Healthcation Training MMA in Phuket

With my vacation days stacking up it was time to go on another adventure, but the idea of lying on a beach reading a book sounded underwhelming. Much more to my taste, we found a MMA training camp in Thailand. But albeit my fascination for MMA, could this computer geek handle that kind of training? Read on to find out!

QiYue boxing at AKA Thailand in Phuket

QiYue hitting the bags at AKA Thailands outdoor gym.

With two years of pollution stacked up in my lungs from living in China, I preferred a “healthcation” rather than a party trip.

At first I wanted to sign up for a yoga center in Thailand but luckily I discovered something horrible in their TripAdvisor reviews. What surprised me wasn’t the occasional one-star rating (every business has them) but rather their response to such. After a one star review insulted every aspect of the center, they responded with “Thanks for your feedback, Love you!” . The sheer pretentiousness of this response made me feel I rather punch this yoga center than join them! That’s when my idea was born, maybe I should just learn fighting instead!

I found an amazing camp that trains MMA, but suspected QiYue wouldn’t be interested. I was surprised to find she thought it sounded way better than the yoga. The decision was made and I would spend my next month getting physically prepared for the fighting. But would one month be enough to get this computer geek capable of training alongside real fighters?

Room Close to AKA Thailand

Niber swimming in pool close to AKA Thailand in Phuket

Our AirBnB room was just around the corner to the training and had a salt-water pool, perfect for warming up!

We wanted to rent a room as close to the training center as possible, but unfortunately AirBnB could only show you roughly the location of each listing. We accepted the risk and booked this room in rawai, hoping it would at least be within walking distance.

To our surprise the room turned out to be literally around the corner from the gym. Great news as it we could train as much as we liked, bad news as now we had no excuse to be lazy!

The room turned out to be perfect for our needs. Technically this area is a bit far from the beach and I personally consider chlorinated pools to be toxic. Happily surprised it turns out our pool was salt-water treated for this exact reason.

Niber eating breakfast at AirBnB room in Phuket Thailand

After an unhealthy Brittish-style breakfast, we discovered that our host much rather cook us healthy local Thai food.

Breakfast came included with the room. For our first morning our host told us she had traveled all the way to Tesco to stock up on western breakfast ingredients. We looked around at the pork sausage, the white-bread toast & the high-sugar marmalade and thought to ourselves “How are we gonna have enough energy to workout after this kind of breakfast?“.

Without having to say anything, our host told us “It’s too bad you’re foreigners otherwise I could have just cooked you local Thai food”. We looked at each other and both said “We both love Thai food!”. And so for the remaining mornings she cooked us a healthy delicious breakfast, fit for champions!


The MMA Fundamental Class at AKA Thailand

After a healthy breakfast and a good warm-up in the pool, it was time to head over to the training camp. Our first lesson was ‘MMA Fundamentals’, the word ‘fundamentals’ gave me a false sense of security that it would be easy.

Photo on AKA Thailands website of Niber & QiYue practising yoga

For our warm-up they took a photo of us and posted on the website. Although since I was facing away I suspect they were more interested in QiYue than me!

Not long after training some basic moves I found myself all geared up for sparring. As there was no other girl in the class, QiYue was asked to sit this one out, while I get my ass kicked.

As MMA includes everything from wrestling to kicking to boxing I found myself whole-fully unprepared for the task. Although I’ve seen moves on Youtube videos I’d never tried them out in person.

I tried performing the moves we’d practiced but there were too many factors involved. If I was preparing to dodge a punch, my opponent would kick. If I was plotting to move aside from a side-kick, I would be met exclusively with punches. It felt like the guy was reading my mind and I was telegraphing it into space.

Niber training Brazilian Jui-Jitsu at AKA Thailand in Phuket

After getting destroyed in MMA class I luckily discovered that I was more suitable for the Brazilian Jui-Jitsu classes.

Despite wearing gloves and shinguard, our instructor had told us punch and kick lightly. On the one hand I should be happy as this probably saved me from significant injury, on the other hand it made it too abstract for my taste. At most times my mind was occupied with thinking what to do next, rather than immersed in a challenge.

At this point however my opponent went for a take-down and I soon found myself crushed on the floor under a heavy man, with QiYue giggling on the bench. With the wrestling being safer from injury, here we were allowed to use our full strength. Suddenly the process felt less abstract and I had a clear goal in mind of somehow getting back onto my feet.

Niber and QiYue relaxing with a pizza after training hard

After my body was all destroyed from the sparring, all I could do was relax with a pizza while QiYue laughs at all the kicks I received!

With all my strength I started what probably most have looked like a fish flapping out of water. Two of the pros who’d just finished their drill came around to cheer me as I tried everything to get back on my feet. As I finally was able to lift him up then throw him to the floor the pros started applauding.

With perfect timing the bell rang and it was time to change sparring partner. I felt proud about the eventual outcome but my pride wasn’t long lived. As I started walking over to my next sparring partner I discovered I’d completely burned out my leg muscles.

With my leg muscles turned into spaghetti I was about as proactive as a punching bag for the remaining rounds of sparring. At the end of the lesson my body was covered with bruises and I realized that despite my month of warm up, my body wasn’t prepared for this level of training. Luckily I discovered the evening Brazilian Jui-Jitsu classes that were more technique based, partaking in those were both fun and educational.

Raw Food and Detox in Phuket

Chef at Atsumi Raw Cafe Phuket preparing our healthy raw detox juice

Not much for toxic Gatorade we found our favorite workout recovery drink to be raw juices from Atsumi Raw Cafe.

One of the reasons I prefer Thailand to its competing holiday destinations are its many creative businesses. Apart from the amazing MMA example above, my other favorite was all the raw food restaurants.

Althought I’m not convinced by the arguments for raw food, I was excited to at least try. Having previously considered being a raw foodist myself, I was put off when I realized how difficult it was to prepare raw dishes. But with entire restaurants specializing in raw food I could get the full benefits of trying it out without the nightmare of learning how to.

As it turned out, I was not impressed by raw dishes, it just isn’t for me. What I really liked however was raw detox drinks, 100% freshly juiced from fruits and vegetables. Although available all around Phuket, the best and largest ones we found was at Atsumi Raw Cafe.

Island-Hopping near Phuket

QiYue playing on beach on a Phuket island

We did actually spend one day as conventional tourists, but although amazing it was ironically the least exciting day of our vacation.

While the fighting classes were both fun and educational, we decided we should probably spend at least one day as conventional tourists. As our six Russian neighbors had booked a private boat trip suitable for 8, we were able to squeeze in for a great price.

Although we got to see some amazing sights and hang out at wonderful beaches, ironically we both agreed that it was our least interesting day. I’m now fully certain that doing something physically active during a vacation is the best way to spend your time!

That’s it for my adventure training MMA, but rest assured there will be more mildly interesting adventures to come so make sure you sign up to blog updates by email!

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