Sunday, March 05, 2006


Well after a truly, um, unique experience flying Air India which made the title of my earlier post quite apt - we're talking a plane that had seen better days in the seventies (hand rests hanging off and Christ it still had the bad wallpaper), still it's not many flights you get an Indian flute player and his tabla accomplice blaring out Indian Ragas a few rows back - I arrived in Penang.

Penang a bustling Island metropolis where Sci-fi skyscrapers sit next to battered Chinese shop houses, where Daotist temples burning fuck off great incense sticks compete with Buddhist Watts, Indian temples and Malaysian Mosques, where a car ride anywhere is taking your life in your own hands. Penang a riot of cultures, religions, people, smells and heat. Since it's inception in the 1800's as the British Empires first foray into Malaysia, Penang has always been one of it's more cosmopolitan cities. Growing rapidly from a small fishing village to almost a state in it's own right this place has always been slightly different from the rest of Malaysia.

I've just about aclimatized now. I had horrendous jet lag for a few days and the heat is intense, the whole thing left me drained and confused, but I'm starting to feel more relaxed and settled now. Training proper started yesterday with Nigel going over my form in the morning and picking out some bad habits I'd developed (got to work on sinking my chest and rounding my shoulders), then we traveled over to Pak Zinals place for me to start my Maui Thai training. Pak Zinal (Pak a respectful term meaning Uncle) is as nicely describes him a bit like those legendary martial arts masters, a humble unassuming man who doesn't stand out from the crowd but has a depth of knowledge and experience that seems bottomless. Already a highly respected in Malaysian Silat he followed his love of Thai Boxing and traveled to it's homeland, learnt the language and a tradtional family style known as White Tiger which is what I'm going to be learning from him while I'm here.

After a formal initiation where I had to give him a knife (the knife representing me the student) and read an oath he had me begin my training, demonstrating the basics of the stance and blocking then testing me out by whacking me with a stick (see I told you all I was going Malaysia to get hit by men with sticks and you all thought I was joking). He then had me moving up and down the space behind his house running through basic punching and kicking drills until my arms felt like they were going to fall off, finishing off with some conditioning exercises including some evil fingertip push ups (all you have to do get in a press up position, put your weight on your fingers then shrug your shoulders. Christ it hurts).

Today I have a day off (my only one of the week) and my body is very sore, I keep finding aches in places I didn't know I had muscles in. Still this is what I wanted, masochist's that I am and I know as the weeks progess my body will get used to the heat and effort and the pain will lessen (well slightly).

At the moment I can only get near a computer about once a week when I come into town so I'll try and update every Sunday, however as I explore a bit I might find an internet cafe that's nearer so I'll be able to update more frequently. I'll let you all know.


Anonymous Muriel@jh said...

Sounds like the training Uma Thurman went through in Kill Bill!!

3:33 am, March 07, 2006  
Blogger Adam said...

Well I did mention to Nigel I wanted to learn the 'Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique' but he's yet to say i he'll teach me it ;-p.

9:36 pm, March 08, 2006  
Anonymous won gung ho said...

The only thing that your corpulent friend ever exploded is the myth that his years of training in a Martial art might result in some humility, the mans a fat prig.

5:43 am, May 17, 2006  
Blogger Adam said...

Ah Nigel, I thought you told me you'd dispanded your fan club? This guy obviously didn't want to give up his t-shirt and kung-fu master decoder ring.

9:42 pm, May 18, 2006  

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