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I was googling Muay Thai in Vermont, USA and found a webpage for a school a couple towns over from me. http://www.vermontmuaythai.com/ 

Reading through it I saw a few things that were really attractive to me: they welcome beginners, explicitly say that no one will be humiliated or embarrassed and there are pictures of women training in their photo gallery. 

There were also a few things that really turned me off although I'm not exactly sure why: designed for rapid progress, learn simple but devastating techniques. Seems sort of cheesy and like some of those rip-off martial arts studios that promise you a new belt promotion every 6 months so they can make money off testing fees.

They put a lot of emphasis that they teach "real" Muay Thai and training "like a Thai" but I'm not sure how I could judge this as someone who has never done Muay Thai before. 

They do offer a free class so maybe someday I will get up the nerve to go down and check it out.

I'd love to hear how other people found/chose their Western gyms.

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There are a lot of Muay Thai gyms around where I live, so I had a lot to choose from and I checked out a few before settling down in the one I'm training in right now.

For me, the first factor I based my opinion on was if it is on my way to work, or near where I live, so I can go there with no excuses for rain, cold, snow, sun... ;)

The second factor was, if there were women-friendly classes. 

The second one was only important at choosing my first gym, though. At that time I wrote to them via facebook, spoke at the phone and decided to give it a try after learning that half of the group are beginner girls!

And this gym was a really good match for me! Back then, they were just starting out the gym as no names, but I liked the way the practice went on. Right now it's one of the most popular and growing gyms in the area :D

I quit my job, so I had to choose another gym, and this time I did choose based solely on the location. I went and checked out 2-3 other gyms, but still, the deciding factor was the location :)

If you're a beginner in martial arts I'd advise you to go to a gym near you, feel out the atmosphere and take part in a few training sessions. The first sign that everything is great will be if your physical fitness starts to improve a little bit by every session, you start to remember the technique and after a few weeks into training - if you are being taken care of. No trainer wants to invest his time into beginners that come 1-2 times and quit. If you prove that you want to seriously do this, they will start to teach you properly.

I also noticed, that it's better to go join a beginner group that stated it's a beginner group :) At my gym, we have an "open" group, which means anyone can join at anytime and there are beginners and veterans in one room training together. It's not the best solution, but it's ok for me, for now. I'd strongly advise a beginner to go to another gym though. 

I don't care much for cheesy advertisment. I might try out a gym if I think I will like it, because it's in training where you learn if the trainer is a cheesy douchebag or not ;)

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I will be moving back to Berlin in a week and have to find a gym there. Basically, I've made a list of gyms that I consider (my criteria are different than yours, I'm looking for a fighters' gym that will actively train me and let me fight often), and I will go to each of them, check out the training, talk to the head coach, and decide. Because I'm just moving back I have the luxury of finding a gym first and then getting a place to live nearby - which is why choosing a gym that I will want to stay with long-term is also so important.

I would never, ever choose a gym just based on the website. I can write you anything you want. Most gyms just have boilerplate text anyway. Definitely go and see for yourself before you commit. If they don't let you do a free trial class they probably have something to hide anyway!

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I would never, ever choose a gym just based on the website. I can write you anything you want. Most gyms just have boilerplate text anyway. Definitely go and see for yourself before you commit. If they don't let you do a free trial class they probably have something to hide anyway!

 

I think it's interesting to see what a gym puts out there as a way to market themselves. What do they think will attract customers and who are they focusing their attention on?

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Hi, it's an interesting concept but I think over the years it's really a try before you buy. Keeping options open seeing technique and personalities. Asking yourself what it is you really need to work on and if that gym has what you need to go forward in your performance. I think to base any real judgement on a web page is like taking a picture of a random stranger and going on gut instinct explaining who they are it's like you might get some hits but quiet a few misses.

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  • 1 month later...

I was googling Muay Thai in Vermont, USA and found a webpage for a school a couple towns over from me. http://www.vermontmuaythai.com/ 

Reading through it I saw a few things that were really attractive to me: they welcome beginners, explicitly say that no one will be humiliated or embarrassed and there are pictures of women training in their photo gallery. 

There were also a few things that really turned me off although I'm not exactly sure why: designed for rapid progress, learn simple but devastating techniques. Seems sort of cheesy and like some of those rip-off martial arts studios that promise you a new belt promotion every 6 months so they can make money off testing fees.

They put a lot of emphasis that they teach "real" Muay Thai and training "like a Thai" but I'm not sure how I could judge this as someone who has never done Muay Thai before. 

They do offer a free class so maybe someday I will get up the nerve to go down and check it out.

I'd love to hear how other people found/chose their Western gyms.

Hey dtrick,

That's just bad copywriting. They are trying to sell themselves, but have just done it poorly... I reckon go check it out, they're trainers not marketers. You don't even have to train, just go and watch and see what they are about.

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The best gym I ever went to, didn't have a website. 

BUT you can find out a lot about a gym by the website, IF they've filled it out correctly. So typically what I look for on a website is, who did the trainer train under him or herself, I feel this is really important. This is as I once visited a gym, not realising the trainer came from a gym with little no clinch. Although he was a good fighter and had a decent clinch himself (from Thailand), he didn't teach that because it's not how he got taught.

Also, I don't think the trainers fight record is important, always look at his students/boxers and Canadian Muay rankings (there should be one), you can find a lot of good gyms from the rankings websites. 

 

Despite all these, the best way to find out is to go. All gyms should be beginner friendly, two reasons for this is, this might be there livelihood, and 95% of people coming through them doors are going to come as a beginner. And the other reason is everyone in the gym was once a beginner, therefore they will understand the first times always nerve-racking.

It once took me 2 months to take myself down to a gym, I finally went and I kicked myself because the technical instruction was so good and I missed out on 2 months just because I was nervous.

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