet and shake their hands. Life is never boring here, whether good or bad, never boring
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Adventures in Thailand 3
So I get off the sky train and walk up to the motorcycle taxi guys like I do whenever I go home, and hop on the back of this dudes Harley... don't know why this particular taxi guy drives a kick ass Harley but he does and I prepare to enjoy the ride. Most motorcycle taxi guys drive not so kick ass motorscouters, the motorscouters can weave in and out of traffic so are always the smartest way to go during rush hour... which in Bangkok is almost all the time! heh. But he isn't going through traffic to get to my apartment, I'm just too lazy to walk the long blocks and don't mind paying 0.50 Canadian to save myself some time. So off we go and we don't go very far down the street before we come up to some traffic! There is never any traffic on this street so I'm very curious and my chauffeur says "moto-cy acciden" (motorcycle accident).
So I'm scanning the crowd and realise they are all standing around a nice lump on the street that they covered in newspaper... we drove not more than a foot away from it as we slowly went by, I had never been that close to a freshly dead person before and it freaked me out that I wasn't effected.... In Canada I would feel something but here I just look at the body lump and think "that might be me someday". Life is way cheaper here than back home and I'm starting to think that way too, kind of scary the way a place changes you.
Not more than a week later I'm booting down a street in Pattaya on my rented motorscouter and I foolishly decide to pass a taxi truck (Song Tao) on the outside and speed up as I do so... I must have been going 60km/h when another Falang (foreigner) with his Thai girlfriend on the back decides to cut right across the lane without looking to turn right, he stops abruptly directly in front of me and everything just slows right down... I felt like I had all day to decide what I was going to do but only had a couple of limitted choices. I was thinking very calmly to myself, "ok, I'm going to lean my shoulder to the left and swerve to hit the back of his motorcylcle so I don't mangle his leg and when I hit I'll let myself go with the flow of energy and try to roll." And that is exactly what I did, after 14 years of martial arts training this is probably the single best use of my skills ever.
At impact I flew through the air over the handle bars already starting my roll and hit the ground hard but rolled right out of it and into fighting stance haha. It happened so fast it was like a blink. One second I'm thinking in slow mo, the next I'm standing 15 feet away from our bikes looking ready for an invisible enemy. I didn't feel a thing. All I can hear is about 40 bar girls laughing and pointing at me from the sidewalk as I walk over to check on the falang and his girl. They are totally fine, they just plopped over on their side with little more than a scratch because I only hit the back wheel of the bike and sent my energy over the handle bars.
Police just happen to be standing right there with all the laughing bar girls, they see we are ok and ask us if we have settled it, we both agree there is nothing to settle, we were both at fault. I was definately going way to fast and trying to pass on the outside and he didn't look before cutting across the lane. If I had hit a Thai guy it would have been a totally different ball game and I would have had to fork over some money, lucky me. I walk my twisted bike over to the bar on the side and all the girls are all laughing still until I take my helmet off, then they all go dead quiet, I hear a couple say in thai, "handsome man".
I remember thinking "ya, don't laugh at the handsome man!" Talk about humiliating having a large group of people laugh at your near death experience and no one even trying to help you, pretty lame feeling. It cost me $70 Canadian to fix up the bike, I was lucky, I was able to twist the front wheel back into place and only had to get the lights and mirrors and scratches fixed. I decided to take my safety a tad bit more seriously after that, I don't do stupid manuevers anymore. Thankgod for my training, that roll really saved my butt.
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Adventures in Thailand 4
I'm going to tell you a bit about my best friend. He's a great guy and has helped me alot and without him... yadayada, I'm getting all weepy.... anyhow, he's a cool guy that has lived here in Thailand for 8 years now. He's the only Farang (foreigner) I have ever met here that speaks PERFECT Thai. I don't mean he sounds good, I mean he sounds like a native and people here refuse to believe him when he says he's only been here 8 years.
He's the type of guy that really throws himself into whatever he's after and when he wanted to speak Thai he studied and practiced for hours every day. His name is Mike Gillies. He's a TKD instructor from Canada like me teaching TKD in Thailand and also like me has trained Muay Thai and fought in the ring here. He fought 5 times and the first 4 fights were all joke fights, meaning he won them VERY easily. He either knocked them out with a good punch or body knocked them out with spinning back kick. I'll tell you about his 5th fight since that is the most exciting one.
Somehow he got hooked up with a promoter that wanted to fly him to Cambodia to fight the ex Cambodian champion. So off he goes to Cambodia, when he gets off the plane there is a cheering crowd waiting for him (they billed him as Canadian Tae Kwon Do Champion haha) and they put something similar to a leigh around his neck and treat him like a superstar, filming the whole thing. They send him off to a 5 star hotel and treat him like royalty. The fight is nationally televised and Mike is feeling a little freaked out at all the attention. On top of all that, the promoter is some huge promoter guy from Thailand that is famous for handling top fighters and champions, apparently NOBODY was sent to be Mikes corner man so the famous promoter had to go in the ring and be Mikes corner man! Now Mike has a picture of this famous dude rubbing his legs getting him ready in the ring, Thais see that picture in his TKD school and FREAK OUT.
So the bell goes, the opponents close on eachother and Mike throws a fast front snap kick to the Cambodians chin right up between his guard and drops him like a sack of poop. Mike is standing there staring at the guy trying to figure out what just happened (even though he threw the damn kick). The ref is counting 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.... then the ref looks at Mike standing there and gets all mad and stands up and leads Mike back to his corner and then goes back to the fallen Cambodian and RESTARTS THE COUNT! It was like a bad scene in WWF wrestling haha! The famous promoter was flipping out, Art (Mikes friend) is screaming, everyones yelling and freaking, nobody could believe what was happening. So after the initial 8 seconds, another 8 for walking Mike back to the ring and then the restart which is a few more seconds... the Cambodian finally got back up.
So the fight went on. The Cambodian was WAYYYY better than anyone Mike had ever fought or sparred and was wearing Mike down. Mike landed a couple of full power spinning back kicks right in the torso of the Cambodian and sent him flying across the ring both times, the Cambodian was visibly winded but just shook it off and trudged forward again. Mike was a tad freaked out by that. Mike got in a few other good shots but all in all the Cambodian dominated. It lasted 5 rounds and then the Cambodian did what he was being paid extra to do... he cut Mike wide open with elbow strikes. Mike found out later that he was being paid PER STITCH.
So Mike was cut open and the ref called the fight. The Cambodian had won. The promoter dude and Art were red in the face mad and calling foul about the blatant cheating to make the Cambodian win but there was nothing they could do. Mike didn't care at all, he went to get his picture taken with his opponent and his opponent apologised for cutting him open and said he was just doing his job. Mike told him not to worry about it and that he really enjoyed the experience and thanked him for the excellent fight.
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Adventures in Thailand 5
I have a friend named Rocco, we don't know each other real well yet but so far he is one of the nicest coolest guys I've met here. And if you saw him you certainly wouldn't think so! Shaved head with a fully tattood scalp, grey and black beard, muscles on his muscles and earings INSIDE his earlobes so big they have stretched his ears out like a..... well damn like I don't know what, I've never seen anything like it! He looks like a muscular killer dwarf from a sci fi movie but he's actually very nice.
A month or so ago he was up in his apartment in Pattaya when he heard a loud "BUDDABUDDABUDDABUDDABUDDABUDDA!" coming from downstairs and outside. He runs downstairs half naked (wearing nothing but shorts) and lying in a bloody heep is the security guards body, he had been shot 8 times with a machine gun. The other doorman was freaked out but seemed ok.
The one that had been shot was still alive and having trouble breathing so Rocco rolled him over a bit and held him up to help him breathe. He just kept encouraging him to breathe. The cops showed up and threw them all in the back of the cop truck to rush them to the hospital.
Rocco just held the man tight while they bounced insanely along over speed bumps at full speed, these trucks are already a bumpy ride, Rocco said they were air borne from the bumps over and over. If Rocco hadn't been holding him he would have been bashed around pretty badly... don't think that would have helped the 8 bullet wounds. This is when the other door man realises that he too has been shot, guess he was so freaked out he didn't notice that bullet in him! Shock. When they finally get to the hospital there is a news crew waiting for them and they film them getting out of the truck and running into the hospital.
Rocco was covered in this mans blood, it looked pretty scary, he was topless and muscular and smeared in blood all over. The newsmen were shouting "Falangs been shot! Falangs been shot!" Apparently that would have made much better news! Rocco just kept saying "no I'm not shot". They take the wounded men away and that was that.
The man survived amazingly which is what makes this story worth reading. Maybe Rocco saved that mans life by holding him during the bumpy ride and encouraging and helping him to breathe, I think it must have made a difference. I talked to someone who saw it on the news, poor Rocco missed the broadcast, he was a hero.
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Adventures in Thailand 6
Been a while.... life got a little too adventurous for a while and didn't feel like talking about it. I'll get the negative crap out of the way so I can get back to talking about the good side of Thailand. If you are Japanese and female,coming to Thailand is an unecessary risk. In the past couple of months 2 Japanese women have been murdered (these are 2 events that I know of, could be more) One got in her taxi at the airport and was robbed and stabbed to death by her taxi driver.
Welcome to FREAKING Thailand! 2 months ago a Japanese friend of a friend of mine took a taxi to a factory outside Bangkok and the driver picked up his buddy and brought her out in the middle of nowhere, brutally gang raped her and left her for dead on the side of the road. She was in hospital for weeks and then went back to Japan.
1 month ago my friend that knew the above mentioned girl, was kidnapped in front of her apartment and brought to a house outside Bangkok where she was sexually tortured all night....... It's getting ridiculous, shortly after that (1week), she gets on a motorcycle taxi and instead of bringing her to her destination he brings her 30 minutes away to remote windy roads where he proceeds to drive recklessly and attempt to elbow her an knock her off the back of the motorcyle at high speed in order to rob her corpse when she hits the pavement. She held on for dear life and he gave up, he was finally forced to stop in traffic and she jumped off and ran away.
I'm not going to talk about that anymore, makes me mad as hell, these guys will smile right in your face and you'd never guess what they were capable of. Seven years ago when my friend moved here he said he would trust a strange Thai person with his life, now he just doesnt know what to think, things have been getting steadily worse for the past few years.
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Adventures in Thailand 7
Been awhile since I posted a story… so much stuff has happened this past year and keeps happening. Lately things have been pretty exciting all at once so feel like I should post some of it since people seem to enjoy the stories. The stories are all true, so much happens here in Thailand that there is no need to embellish or exaggerate. Anyway…. So lately I've been in Surat Thani (South of Thailand near the port to Koh Samui) working on a pirate movie called Black Beard starring Angus MacFayden and Richard Chamberlain.
Angus played "Father" in Equilibrium, the man who did the cool gun trapping fight scene with Christian Bale. He also played the Scottish Lord who betrayed Mel Gibsons character in Braveheart and then he later became King of Scotland. Angus is a really kool guy in case anyones wondering, some stars are uhm…. not nice, but Angus is very cool. If you don't know who Richard Chamberlain is well then you are an ignorant git, but I'll remind you anyway, he was the star of the Shogun and Thornbirds mini series many years ago, he's also done lots of other stuff but Shogun is what I'll always think of when I think of him, that series rocked.
He's very nice and friendly. My part in this movie is pretty minor, but it's a lot of fun, I'm playing the local town hitman baddie who's in league with the evil pirates and corrupt government. If you see this I'm the dude with the red beard up to all kinds of bad behaviour. It will be a Hallmark TV 2 part movie. I have no idea what Hallmark is but I imagine it's a channel or something in North America. I'm happy because this will be the first time friends and family back home will see me on TV. Anyway, we are shooting on the coast on the ocean and I've been enjoying myself immensely, every day I run along the ocean on the beach, swim in the ocean, swim in the pool beside the ocean, train my martial arts and do weights in the hotel gym.
Then I work on my tan a bit since I'm so pasty white. I have more days off than I work over a 1 month period and even the days I do work are usually short so in essence this is like a paid vacation, it's a pretty sweet gig. Moving along to the exciting stuff…. My friend Don is here on the shoot too, he's working as a stunt/action guy on this production. Don is the head instructor of Thailands most famous and prestigious Tae Kwon Do school (Asia Pacific TKD). So last night Don and I decided to go into town and look around a bit. We hired a driver through the hotel and drove into town (Khanom). We landed up at some small Karaoke bar and Don and I drank pop while our driver had a beer that was bigger than he was. Does that make sense? Don and I have never had a drink in our entire lives, he's the only other white guy besides myself that I've ever met that never drinks and never did.
Our Thai driver however likes to drink….. and then drive us around! It was only one beer (that I saw) but it was a giant beer. We left our driver at that bar to finish his gargantuan beer and we wandered out to walk around. We didn't go far, we went around a bit and then walked around the corner onto a dark street. I got on the phone to talk to someone and Don ran ahead a bit to check out another bar. Just one minute earlier a motorbike drove by with 2 drunk thai guys shouting HALLOO!. While I was standing there alone the motorbike came back and the passenger got off to talk to me. Already I know I'm in trouble, I pretend not to understand (he's asking for 100 baht in broken english and patting his lower back.) and walk towards Don and hang up my phone. Don's not stupid and was already running back when he saw the motorcycle stop to talk to me.
I was just about to warn Don that the guy was armed when Don talked to the Thai guy in Thai, then the Thai dude started getting more aggressive when he realized Don could understand and asking for 1000 baht (guess 100 baht is as high as he can go in English!) and started to pull out what can only be described as a sword. It was big. The handle popped out the top of his pants in the back but the blade went ALL the way down his leg although we didn't know that at the time. Because the guy was so focused on Don since he knew Don could understand he stupidly allowed me to circle around behind him. I was fully positioned and ready to kick this guy in 2 from behind but I hesitated (I'd already decided on the muay thai round kick and was going to propel this guy into the fence he was standing beside). I hesitated because I didn't want to make a mistake, not a technical mistake but a cultural one.
Don has seniority on me and knows this country way better than me, he's been here 10 years and I've been here less than 2. I wanted to take my cue from him. I know from experience that if we hurt this guy even in self defence we could still possibly be killed or have to pay thousands of dollars to get out of jail. This place is lawless, the only rule is it's almost always the foreigners fault, and we are in the south which is really bad right now. When the guy showed part of his sword Don put up his hands and said "ok ok". I relaxed a little and figured "oh ok we are going to play it cool, Don knows best".
The Thai guy got more aggressive and started to draw his sword more and more, it was long, so awkward for him to get out quickly. Don saw that and just acted, he jumped in the air and turning kicked the would be mugger in the head! The sword wielder looked like Chris Tucker in "Rush Hour". He just stood there dazed with his head to the side looking like he was thinking "which one a ya'll kicked me in the head?" The kick was fast, it was dark and the mugger was drunk or high and I'm sure he'll always be wondering how the foreigner hit him in the head without moving.
The motorcycle driver just sat there looking confused, I just know he was thinking "hey, you're not supposed to do that when we try to rob you." Don just said "lets go!" and we took off and ran back to the bar our driver was relaxing in, we hustled him into the car and drove off, we landed up driving right by the motorcycle morons who at this point were getting their friends and rounding up a posse to kill us. They didn't even think to look into the passing car. All in all it worked out fine, although I'll always be wishing I had nailed that guy instead of waiting to take my cue from Don. The guy will have a sore head and we escaped a sword wielding attacker without a scratch so it's all good. But we won't be going back into town without the whole stunt team as back up heh. Being in a group of 10 foreign martial arts experts, some over 6 feet tall of solid muscle should keep us out of trouble.
After writing that last part we were convinced by the movie production company to file a report with the local police although we don't trust them in the slightest, but it turned out to be a good idea. We gave the report, then took the cops to the scene of the crime and turns out a cop in that area confiscated a sword and a giant knife from 2 thai guys the same night and made them pay a fine for having the weapons. So they know exactly who tried to rob us and have their addresses…. Apparently they will be visited this evening by their local friendly neighbourhood police thugs.
Thai crooks are so stupid….. it's a good thing because they almost always get caught but also it's a bad thing since they aren't smart enough to think through the consequences of their actions and are more likely to kill over a stupid little reason. I got pics of the weapons these guys had on them and will try posting them here through my pda.
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