As I write this, I’m terribly conflicted, torn apart between what I WANT to do and what is SMART to do. That’s because, for the first time in three years, I won’t be attending the Judd Reid Uchi Deshi fight camp in Thailand.
While it’s going to kill me not to participate (I have some health problems – probably a stomach parasite – that would make it nearly impossible to keep up) that also means that I finally have the time to tell you more about it!
In fact, I started giving you the 411 on this Kyokushin Karate fight camp, which has been named one of the ten toughest of its kind in the world, in the first part of this blog, but now I’ll give you more nuts and bolts about the training.
The typical day in the Judd Reid Uchi Deshi (which is Japanese for “live-in student”) fight camp starts with a 5 or 5:30 am wakeup. Each individual has there own morning routine, but I’d rather be up a little earlier and get to wake up and maybe eat a quick snack for protein, etc., but others just stumble out of bed. But we all meet outside on the back lawn of the hotel by 6 am sharp. Usually, it’s still dark, although not pitch black, and we yawn as we stretch and try to loosen up our bodies. But soon, Shihan (master) Judd Reid and his coaches show up, and everyone stands at attention and the energy level rises, even as he just says “good morning.”
For the morning training, we often go for a run up the way-too-long ramp-like slope of the street outside, and then up a few kilometers to the dreaded “Buddha Hill.” It’s there that we actually sprint up the 45-degree incline as fast as we can – over and over again, which feels like someone poured hot coals into your lungs while stabbing you in the thighs, too.
But after tackling the Buddha Hill, we often get to shadow box, stretch, or do drills at the top, with a beautiful view of the Thailand cityscape and coastline as the sun comes up, all with a 50 foot tall golden Buddha statue looking down on us.
If we don’t run the Buddha Hill (mercifully, we only do it twice or so in the week-long camp), we’ll head down to the beach by the hotel, where we’ll jog in the wet sand and water, then do more drills and a lot of conditioning, like pushups, situps, squats, and even kicking and punching each other, all while weighed down with the sand and soaking wet ocean.
After the morning session, everyone staggers up to their rooms (we track SO much sand and water into the lobby!), changes, and comes down for breakfast.
The next training is at 11 am, and always in full karate gi’s in the training room set up in a hotel conference room. These sessions are intense, as there is plenty of instruction and drills but always ends with bone-crushing sparring.
Sometimes, we actually train on the back lawn of the hotel for the midday workout, which looks beautiful but soon you melt in the oppressive Thai sun.
We get another break after lunch, and then the afternoon/evening session is often the most intense of all. It’s almost always on the beach and mixes the elements of all three of these workouts – running, intense conditioning, drilling, performing katas, body conditioning, and plenty of sparring.
But the nice part is that we finish up as the sun is dropping and the sky is golden, and we all jump into the ocean after the workout, thoroughly exhausted but with spirits emboldened – and thankful that we survived another day!
Three workouts a day, about two hours each, NEVER a workout less than full intensity, for six days straight. It truly is one of the toughest fight camps in the world, and I’ll be hoping and praying that I can jump in for more sweet abuse at the next camp!