Theres a lot that goes in to finding the right place for you to train Muai Thai in Thailand, there’s a lot of great gyms where you could take a couple of classes if your only passing by, but for those who plan on investing a couple of months for their training, you really need to dig a little deeper.
Theres basically two types of Muai Thai gyms in Thailand, the modern MMA gyms that include Muai Thai and the traditional ones.
Once upon a Time I started my research on training Muai Thai in Thailand and Big names like Tiger Muai Thai or Team Quest came up, that included also MMA in their trainings, I tought to my self Great! That way I’ll alternate my trainings and continue to do MMA as well, Theres always famous fighters in big gyms in Asia doing MMA, maybe G.S.P. will be there or Lyoto Machida, that would be insane!!
But then as I continued doing my research I realized… when in Rome right? So why not do a full-out traditional Muai Thai gym? I can do MMA anywhere but Muai Thai? With actual Thai people? Sounds a lot better than Jeff from Brooklyn now teaching Muai Thai in Thailand right?
So I ventured into traditional Muai Thai gyms, with real fighters and trainers that live the Thai culture.
So when I stumbled into K.C. Muai Thai for me it was the perfect match, it’s an inside outside gym I would say, it’s even poetic I swear! Its covered by a tall ceiling roof but it’s not a closed gym, so you’re hitting the punching bag in the afternoon and its raining cats & dogs, you are feeling the moisture in the air after a crazy hot day, you smell the wet dirt and fresh air and you are in love.
The people there are warm, kind and very friendly, for traveler’s like us that stay months at the time you find good friends and family bonds, for people passing by. Theres always unity and people inviting others to see the fights or out for a drink, even if you are not a crazy Muai Thai fan, it’s a great way to get to know the culture a little more and make great friends during your stay. Not no mention an amazing workout! we would have breakfast or have lunch with the rest of the guys in the gym, play ping-pong after training or get to getter to visit the local sites or temples as a group.
We where fortunate enough to learn under the great Tanachon, B. Methee, Zui Zepeda and other famous fighters. They are patient when you are new to the sport, and when you are a veteran they push you into being a better fighter and help you polish your technique. They are versatile and hilarious, don’t worry the language barrier is part of the fun, Muai Thai is a language here. And its crazy to know that they are all big local celebrities, people would stop us on the street to take pictures with them! Since they do a lot of T.V. fights.
We got in touch with them via email in advance, we contacted several gyms for quotes, we liked their price and they even help us find an apartment to rent close to the gym during our stay that was within our budget (the prices will vary depending on the time of year that you visit) we where able to rent a studio apartment will all the services (electricity,water, air con., even wi-fi) for 90 usd a month. It was a pretty great deal, the apartment was a couple of blocks from the gym (walking distance), they had a security guard 24hrs, they even offer us to borrow some bikes while we rented a scooter.
They really go out of their way for you to feel welcome and avoid some of the planning hassles.
– They warm up with a 4K jog or half an hour of non-stop rope jump, So get your cardio on before traveling.
– The training sessions are 2 hrs long, they do morning and afternoons, monday trough Saturday (Saturday mornings only).
– There will be sparring so get ready. If you don’t want to do the whole sparring thing the first classes its OK.
– They are very respectful about women training there, There was a time when I was the only girl and when there was several of them while I was there, they are very respectful and unless you want to train with full strength they’ll play by your rules.
– Buy a couple of pairs of Muai Thai training shorts, they are a must! you could train in regular gym wear but it’s about being respectful and a pro. Plus its an excellent souvenir.
Muai Thai is a big part of the Thailand culture and way of life, if you really want to experience the country we suggest you dig into its past, it’s not all temples and exotic beaches, the real Thai way of life we find it in its sports.
There’s many things that I believe brought me to Thailand. They say that people who want to see the world go travel to Europe and the people who want to find themselves travel to Asia. Muay Thai was that for me, I came to Thailand for a purpose, find myself as a fighter. And I did.
If you don’t make traveling a priority, you never will travel, that’s the truth, how did I get here? The first picture in the left is the stairs to Doi suthep, that was my background picture since I decided to come to Thailand, I said to my self once I’m there, and I will be there, I’ll take a picture in those stairs and I will walk up those stairs to the temple. And I did.
To me that was only the beggining, I changed my ringtone too, to the main theme song in the movie what happens in vegas, the one filmed in Bangkok (it may sound stupid, but every time my phone rang I heard that song, subconsciously it helps you keep focused), put a picture on your desk or on your room, little things like this keep you focused, I know it sounds like something out of a boring self help book (I hate those books) but its a variation of the hang in there kitty poster in your office.
It took me three weeks here in Chiang mai for me to visit those stairs, I didn’t wanted to rush it I knew I would eventually visit the temple, unlike the rest of the temples here in Chiang mai, Doi Suthep sits on top of a mountain, so the view is breath taking, why the stairs? I’m still an architect and it intrigued me how they did them, just look at them, you don’t have to be an expert to apreciate the detail.
It was a long scooter ride there, we went with some other fighrers from the gym to get something’s blessed by a monk since my friend Arthur was fighting the next day. We went early in the morning, stopped for some coffee then drove up the mountain for around 20 minutes untill we arrived.
We browsed the little shops at the foot of the temple, got some t-shirts, souvenirs and blessed bracelets, then walked up those stairs.
We went on a Tuesday so any day of the week there will be plenty of Thai’s, as well as farangs (foreigners in thai) visiting the temple and paying their respects as well. Its a main turist attraction, but for me being there was life changing.