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A Blog about the Daily Life on the Tropical Island of Koh Samui

Another day at Muay Thai Training

Text and Photography by Nike - Sunday, June 12, 2011

Today was another challenging day at WMC Muay Thai Camp in Lamai... I often imagine that passersby, observing the blood red, strained and sweat soaked scenarios in the gym, must surely wonder why anyone would put themselves through the agony of such grueling training, jogging, sit-ups and push-ups in this tropical humidity and heat... gosh, come to think about it, I don't even have a reasonable explanation for it, except, try it, and you'll fall in love with the sport.

There is a certain kind of intriguing appeal to Muay Thai that can only be experienced. It might be the rush of euphoria after each training session, when realizing that one is still alive and actually managed to survive such a challenging ordeal. And then there is the certain enthralling wonder of power that lies within the technique. After each session you slowly start understanding more and more about the logic behind the movements. What might seem as a simple movement or an easy kick or punch to onlookers, is in actual fact an exhibition of an array of finely structured techniques, movements and motives.

Two boxers at the Muay Thai camp

"Failure will never overtake me if my determination to succeed is strong enough." - Oq Mandinond

To me, Muay Thai is a sport that brings you closer to understanding the importance of respect and appreciation for determination. The bond and family feeling between trainers, fellow students and followers is truly a very enriching feeling and experience. This sport has amplified my self discipline and brought a much needed balance to my daily routine. I can assure you that if you are up for the challenge you will be pleasantly surprised with your own will to succeed, abilities and the endurance that you harbor. I know I still have a long way to go and many hours and months of training to survive before I will be worthy of calling the sport my own, but the journey to reach that goal is just as exciting and rewarding as I imagine the outcome to be.

Two female boxers

"What does not kill me makes me stronger." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

A Visit to the Big Buddha

Text and Photography by Nike - Saturday, June 11, 2011

For an interesting day out on Koh Samui, the Big Buddha / Wat Pra Yai / Hin Ngu Temple , situated in the northeastern part of the island, in Bophut, is well worth a visit. This large,golden statue of lord Buddha which is 12 meters high is a majestic marvel of mysticism and charm. A distinct landmark on Koh Samui - this statue is one of the first things you discern, if arriving to the island via plane. It was built in 1972.

Before entering the temple complex, there are many interesting curio shops, art galleries, food, clothing stalls, souvenirs and blessed charms,amulets and talismans to browse through. Entrance to the Big Buddha is free of charge, but it is again advised to dress modestly. By making small donations one can receive traditional blessing by a monk at the meditation centre at the foot of the Buddha - a ceremony which is absolutely incredible to watch and even more so to experience. If you climb the staircase up to the viewing platform, exquisite views of the northern coast and of the neighboring island, Koh Phangan, can be seen.

The National Library

"We live in illusion and the appearance of things. There is a reality. We are that reality. When you understand this, you see that you are nothing, and being nothing, you are everything. That is all." - Kalu Rinpoche

For those interested in experiencing or learning more about Buddhism, this is the perfect place to watch locals and other Thai visitors pay their respects, light incense, pray and bring offerings of rice,food,flowers, water and the likes. I found an overall feeling of peace and serenity here, especially since visitors are so openly welcomed and urged to join in the ceremonies and rituals.The intricate designs, colors, quiet and warm atmosphere and scenery also makes for amazing photographic opportunities.

Holy materials

"Do not think of how big the universe is, it will merely hurt your head." - Buddhist Quotation

Sak Yant - Yantra Tattoos

Text and Photography by Nike - Thursday, June 09, 2011

When first visiting Koh Samui, you will notice that tattoos are a very common sighting among both the locals and foreigners, tourists and Muay Thai fighters. However, apart from the normal tattoo designs one can find at the many local tattoo parlors, Sak Yant is a different and special type of tattoo that is traditionally done by a Buddhist Monk with a split, sharpened bamboo stick or a khem sak ( long piece of spiked metal). Sak Yant, is practiced here in Koh Samui, as well as in the rest of Thailand and other Southeast Asian countries. The word "sak" means "to tattoo" and the word "yant" can be explained as " a sacred geometrical design". The practice of Sak Yant dates back to Angkor times.

Traditional tattoo

"Breath is the bridge which connects life to consciousness, which unites your body to your thoughts." - Thich Nhat Hanh

These traditional tattoos are believed to be magical and posses mystical powers. The designs can be symbolic for many different aspects of life but are normally used for self - protection. Protection from illness or harm, increase in luck and wealth, and attraction of lovers are a few bestowed qualities gained by these tattoos. Although the designs are beautifully done and are unique and meaningful, it is important to know that you will not be able to choose which design gets assigned to you or where it shall be placed on your body. The Buddhist Monk will spend some time analyzing the just, aura and soul of the future tattoo carrier before the ceremony takes place, to determine which design, symbolism and placement would be fit.

Tattooed with a machine

"Your body is precious. It is our vehicle for awakening. Treat it with care." - Buddha

These Yant designs can also be placed on other mediums apart from the skin. Cloths, metal and other objects bearing these designs hosts the same element of protection when placed in a house, place of worship or vehicle. This is definitely not something to be attempted by the faint hearted, but for those who appreciate body art, this is a very special,mystical experience, and something that you will surely and literally cherish for the rest of your life...

Previous posts 2011: Week 23 | Week 22 | Week 17 | Week 03 | Week 01 |

Previous posts 2010: Week 52 | Week 51 | Week 50 | Week 49 | Week 47 | Week 46 | Week 45 | Week 44 | Week 43 | Week 42 | Week 41 | Week 40 | Week 39 | Week 38 | Week 37 | Week 36 | Week 35 | Week 34 | Week 33 | Week 32 | Week 31 | Week 30 | Week 29 | Week 28 | Week 27 | Week 26 | Week 25 | Week 24 | Week 23 | Week 22 | Week 21 | Week 20 | Week 19 | Week 18 | Week 17 | Week 16 | Week 15 | Week 14 | Week 13 | Week 12 | Week 11 | Week 10 | Week 09 | Week 08 | Week 07 | Week 06 | Week 05 | Week 04 | Week 03 | Week 02 | Week 01 |

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