Saturday, June 6, 2009

Muay Thai, Excite!

Every few months or so I search for Muay Thai gyms in Southern Connecticut and come up with nothing. I was recently talking to a co-worker about my old gym when I casually searched "Fairfield Muay Thai" in Google. Much to my amazement, 'The Center Martial Arts' popped up. (I don't know why it's not "The Center for..." or maybe include a hyphen, but that's their name.) When I looked at the website alone I was excited. A few days later I went in to watch a Muay Thai class. The trainer, Hitalo Machado still currently fights MMA. I can't tell you how much this excites me. Finally someone who is up on his game because he has to be. Oh and he has some serious reach. Look at all that blood and spit! I get giddy just looking at it. Not in a blood lust kind of way. I'm just really excited to have a trainer who can kick so much ass!

While I watched the Muay Thai class I quickly noticed a sign that this is Muay Thai, not "American Kickboxing". Calves. From the clinching and kneeing you form some serious calves you don't get from traditional kickboxing. Hitalo and the guys who obviously train a lot all had Muay Thai calves. As I watched the class further I got even more excited, this was familar, this is where I need to train. I talked with one of the owners, Sensei Paulina for quite some time. When she told me she is Thai, I said "Sawatdee Kaa" (Hello) and she was very excited by this and said "Sawatdee Kaa" back. I told her I definitely want to take the time to train in Thailand someday. Then I met a girl who has a fight planned either this month, or next I can't remember. I never thought I'd ever meet a girl who actually fights Muay Thai. It will be her first fight, and I was really happy to hear that The Center set up the fight and is very supportive of female fighters. Makes a lot of sense considering the two owners are female. How rare is that? Well I've certainly never heard of ANY martial arts gym owned by a female.

I talked to the girl for a bit, and she is really nice. She is finishing up her doctorate AND training almost every day. She said she was looking forward to finally having a girl to spar with. I am excited too, but nervous since I'm rusty and she's a bit bigger than me. I WILL get my ass kicked by her, there is no doubt of this. But that's okay, I really need my ass kicked to get back into the game. The Center fully sponsors their fighters, which is awesome. They are even thinking of sending her to Master Toddy. Basically he is THE person in the US to send a fighter too, especially if your fighter happens to be a woman. He's VERY open to training female fighters, and was on a show (I have to admit I watched every episode of on Hulu) called "Fight Girls". (Oh it sounds so lame and kind of was, but they were fighting Muay Thai! I couldn't NOT watch.) "Fight Girls" also featured my fav Muay Thai crush, Gina Carano. (pictured)

Last Saturday I tried out my first class, Advanced Muay Thai. I did pretty well considering I haven't clinched in well over a year. The kid I was practicing with is as scrawny as me, and I think about 15! It was really hard to get back into the habit of watching a trainer, following what he's saying and then practicing the sequence while at the same time remembering my form. Hitalo noticed right away my "wave" as he calls it. In traditional Muay Thai you drop the opposite arm of the one you are kicking for balance. He said that my "wave" needs to go. Then he asked me where I trained. "Plus One in Hartford" "Ah Peter... yeah I used to train with him." Small world! He said he wasn't as traditional as Kru Peter (btw, this makes me sad) but their styles are very similar. We didn't spar during the class, but that's probably for the best. Last time I sparred it was an embarrassment. I have to finish up my contract with Aiki, which ends this month. So hopefully I will be starting at The Center next month. I already ordered new Muay Thai gloves, heavier ones that will be better for sparring and their heavy bags. Now I need to get new shin guards, mine are WAY too thin.

PS- Oh man after some googling, turns out Hitalo is 3 years younger than me! God, when did I get OLD?! Well whatever, a lot of women fighters are older than 25, so I got some time.


Krista June 6, 2009 at 6:12 PM  

Glad to hear you found a new gym!! Off topic, but could you help me add the script to my blog for the Buckeye Outdoors training? I've started using it but can't figure out how to add the sidebar like you have... Any help would be super appreciated!!! Thanks! Krista (