Back in 2018, we decided to break free from our quiet lives of occasional parties and full-time jobs – me as a helpdesk coordinator and my boyfriend as a yard marshal for Amazon Company. On weekends, we enjoyed bicycle rides in the countryside or visited dirt bike tracks, thanks to Filip owning one. Life was comfortable, but something was missing. We had never taken significant risks, ventured beyond Europe, or explored the world despite being in our thirties..
We were renting a cute bungalow in the countryside of West Yorkshire in the United Kingdom. We had a nice garden, and access to the entertainment, didn’t train much, and certainly didn’t try the Muay Thai yet. One day we bought a punching bag and started doing some kicks, but we were in no shape to finish 20 kicks without nearly fainting😊
That’s how the idea of trying Muay Thai was born and within time we decided to leave behind what we had and go somewhere we could train and stay for longer.
Our quest led us to Dee Muay Thai Gym in Bali, which we found through their website. We reached out to the owner, Ris, and shared our intention to stay longer. He proved immensely helpful, offering us bungalows at the gym, thus eliminating the need for separate accommodations. Together, we devised a plan, including training schedules, to make it fit within our budget.
Fast forward to June 2018, with tickets in hand, we embarked on the adventure of a lifetime from Gatwick Airport.
We landed safely in Bali, and Ris, who wasn’t sure until the last minute if we’d show up, graciously picked us up from the airport.
Dee Muay Thai Boxing Gym is the first traditional Muay Thai Camp in Bali, Indonesia. The name ดี “Dee” translates to “GOOD” in Thai, and it was founded by Marcos Manurung in 2012. Marcos had previously run a camp in Jakarta back in 2008. When we trained at Dee in 2018, we were welcomed into a warm family of individuals dedicated to running the business. This included the owner, Marcos, his brother Riswan (a trainer and fighter), and sister Imel, who managed the reception and bookings. Carol, now Marcos’s wife, handled photography and videos for the gym and sports clothing promotion. At the time, there were a few trainers leading the classes: Depo, Wayan, Ary, Jimmi, and Pardi.
The gym is an expansive, open-space area. During evening sessions, you’re treated to breathtaking sunsets. It’s divided into three zones: one with mirrors for shadow boxing and general exercise, a punch bag area, and the boxing ring. There’s even a separate parking space for your scooter and a cozy café right next to the gym. Here, you can enjoy your coffee while watching others put in the hard work. If you don’t have your own training gear, they have you covered – you can purchase what you need at the reception. Don’t miss checking out their training tees; I’ve had mine for 5 years, and it’s still in excellent condition.
Our first training session was scheduled for Monday morning, cardio day, focused on endurance exercises. It kicked off with skipping rope for 3 minutes, but it felt like an eternity for me. It was my first time skipping, and I struggled to get it right, making it feel like pure torture. I was told that Mondays were limited to 3 minutes, while the other days required 5 minutes!
Following that, we moved into a 5-minute warm-up of running and stretching exercises from head to toe. As beginners, we were taken to a mirrored shadow boxing area, where we learned the basic movements of Muay Thai. They explained how to stand, maintain our guard, and the fundamental techniques, while the rest of the group engaged in shadowboxing.
We then wrapped our hands, progressing to alternating bag and pad work.
Starting with the pad work was a bit embarrassing, as I had no idea what was expected. However, the trainers patiently showed me the moves, teaching me how to hit the pads and which techniques to focus on first.
We completed three rounds of three minutes each, switching to a different trainer for each round. I vividly recall at the end of the third round, we were all tasked with delivering 20 kicks with each leg, and it nearly did me in. I gave it my all, but I don’t think I managed to finish all 20!
The group that had been with the coaches then shifted to the punching bag area, swapping places with those of us who had trained on the bags. I practiced basic movements – jabs, strikes, a few hooks, and perhaps two low kicks, as I couldn’t lift my leg any higher at that point. Again, it was three rounds of three minutes, just like we had done on the pads.
Next, we transitioned to various cardio exercises, some incorporating weights, with different stations and set time intervals. Finally, we concluded with a rigorous abs workout and gentle post-training stretching.
Dee Muay Thai Bali’s training schedule focused on different aspects each day:
Each training session lasted about 1 hour and 30 minutes and occurred twice a day – in the morning and in the evening. Private classes with the trainers were also available, a great option, especially for newcomers. We signed up for a few classes each week, an investment that paid off handsomely.
Also, don’t forget to explore their accommodations, conveniently located at the gym. This eliminates the need for early morning commutes and provides easy access to tourist hotspots like Seminyak and Canggu.
This paragraph I am writing with a heavy heart because Jimmy left this earth too soon. He was not only a Muay Thai trainer but a walking example of positivity, kindness, and support. He was not only an exceptional coach but also a gifted chef, adding his culinary magic to the cafe at Dee Muay Thai Gym in Bali, Indonesia.
For all the time we spent at Dee I never once saw Jimmy upset or frustrated.
Jimmy, you will forever hold a special place in our hearts.
Rest in peace, dear friend.