I’m writing this as I’m getting ready to leave to catch a flight to Phuket. No, this is not some spur of the moment decision. This has been in the works for a few months now.
You could even say that it’s been in the works for years.
Many moons ago when I was living in London, I happened across an article about a man who travelled to Thailand to study Muay Thai kickboxing. It sounded amazing. Like Bruce Lee learning Kung Fu from Shaolin Monks, kind of amazing.
That was seven years ago and I guess it’s been on my “bucket list” ever since. (I hate that term for reasons I’ll get into another time. The only buckets I like involve Red Bulls and Thai whiskey.) Anyway, turns out that life got in the way of me making this dream a reality. Other stuff just got in the way, I’m sure you’ve heard that story many times before.
Then something happened last year. I was jumped by two men in Peru and lost my wallet after a struggle. I made light of the situation and in reality, I’m very lucky. But there’s been one burning thought in my head ever since that episode: I have no idea how to defend myself.
I’m a lover not a fighter. I never understood why people would get drunk and then get into a fight. I would much rather spend that time trying get laid. No, really. Unfortunately, this has resulted in me having very little combat experience except for a few minor incidents.
Like that time in university, when an acquantaince insisted on fighting me for no aparent reason except to prove to people that he was tough. I wasn’t interested and refused. However, after repeated provokations, I finally submitted to his request. We got ready to fight and he politely offered for me to take the first shot. I was not familiar with the proper ettiquette on street fighting, so I punched him in the balls. Fight over.
After that encounter, I was known around campus as “Ballslapper” and the rest of my time at university was relatively incident-free.
Apart from that, I’ve only been involved in a couple of drunken schenigans. I wouldn’t call that fighting though. It’s more of a ritualist puffing-up of one’s chest and a war of words. So you see, I don’t really care if a drunk Englishman throws a table at me or a drunk American calls me a Taliban.
But being mugged was very different. It was the first time in my life that I felt like I may die. And I knew that for me to continue traveling, especially in less developed places, I would need to learn how to fight. Or at least remember to punch people in the balls more often.
And so, here I am now. It’s going to be tough but don’t worry. While on my last the ship, I hired the fitness guy to personal train me 3 times a week, on top of my normal workouts because I wanted to get my strength and cardio up to par.
I’ve kept all this under wraps from most people because I was worried that something would happen yet again to distract me from completing my mission, and I didn’t want to look like a fool. But there’s no turning back now. In fact, my good friend Alex from Paris is serendipitously interested to check out the camp, as well. And just a couple of days ago, I recruited another friend Ryan from USA.
So what’s my plan? Honestly, I have no idea. I’m booked to train at the camp for 1 week and then, we’ll just see. Do I return to the ship after that? Do I keep training? Or do I then wander the Earth, doing good where it needs to be done? Stay tuned.
Hey. What dream have you been putting off doing?