Failing Forward

with Daniel Cassadio

Chapter 25 - A 12 Year Old Coach

Chapter EntriesDaniel CasadioComment

In a Starbucks café at the Bangkok International Airport. 6 more hours to kill before my next flight. Yeow!

I wrote this blog:

I was running dripping with sweat in this 40-degree heat + humidity, whilst my host named Buddy cycled alongside me. Buddy led me to a house, with a massive front yard. In the front yard, there was a big van, gym equipment, boxing bags, a wooden desk being built, wood work tools and in the corner a big ring for Muay Thai boxing. 

 We were greeted by a kid who was around 12 years old. They spoke for a few minutes in Thai and then before Buddy left he told me that the master will be here shortly. When Buddy left, the kid looked at me and said “warm up!”. He then demonstrated to me the hardest warm up I’ve ever had to, from jumping and keeping balance on a monster truck tyre to skipping for 10 minutes and other running exercises. I definitely did not enjoy being bossed around by a 12-year-old and somehow, I was trying to prove myself to him. But who cares, it’s good exercise and I was now coated in sweat. 

 Then a teenager comes into the ‘gym’, roughly 17 years old. We started training together on the boxing bags. The two boys showed me how to kick properly, but after a while my legs began to get real sore. The boxing bags were tough, weren’t very well maintained and had cuts through the fabric. So when I would kick the bag, it would cut my leg. 

 After half an hour of warming up, an hour and a half of being pushed to my limit with kicks and elbows into this scrappy hard boxing bag; the master walks in. He puts on some pads and enters the ring and signals for me to come. 
I am now bathing in sweat. 
My legs and elbows are burning. 
Is this guy serious? Look at me’, I thought. 
I couldn’t verbalise anything because they don’t speak English and I also don’t want to be a coward. 

We trained for over an hour in the ring, where he broke me down mentally and physically. Then somehow built me back up again, making me feel accomplished when I did the correct footwork. 

 I was in the area (an hour east of Chiang Mai) for two weeks and I regularly trained with him. We actually got along really well, he even let me drive his moped. If that’s not trust, I don’t know what is. 

When I wasn’t training I was teaching English in a touristic wood carving community. There were around 7 other volunteers teaching English and helping out with whatever needs done around the community. 

I really enjoyed teaching English there, some were kids, others middle aged fortune tellers or monks. A vibrate and diverse crowd which I loved, because it always kept me on my feet. 

When I taught English to the fortune teller, I made the English lesson to be for her to predict my future but conducted solely in English. She loved it and it turns out I’m going to have a boring life BUT an exciting death. Now I’m dedicating my life trying to prove the fortune teller wrong. 

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I really enjoyed the conversations I had whilst teaching English, the Thai culture is very interesting and humbling. The monks especially are very respectful, reserved yet gentle people. Hearing their perspective on why they meditate and what they get out of it, I find very interesting and whether you are religious or not, I find meditating can be a very healthy thing to do. 

 Meditation isn’t focused, it’s relaxed. Throughout the day, after I’ve meditated and someone wrongs me and makes me feel upset. I can recognise these feelings when they are small, I can acknowledge the feeling of anger before it fully takes over my emotion. And when the feeling is small, I can find the origin of the emotion and rather thinking with what I feel, instead I think more logically. How do I best respond to this emotion? I am in control, through being aware of what I’m actually feeling. 

– Spoken by Monk in English lesson (paraphrased by Daniel). 

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Now it’s time to leave Thailand.  

Onto the next adventure. 

Time to find my way across to Hanoi, Vietnam.