Muay Thai in Thailand
Part 1 of a series where I will review different Muay Thai training camps in Thailand.
Have you ever thought about training Muay Thai in Thailand? This article is here to make the decisions you have to make a bit easier.
Wether your a beginner, intermediate or expert Muay Thai practitioner. There is something for everyone.
At first I would like to tell you a few benefits and limitations about training Muay Thai in Thailand.
If your reading this article, your probably interested in Muay Thai. So what's better then going to the country where the sport was born? Your right. Nothing is.
The sound of shinbones hitting the pads, the smell of thai oil, all out in the open air. No words can describe the feeling you get when training in Thailand.
If I think about a benefit the first word that comes to my mind is perfection. Perfection comes from repetition. In every training session, no matter where you will train in Thailand. Your trainer will tell you to ''kick bag''. Meaning kicking the heavy bag, 100 times with your left leg and 100 times with your right leg. If you have a good trainer, wich generally depends on the camp your training in. Your trainer will stand there right next to you telling you to twist your hip a bit more or to change your stance a bit. The same thing goes for knees where your trainer will actually poke your feet with a stick if you don't do it right. Sounds fun? It is. The technique of your kicks, knees and elbows will improve dramatically when training in Thailand.
Another benefit is your fitness level. You will most likely lose a lot of weight and get in shape within weeks. The combination of hard training twice a day, healthy food and high temperatures will make you sweat like a pig.
In the average Muay Thai camp, You'll notice that tradition is very important. Somewhere in the camp will be a small altar to honor the king. And if you study the way khru (which is a ritual before a Muay Thai fight, in which students pay respects to their teachers in order to express their gratitude and formalize the student–teacher relationship) they will like you a lot more.
Don't get me wrong, this is not a limitation. This is the nice part about the tradition. I'm just trying to give you an idea of how important tradition is to the Thai people.
We are a guest in their country, asking for their training, practicing their sport. And that's the way the Thai people see it. So don't expect to have interactive training.
The Thai way, or the highway. If you think about doing a combination slightly different or explaining them why you do something the way you do. They will often response with laughter, saying that is not Muay thai.
I guess you could say the high temperature can be both a benefit and a limitation. It will build your character since the workouts are twice as hard as back home. On the other side some of you will find it something they cannot deal with, and simply give up training to enjoy some other parts of Thailand.
Oh and before I start. Every camp will tell you they have Lumpini and/or Radjadamnern champions (the two best Thaiboxing stadiums in Bangkok).
I wouldn't give that too much credit if I were you. I have the feeling there are thousands of those champions.
Now let's get going, the first Muay Thai camp:
Tiger Muay Thai
This is by far, the biggest camp there is. I would say it's a Muay Thai training resort. It is located in the island of Phuket. They have about 3 acres of land. With a lot of facilities for living and training. To give you an impression the average Muay Thai camp has 2 rings. Tiger Muay Thai has 8 Muay Thai rings, and a cage for MMA. Then there is a fitness area, with pretty much everything a decent gym back home has. They have a pro gear shop which contains pretty much everything you need for training,gloves, shin guards, mouth guards etc etc. You have the option to rent gear or to buy gear. There is a restaurant onsite which has pretty decent food. I believe they even have certain diet programs if you want to lose weight.
One thing I like about Tiger. Is that they are very clean. For instance you have to step into a bucket of bleach water before you step onto the mat. And they have a staff who cleans the training areas in between trainings. So hygiene is a big plus there. They have english speaking staff, yes, in some camps they don't. The onsite facilities are very diverse, they go from basic budget rooms to really nice bungalows with a swimming pool right in front of it. Different rooms with different prices, something for everyone. There is a wifi connection available but when I was there it would only work in the main area near the restaurant. I think your getting the idea, the camp is very well organized. They have good management and if you have an issue, you can just contact them and they will try to do something about it.
At Tiger they have a lot of students, which is why they have three different classes. Beginner, intermediate and advanced. So even if you have never kicked a heavy bag or threw a punch it doesn't matter. There is a class for you at Tiger. The level of the trainers is pretty good. They have a lot of experience and are capable to explain the techniques to the students in a way everyone understands. Looking at the amount of foreigners that come here, there's probably a lot of money. So they can pay the trainers a decent salary and get the best guys. On the other side, because of the amount of foreigners here you don't actually train with the Thais. They do pad work and such, but not things like one on one sparring. It is possible to do this. But then you have to pay extra, for a private training session. The downside on the amount of foreigners is that it makes it feel like a summer camp. Don't get me wrong meeting people from all across the world with the same interest is pretty cool. But it doesn't get you the die hard Thai boxing camp experience. So it really depends on what you are looking for. The amount of individual attention you get in the group classes is limited, unless you pay extra. When I was there the focus seemed to be going to the professional UFC fighters like Jake Shields and Roger Huerta. It's nice to see those guys at work, but in the end, i'm there to improve myself, not my list of autographs.
Around the trainings they have a lot of activities at Tiger. They organize day trips to a lot of nice places like Koh Phi Phi. And they organize barbecue's on a regular basis.
If you want to plan a fight Tiger has a lot of options. They organize their own fight nights on camp and do fights at the local stadium in Patong.
So overall I think Tiger is a pretty good place to stay. And it just depends on what your looking for and how much money you have to spend.
Speaking about money. Let's see what it costs to train at Tiger Muay Thai. I like to take a monthly price rate, since I consider a month a period of time to really learn something.
And get the real experience of the camp your staying in.
Accommodation: Anywhere from 4.000 bath to 24.000 bath depending on the room/bungalow.
Training: 10.000 bath
Food: 9.000 bath (Note: 2 meals daily and can be used up to 6 meals per day, each meal includes fruit and a bottle of water)
Total: 23.000 bath which is about 730$
Although the facilities are some of the best in the entire country. I still think this is a little bit pricy. Considering we took the cheapest room they have for only 4.000 bath.
I think there are a lot of camps where you can get around for about 500$ a month with a better room.
If you don't care about the money and your looking for the holiday/training experience, this might be the place for you.
For more info, checkout there website: www.tigermuaythai.com