My Trip to Thailand to Study Muay Thai (Part 9) Thai Tummy Strikes, But Not As Hard As Kay

I have been pretty bold in what I would eat in Thailand. Being that this was my first visit to Thailand, I had gotten a lot of warnings from different people about a condition they call ‘Thai Tummy.’

I love spicy food, so I wasn’t too worried about it, and I am a firm believer that to experience a different culture, experiencing their food is a big part of that

I would try things on menus in Thailand that I never would have tried back home. I think the mistake I made, was with some of the street vendors. I could clearly see their preparation areas weren’t exactly clean, but I never expected what I had in store for me.

‘Thai Tummy’ sounds like such a cute affliction… It’s not. My guts felt like they were going to fall out. I spent a couple afraid to get to far away from the toilet, but got super bold on day 3. I was going through withdrawals. I missed training, and I had to get back in there.

Since I had taken a few days off, Sawat had found another private lesson to fill the time, so I was without a trainer. I went back to the group sessions. The problem was that I hadn’t been able to get away from a toilet for more than 10 minutes that past two days, let alone 2.5 hours.

I strategically positioned myself near the exit, and excused myself when I needed to. After about the 4th or 5th time, I could see this was pissing the head trainer off. When it came time for pad rounds, I saw him whisper something in a trainer’s ear. That trainer sought me out, and told me I was going with him.

The next 11 minutes consisted of this trainer kicking the bejeezus out of me, It was the hardest 3 rounds I had ever done. Between rounds, he was making me do push-ups while the others rested. The third round ended with me on my knees… completely out of gas. I looked up, expecting to be punched by him, but instead found his extended hand, helping me off the floor. He said, ‘Good job.’ And walked away.

Who was this maniac? I saw his name emblazoned on his shorts. His name was Kay. A look on the Tiger Muay Thai website, told me all I needed to know:

Kru Kay (Fight Manager)

Nickname: Kay

Fight name: Pichai Wor Wolapon

Fight record: Over 250 fights

Titles: Held the number 3 ranking at Lumpinee stadium

Kay first started training at the age of 10 in his home town of Surin, north-eastern Thailand. He started fighting soon after and quickly gained a reputation on the local circuit as a strong fighter, winning many fights by knockout. Moving to Bangkok at age 17 to train at the famous Kiatsingnoi camp, where he trained alongside TMT trainer Nai for the rest of his career. Kay made his Bangkok debut at Rajadamnern stadium in the 100lb division, and then moved up the weight divisions before eventually becoming a superstar of Onesongchai, the biggest promoter in Thailand fighting regularly at Lumpinee stadium on national broadcast television.

During Kay’s prime he fought the biggest names in Muay Thai of the day such as Orono, Attachai, Thongchai, Chatchai and Yokthai Sitor. Competing during the “Golden Era” of Muay Thai, Kay defeated many of the champions of that time and rose up the rankings but unfortunately was never given a title shot.

Kay retired from fighting at the age of 27, with over 250 fights and 17 years worth of competition. After retiring he quickly began training fighters in Bangkok and Surin where he brought up champions such as Iquezang Kor.Rungthanakeat.

Soon after Tiger Muay Thai opened, Kay was recruited to join the training team and has been here ever since. Having trained many of Tiger’s top fighters for years, Kay now has the position of fight manager. He arranges fights for TMT fighters in the local stadiums, Bangkok stadiums and overseas.

Kay is known for his relentless training style, focusing on building power and stamina in his students.

I had gone back to rom to lick my wounds form the beating I had just taken. I got on the Internet and read the above information. I put my shoes on and walked back down to Tiger Muay Thai, and signed up for private lessons with Kay.

I grew to really admire this man. His rough exterior is what makes him a great trainer. But he also has compassion as was evidenced by his willingness to help me off the ground after our initial meeting.

I would train with him every day thereafter during my stay at Tiger Muay Thai. I would do morning group sessions, a private with Kay, then group sessions again. I got into amazing shape, and I owe it all to that maniac that kicked my butt.

I never did tell Kay why I kept leaving class that day, and I don’t think he would have cared. He was instructed to kick my ass, so he did… and I loved it. I now know what the term getting the crap beat out of you means… I hurt everywhere, but my Thai Tummy was gone.

Nicole Thomas

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