Sindy Huyer is no ordinary visitor to Phuket. She's on a mission. Back home in Milan she is a professional kick boxer. But Thai boxing had fascinated her for years, so she headed for Phuket to get some authentic training.
Phuket.com talked to her a day after 'The Thorn of the Rose' – her fight name – had won a match. We learned why this 20 year old dumped her dream of becoming a clothes stylist to pursue her new dream of becoming a professional Thai boxer.
Applause and congratulations from the many trainers and staff greeted Sindy Huyer at the Phuket Muay Thai Camp and Gym when she arrived to talk with us. Everyone was discussing her match the night before at the Patong stadium, from which she had emerged victorious.
Sindy is not big or muscular as one might expect a boxer to be. She is 1.65 metres tall and weighs just 57 kilogrammes. When she met us she was dressed in a casual outfit and looked bright, despite the fact that she had been feeling a little unwell for two days.
“I think I won last night because I was a bit upset with things. The anger drove me. I was unwell too, so I couldn’t move fast – which was actually a good thing. For Muay Thai, you need to think and plan if you want to stay in the fight until the end. If you rush in to fight without planning, you quickly lose all your energy and by the end you’re an easy target,” she explained.
How come she didn’t have at least one black eye from the fight? “For some reason, the other girl didn’t try to hit my face much. When she did, I managed to protect it,” Sindy smiled.
The Traditions of Muay Thai
For Sindy, Muay Thai is not just a sport or a way to exercise. Its long history and traditions appeal to her very much, she said. “Unlike kick boxing, Muay Thai is not all about kicking. You use almost every part of your body when you fight, including your forearms, elbows and knees,” Sindy explained.
She also likes the tradition whereby the boxer pays respect to his or her teachers before a fight by performing the Ram Muay dance at the beginning and bowing in a wai at the end.
She knows women who learn Thai boxing and then pick fights in discos or bars after a few drinks. This is something she would never do, she said. “When I get into the ring to fight, I worry about my face. As a girl, I don’t want any marks on it, of course,” she smiled.
“I learned about the Phuket Muay Thai Camp from my younger brother, who is 18. He started training here first, then I followed him. This is my second training season here. The first time was in February, 2007,” said Sindy. “I like this place because it is not far from the sea.”
Training here is much harder than in Italy, she said. In Milan she usually trains only in the afternoon but here she trains six days a week, both morning and afternoon, each time for several hours. Sessions typically begin with stretching and jogging, moving on to the punch bag and then practice in the ring with her trainer.
Many women training for boxing put on muscle bulk like male boxers. But this is not Sindy’s style. She wants to be strong but she also wants to remain 100% feminine. It has to be said that she succeeds. “During training, I feel as strong as any boy. But when I’m out of the gym, I’m just myself ... a nice girl,” said Sindy.
The Cost of Thai Boxing Training
We asked Sindy about the cost of spending a month training in Phuket. She explained that it varies depending on the individual. But for her, she says, Phuket is not at all expensive. Indeed, as she has got to know the island better, the costs have come down. She knows where to go to get cheaper food or accommodation, for example. She’ll spend an average of 200 to 300 baht for a Thai meal and about 500 baht when she goes to an Italian or other international restaurant.
“I pay 400 baht a day for training. I rent a room at Kata Beach for 400 baht a night. It has TV, hot water, air-conditioning and a fridge. I got it cheap because I know someone who works there – he’s become my best friend in Thailand. Finally, I rent a motorbike for 150 baht a day.
“There were many reasons I gave up my initial dream of becoming a fashion stylist. My family have supported me in becoming a pro boxer. One day I may come back to Phuket to open a fitness business, or a gym to train people in Thai boxing.”