My AKA Thailand experience – a risk I’m really glad I took!
When Maddy asked if I’d share some of my AKA Thailand experience with you all I wondered where to start. The decision to go is probably the best place! I’m one who is excited and motivated by experiencing something new for myself. Taking risks and doing something I’ve never done to learn how I respond and evolve through opportunities I find intriguing. The commitment to the AKA Thailand experience began with the decision to “try”, a bit like when I joined BB in March this year. Through conversations with Maddy and others, I became very curious about the AKA Thailand experience as quite simply the opportunity to completely immerse myself for a solid week of training in a sport I have grown to love and respect, for hours a day with no other distraction, was super exciting to me. So to escape the Sydney winter, late July was the time for me to go. I made the decision and scheduled my trip. Planning to do this experience alone and leave behind my children and husband meant I went through some mixed emotions once booking and before departing. I felt such excitement, and then moments of self-doubt and guilt, to then sheer determination and exhilaration. To remain focused and in a positive mindset up to the time I left I committed myself physically by being disciplined with more hours of training at BB each week and I stuck to a healthy eating plan as I knew this would also ensure I was “ready” to get the best out of my AKA experience come July.
Arriving in Phuket a day before my training week commenced allowed me to settle and familiarise myself with AKA’s location and nearby facilities. I commenced at the camp on the Monday and when I arrived at AKA, I was immediately greeted with such a warm and friendly reception by all staff. I went straight to join the 8am group session, and immediately upon entering the class (of approx. 25 – 30 students and 10 trainers) I could feel the energy and excitement, and my nerves quickly settled. It was clear that everybody was energised as whether you’re a student or a trainer you’re all there and passionate about the same thing – Muay Thai. Every trainer I had the pleasure of meeting that day, and throughout the week, was so friendly, professional, approachable and all had a great sense of humour so were always smiling. The group session began with a lengthy warm up to start and then some stand-alone shadow boxing, and technique practice. We then moved into a circuit doing pad rounds or practising strikes, punches, elbows, kicks etc on the bags (also with what felt like a hundred sit ups and push ups in between J). There was then some technique training and sparring, completing the session with a core workout.
Whilst the session was 2 hours in length, the pace was sustainable even in the insane humidity. I knew I had worked hard but I wasn’t completely exhausted which was a good thing I guess given I had signed up for 2 additional private sessions each day. The privates I coordinated directly with one of the trainers and these I feel were a really valuable investment as it gave me the opportunity to learn and practice technique, as well as significantly improve my mental conditioning and fortitude. With the group sessions each day, and my private lessons I completed approximately 22 hours of Muay Thai training in 6 days – an achievement I am super proud of.
The whole AKA experience meant I was taking a risk, I was walking into the uncertain and unknown however I knew I was ready for a physical, mental and emotional challenge, one where I would be pushed beyond limits. I wanted self-development and growth, to discover a new sense of purpose and a sense of aliveness was all part of what I was seeking and while the experience was by far one of the hardest things I have ever done, it was equally one of the most rewarding. For anyone considering the trip in January, I highly recommend you do it. And you do it, knowing that it will bring real physical, mental and emotional growth together with enormous reward. I have truly never felt stronger mentally, physically and emotionally and now being back, the focus, motivation and self-belief for all I want to achieve in my Muay Thai journey is at a whole new level.
Sarah | BB Brookvale Academy