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Gym Advice for Father and 14 Year Old Son - Beginners


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My son, 14, and I are interested in going to a Muay Thai training camps in Thailand for 4 weeks in early/mid January 2022.  We are both complete novices.  The goal of the experience is to learn the basics of Muay Thai, spend time together and have fun while experiencing a new culture.  I'd love for this adventure to be positive and result in Muay Thai being an activity we can continue to pursue together as he becomes a young adult.

I've done some online research and it seems that there are many excellent camps.  Are there any camps that are particularly well suited to a novice father and son team?  Ideally, we'd like to either be in the vicinity of Bangkok or near a beach.  However, completely open to other parts of Thailand for the right program.

Thank you in advance for your thoughts and feedback.

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There are good reasons to think about Kru Manop's gym in Chiang Mai. The first is that he's just an excellent instructor, with lots of technical awareness that comes from working with westerners over many years, and a patience that is very high level. His teaching muay is very high level, as he was once Saenchai's padman, and spent several years at Yokkao in Bangkok. Also, he's had lots of experience recently training on western boy, who now fights in Thai stadia. The boy and his father, I believe, have been at the gym for a couple of years.


If you want to experience a big, Muay Thai gym complex like something like Tiger on Phuket, this certainly isn't that. But, if you want to spend a lot of time in a small gym with a personal touch, its the first gym that comes to mind for me.

Chiang Mai is culturally slower and more conservative (traditional) than other parts tourist oriented parts of the country, and quite beautiful, the kind of city and surrounding region that seem perfect for a 4 week experience.


We shot this little short when visiting there a bit ago. Kru Manop is also in the Muay Thai Library if you want to see a couple of hours of training with him, privately:

#55 Manop Manop Gym - The Art of the Teep (90 min) watch it here 

#85 Kru Manop Yuangyai 2 - The Art of the Sweep (57 min) watch it here


Once in Chiang Mai you could also check out Kru Thailand's gym, on the other side of the city. It would be more of an "authentic" gym in that he trains Thai boys to become stadium fighters. He too is a very good instructor. Their Facebook Page is here: https://www.facebook.com/Sit-Thailand-Muay-Thai-Gym-106840670828643/

They live stream their training often on Facebook, so you could get a sense of the atmosphere.

Ideally, I say to not book long stays around any one particular gym, but rather spend a couple of days in a gym just to see what it feels like.

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Kevin and Tom thank you very much for the feedback. 

I'll start researching the gyms you suggested and also look into Muay Tae.

@Kevin - a follow-up question for you is once we find a gym we like should we book a longer stay or use our first four weeks to try many gyms?  Would it be foolish in your opinion to spend time in 2 different areas of Thailand?

Thank you both again for taking the time to respond.

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8 hours ago, SLC said:

@Kevin - a follow-up question for you is once we find a gym we like should we book a longer stay or use our first four weeks to try many gyms?  Would it be foolish in your opinion to spend time in 2 different areas of Thailand?

Hmmm. I guess this depends on how old your son is [edit in: sorry, I missed that he was 14], and more about your own tolerance, or enjoyment of change is. Me? I like to settle down in a place. It is only after 3 days or more that I feel ok. When I know where I'm eating, the way to the gym, etc. Then maybe at 7-10 days do I really feel like I'm in something. It also depends on how heavily or often you want to train. Every day? Twice a day? Or taking days off?

Just giving you my own sense, I'd say two weeks minimum for a single gym experience, once you know you like it, which means once you start moving again the next stay will feel shortened. When we first came to Thailand we committed in advance to two experiences over I think 6 weeks. I really loved our stay in Chiang Mai at Lanna at the time. Then, perfectly happy, we went down to Bangkok and Sasiprapa. The Bangkok experience wasn't bad in anyway, but we actually wished we had just stayed in Chiang Mai. It was far less gritty, the gym experience was really nice. It wasn't the worst thing to push for two, but it wasn't ideal.

I would maybe make a first choice of location, and then a list of 3 gyms in that location. I'd go to each of them for a day and just feel what it is like and go by intuition. Can I picture myself here for 2 weeks? If you find a great one, one you really vibe on, then just stop there, no need to push for more. I'd give myself 10 days in that first choice gym. After about 7 of those days I'd reassessed. Do I want to change gyms? Or do I want to change cities? If you are really happy where you are, just stay. It's pretty easy, and not that expensive to just hop on a plane and be somewhere else if you suddenly get the urge to have a different experience. Don't pay for lots of days in advance, especially in the time of COVID when tourism is going to be down. Everyone will be glad to have you. Keep things flexible.

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I agree with Kevin on this, spending some time at a place gives a deeper experience than making it a day-trip. Manop is a great option based on the age of your son. I can't comment on the advantages of gyms based on their locations and proximity to tourist attractions as that's not something we do when we visit gyms, but Chiang Mai in general is easy to navigate and has lots of things to explore. Bangkok is harder to move around in, but also lots to do it you take half a day or a day off.

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  • 2 weeks later...


I've done trips of one about one months two times. 

I would agree with what was said. Both time I did at least two weeks in one gyms and then little trips (day or few days) in specific gyms. But especially if you're new to muay thai. I would say, unless you really dislike the gym, just stay at the same same gym or do 2 weeks at one place and 2 weeks at another if you want to see different part of the country. 

I hated Bangkok the first time and loved it the second. I would say, it is a bit of an overwhelming introduction to Thailand and southeast asian cities if it will be your first time. 

I actually never being to one of these mega MT complexes like Tiger Muay Thai, but I heard it's really hit and miss with the trainers while at all the small gyms I've been, the trainers where great with beginners and kids. Especially with kids.

If you want to go in the South. Yodyut Muay Thai in Koe Samui is a great place. 

I am actually going back with my GF and 8 months old baby. I'll be in Chiang Mai at Hongthong gym for Jan. and then going south to miss the burning season. 

Anyway, good luck. 

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