No Rain, No Gain

Realistic Martial Arts Training in the rain at NinjaGym® Camp Thailand

It’s the end of March here in Koh Samui, Thailand at our NinjaGym® long-term live-in Multi-Martial Arts and Fitness Camp. The weather has been beautiful most of the month and riding a moped (one of my favorite activities on the island) early in the morning or along with the Sunset as I coast along the ocean road has been a refreshing break from normal life in the States. Today, however, my day and moped ride ended with me soaked from head to toe – racing to my office. There were numerous puddles as the roads were flooded. Driving speed was reduced due to the fact that as the rain struck my face it felt like tiny rocks being shot through an angry bird’s blowgun. This was of course after class.

I usually call Thursdays Thunder Day and today could not have been a better Thursday. We started class at 2 pm and trained until 5. Yes, it’s a typical short day, but the entire class was conducted in the rain. If you haven’t trained in the rain before, you don’t know what you are missing. It has its pros and cons, but in the end, you usually come away stronger or experience some new elements that may not have existed in drier weather.


“Why is it that punching and kicking and choking the hell out of your friends builds such camaraderie?” – Areito Echevarria

First, it gets cold really fast. Your uniform, t-shirt or outfit begins to stick to you and remind you of how cold it can actually get. Lucky for us, we are in Thailand so although it got chilly for a few of the students, it wasn’t too bad and we could all still feel our fingers and toes – unlike training in Europe under similar conditions.

We started the class off with a warm-up and then some bag work before moving on to the lessons for the day. While I was getting the tonfa, swords, and staff for today’s lesson, I thought I would grab my waterproof camera and snap a few shots. The battery was dead so I was only able to grab a few.


The first shot is from the Camp House and gives you a good idea of the training grass/ground available for students to use for the duration of their stay. The second photo is a bit of a messy line of students waiting for their turn at the bag. Arieto complete the series with the third photo and you can see how wet they are already and class has only JUST begun.

One of the reasons we train outside is to offer students a more realistic environment.

Rick Tew's NinjaGym Student Areito in Thailand

“3 hours training outside in the pouring rain. Bo staff vs tonfa, so awesome.” – Areito Echevarria

Yes, we also use mats and punching bags (when you do 100’s to 1000’s of punches, rolls, and falls, it’s good to have a bag or mat), but we provide students with a more unique training environment and we make use of the obstacles (including rain) often too.

This day was another great session in the rain. It’s harder to see as the water drips over your face and a constant supply collects above your brow and drops into your eyes. This visual challenge helps students to improve their focus and pay extra attention – especially when they are having 6-foot staves thrown at them from across the yard – as we did in today’s training.

Rick Tew's NinjaGym Student Anthony in Thailand

“Awesome training day in the rain:)” – Anthony DiPiazza

In addition to the visual obstacles presented in today’s class, the rain also made the mat and grass extra slippery. This made for some fun demonstrations of how one might perform their techniques should they have a couple of fish tied to the bottoms of their feet. And if it didn’t look like they were standing on fish, they often looked like they were fish as they flopped around during some of the more advanced movements.

All in all, it’s good to stay out of the rain a majority of the time.

“3 timmars träning ute i spö regnet, SKIT KUL! slåss med bo stav och tonfa” – Marcus Fehér

But every now and then it is also great to just bask in the wetness that the sky provides and go with the flow.

A warm shower and a nice hot cup of green tea are always better after such an experience. I believe it is one of the best ways to appreciate the comforts of home – simply go outside and get uncomfortable – just be sure to have fun doing something you enjoy.

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