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  1. In November I'll be going to Thailand for 4 weeks mostly to train and hopefully fight. Last time I went to Phuket following @Kevin von Duuglas-Ittu's incredibly helpful advice, and muay thai-wise it was everything I wanted. However, I'm looking for a bit more of a pleasant place this time, maybe a bit less noisy and crowded. I'm considering Koh Samui, but I'm not sure if it fits that description, nor do I know anything about the muay thai scene there. Has anyone here fought in Koh Samui, or knows anything about the fight opportunities there? Any gym recommendations? Right now I'm fighting mostly pro-am (semi-pro?) in the UK, so I'm not exactly a beginner, but not a pro either. I walk around at 65-70kg and have a defensive, kick-heavy style. When I went to Phuket Fight Club I had no issues finding suitable sparring and clinching partners, but I'm wondering whether there are any gyms in Koh Samui that would provide that as well. I'm also open to other location suggestions
  2. So, I’m currently planning on going to Thailand for 2 months next year to live at a gym and potentially fight once, and I’m wondering what gym/s y’all would recommend for me given my background and the fact that I’m quite new at Muay Thai. I was a competitive boxer at my university for 2 years, getting 5 fights under my belt and 3 wins, and for the past 4 months I’ve been doing some kickboxing at an mma gym. On the one hand, I’m a southpaw with great boxing and a love for low/lower kicks (I never kick above the body) so Sitmonchai comes off as a chance to capitalize on my current skills. On the other hand, a clinch-heavy gym like Kem would let me become worthwhile in the clinch, where I’m currently useless. Any input would be greatly appreciated; be it what I should look for in a gym or specific recommendations, anything’s welcome!!
  3. Edit: i realise now that my budget was waaaaayyy too small for my itinerary, so i'm gonna try to save up (3000usd instead of 2000usd), and train at santai in chiang mai for 3 months. Is that reasonable? Hey! I'm planning on going to thailand as soon as the coronavirus clears up to train and hopefully fight a few times (my main goal is to fight and gain experience in the ring, i don't really care about tourism) That's my itinerary/budget, any feedback/tips/recommendations would be greatly appreciated: Month 1: chiang mai, spirit of siam, 300 usd training, 150 usd accommodation, 100 usd food Month 2: koh samui, wech pinyo, 200 usd training, 650 usd accommodation, 200 usd food (wech pinyo's website has been down for some time so i used the prices from punch it gym instead, i'm assuming they'd be pretty similar) Month 3: bangkok, no real plan, any help? Is my itinerary any good/what does everyone think of the gyms i chose, and is my budget realistic/is there any way i could bring it down? My main problem is that i have about 2000 usd right now, and can't really get any money during the pandemic. I'm gonna have to spend around 1000 usd for the flight, leaving me with enough money for about a month and a half, do you guys think i could make enough money fighting to survive another month and a half, or would it be better to shorten my trip by a month? Thanks! Nadi Yazbeck.
  4. Posted about another few gyms on here and got some great feedback so hoping for the same! Going to Thailand soon and I’m considering spending some time at the famous F.A. Group gym as I’ve spoken with them and they now do accommodation. Has anyone been here and trained or spent a bit of time there? Any information very thankful
  5. Hey all, I've been doing Muay Thai on and off for about three years now and am looking to get more serious about it. I'm looking at doing a trip to Thailand for a couple of weeks to train in Chiang mai and or Pattaya October. My conditioning isn't the best, but I'm in decent shape and can do two classes at my gym back to back without much trouble. The only thing I'm a little worried about is road work. I am a godawful runner. Like, I did cross country for my Highschool P.E. credit and I pretty much never improved after the first couple week. I always feel like i'm dying beyond mile two. I've heard most gyms run 5-10k every morning, and that to get the most out of training one should show the coaches that they are willing to give their all. What I'm wondering whether it would be frowned upon to only complete part of the morning run, or walk for sections of it.
  6. Lamnammoon Sor Sumalee was an absolute legend from the Golden Era who specialized in knees. He won his first ever fight with a knee KO (He was nicknamed the Vampire of Knees by the press). He has his own gym now, situated in Ubon Ratchathani, one of the four great city of Isaan. It's the region he grew up in. I went to Lamnammoon's gym last year (2018) between end of September and early December. Damn, I don't even know where to start... It was SO great. I love this place to bits. Before I keep going whoever reads this may want to check out Sylvie's take on "Gym recommendations" if they haven't done already. It's always difficult recommending a gym because gyms are not frozen in time and everybody has their own expectations about what they want out of things in their lives. Lamnammoon's gym, like any other gym, go through changes all the time. The training partners I had during my stay there and some of the coaches I was blessed enough to learn from are not currently there anymore. And those people contributed a lot to my progress and happiness. Now, Lamnammoon is Lamnammoon no matter what. His gym has a its own soul that he's slowly been nurturing for years with all his heart which I think has remained the same to this very day. It's an intense, old school, leaning toward Muay Khao (but not exclusively at all. He adapts to the fighter's nature), big on fight kind of gym. If you give your heart to the gym and work hard, you will get the equivalent attention and focus right back to you. If you'd rather train not too hard and just be a chill tourist, you won't get ignored or looked down upon or neglected but you'll get the same kind of nonchalance in return. It's a fair place where you reap what you sow. Unless you're a woman. However to be fair the disparity between genders really is not as great as what you'd expect in a gym that not so long ago still didn't allow any woman in the ring. Clinching put aside I got absolute great training and attention like everybody else. No shady behaviors from anyone either. First day you get there Lamnammoon will probably take you on pads himself to assess where you're at. Then he might advise you to take it lightly the first week, and gradually build up the intensity of your training to match the overall level. Definitely take it light the first week! Don't go all in at the beginning. He told me how he saw SO many Westerners coming to his gym and going crazy berserk the first few days to try and impress everyone, before quickly dying out like a deflating balloon. I don't know whether you wish to fight or not, but if you want to fight you should be serious and consistent and not skip training (unless you're ill). Lamnammoon absolutely loves people with good heart. That means: being humble, training hard all the time, never quitting, not showing fatigue, not complaining about comfort issues. When he was a young fighter Lamnammoon used to sleep on the ring alongside his buddies and his pillow was a pad, and that's it. So, I don't encourage you to complain about being in pain or feeling uncomfortable unless it's really serious, or unless you don't intend to be taken seriously as a fighter. .Accommodations. > Staying at Lamnammoon's home: you can choose the whole package of training/room/food for 28 000 baht per month. You'll be housed at Lamnammoon's own home in one of the several rooms he rents mostly for foreigners. There's aircon in the room. You can also get WiFi. No TV though. And if you have the same room I had: no warm water and an annoying mouse running around and munching on your bananas lol. His home is situated 6km away from the gym. You get fed twice a day (Lunch + diner after each session) with delicious home cooked local dishes (it's absolutely wonderful I kid you not). That's the option I took and I don't regret it one bit even though it's far from cheap. But investing in such a great gym feels awesome, and being around Lamnammoon and his family all the time is too precious for words. Sometimes he takes you out to the restaurant alongside his family. What an honor. His wife and his son are very welcoming and kind. He also has a daughter but I didn't interact with her much. I saw his dad a few times and I was too intimidated to discuss with him much. He had an aura of pure wisdom and kindness about him. Such wonderful people. > Staying at an hotel near the gym: some of my fellow training partners from the West were staying at this hotel very close to the gym. It's 5000 baht a month I think and the quality is pretty decent. The cost of training at Lamnammoon's (without food and lodgings) is 10 000 baht per month. So hotel + training = 15 000 baht. There are restaurants around the hotel and one meal usually cost around 40 baht or something. If you do the math you'll see this option is way cheaper. You'll also be more free to leave the gym whenever you want, whereas if you stay at Lamnammoon's house you've got to leave when the driver leaves (the driver being Lamnammoon or his son or whoever gives us a lift). Unless you have your own vehicle: you can rent a motorbike if you wish. Lamnammoon can take care of this for you. It's not expansive. Sometimes I had to cut short my conditioning/stretching at the end of session cause we were leaving. It's simply out of order to make anyone wait for me. This was a bit of a downer for me sometimes. .Training. After the first week of adaptation that was quite light (yet still painful because I was running on mostly no sleep and I had weird cramps all over my body), this is what my training schedule there looked like: > Morning session (6am to between 9 and 10am): ° Run between 10-14km (mostly 12k) from 5.45am until around 7am, time when you should be arriving at the gym, getting ready for the morning session. The running route goes from Lamnammoon's home to the gym. You can wander off track to make it a long run since the actual distance between the two places is only 6km like I said. You leave your gym bag in Lamnammoon's car and he brings them to you later on in the morning. ° 10min shadowbox ° Many rounds on the bag (I can't give you a number. It's until you get called for padwork. And when you're done with padwork you go back on the bag until you get called for clinch.) ° 3 rounds on pads. If you have a fight coming it's 5 rounds and they're more intense. (The young Thai fighters there get 7 rounds sometimes. I honestly envied them a little. Some days I didn't envy them at all though. Lol.) Depending on the coach you're assigned with, it can go from a slightly boring and chill to real fun and tiring as hell. Lamnammoon is the absolute peak of both great fun and so fucking hard as hell it's like you're climbing Mordor without Sam by your side. ° Around 30min clinch. A bit more when you have a fight (if you're a woman you get less unless you are very insistent I suppose, which I wasn't) When clinching is done it's back on the bags for endless reps. ° Drills/reps on the bag. Sometimes on your own, sometimes supervised by Lamnammoon or Kru Lampang (when it's supervised, you fucking die). The basic instructions for the drills are as follows: 200 hundred speed kicks, 300 hundred knees, 300 teep, 5min of only elbows. This is the bare minimum. After a while my own routine looked like this: 300 hundred speed kicks, 200 hundred knees on the "uppercut wall bag thing", 300-400 hundred knees on the normal bag, 200-400 teep, 5min elbows, and whatever else I felt like adding as extra bonus if I have time left. °Conditioning (abs, pull-ups, push-ups, whatever) + stretching. This part is almost always up to you. There were times when we did it in groups, but mostly not. Then it's around 10am and training is done for the morning. You go eat. Afterwards if you're silly like me you skip sleeping and instead go for a walk into the city center to do errands that aren't necessary or you just chill on your bed watching Netflix. When afternoon session finally comes, you curse yourself hard for not having slept. Lol. > Afternoon session (3.45pm to 7pm): ° Run 6km. I never did more than 6km, never less either. I fucking hated these runs because of the heat, the traffic, the road work, the dust, and the occasional acidic reflux from not having digested my lunch properly yet. ° Around 20min skipping rope. I remember one blissful day when Kru Lampang was talking to another trainer while we were skipping rope and completely forgot about us. They always tell us when to stop skipping and if you're a good student you just don't stop until told to. That day I must've skipped for about 35min haha. Sweet hell. ° Rounds on the bags, same thing as morning. ° 3 rounds of padwork (5 if you have a fight) then back on the bags until called for clinch. ° Around 30min clinch (when I wasn't clinching I just did a mix of shadowboxing and bagwork. Or I worked drills with another partner that wasn't clinching. Or I got extra technical instructions on stuff from available coaches) ° Sweet drills of hell on the bags (same thing as in the morning) ° Conditioning and stretching. Then you either eat at the gym or at Lamnammoon's or wherever and I don't know about anyone else but usually at around 9pm I'm dead on my bed. Except for the first week: it was sleepless nights after sleepless nights. /!\ Some important notes: - All rounds last 5 minutes. - The last 30 seconds of each rounds must be done faster and more intense (the coaches all go leow leow leow at you which means speed speed speed). - After the end of each round you go straight on the floor and do around 20 push-ups, then off you go drink some water. - On Tuesday and Saturday mornings you get Muay Thai sparring instead of padwork. We all get to spar each other in turns. No exclusions here. One round lasts 10min. The whole sparring time usually lasts around 1h or so. If there are a lot of people, they have to make the rounds last only 5min so as to make sure everyone spars everyone. But you don't get one min rests after those 5min, you just switch partner quickly that's all. - On Friday morning it's boxing sparring. Same thing as Muay Thai sparring when it comes to rounds and such. - Sometimes we get a session that's all freestyle and looks like no other. But mostly they're all like what I've described above. - You drink water from a shared bucket filled with ice. The water is super cold. You can bring your own bottle if you'd rather. - There's a stereo blasting Thai music. Mostly country sounding Thai music. Sometimes one of the boy or the foreigner would connect their phone to the speaker and put their own music, for a change. - There are showers and toilets at the gyms (one for women, one for men). You can shower there if you wish. Frogs like these place too. - You can leave your gears at the gym (gloves, shinpads, skip rope, bands). Just make sure you don't leave them lying around it's not polite. - There are dogs at the gym. They run all around you during training. They're adorable and so cute. At first I was annoyed by their clinginess but eventually they grew on me. There are also ants. Those on the other hand are real painful fuckers. You'll see. .The trainers. > Dam: he was a young padholder same age as me (28). He stayed at Lamnammoon's house too so we bonded like friends, which means his padwork never brought about any kind of anxiety to be "worthy of your coach" or something like that in me. His padwork style was enjoyable, even though boring at times, but some days I really liked the fact that it didn't stress me. He was insecure and sometimes asked me afterwards whether his padwork skills are good or not. I had to comfort his insecurities which felt odd. I liked him though. I don't know if he's still there because he didn't enjoy that work so much (it's very tiring and doesn't pay so well) and I don't see him on Lamnammoon's Instagram posts anymore. > Kru Lampang : he's absolutely awesome. Very cheerful and cheeky and so fun to work with. He's very tiring but his padwork style is not linear and while you do suffer a lot you also don't feel the time fly by, cause he's so much fun. That said I will never forget my last rounds of padwork with him before my first fight. It was on a Sunday morning and he made me start the very last round with 50 kicks and 50 knees. It doesn't sound so bad like that but living it was quite something lol. > Kru Rengrad : he's as awesome as Lampang but more bear-like in his aura: at first you may think he's grumpy and not interested in you, but in truth he's such a teddy bear and he's very generous. He's so good with punches. His padwork is awfully tiring because it's relentless. He doesn't stop the rythm and hardly ever stop to correct you. Thank God he never makes you do speed kicks at the beginning or ending of his rounds otherwise... Well, our loss I suppose. > Lamnammoon (aka Kru Yo): the big boss is plain batshit crazy. Padwork with him is like a hyena on crack doing a bunch of summersault on a rollercoaster at full speed without brakes while singing the Pokemon theme song with a chipmunk voice. I love his padwork style so much despite getting anxiety attacks every time I know I'm going to be on pads with him. Pressure to not suck and all that. I didn't experience any other trainers while I was there. When I look at Lamnammoon's Instagram posts nowadays I notice several new heads. Kru Lampang is still there but Dam and Kru Rengrad are not. They might come back or not. God only knows. .Thai Fighters. > Robert, Petch, Bahn, and Top are the main fighters there and they are still very much there and thriving. They've been at the gym for around four years when I got there last year. They're still teenagers and all except Top still go to school. They are so damn skilled and a joy to train with! They're pretty small and light but it doesn't matter. Unless you are truly way way bigger than them, you'll progress a ton by their side. Even if you're a giant you'll progress. I'm very introverted so I didn't get to warm up to them fast enough before it was time to leave. I suppose it's for the best. They see so many people come and go they may not be so enclined to become best pal with you and then having their heart broken because you must leave. That said, they're still welcoming and fun to be around. Just watching them in their home (they live at the gym) is a blessing in itself. > Wut was a new fighter when I arrived and as of right now he's not there anymore. He was 18 I think. I was amazed by him so much. I loved watching him blasting the pads. I have a printed picture of him stuck on my door hahaha. Yeah I'm a fan of his. .Ubon Ratchatani. > The city itself isn't really pretty at first sight - but there are some really beautiful spots if you care to go look deeper around. I'll let you discover them for yourself. It's a big town with big shopping mals like big C and local street markets and you can go to the movies or get massages or go swim at one of the local swimming pools that are almost always empty, etc. If you're like me and you don't care much about night life and distraction from Muay Thai, but still likes to wander around sometimes in huge mals (I don't have those in my own city so they were novelties too and I was fascinated) and still occasionally feel like going to the movies, you'll like it enough. If not, well... You'll get bored quick. But then again you don't go to a gym like Lamnammoon's to be chill and comfy and waste yourself away at night, do you? It sounds almost paradoxical to me. _________ Lamnammoon really values hard work and dedication. When he saw how much I ran and faster than everyone else on most days, he seemed genuinely pleased. The two weeks leading up to my first fight (after almost two months being there), I didn't wait to be told to go up to the gym on Sunday mornings to get extra trainings even though I didn't have to. Yeah the gym is open non stop Monday to Sunday. The Thai boys train every single day, morning and evening. They fight often and they usually get between three days to a whole week off after every fight. I only went to train on two Sunday mornings once I got a fight, otherwise I usually took that day off. But you can definitely train everyday if you feel like it... There were some Sunday mornings when I still did a morning run, for example. Lamnammoon is really kind and funny and helpful. If you ask for help he will definitely help you, and he never forgets about you. But if you need something and you don't ask, he's not going to be a mind reader and check up on you every single second of every single day. He still very much cares about you having a good training and being happy at his gym. A few times throughout my stay he asked me with concern whether I was homesick, and if I was happy at all. Because I'm introverted and very quiet and intimidated by his charisma he thought maybe I wasn't happy. So, if you go there do make sure to let him know how you feel if it's something genuinely positive. He has a big heart in every way. Also, something that my introversion made me miss (until I got some company at his home who were chattier people than me): he's got a lot of stories to tell but you need to ask him questions otherwise he won't tell you anything. Thanks to Broke, Rocky and Jodie for doing what I couldn't do at all which is basically talking to him. Lol. Now the only downside: if you're a woman, you'll get less clinch practice. You won't be prompted to do it by the trainers. The Thai boys might feel awkward clinching with you (not all of them. Wut definitely did not like clinching a woman...). The pre-fight massage you get is less thorough than the boys' for obvious but still frustrating reasons. You may actually get less fights, though I'm not so sure about that last one at all. I got only one fight because of my height, or so I was told. I'm tall for a woman and most Thai women are relatively small which is not an appealing disparity for most gyms with the smallest fighter. I was envious of the Western men at the gym getting fights after fights after fights. Some even complained of having too many ones booked... Tsk. They don't fucking know their damn luck. _________ This answer turned out longer than intended. I probably still left out lots of stuff though. Don't hesitate to ask me more questions if you have any. If you do go there you can contact me anytime on here for any kind of things. Although you may not need me at all because there's a super British guy that lives in Ubon called Mickaël who used to train full-time at Lamnammoon's not long ago and who still goes to the gym occasionally to train or help around or serves as guide for the fresh new farangs. He will definitely help you if you meet him. Or Kru Yo (Lamnammoon) can put you in contact with him if it's needed. I intend on writing a day by day account (diary style) of my whole stay there. I'll post updates in here as I go along in this little project. If you're interested I encourage you to follow the thread. In any case, thank you a lot for reading me. I hope you found this review useful. Good luck on your own journey, fellow travelers! > Anyone interested in going to Lamnammoon's gym should regularly check out his Instagram page to see how his gym is doing and what the training looks like at any given time. He post videos often : https://instagram.com/lamnammoonmuaythai?igshid=11qff920fl1ol > Also a must see is this recent short documentary made by a woman named Angie. It's wonderful:
  7. Has anyone ever stay and trained at the PK Saenchai Gym? I’ve made contact with them through Facebook to stay and train for a month but can’t really find any reviews from anywhere. Any help appreciated
  8. I'm curious to hear about what people do to recover. I believe in regular training and definitely into the "there is no overtraining only under recovery"-approach. However due to not getting proper recovery, mainly not enough sleep, I've struggled with all kinds of illness, fatigue and muscle strains. But to go to the gym 6 days a week even if I'm tired and fatigued has its wins and helps me to learn. And to battle my own mind. Sleep seems to be number one parallel to nutrition. Enough protein seems to be key for me. And warm showers after sessions. I can't say a particular supplement other than BCAA has done any magic trick. But I also do a lot of massage and have done regular chiropractic treatments in the past. I'm a yogic and used to do do a lot of yoga. When I stopped (because muay thai took over my life) my body felt it, getting stiffer more prone to injuries etc. and instead I opt for weekly thai massage and sauna. I've received the expert advice that body work (massage and the likes) is great for getting the muscles in order, the way they move under the skin etc. But I'm also constantly being told by trainers and fellow students to not get a thai massage more than 2/monthly. Because of toxins being released and so on. But massage has really helped me with my muscle issues. And it "feels" right. Curious to hear other people's views.
  9. Changes to Lumpinee Stadium: Not sure if you all will be interested in the kind of "what's going on in Thailand" news, but I find it interesting and will be posting things here. Recently, there was a big meeting at Lumpinee with the head of the stadium. Lumpinee is run by the army and the man who is the head of the stadium is a high ranking officer, whose face was showing up in photos and and reports of this meeting, which seemed to be focused on 1) creating a new set of enforcement for punishing fighters who "lom muay" (that's "taking a fall" or "throwing a fight" to us), with a specification that "dek" (the word for children, but also colloquially used for "young") will be given a second chance; as well as some rules I'll have to get help fully understanding from Kru Nu, which seemed to be about fighters who change gyms and their alliances. And 2) how to drive more business to the Lumpinee, Ram Intra area throughout the week so that it's not just the 3 days on which they have promotions. When New Lumpinee opened, it was hit hard by being a completely inconvenient location and audience attendance plummeted. There are some things to do over there, but there's construction on the overpass and traffic is terrible, so the financial struggle at the stadium is real. The part that's interesting is this "lom muay" part, because within a couple days of this meeting, this fighter was accused of throwing his fight. Aekgarat Tor. Dor. Gudanamsai is seen in this video returning backstage after the referee called his fight off. He was out of power and after the third round the referee announced the fight was dubious and had both fighters exit the ring. I've seen this before - the first time Kevin and I saw it on TV we had no idea what was happening. It's not frequent, but sometimes a referee will decide that one fighter is not really fighting, or trying to throw the fight, and he'll stop the fight right there and all bets are cancelled. Sometimes fighters are suspended, sometimes there's an investigation and it's ruled that it was not being thrown; and sometimes the referee is suspended, in the case that his call for stopping the fight is deemed a method of cheating for gambling purposes. Suspensions are uncommon. But the disdain that fighters who are known to have thrown fights are spoken about, demonstrates this is a big sore spot on the face of Muay Thai. In this video, the military police come into the back room. He mostly just stays there to keep the fighter and trainers from going anywhere, then escort them to a meeting with this high ranking officer who runs Lumpinee. There were photos of that meeting in posts after this. Ultimately, the fighter explained that he was a replacement for this match and had only a week to prepare, which is why he had no power in the fight. He was not suspended or punished, ultimately. But in the video there's a guy who comes and is just screaming at this fighter and his trainer. You get a good glimpse of Thai style "not my business" with folks in the background, including another fighter who is getting ready for his match. The guy who is yelling is a gambler and his language is harsh. You'll get gamblers screaming at fighters from the stands after fights, but it's another thing for them to come backstage. I find it interesting that the military police officer is only concerned with keeping an eye on the fighter and trainers and has no care at all for controlling the gambler. In the comments on the facebook share of this video, my favorite is from a guy who, using very harsh language himself, directs his comment at the gambler and says, "if you've got so much energy to yell at the fighter like this, why don't you go fight the opponent yourself." Ultimately, one of the reasons I'm sharing this is that the proximity of this meeting and announcement of punishment for throwing fights to an event in which a fighter is accused is highly performed. To have published photos of the meeting and then published photos of a fighter being accused, taken to the office, and ultimately let off with a warning all appears to be a "we made a rule and watch us enforce it!" kind of thing. https://www.facebook.com/190387948278006/posts/360860344564098/
  10. This is an offshoot of a previous thread I started, on the "light" versus "hard" sparring and how that kind of divides down the emotional line, rather than the physical power of strikes. I wanted to ask my trainer, Kru Nu, about this. He's been teaching Muay Thai for 25 years or so, grew up in a gym that had the very, very early westerners who lived and trained in Thailand, has raised countless Thai boys to be stadium fighters and champions; and has had his fair share of "what the f*** was that?" experiences of people losing their cool in sparring and things erupting into potentially dangerous situations. My impetus for asking Kru Nu about this subject was two fold: 1) the "Thai sparring is so light," refrain I hear from westerners is often one that I've failed to witness with my own 7 years' experience living in Thailand. Thais don't spar super light, at least not the way that I see it performed by the westerners who are trying to mimic what they deem to be "Thai style sparring." And 2) I've seen some pretty intense sparring under Kru Nu's supervision, where he doesn't tell people to turn it down, whereas I - and probably most coaches in the West, would have done. With very little kids, like 7 and 8 years old, when they're clinching they aren't allowed to throw knees. Kru Nu tells them explicitly, "if anyone throws a knee, it's a foul." That's so they don't hurt each other, because they don't have control of themselves yet. They're tiny, so the impact is relative to their size, but I think it's more of an emotional precaution - they don't have control of their emotions yet and so they'll knee hard and hurt each other. They're emotionally not in control, so if they get mad they don't have a stick in their hand at the same time, so to speak. Most of the time, sparring or clinching with little kids like this ends because someone's crying. They're learning how to control their emotions way more than they're learning how to do proper technique, although they do get a few pointers here and there. Mostly it's just spending time in the water, as I like to say, and learning not to cry about it being too cold or deep or whatever else. Back to adults. The teenaged Thais in my gym have mostly been training for a lot of years, so they've gone through the emotional bootcamp long before they ever get big enough to really do any damage to anybody. We have one young fighter, Maek, who is often my clinching partner, and he's new enough and young enough that he gets a little emotional sometimes. He's ignored most of the time when he gets like this, or he's teased to put him in check. But he's pretty big, 60 kilos at only 13 years old, but a little butterball so he goes with partners who he outweighs but is shorter than. So, with his weight he can do some damage, but with his size and age he's kind of not so dangerous. In contrast to this, the westerners who come to train in Thailand are mostly pretty big, compared to me and Thais. They can do damage before they have any kind of skill, or moderate skill, and they've done usually no kind of emotional formation by a culture that esteems "jai yen yen," cool heartedness. So, you've got giant babies. Yesterday, my regular sparring partner and I were told to go spar but to go "bao bao," which is Thai for gentle. I've never been instructed to go light before. The reason was that both Carabao (my sparring/clinching partner) and I have fights in a couple of days, so a clashed knee or bruised eye or ego is not on the ticket. I fight often, Carabao doesn't. So, the instruction to go light is more to do with his fight than mine, but interestingly, Kru Nu has credited Carabao's wins in the past with being my clinching partner. In clinching, nobody is ever told to "go light." Just maybe to be more careful with hitting with the inside of your thigh instead of with your kneecap. So, this sudden "go spar, but bao bao," thing got me thinking. I wanted to ask Kru Nu about how he does sparring at his gym. I told Kru Nu that westerners seem to think that sparring in Thailand is all really light. He frowned at me when I said this, like "why?" I laughed. I don't know. But then I used the example of this Indian guy, who I referenced in my other thread. He goes too hard (in my eyes) with everybody. He's not out of control, but his power is enough to do damage. In the example I gave in my last thread, he sparred with an Italian who also goes quite hard. Hard vs hard, and Kru Nu said, "they like that, so I give for them." But I reminded him of a match up that was not a syncing of likes, where one guy didn't like to go hard. A few weeks ago he was sparring with a fellow from Spain. The guy from India is cracking these leg kicks and has good boxing, so he's touching up the guy from Spain and then just bashing his leg. The guy from Spain is not super experienced, but not totally green. He does okay for a round, listens sincerely to my advice to teep with the leg that's getting kicked when I talk to him between rounds, but ultimately lays down and sparring is ended with a "TKO" late into round 2. I thought that was shitty, honestly. I asked Kru Nu (yesterday, not when this happened), why he let the sparring go like that. "Because I want the guy from Spain to understand that in a fight, if someone kicks you hard here (he chops the side of his hand into his leg), you cannot ask them to stop. And you cannot stop. He has to understand." And, as I recall, the next sparring session, Kru Nu put the guy from India with Team (Thai, stadium fighter) and he got worked, which Kru Nu had said was, "so he can understand." Keeping everyone in check. I nodded my head in understanding when I was listening to Kru Nu. It's what I was saying about hard sparring, how it teaches you that you have to figure shit out under duress. You have to know what contact feels like and how to hide your fear, your shame, your pain, but you also have to be able to not get upset yourself. If you're going to hit hard, you have to know you'll be hit hard back. Kru Nu actually pointed at me, poking my shoulder as I sat next to him on the ring for this conversation. "Sometimes Carabao kicks you too hard, I know, I see," he said. Honestly, guys, I know Kru Nu sees everything but I totally assumed he was not clocking the times that Carabao is hitting me hard. "But you don't get angry, I know you are okay. And if you want, you can show him that you kick hard too and then he understand." I know there are times I've lost my cool in sparring and clinching when I feel like I'm being hit too hard. I've been punished for that by Kru Nu before, basically by him telling me to get out of the ring and go kick the bag and he ignores me for the rest of the session. But I've also learned how to control that shit myself. With Carabao it's a bit harder, just because of his size and the relationship we have in the gym, but with Maek I've learned how to take a too-hard strike, hit him back hard as a warning shot, and then use the next shot as an immediate comparison (much lighter), to let him choose which kind of strike he wants. You hit me hard, I hit you hard, but we can always go back to this. And know what? He always tones it back down. No words spoken. No looks. No complaints. No calling "dad" over, and the escalation in emotion is super short. But I wouldn't know how to do that if I'd never been hit too hard in sparring; if I'd never been overwhelmed and wanted to cry. When Kru Nu lets these big Western dudes bash on each other, he's giving them the same lessons that led me to where I am now, but on a much shorter timeline. These two go hard, they go hard together. This guy goes hard with someone who doesn't reciprocate and he doesn't read the temperature, make him go with someone who will touch him right back (Team) and then some to keep him in check. It reminds me of the Cesar Milan approach to reconditioning aggressive dogs: put them in with the pack and a natural order will shake out, pretty quickly. I remember taking our dog Zoa to a dog park in New York and she was growling and nipping at some dogs who came to sniff her. I immediately thought to go control her and Kevin told me to wait, let it sort itself out. Sure enough, within 3 minutes the group had figured itself out and Zoa was playing chase with a dog she'd just been ready to fight with. You can't control everything. And if everything is always controlled for you, you never learn to control yourself.
  11. I'm a bit inspired by Coach James's recent thread about kids "fighting" (they're sparring, but James is bothered by it and in his mind used the word fighting in his title, which I think is significant), but also because I just was watching some hard sparring at my gym here in Thailand. Here's the set up. In the West, we tend to have this "holier than thou" attitude toward "technical sparring" over "hard sparring," usually accompanied by some kind of credit to how "technical and light" sparring in Thailand is. Okay, sure, I've seen very little sparring among Thais in which they're trying to hurt or knock each other's heads off (I have seen some), whereas I have seen that kind of sparring in Thailand but usually when one or both of the people participating are not-Thai. This said, when Thais spar with shinpads and gloves, it's not "light." The word for sparring in Thai len cherng, literally means to "play techniques." That's the point, and usually the spirit of it. But it's not "light" in the sense that the West tends to characterize it as for their own uses and purposes. It is more "lighthearted," but the actual power of strikes and intention is well over the 60% that I'd qualify as "going light." I was watching two sets of sparring at my gym yesterday. The first couple were both not-Thai. One guy was from India, the other from Italy. The Indian guy always goes too hard, as judged by me for what's appropriate for practice. But he's never told by the coaches to turn it down, which means they see a purpose to how hard he strikes. He also tires easily. And they never put him with someone who is close to a fight, because they know he goes this hard. The Italian guy has way more experience than the Indian guy and, while he got battered pretty good by hard leg kicks and punches in the first round and a half, he took the lead with clinch and knees to "win" the sparring - as if it were a fight, judged by others. The thing is this: the punches and kicks were 100%. The emotional stress and intention was 100%. And the guy who goes too hard, by gassing and ultimately being bettered in the end, his disappointment was 100%. All of those elements are important for learning how to fight. You have to deal with real stress. You have to deal with the consequences of coming out too hard, too early, if you don't have the stamina to keep it going. You have to learn how your power overwhelms someone and then doesn't. And likewise, the Italian guy has to learn that you can't only practice going in and having everything controlled for you. I was pretty impressed by the way he handled it, honestly, and I'm not very generous in things I like about this guy. As an important note, while nobody was told to take their power down, there were shinpads, large gloves, a referee and spectators to break the two men when things were too heated or stagnant, or to stop the time early if needed. It's still being supervised, just not interfered with very much. The next couple were two Thai boys, both about 14-16, same weight as each other but a gulf in experience. One has been training and fighting since he was 8 and surely 100+ fights, the other a handful of years with only 20 or so fights. One loves to go backwards (the experienced one) and gets yelled at for it, the other likes to come forward and strike pretty hard. They both kicked and punched less than 100% power, but not far below that. There were exchanges when the power would go up, but then it would come back down. There was never any "danger" throughout that match, unlike the other one. The biggest difference, however, was the emotional charge. There were moments when the two Thai fighters were amped up a bit, the dominance was real. But they weren't trying to hurt each other. They were trying to dominate each other and shut the other down. It wasn't like that with the non-Thais; there was an element that felt not in control with them, an emotional derailment that felt dangerous... although the Thai men who sat around the ring to watch found it incredibly entertaining. So here's my point: there is a purpose to hard sparring. There is purpose to "technical" sparring. There is an art to both, and I think both are required for the development of a fighter. But what's "light" about Thai sparring is not the power of strikes; it honestly is in the "asshole factor" of emotional energy put into the sparring itself. It's a lack of control that makes hard sparring dangerous or not worthwhile, not the power itself. Stress is an important training tool. Disappointment is a training tool. Gassing out is an important training tool. To only ever advocate for some kind of pantomime sparring robs fighters of those tools. This was Jame's original post discussion that lead to these thoughts:
  12. Hey, i've noticed you started Muay Thai a while back, i have a question for you... I have a plan to go 2 Thailand for 2-3month's because that's the time my visa would allow to stay, i'd love to have some training and i'd love to have some fights, but as i would be a complete beginner in this sport, i don't know should i enter there. I have some experience in boxing and a little experience is kickboxing, but considering this is Muay Thay....Do beginners get to fight or do you need to go all the way to the advanced before you can enter the Muay Thai ring? What level were you when you entered the ring for the first time and how long did you train before that? What was your experience like? Appreciate the time you take to respond, bless you people.
  13. Hello all, So after spending about 3 months at Kem Muay Thai Gym I feel as if I could give a pretty accurate review of what to expect there. Note that this is my personal experience so you might experience some things differently but I hope that this will help you in your gym decision for training in Thailand. Little background: Prior to leaving I had 6 amateur fights under my belt and had been training for about a little over 3 years, it was also my first time in Thailand. I'm a 23 years old man as well if that can help.. I was there from September to December this year. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Camp Overview: The camp is located in the mountains in Khao-Yai Thiang near Khorat which is pretty much a village, the nearest city is 30 KM I believe. At the camp you have 2 adults Thais training being Yodwicha and Rungravee PK Saenchai, 3 teenagers (including 1 teenage girl about 14-16 years old), and 2 kids. So other than Yodwicha and Rungravee you will be training mostly with teenagers and kids, most of the guys/fighters you see on the website aren't there anymore. The trainers might also jump in during the sparring sessions sometimes to even out the score. Don't get me wrong those kids and teenagers were technically really skilled (except maybe for the girl who was more average), but if you are a heavy guy it might not be ideal sometimes. - Training: The training is pretty hard so beware to prepare yourself accordingly before going to avoid suffering too much during your first weeks. They will adapt the training regimen to your level but I recommend running at least 30-45 minutes daily on top of training before going. 1 round at the camp = 4 minutes Usually 10 push-ups in between rounds of sparring and bag work Training in the morning: (between 2.5-3 hours including the run and cool down) 10 KM run in the mountain at 6h00 AM, training officially starts around 7h30 AM for those not running 3-5 series of 10 pull-ups 1 round of shadow boxing with weights (1-2 punch going back and forth and speed punching last 30 seconds) 1 warm-up full shadow boxing round with gloves/shin pads before sparring 4-6 rounds of sparring which alternates between Muay Thai and Boxing depending of the day "Double-Kick": 3-5 series of 20 kicks with each leg on pads (not always) Bag work (1-2 round boxing on the tires, then 1-2 rounds on the heavy bag, then 1 round of only elbows and/or sometimes 1-2 rounds low kicks) 200 blocks, 200 knees (sometimes on the bag, sometimes going back and forth with weights), and 100 teeps (push-kicks) sit-ups (up to you) and again 3-5 series of 10 pull-ups Training in the afternoon: (between 2-2.5 hours including short run and cool down) - Training starts at 3H00 PM 2-3 KM run of about 10-15 minutes on a much more flat ground (trust me you will enjoy this) 10-20 minutes of skipping 3-5 series of 10 pull-ups 1 round of shadow boxing with weights again (1-2 punch going back and forth) 1 warm-up round of full shadow boxing with gloves before pad work 4-5 rounds of pads which usually consist of 3 rounds Muay Thai and 1 round boxing Bag work: 1-2 rounds boxing on tires, 2 rounds heavy bag, 1 round elbows, sometimes 1-2 rounds lowkicks 15-20 minutes clinching followed by 50 push-ups to close the clinch session 200 blocks, 200 knees, 100 teeps sit-ups and 3-5 series of 10 pull-ups again - The Food: Excellent! I have nothing bad to say about it. Be prepared to eat rice everyday though. We sometimes had pastas to break up the routine but on very few occasions. Even had fries and steak once. I think the food is really the best aspect of this camp. - Trainers: They are pretty good and know what they are doing. They seem to be each working different aspects of your game, for example one is more cardio-intensive, the other is more playful, etc. When I got there, 3 trainers were at the gym, then 1 left, then 2 others came, so I don't know how many you will see next time you go there. - General Atmosphere: The atmosphere at the camp is friendly and casual, they try to be as inclusive as they can. Nobody is going to wake you up to go run or come train but they will notify you when it's time to eat and such. While training you are paired with the Thais as much as possible but while eating they eat together and the farangs (foreigners) eat together. The more you show you are dedicated the more they will push you. -Beautiful Location: The camp is pretty good looking and well maintained. They also have free WiFi and hot water for showers. WiFi is pretty good, but the bathrooms are quite small with the water from the shower splashing on your toilet seat.. -English Level: The English level is really low, as nobody fully speaks English but some do enough to answer your questions and such. If you encounter a real problem then this might become quite a bit of an issue as it will be hard for you to explain your situation to them. You won't be able to have a full and fluid conversation in English with the Thais at the camp but that doesn't stop you from joking around with them. -Repetitive Training: Although the training is hard, it is a little repetitive at times if you ask me. We did the same exercises day-in and day-out with the only difference being the number of rounds for each one. The training is pretty much oriented on the basics and fundamentals as well. They will make sure you can do a proper jab, a proper kick, and so on.. One thing I didn't like too much as well was the fact for the clinching sessions they were just making you clinch and throwing you on the ground, they weren't really breaking down techniques much. Although this approach has its benefits, I believe taking like 5-10 minutes to properly show a technique would have been a good addition as well. -Distractions: There aren't many things around the camp except some little mom-n-pop groceries stores. For the short term it's good to help you focus on the training but over some months it can get pretty boring during your off-times. We went out to see fights, which were mainly kids' fights because Yodwicha and Rungravee only do international fights now, but other than that we did quite few activities. You sometimes had to ask to be taken out like when you had to do some shopping at a Tesco Lotus. Being taken out would sometimes come at a cost of 200 baht for the gas depending on who was dropping you off. -Airport Shuttle and Transportation: For airport pickup/drop-off you pay a 2,400 baht fee (that you can see on their website) which includes both picking you up and dropping you at the airport at the beginning and end of your stay. If you plan on going by yourself paying your own taxi, you have to tell yourself that Bangkok (I landed at the suvarnabhumi airport) is approximately 3 hours away from the camp and the camp is a little tricky to find. I would say that for your way back you are pretty much dependent on them for a ride, but I guess that if you really wanted to you could take a taxi for when you are on your way in. I believe all people I met at the camp had used the camp ride services, and I did too. \When you are actually at the camp, you are quite dependent on them for transportation as you are on the mountains in a village (cows around and hearing the cock in the morning), I'm pretty sure I've seen some cars but never a taxi pass around the camp. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- On a separate note, I also had 2 fights at the camp. Won the first one against a chubby Thai who didn't seem to be training/fighting full-time, but as it was my first pro fight without any protection I thought it was ok for a start. I lost the second fight which was on my last week at the camp and this one left me a little bitter because they paired me against a Thai who probably had a minimum of 20-30 fights without warning me at all. The referee stopped the fight in the 4th round as he was dominating me in the clinch. I really don't know why they put me against a guy who had that much experience without letting me know what I was about to face. I was expecting a harder fight than my first one, but not a mismatch like this.. On a final note, I would say that overall it's still a pretty good camp and I guess that I would recommend it but I would suggest to be fit prior to going and maybe to learn a bit of Thai as well to help with the communications. I recommend maybe staying 1-1.5 months maximum for those looking to stay long term as beyond that the lack of distractions and repetitiveness of the training can be harsh to endure. If anyone has questions or would like me to further expand on some topics, please feel free to reach me. Regards
  14. Hello all, I am planning to go train in Thailand for 3 months (ticket already bought!) on September 9 and I have still to choose my training camp for the duration of my stay. I don't really want to hop around different gyms as I won't be there for too long so I want to make an informed decision right away. I am in advanced discussions with Sitmonchai's foreign liaision (Abigail), but I am still not sure if I will go there or not. My background: I am an amateur fighter with 6 fights under his belt (nothing crazy) and would really want to find a gym with serious training and not too much westerners if possible. I have also been training for 3 years now and it would be my first trip to Thailand. I have filtered down a couple gyms in my list: Kaewsamrit, Sitmonchai, Kem Muay Thai, and Namsaknoi. If you could give me a brief overview of your impressions of those gyms would be cool. I am looking to develop a more Muay femur style (technical) if that can help. Here's my impressions of each gym, if you could confirm my assumptions it would be really helpful. Kaewsamrit: Seems like a good old-school gym oriented more towards boxing Muay mat ("heavy hands"). As I need to step up my clinch game as well, I don't know if it is the best option. I do enjoy watching highlight clips of Anuwat Kaewsamrit exploding skulls with his fists though, but I am afraid that this style is a bit limited. Although I am pretty sure they would adjust to my style/level. Sitmonchai: Similar to Kaewsamrit but it is the most expensive on my list and don't know if it's justified. Known for their aggressive style and hard low kicks, I am afraid that it might be a bit one-dimensional as well. I do enjoy the fact that they pair you up with Thais though (if they actually do and how frequently?), major point for me. They seem to have a lot of active fighters as well, which should help motivate me, but I also heard that other than the pad sessions with the trainers, you are pretty much left to yourself to train. I would like to have guidance on what I am doing right/wrong as well and not just hitting pads till exhaustion. Kem Muay Thai Gym: Beautiful location, seems like a clinch-oriented gym with disciplined training. The gym is new and doesn't have much info on it though but my major fear is that it might be geared towards westerners more. I am not a Muay Thai expert with 300+ fights but I do want to have quality training partners. It does seem like a more complete style of fighting is being taught there though. Namsaknoi: The most recent of all the gyms. What attracts me is Namsaknoi himself with the breadth of his technique and his legacy. Seems more oriented towards technique and from what I've heard they only spar twice a week (not enough in my opinion). I am also thinking that it attracts mostly westerners as I haven't been able to find info on Thai fighters training there, and also because it's on a beautiful beach. Thank you, KushGod
  15. 5-10 Above, ideologically problematic fantasy image put into a meme context to talk about fighting and value. The huge father-who-enjoys of psychoanalysis, here upon a heap of HIS violence, his pliant lady treasure practically a part of the amorphous death accumulation, his sword declaiming a verticality out of the mounting matter, the halo of death cult an atmosphere. The Barbarian, invoking qualities of virility that our current Age longs and lurks for, a harkening back to the thymos of primitive effectiveness in space, how the heart displays itself. And then "What Belts?" calling into question the trite trinkets of contemporary measures of what can only be called manliness, even when women pursue it. I can't help but think that in this image and word-set a vortex of ideas descend to a center that is in itself agonistic. Is THIS what men (and women) fight for? Is THIS really the ideal that hides behind so many layers of shimmering achievement? Is this the cage, the ring, the stage? There is an interesting Thai word - and I am by no means even a student of the language - that comes to me: ittiphon. It is a kind of power ascribed to big nakleng (gangsters), though also to many other types, which essentially means "charm". Charm is no small thing in the ancient world. It was the nearly indescribable, indiscernible power to influence others. In Greek antiquity it is strongly associated with Aphrodite, the goddess of love, and with magic itself. It operated from a distance, and had no explanation. It en-thralled. It spell struck. A great orator would be said to have the power of Influence, his words spellbinding. Anything that charms is not to be trusted because its mechanism is largely unknown and unseen. From what I have read Ittiphon is the magnetism of great men. In the case of nakleng Ittiphon also is accompanied by a second power, Ittiroot. This is the power of perceived magical invulnerability. Cannot be killed. Escapes attack. Lucky. Protected. These are the twin powers of the fighter, the double wings that give him (or her) flight. Even the most grounded, unspectacular fighter is moving to and through these two powers. Charm and invulnerability. However ideologically challenged the image is, this is what it portrays. What is victorious notably localized. It is here, on this heap, with this sword, in this person. What is expansive is that this is a realm of death. Here the thinnest whispers of an idea spread out like a shadow very far from a candle. Faint. The battle field of the fighter is inevitably one of death. Not to-the-death per se. But the trading of strikes that ever work to the diminishment of the opponent. I once read that the ultimate tone of a Muay Thai attack is one that makes the opponent seem to collapse from his (her) own internal flaws. The theater of defeat is a kind of collapse or breakdown from within, and that the victor only serves as the means by which this is exposed. There is a kind of nemesis nature to this, in the old sense...divine justice. The crumbling of the opponent, rather than the outright aggression of the victor, makes this a kind of theater of Death and decay, out of which a mechanism, the victor, stands as a shining light of something alluring, the charm and power of the untouchable. These are repeated theatrical performances of localized divinity, the shine and glimmer of the thing that ascends through matter, is born of matter in conflict. How grace and violence are married through combat, invoking something else. Ultimately, the question of masculinity itself arises, and its role in the cataclysm of this kind of arranged apparition. The question...the problem of masculinity though begins to unweave itself a bit when we recognize that masculinity does not inherently belong to men.
  16. Hi guys, -I wanted to know how is the lookboonmee gym for an athlete of medium level?the trainers follow you and try to make you grow or they use you only for money... -How is the accomodation and the promoters for some fights? Thanks :) P.S. sorry for my bad english
  17. So here is an informal list of gyms I'd generally recommend, and a short synopsis why. These are maybe one-month-stay recommendations. These are not reviews, just quick overall impressions. Keep in mind, I don't really spend a lot of time in gyms during regular training hours, and I'm not drawn to mega-gyms with lots of trainers, students and new facilities. I just get asked this question a lot so this is my best answer on my experiences, and sometimes from feedback I've heard from people I've sent there. If you have a question you can post it on this thread, or create a new thread in this Topic. I've included links to filmed sessions with some of the krus that head these gyms, I'd strongly recommend watching them to get a sense of the gym and the teaching style. [updated March, 2022] Sit Kru Thailand (Chiang Mai - contact here) Thailand Pinsinchai is a late- Golden Age fighter, so well rounded in beautiful technique, powerful striking, and a great teacher. He was originally part of the Santai krus, so he has experience with western fighters, but has opened his own gym in Chiang Mai. Importantly, he trains his own son as a fighter, and a handful of young (teenage) fighters who are frequently on Channel 7 and Petchyindee shows. The reason this is important is that gyms can have a sweet spot they hit when a Thai team is being built, which makes them very full of focus. Kru Thailand streams training often, you can find video of it here. The gym is on the premises of a resort, so you have a room right there if you wish. The facilities are nice but not fancy, but mainly Thailand is just an excellent teacher and a funny and sincere man. You can see how great Kru Thailand is as a teacher in my hour long Muay Thai Library sessions with him. Session 1 all about technique, Session 2 on clinch Jor. Apichat Muay Thai Gym - Singburi with Kru Diesel (Singburi) Famed Kru Diesel is the big draw of this gym, his best known for having brought up two Muay Khao superstars at F. A. Group (Petchboonchu and Yothin) but he has moved to be the head trainer of his own gym up in Singburi. Kru Diesel is a mastermind for the Muay Khao style, an amazing padman and a truly great teacher. For Muay Khao, this is a top option. Importantly, this is a legendary kru involved in building a legit Thai fight team, who also has lots of experience of training western fighters as well. These kinds of sweet spot gyms that are authentically Thai, but also understand western needs are rare. This session was filmed at FA Group, but you'll get a strong sense of Kru Diesel's teaching: Kru Diesel F.A. Group - The Art of Knees (84 min). A new session is coming to the Library that I've filmed at Fight House in Singburi. Follow Kru Diesel Facebook, he live streams a lot. Manop's Gym (Chiang Mai) - For those that want a gym that is a bit more personal in their training Manop's gym in Chiang Mai is definitely something to check out. Manop is famously known as Saenchai's Yokkao trainer, and he's left Yokkao now to start his own life in Chiang Mai. He is incredibly perceptive as a teacher, very, very technical. I'm not sure I've run into a more precise and intuitive teacher of technique, a man with a gentle spirit as well. He also works really well with young western fighters. The gym is in a quiet neighborhood outside of the city, and seems like a great opportunity learn and train hard. If you check the threads of this forum you will find some very positive, thorough reviews of the gym a solid year or more into its foundation. Also it would seem very women-friendly, as Kru Manop raised his daughter Faa to become a fighter and Somrasmee (first Rajadamnern woman champion) trains there. LGBTQ+ students have found the gym to be welcoming as well. You can see Kru Manop's teaching style in my Library sessions with him: The Art of the Teep (90 min), Session 2 - The Art of the Sweep (57 min) We did this quick video edit of the gym in 2020 if you want to take a look Sor. Klinmee (Pattaya) - Tappaya Sit Or was Rajadamnern Champion at 135 lbs and was a loved Channel 7 (Kiatpetch Promotion) fighter, facing many top names of his time. He was born and raised in Pattaya, so is a foundational presence in the Muay Thai scene here, which is a much more established region than most realize (most folks think of Bangkok and Isaan). This gym is small but spacious and has produced a great number of fighters over the couple decades since it opened. Tappaya raised all 3 of his kids as fighters (his youngest son still fights), as well as well-known members of his giant Muay Thai family (Sudsakorn, Sinsamut). His nephew has a gym right up the street (Rambaa) and, while Tappaya can come off a little guarded at first, he's a charming and funny man, in addition to being a fantastic and experienced padholder. At the time I'm writing this, the gym still has 5 teenaged to young 20's Thai fighters, but most appear after school lets out, so it's a pretty quiet gym. There's not much sparring to speak of and most of the bagwork is just drills, but the padwork is good and their students are good clinchers. The people I'd recommend this gym to are those who already know how to train themselves without a lot of hand-holding (like me, I do my own bagwork, shadow, and conditioning without needing to be told or it coinciding with anyone else doing it), or people who are interested in an intimate version of training. It basically feels like a private class with Tappaya when he holds pads (the rounds are long and timed by your padman occasionally looking at a clock on the wall, not a timer... so I think they're 4 minutes with 1 minute rest, but it varies) and he's a great teacher if you make it clear you are interested in instruction. His Thai fighters range from 52 kg to 67 kg. #122 Tappaya Sit Or. - Muay Khao Strength In Femeu (82 min) watch it here Tappaya is arguably Pattaya's most successful local hero (excluding Samart and Kongtoranee, neither of whom were born in Pattaya but trained at Sityodtong), as he was a Channel 7 fighter, as well as holding the 135 lb Rajadamnern title for 3 years (1997-2000), and a WMC champion. Tappaya was a Femeu fighter himself, but he trains his fighters in more of a Muay Khao ethic, to be very strong and very adroit in clinching. Contact them on FB: Sor Klinmee Baan Rambaa (Pattaya) - Rambaa is the nephew to Tappaya, and at Rambaa's gym you'll find more of the Klinmee family as trainers. Rambaa's gym is full of little kids, who train sincerely, even though not all of them fight. He has two young-20s Thai fighters, who fight on ONE and Bangkok Stadium shows. Rambaa walks around with a stick, mostly corralling the kids, but he also engages with training as a padman or supervisor. His fighters are known for their resilience, it's a hard-working and hard-hitting style, but he does give importance to technique and has visiting Legends every so often on Sundays to help advise his fighters. With Rambaa and Tappaya just 100 meters from each other, you could very easily treat the two gyms as circuit (although you'd have to pay both, as they're separate businesses). Although Rambaa is a traditional gym in the sense of it being a community space, full of kids, and he places importance on traditional technique, it's also modern to the degree that there's a cage (Rambaa was Thailand's first MMA World Champion), sometimes grappling training, and a large flat-screen TV that plays fights from Entertainment Muay Thai promotions and UFC while the kids train. #86 Rambaa Somdet M16 3 - The Art of the Stinging Attack (67 min) watch it here Contact on FB: Baan Rambaa Silk Muay Thai and Kitchen (Pattaya) - this gym was founded by a former student of Tappaya Sor. Klinmee. Daniel learned in a traditional pedagogy of Thai style gym and he's made a concerted effort to honor and maintain the "Thainess" of training in Thailand, while also having a very comfortable, familiar style of training for westerners. His current gym is on the edge of a lake, which lends for beautiful runs and a nice breeze coming through the open side of the space, nice equipment and spacious training room. He is building a new location, so the set up will change from what I'm describing about the lake, but the new space is meant to be bigger and I've driven past the site and it's still a lovely, out-of-the-way area. It's about 20 minutes from Pattaya Beach, so you're close enough to the city that you would never lack for anything or feel isolated, but it's far enough that it's a quiet and beautiful area. Daneil works with his students, holding pads, clinching and sparring with them himself. He has Thai trainers who have been through a few of Pattaya's other gyms (this is common, but it's also great in that they all have a community relationship among them), he has a small number of Thai fighters, and a large group of western students with a variety of motivations. He is connected to the fight promotions both local and in Bangkok, so it is a fighter's gym. Find them on FB: Silk Muay Thai Gyms I Haven't Been To in While But Probably Still Recommended Kem Muaythai Gym - clinch heavy, gorgeous mountain location, run by a great fighter in Kem, access to Isaan festival cards. Kem's Muay Thai gym may be one of the best in Thailand, high up on a mountain near Khorat. I call it the Shaolin Experience. Big beautiful resort like grounds, grueling training sessions, at times lots of active fighters. The connection to Isaan fighting is very special, there is nothing quite like festival fighting. It's one of the best experiences you'll have as a fighter. I wrote about the gym a few years ago here: Kem Muaythai Gym: Hardcore, Beautiful, Clinch Gym - You can see Kem's teaching style in the Muay Thai Library: Session 1: Building a System (52 min), Session 2: Mastering Everything In Between (80 min) Hongthong Gym (Chiang Mai - contact here) - My private with Joe Hongthong was absolutely wonderful. He thinks creatively about the fighter I am, and then about how to enhance that. They've had successful women fighting out of their gym, and from personal experience I'd say that if you are a Muay Khao fighter Joe would make a wonderful teacher. The gym is very connected to the local Chiang Mai fight scene, and to Bangkok fight opportunities and is very fighter-oriented. mid-sized western fighters seem like they've had success training and fighting out of this gym. Watch Joe's training style: Developing the Muay Khao Style | 87 Minutes - Joe Hongthong - Chiang Mai Please post all gym recommendation questions you have for me here on this thread, or start your own thread. That way the conversation can develop and benefit others too! (This list and its descriptions will be revised over time)
  18. Hey everyone, So I've been training for three months and will be starting to train twice a day in the month of September. I'e decided to prepare for a fight in Thailand in February, and I wanted to know if it's okay to jump right into a professional fight, or rather should I fight amateur a few times before making the jump. I'm currently training at Khongsittha Muay Thai in Bangkok. Thanks!
  19. This is going to be a big experiment, but I thought to myself: Isn't this the place to do it? For those that don't know me I kind of keep a low profile. I'm the one holding the camera, the one doing the film editing, or the digital heavylifting so that Sylvie can keep blogging at her crazy rate, and still train and fight full time in Thailand. I'm Sylvie's husband Kevin. I'm 51, and have been living here with my beautiful, brilliant wife in Thailand as she pursues her dream. I do write occasionally for her site, a few articles under A Husband's Point of View, and occasionally I jump into the internet stream to press a point or two on an issue I feel is especially important, but mostly I'm very happy keeping to myself in all this, while I watch with admiration as Sylvie climbs to places nobody really has gone before. But...I am a writer, and in all this time I too have fallen quite in love with the Muay Thai of Thailand. I get to express my thoughts all the time with Sylvie - we think and talk a lot about a number of dimensions of Muay Thai, everything from gender, community, technique, and most importantly it's future. But I don't really give myself permission to just flow in things, to write as I once really did, when I was younger. So, I thought that maybe this is a good space for that, a little corner of this forum where I can journal some of my more loosely connected thoughts, things that arise as I experience this incredible country and culture. Feel free to throw in comments if you like (a comment will automatically subscribe you to the thread, via email - you can all follow this thread by clicking "follow" in the upper right corner), but I'm just going to go ahead without much organization or even intent. You'll see from what follows I write in a unique, not easy to read voice, but hey, that's just me.
  20. SPONSORED MUAY THAI FIGHTERS: EXPLOITATION OR MUTUALLY BENEFICIAL? Article from Sumalee Boxing Gym's blog talking about their criteria for sponsoring a fighter and what benefits the gym and the fighter receive from the sponsorship.
  21. Visas are pretty much a hassle to deal with, and since the military take over they have gotten more strict in many ways, but it seems that the serious drop in tourism - not only because of change in country image, but also things like Russian currency collapse - has initiated a more friendly approach. A new 6 month multiple entry visa, with 60 day border runs, starting in November. "The visa, costing 5,000 baht (US$139), will be available from November 13 this year. “It will grant travelers multiple entries during a 6-month period, for up to 60 days per entry. All foreign nationals are eligible to apply for METV,” the statement said. The new visa will allow visitors to enter and leave the country as often as they want over the six-month period. It also means tourists can effectively stay in Thailand for six months with the visa, though they will have to leave the country every 60 days to keep the visa valid. In/out ‘border hops’ are a fact of life for many people residing in Thailand, even those with valid, long-term visas."
  22. Initially I was going to simply send Sylvie a question about this since I know she has written about there being tension between her two gyms at times, but figured it might be good for discussion. It feels like the exact same thing but on a smaller scale. I have a trainer at the gym whom I have worked with off and on for about a year now. The first 4-6 months I was training I really tried to get him to work with me but he pretty much always sort of shoved me off on to another trainer. Finally after the 6 month mark he started working with me consistently for about 2 months and then it was just like before. Since then, other trainers have gotten interested and wanted to work with me or have offered me fights. Each time this happens he gets moody, and insists that I am his student. He works with me for a week or two, then it all kind of falls apart again. It hasn't caused any real conflict in the gym, but it has definitely caused tension and I'm not sure how to deal with it. Similar situations to this have happened prob 4-5 times now, but here is an example from last week: I had been off training for a couple weeks because of a broken toe. Come back to train but was only doing boxing since my toe still hurts quite a bit and feels weak. We have a trainer who is incredibly good at boxing and has shown a lot of interest in training me as well as asking me to fight on the Queen's Birthday. I did padwork with him for two days, then the third day the other trainer I had worked with in the past insisted I come do pad work with him. He was very loud and adamant about it. We still only worked boxing, but throughout the session kept looking at the boxing trainer to see if he was watching. It very much felt possessive/aggressive and as if he were making a show of it. It is just small stuff, and honestly I'm not too worried about it. Just wondering if anyone else has had similar problems and how they dealt with it. Edit: It should be noted that I routinely train with different trainers almost every couple of days to switch things up; but this kind of behavior only occurs when we have a newer trainer who really tries to put in effort to work with me.
  23. I'm posting this article by Aaron Jahn here because it is a great breakdown of the science behind the Thai (and western boxing) focus on running. There are arguments out there against the importance and efficacy of running for fighting, but the Thais believe in it whole-heartedly, and I've embraced it despite a really heavy work load. It just makes you better. Better both physically and psychologically. I've seen the arguments for HIIT and sprints replacing longer runs for equal cardio benefit, but I've always believed that running was at the crossroads of physical and mental in a way that short "hacks" aren't. I don't always share Aaron John's stuff because he puts some pretty sexist, and to my ear anti-female content, but this article is definitely worth reading: Don't Run, Don't Fight - The Science Behind the Thai Obsession with Running Some parts that I liked include: The other benefit of having a lower resting heart rate is that it will take you longer to reach your anaerobic threshold – the point you switch from producing the majority of your energy aerobically to anaerobically. As Mike Robertson puts it, athletes need to increase the gap between their resting heart rate and anaerobic threshold – the aerobic window. The aerobic window is worked out like this; Anaerobic threshold – resting heart rate = aerobic window For example, if Thai boxer “A” has a resting heart rate of 70bpm and his anaerobic threshold is 150bpm, then his aerobic window is 80bpm. Thai boxer “B” has a resting heart rate of 55bpm and his anaerobic threshold is 180bpm, giving him an aerobic window of 125bpm. Clearly, Thai boxer “B” has the largest window in which to primarily utilise aerobic energy and won’t tax the fatiguing anaerobic systems as quickly as Thai boxer “A”. The cardiac output method is very efficient in reducing our resting and working heart rate and improving one side of the aerobic window spectrum. With regards to raising the anaerobic threshold, there are more specific methods we can use, such as threshold training." And I’ve also learnt that shunning a particular training method which has been implemented by hundreds of thousands of fighters that has served them extremely well over decades of practice because of a few misinterpreted studies is arrogant. Not only is it arrogant, but it is detrimental to the growth of the sport, not to mention the potential counter-productivity its affects will have on fighters. Obviously there are considerable roadblocks to running for many people: shin splints, bad knees, heel spurs, etc. These very common running injuries are largely absent from any of the Thai fighters I've known and/or trained with. A number of these typical injuries are due to a "too much, too soon" approach when westerners touch down in Thailand. Build up gradually - I recommend people get their mileage up before getting to Thailand for their trips. In the article the author suggests there are other cardio options for building up aerobic capacity, but doesn't explicitly give any examples or suggestions. For those who cannot run, Joel Jamieson, who Aaron Jahn sites does suggest a regime of non-running exercises that may give you what running does. Check those out. In that article, Running 2.0, there are some good summations on the weakness of an interval-only approach: Another of the arguments often used to support the exclusive use of interval methods instead of steady-state training is that combat sports are explosive and therefore anaerobic in nature. The biggest problem with this argument is simply that it’s not true. On the contrary, combat sorts require high levels of both aerobic and anaerobic fitness, but the overall majority, i.e. greater than 50% of the energy necessary to fight, comes from the aerobic energy system. How do we know this is the case? Well, for one thing, performance in sports that really are highly anaerobic, sports like like weightlifting, Olympic lifting, 100m sprinting, field events, etc. cannot be repeated without very long rest periods. Try asking a sprinter to run 100m at full speed and then run another one 20 seconds later and see what happens – I guarantee he or she will look at you like you’re crazy! In combat sports, the skills are certainly explosive, but they’re also highly repetitive and sub- maximal. You aren’t throwing every single punch or kick as hard as you possibly could. You aren’t putting every ounce of strength and power into every single movement because everyone knows that if you did that, you’d quickly gas out. The bottom line is that all combat sports require a balance of both aerobic and anaerobic energy development. Writing off methods like roadwork that have been proven for years to effectively increase aerobic fitness simply because they may appear slower than the skills of the sport is like saying there is no reason to do anything but spar because that’s the closet speed to an actual fight. A lot of proponents for the “nothing but intervals” approach also argue that even if roadwork is effective, it simply takes too much time and you can get the same results with less time using higher intensity training. The truth is that roadwork does take more time than doing an interval workout, there is no doubt, but this also is part of why it’s able to deliver more long-term results. As discussed previously, higher intensity methods often lead to greater progress in the short run, but this comes at the expense of plateaus and stagnation. Lower intensity methods may not work as fast, but they produce much more long-term consistent increases in aerobic fitness and when it comes right down to it, improving conditioning and performance requires time and hard work. As much as it might sound good to say you can achieve better results in 4 minutes than you can in 40 minutes, the real world has proven this idea to be nothing more than wishful thinking.
  24. Hi everyone!!!! I am biking a flight to Thailand in late October Myself and some training partners from New York are looking for a gym to train at. We are looking for a rural gym, not the fancy ones but clean. Some of us fight already here in the states and would like to get a fight in if possible. One of my teammates used to train at Son Vinpor gym, but her friend who still lives in Thailand said that it's a good gym but doesn't produce any fighters or fights. What gym would you recommend? Rural, clean great training and possible fight opportunity??? Thank you!! Trying to get as much info for this trip
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