Jump to content

Kem Muay Thai Gym Review (3-Month Stay)


Guest

Recommended Posts

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)

  1. 10 KM run in the mountain at 6h00 AM, training officially starts around 7h30 AM for those not running
  2. 3-5 series of 10 pull-ups
  3. 1 round of shadow boxing with weights (1-2 punch going back and forth and speed punching last 30 seconds)
  4. 1 warm-up full shadow boxing round with gloves/shin pads before sparring
  5. 4-6 rounds of sparring which alternates between Muay Thai and Boxing depending of the day
  6. "Double-Kick": 3-5 series of 20 kicks with each leg on pads  (not always)
  7. 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)
  8. 200 blocks, 200 knees (sometimes on the bag, sometimes going back and forth with weights), and 100 teeps (push-kicks)
  9. 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

  1. 2-3 KM run of about 10-15 minutes on a much more flat ground (trust me you will enjoy this)
  2. 10-20 minutes of skipping
  3. 3-5 series of 10 pull-ups
  4. 1 round of shadow boxing with weights again (1-2 punch going back and forth)
  5. 1 warm-up round of full shadow boxing with gloves before pad work
  6. 4-5 rounds of pads which usually consist of 3 rounds Muay Thai and 1 round boxing
  7. Bag work: 1-2 rounds boxing on tires, 2 rounds heavy bag, 1 round elbows, sometimes 1-2 rounds lowkicks
  8. 15-20 minutes clinching followed by 50 push-ups to close the clinch session
  9. 200 blocks, 200 knees, 100 teeps
  10. 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

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hey! Thanks for lengthy review of this gym! Great info! I love reading posts like this :) 

 

 

Thanks for sharing. It sounds like you had a mixed experience there - hopefully your next visit to Thailand will be a better fit.

 

Made some modifications to the post as I didn't want to bash them for some personal issues I had with them... It was a pretty good experience that ended slightly on a down note but I want to be objective and not personal on this.

 

Glad you enjoyed the feedback.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think the charges for rides are relevant to the review. If they did not drive you, what would a taxi have cost for the same trip? Are there many taxis out that way or are you stuck depending on them for rides?

 

When I was in Chiang Rai my trainers drove me several places and did not charge me for the ride (though I added plenty of cash to my envelope at the end of my stay to cover those costs). I also used GrabTaxi several times and paid cash to my drivers.

 

Anyway, everything I've previously read about Kem’s gym mentions free airport shuttle so it’s good to know that may not actually be the case.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think the charges for rides are relevant to the review. If they did not drive you, what would a taxi have cost for the same trip? Are there many taxis out that way or are you stuck depending on them for rides?

 

When I was in Chiang Rai my trainers drove me several places and did not charge me for the ride (though I added plenty of cash to my envelope at the end of my stay to cover those costs). I also used GrabTaxi several times and paid cash to my drivers.

 

Anyway, everything I've previously read about Kem’s gym mentions free airport shuttle so it’s good to know that may not actually be the case.

 

*You are right, I edited and added a part in the review for that*

Actually 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 camp. Me I chose to stay a few days in Bangkok before leaving back to my country so I asked them to drop me at a hotel near the city instead of the airport. The one driving instead dropped me on a road about 20-25 minutes distance from the hotel and called a taxi for the rest of the drive. I did get money for the taxi though..

For the taxi fare question, 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, me included. For transportation when you are actually at the camp, you are quite dependent on them 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.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is a really good review: informative and as impartial as a review can be. Brilliant. I'd feel quite confident going anywhere you recommended as a result. Thanks!

 

Thanks glad you liked it

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What a great, detailed review. Sylvie hasn't been training full time in many gyms, but the lack of clinch instruction, technically, is pretty common I believe. This is how the Thais learn. You get thrown, and thrown, and thrown, and locked and locked and locked, and you figure out it. It's a very difficult way to learn in the short term, but it's how they all learn. Also, the repetitive training on basics is also very Thai. Even very advanced fighters train heavily in the basics. Again, how they all learn. 

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

What a great, detailed review. Sylvie hasn't been training full time in many gyms, but the lack of clinch instruction, technically, is pretty common I believe. This is how the Thais learn. You get thrown, and thrown, and thrown, and locked and locked and locked, and you figure out it. It's a very difficult way to learn in the short term, but it's how they all learn. Also, the repetitive training on basics is also very Thai. Even very advanced fighters train heavily in the basics. Again, how they all learn. 

 

I see, maybe I had some misconceptions about what to expect there as it was my first time in Thailand..

 

Anyhow, Glad you liked the review!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

Sounds like you got an "authentic" experience lol. Awesome review, I considered going here but the price just couldn't be justified. It's ludicrously high in my opinion. So many gyms trying to make money off the name of a couple resident fighters, seems like they might have added themselves to that list or are getting dangerously close to that territory. I'd imagine this is a pretty advanced gym to attend from a cultural standpoint, likely difficult for anyone who hasn't spent some time in Thailand.

 

The taxi/shuttle scenario seems pretty messed up, doesn't seem like they care a lot. No offense, but I'm wondering if the personal issues you had with them played into that in anyway? It's easy to make a misstep in culture here, especially your first time in Thailand. It's quite possible they just didn't give a shit though and would do this with any foreigner who is done training there. Seems like once you stop paying they stop caring which isn't what I want out of a gym.

 

I guess the biggest question I have is... would you go back?

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sounds like you got an "authentic" experience lol. Awesome review, I considered going here but the price just couldn't be justified. It's ludicrously high in my opinion. So many gyms trying to make money off the name of a couple resident fighters, seems like they might have added themselves to that list or are getting dangerously close to that territory. I'd imagine this is a pretty advanced gym to attend from a cultural standpoint, likely difficult for anyone who hasn't spent some time in Thailand.

 

The taxi/shuttle scenario seems pretty messed up, doesn't seem like they care a lot. No offense, but I'm wondering if the personal issues you had with them played into that in anyway? It's easy to make a misstep in culture here, especially your first time in Thailand. It's quite possible they just didn't give a shit though and would do this with any foreigner who is done training there. Seems like once you stop paying they stop caring which isn't what I want out of a gym.

 

I guess the biggest question I have is... would you go back?

 

wow, a lot of negative assumptions there Tyler. "trying to make money off a couple of big names", "don't give a shit", etc. Hmmm. Tough to be saying these things from afar, never having met these people. The price for instance, last I checked, was pretty commensurate with Sangtennoi's gym, which is a grade A gym as well, also in a rural setting (if I remember the pricing correctly). Kem isn't just a "big name", he actively runs the training with a very close eye. He was extremely present the few times we've trained there, bringing exactness and toughness to the sessions. Yodwicha isn't just a "big name", he was incredibly generous clinching with Sylvie (huge size difference) patiently teaching his techniques to her. I've never seen a superstar be more generous, more patient. I understand we all can make broad judgements about Thais, from afar, based on our past experiences with others, but we always found Kem and his team to be authentic as persons. If I had to pick one gym that Sylvie would train at for an upcoming fight for a month, Kem's would probably be one of 3 I can think of in all of Thailand. This isn't to say that the gym might not have it's ups and downs, all gyms do, but they've been pretty awesome with us.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

wow, a lot of negative assumptions there Tyler. "trying to make money off a couple of big names", "don't give a shit", etc. Hmmm. Tough to be saying these things from afar, never having met these people. The price for instance, last I checked, was pretty commensurate with Sangtennoi's gym, which is a grade A gym as well, also in a rural setting (if I remember the pricing correctly). Kem isn't just a "big name", he actively runs the training with a very close eye. He was extremely present the few times we've trained there, bringing exactness and toughness to the sessions. Yodwicha isn't just a "big name", he was incredibly generous clinching with Sylvie (huge size difference) patiently teaching his techniques to her. I've never seen a superstar be more generous, more patient. I understand we all can make broad judgements about Thais, from afar, based on our past experiences with others, but we always found Kem and his team to be authentic as persons. If I had to pick one gym that Sylvie would train at for an upcoming fight for a month, Kem's would probably be one of 3 I can think of in all of Thailand. This isn't to say that the gym might not have it's ups and downs, all gyms do, but they've been pretty awesome with us.

Fair enough Kevin. I was speaking more to the big name tourist gyms I have heard stories of than this gym particularly, though the review didn't sound like he had a great time or was especially well looked after. That's why I asked if he would go back. He also said the trainers changed out during the short time he was there, that leads me to believe they aren't taking great care of the trainers either or it's not being tightly managed. It's easy to set a repetitive schedule and have trainer's follow itnmindlessly day in and day out. Gym prices have jumped in the last few years, but I find 40,000+ baht to be incredibly high for a month of training and housing when many quality gyms can be found in BKK, Chiang Mai, or Hua Hin for half that price. I haven't been out there so I can't judge, I'm only going off a single persons experience. In all honesty it sounds like a gym I would really enjoy, but also sounds pretty rough for a first time stay in Thailand.

 

Edit: Also, you've gotta remember that if you show up with Sylvie and camera equipment it's quite possible you are going to receive different treatment than random Canadian guy. Not saying that's a factor, just that it's a possibility. Maybe I read this all wrong and he had a great time, but seemed like there were some bumps. As I mentioned though, that might also be due to a cultural misunderstanding between him and the gym or a perceived slight which caused them to treat him differently than other students/gym members.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Fair enough Kevin. I was speaking more to the big name tourist gyms I have heard stories of than this gym particularly, though the review didn't sound like he had a great time or was especially well looked after. That's why I asked if he would go back. He also said the trainers changed out during the short time he was there, that leads me to believe they aren't taking great care of the trainers either or it's not being tightly managed. It's easy to set a repetitive schedule and have trainer's follow itnmindlessly day in and day out. Gym prices have jumped in the last few years, but I find 40,000+ baht to be incredibly high for a month of training and housing when many quality gyms can be found in BKK, Chiang Mai, or Hua Hin for half that price. I haven't been out there so I can't judge, I'm only going off a single persons experience. In all honesty it sounds like a gym I would really enjoy, but also sounds pretty rough for a first time stay in Thailand.

 

Edit: Also, you've gotta remember that if you show up with Sylvie and camera equipment it's quite possible you are going to receive different treatment than random Canadian guy. Not saying that's a factor, just that it's a possibility. Maybe I read this all wrong and he had a great time, but seemed like there were some bumps. As I mentioned though, that might also be due to a cultural misunderstanding between him and the gym or a perceived slight which caused them to treat him differently than other students/gym members.

 

I guess it is natural on the internet to extrapolate from very little information. I just try to restrain from making broad negative judgements from afar. Like in the above, the idea that they aren't taking care of their trainers is kind of absurd, and based on basically nothing. Kru Dam and Bernueng there have been with the gym for ages, and are insanely skilled. It could be that they are having problems with their trainers, but in a fighting gym itinerant trainers are also pretty common, there is always a halo of cycling trainers outside core trainers. It's hard to say which it is. As to the idea that gyms somehow snap into their best behavior when Sylvie shows up this really isn't how it is. Most gyms know very little about Sylvie or what she is, if at all. Her own gym, Petchrungruang where she has been for 4 years, hardly has a real clue about how well-known she is, or whatever her website is - if you can believe that - and don't really care about it. Any "fighting" gym really doesn't think that much about these things. What they do respond to is that she trains like hell, is really knowledgeable, is skilled and speaks Thai, they definitely changes the dynamic, but we also watch how others are treated and what the training is like. I'm not sure where you got the idea that this was some kind of big tourist gym. That's not the feeling I had at all. It's a fighters gym as far as I can tell. Kem is a huge gambler, and loves the game. I can also say that the way the gym treated us when we walked into a festival fight with no corner, and stumbled upon their mat, was nothing short of memorable. They took Sylvie right in and treated her like their fighter at a moment's notice (festival situations can be very political). It said a lot to us how they absorbed her right away into their family of fighters.

I'll agree that it is probably a very steep learning curve for a first time in Thailand, but some people like that. Some people are adventurous. Price isn't everything. If you are on a shoestring budget this isn't the place for you. But this is a gorgeous gym in an incredible setting with a very tough training regime. You can't really compare this gym to a Chiang Mai or Hua Hin gym, which are actually tourist gyms, that is, the reason they exist is to serve tourists. This is a fighting gym, or at least it was when we were there. There are gyms that exist in order to serve tourists, and there are gyms that exist to develop Thais, and use tourist dollars to supplement their fighter development, that's the pleasure of the gym. The good ones, like this, then allow the tourists to integrate with the "real" gym. That's the feeling we had when we were there. It's not easy to integrate if you aren't the focus, and gyms go through bad periods, sometimes for a long time, but the chance to get to be close to the "real" business of Muay Thai is kind of irreplaceable. You aren't the boss because you are a customer. When you aren't the boss because you are a customer you can have a hard time finding your spot in the system. The only way in is through work and attitude. It can leave you with mixed feelings. You don't feel valued sometimes, or left out.

As a sidenote, and really, this is going off our short visits to the gym, the clinch focus at this gym was some of the best we'd encountered in Thailand. This not a small thing. Nobody knows how to clinch in the west, more or less. When you come to Thailand you want to clinch. So few "tourist" gyms focus on clinch in the Thai way. You need to work against Thais, you need lots of hours in the ring. It's the only way to learn the balance. It's not really imitate-able. Again, the gym might have changed, but this was one of the few gyms we've encountered which was very clinch focused in the real kaimuay sense.

Hey, it's up on a mountain. It's been running for a while. Things can get into a rut. I don't know. But I think it a big mistake to impune Kem with some pretty harsh assumptions, that he doesn't give a shit about westerners in his gym, or his trainers. Those are some kind of hardcore things to toss out there, even as "maybes" from very little information. I know you had a lot of time at Master Toddy's, at least from our experience there is no gym we've ever seen like Master Toddy's (though some of the dynamics we've seen). This isn't like Master Toddy's gym.

I'm not going to say that this is an easy gym to go to, but it has some elements that are very hard to find in Thailand and that are worth experiencing. This is one of the most interesting questions about coming to Thailand to train. How much do you need to be the focus (in a customer experience way), and how much do you need to submit to a "real" kaimuay dynamic (which means you aren't the focus, and really, that you aren't very important)? There are gyms that take advantage of this differential and just offer shit training, but it doesn't really sound by his description that this is what was happening. Honestly, I thought this was a great review of a mixed experience. It didn't sound like he was miserable, but more like there were things that bothered him a little.

Take this:

-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.

This is actually REAL Thai training. You are experiencing exactly how Thais learn. Lots, and lots and lots of repetition with lots and lots of focus on the basics. You do innumerable rounds on the bag or pads. To be honest about it, this is not that far from some "wax on, wax off" Kung Fu shit. Something deeper is being instructed than you realize. And yes, exactly that, in clinch you get dumped on the ground endlessly. This is how Thais build fighters. It takes a really long time, but this is it. Learning clinch for instance, and looking for technique breakdowns (I understand how someone would want this, but it isn't how it is done) would be like trying to learn "surfing breakdowns" and not wanting to fall off the board. For Thais you just get on the board and try to keep on it, again and again. It can be very frustrating, and feel like you are being abused, but once you give into it (stop being the customer) and start relying on yourself to solve the problem, you start to grow in a deep way. You haven't "learned" a trick, externally, you develop it. You watch others, you experiment. You solve. This is how it is done. For a long time Sylvie was clinching with Bank, her own gym's owner's son, who had an incredible lock. He would just very painfully lock her. He wouldn't even knee really. He would just crush her. It didn't feel nice at all. Eventually she just had to solve it. She learned that she couldn't really get out of the lock so she had to learn how to defeat the move before it locked in. It took a long time, maybe months, but she learned. It would have been a very different experience if she was just shown the "counter" and drilled it over and over in a class like situation against a westerner. It's a very different kind of knowledge that she has now. This is how technique is taught in kaimuay situations. High repetition, lots of problem solving. The point is that something that disappointed the reviewer (and I get it, you want to be shown) is actually coming in contact with "real" Muay Thai. And, there is something very valuable in that. The problem is, this kind of process takes a long time. And, it feels a little uncaring. It's a form of immersion. It would be like learning a language by just having people talk at you. You learn nothing at all for a while, but then as you get your feet, you learn much more deeply. By letting westerners into this training approach the gym is actually generous. It's not distorting it's culture of what Muay Thai is to accommodate you. You are able to get in touch with real Muay Thai. Now, whether this is of value to you in a 1 month or 3 month trip is a different story. Sure, you can pop on down to Hua Hin, hang on the beach a little, learn 3 counter moves and 2 trips, practice them all the time, and come home to your home gym and kick people's ass who don't know those moves. Totally. But that isn't really Muay Thai, in the Thai process. People come to Thailand hoping to get the "hack", the short cut to real techniques. It's the home of techniques, but the nature of how Muay Thai is traditionally taught is the opposite. It's slow. That's why you kind of have to decide in a real sense how much you need to be the focus, and how much you want to feel real Muay Thai processes, and find a gym that is on the spectrum in the right place for you. This is one of the most important questions to answer when coming to train in the country.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well said, and I totally agree it is a great review of a mixed experience. Really it may not sound like it from a what I have written thus far, but this sounds like a gym I would really enjoy. It wasn't my intention to shit on them in anyway, just worried they were turning into what so many other gyms here have turned into. This is actually the gym I had planned on going to when I came out initially for this trip. I also plan on being out here long term though, have put time into learning the language, don't mind being beaten on (dumped endlessly), or mentally killed via repetition. Everyone comes out for different reasons though and not everyone wants to learn the Thai way or about Thai culture (unfortunately). Master Toddy's was great for someone who had never stepped in a gym before (me) or who was brand new to Thailand (me), but I didn't really learn anything after about six months to be honest. It's not a gym I recommend to anyone serious about fighting. Definitely not a "Thai/Isaan" style gym.

 

On a random side note, I would like to again compliment your writing abilities lol. Fantastic and a pleasure to read as always. Both of you are quite talented with verbal imagery.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

Fair enough Kevin. I was speaking more to the big name tourist gyms I have heard stories of than this gym particularly, though the review didn't sound like he had a great time or was especially well looked after. That's why I asked if he would go back. He also said the trainers changed out during the short time he was there, that leads me to believe they aren't taking great care of the trainers either or it's not being tightly managed. It's easy to set a repetitive schedule and have trainer's follow itnmindlessly day in and day out. Gym prices have jumped in the last few years, but I find 40,000+ baht to be incredibly high for a month of training and housing when many quality gyms can be found in BKK, Chiang Mai, or Hua Hin for half that price. I haven't been out there so I can't judge, I'm only going off a single persons experience. In all honesty it sounds like a gym I would really enjoy, but also sounds pretty rough for a first time stay in Thailand.

 

Edit: Also, you've gotta remember that if you show up with Sylvie and camera equipment it's quite possible you are going to receive different treatment than random Canadian guy. Not saying that's a factor, just that it's a possibility. Maybe I read this all wrong and he had a great time, but seemed like there were some bumps. As I mentioned though, that might also be due to a cultural misunderstanding between him and the gym or a perceived slight which caused them to treat him differently than other students/gym members.

 

Hello Tyler,

Sorry for the late reply, these mails are now ending up in my spam folder, which I almost always automatically delete/never check.

To answer your question, I would probably go back and not at the same time. I would go back because it is a good gym and the training is hard and the food is excellent. Kem does take care of you and makes sure to supervise the training and even participate (holding pads, sparring) sometimes. Kru Dam and Bernueng are the two veterans in terms of trainers and have been there for years, but the others change a bit. That said, all the trainers that were there were really skilled and took care of you and made sure to check your game on different aspects. I've noticed a big progression when I came back to Canada after my staying there, especially my kicks.

My issues with them are really subjective and probably won't happen to you if that is your concern. It was partly them (reacting a bit offensively when I got a skin infection at their gym) and partly me having a negative attitude after losing my last fight agains't a guy that was way beyond my skill level without me expecting it and them telling me, but I've figured out that this is the Thai way to learn as well (much after unfortunately). 

If I wouldn't go back, it would be just to try something different and experience a new gym because I like to try new things.

So I do recommend the gym overall, but maybe not for a long stay (3 months) like I did, because it might get pretty repetitive/boring after a while. Unless you are a committed pro fighter that really want to take your game to another level, then ok go for it. 

For the camera stuff, well I did notice that they were a bit more instructive for the clinching part when doing the videos than during the actual training but other than that, they do take care of you and your progression. 

Hopefully I've answered your questions and clarified your doubts.

Cheers

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

(Since there are already two topics about this gym, I don't know if I should open a new one. So I will just post my question here,. If that's not fine, feel free to delete/move the post :) )

Reading about gym reviews, here and at other forums/websites, I was wondering about what people think of training for a short period (one week) at such a gym. Last year, I went for a week with my trainer, and a couple of other people, at our "sister gym" in Bangkok. It was fun, and I definitely enjoyed it. This year, we are going again, but I am keen to go a week earlier to try something on my own. Kem's gym looks like a great place, and two of my favourites fighters train there! I would love to stick somewhere for more than a month, but my current job makes it difficult...

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

(Since there are already two topics about this gym, I don't know if I should open a new one. So I will just post my question here,. If that's not fine, feel free to delete/move the post :) )

Reading about gym reviews, here and at other forums/websites, I was wondering about what people think of training for a short period (one week) at such a gym. Last year, I went for a week with my trainer, and a couple of other people, at our "sister gym" in Bangkok. It was fun, and I definitely enjoyed it. This year, we are going again, but I am keen to go a week earlier to try something on my own. Kem's gym looks like a great place, and two of my favourites fighters train there! I would love to stick somewhere for more than a month, but my current job makes it difficult...

 

The only real risk with training at a hard training gym like Kem's for a shorter period of time is that of acclimation. It might take you a few days to settle in physically. But Sylvie who is always in fight shape trained there for only a day, and loved it. I would just say that you should try to get your running up, and be ready to be tired.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The only real risk with training at a hard training gym like Kem's for a shorter period of time is that of acclimation. It might take you a few days to settle in physically. But Sylvie who is always in fight shape trained there for only a day, and loved it. I would just say that you should try to get your running up, and be ready to be tired.

 

Thanks for your opinion. Well, I will try to get in touch with them, and we will see how it goes. Regardless of where I go, I will give my feedback on the forum in a near-future.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 years later...

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Most Recent Topics

  • Latest Comments

    • Just very briefly I want to take up one of the most interesting aspects of the fighting art of Thailand's traditional Muay Thai, an aspect that really cues for me how I watch fights and weigh the skills of fighters. Managing distance. Many people watch "strikes" and look for "points", but there is an under-fabric to strikes, a kind of landscape of them, no less than how a topography will influence how a battle is fought between armies. Even the most practiced strikes rise and fall to opportunity, and in Muay Thai a significant determination of opportunity is distance. Above is a quick edit of Sylvie's last fight up in Buriram, bringing out all the significant moments of engagement, telling the story in about a minute. (The full fight should be up in a few weeks with Sylvie's commentary, as usual.) I'm going to start with Entertainment Muay Thai as presenting an negative can often be the best way to bring out a positive. Entertainment Muay Thai (and there are many versions of it, so we have to be very broad here), is largely principled by eliminating the importance of distance. What is sought, again being very broad, is a more or less continuous trading in the pocket. The quest is for an easy to follow, by the casual eye, "action". Everything is about the distance of the pocket. Setting up outside of the pocket can be regarded as anti-action (so, if you do, you should regularly charge into the pocket...and trade). And fighting through the pocket, to clinch range, is also devalued by very quick clinch breaks, scoring biases (changing traditional aesthetics). Clinch, which historically is featured in some of the most technical fighting of the sport, in Entertainment Muay Thai is more and more understood as a stall of the main goal. Pocket trading. Much of the art of Muay Thai is actually organized around all those distances that border "the pocket", controlling distance through length, or through grappling. In this fight Sylvie is giving up between 8-10 kgs (perhaps more than 20% of her body weight). Now, imagine it being fought under Entertainment aesthetics. What would it be if she just stood in the pocket, bit down, and just traded over and over with Phetnamwan? Would there be any point of such a fight? Yet, as the Golden Age legend Hippy Singmanee once said when criticizing hyper-aggressive, pocket-trading Entertainment Muay Thai, "Muay Thai is the art where small can beat big." Hippy was one of the most renown undersized fighters of the Golden Era. He knows of what he speaks. This fight, in the broad brush, illustrates some of that. More and more we've come to realize that as traditional Muay Thai evaporates slowly from the urban stadia, the only traditional Muay Thai still being regularly fought is in the provinces of the country. It is there that fights are scored in keeping with the art, and fighters retain the all around, multi-distance skills that make that art happen. Clinch is allowed to unfold. Narrative fight arcs are told as principle to scoring. Ryan, a knowledgeable commenter on Twitter and a very good writer on the sport, right away noticed how the ref let clinch flow. You can see some of our discussion there. I recall a conversation I overheard when attending the funeral of the legend Namkabuan in Nongki. It was the passing of one of the greatest who ever fought. During the day-before cremation a casual conversation arose between other legends of the sport, and very experienced news reporters, people who had been a part of it for decades. One of them insisted, Muay Thai no longer existed in Thailand. Others knowingly nodded their heads. But a Muay Siam reporter objected. "No...it still lives in the provinces." And the others agreed. It still was there. We in the English speaking world tend to think the substance of something is what has been presented to us. The Muay Thai of Bangkok is the real Muay Thai of Thailand because that is what we see...and, historically, many decades ago, it did represent the highest skills of the country. But what largely remains unseen is that more and more of the sport is being designed for our eyes. It is less and less for Thais, and more and more for "us", so we can become quite disconnected from what is real and authentic in a cultural, and even efficacy sense. There rhythms and values of provincial Muay Thai, as it is fought, coached and reffed, are part of the rich authenticity of the sport which falls into the shadows when we just look at what is being shown to "us". This fight, how it is fought, shows "the art of where small can beat big", and it shows why. It's through the control of distance. If you are small you just cannot stand at range. You either have to explore the bubble outside of the pocket, too far, or at its edges, and fight your way in to score...or, you collapse the pocket, smother the strikes, and possess the skill to control a much larger bodied opponent. Clinch, historically, is kryptonite to the striker. Muay Maat vs Muay Khao battles are legendary in the sport.  Classic. Who is going to impose the distance which is best for them? It's a battle of distances. And, for this reason, Muay Maat fighters of the past were not experts in trading in the pocket. They were experts in managing clinch fighters, or even high level clinch fighters themselves...and they were experts at hunting down evasive femeu counterfighters as well. Muay Maat fighters were strong. They had to have so many tools in their tool box. In versions of the sport where both fighters are forced to "stand and bang" repeatedly, we have been taken quite far from the glories of Thailand's Muay Thai fighters, and that is because Muay Thai is an art of distance control. This goes to a deeper point about the sport. It isn't really a "sport" in the International, rationalist idea of a sport. Muay Thai is culture. It is Thai culture. Thousands and thousands of fights occur on temple grounds, far from Western eyes. It has grown up within the culture, but also expressive of that culture. And it is a culture unto itself. The more we try to extract from this rich fabric some kind of abstract "rule set" and "collection of techniques" that can be used in other cultures, expressing their values, favoring their fighters, the more we lose the complex art of what Muay Thai is...and in the bigger sense move away from the value it has to the entire world. It's value is that it has a very highly developed perspective on distance management and on aggression. It has lessons upon lessons to teach in techniques of control and fight winning, woven into the DNA of its traditional aesthetics. And these techniques embody the values of the culture. It's all of one cloth. Sylvie has chosen the path less traveled. She's fought like no other Westerner in history (a record 271 times as a pro), and she has devoted herself to the lessor style, the art of Muay Khao and clinch fighting. There are very, very few women, even Thai women, who have seriously developed this branch of the art in the way that she has. And she's done it as a 100 lb fighter, taking on great size disparities as she fights. Because Muay Thai is "the art where small can beat big" there is a long tradition of great, dominant fighters fighting top fighters well above their weight, and developing their in style the capacity to beat them. Fighting up is Muay Thai. Sylvie's entire quest has been to value what may not even be commercially valued at this time, the aspects of the art which point to its greater meaning & capacity. The narrative of scoring, the control of distance, the management of striking through clinch, in the heritage of what it has been. I'm not saying that this is the only way to fight, or that Entertainment Muay Thai has no value for the art and sport. It's not, and it does. But, we should also be mindful of the completeness and complexity of Muay Thai, and the ways that those qualities can be put at risk, as the desire to internationalize it and foreign values become more and more part of its purpose. If we love what we discover when we come to Thailand, we should fight to preserve and embrace the roots of Muay Thai, and the honored aspects of the culture/s which produced it. photos: Khaendong, Buriram, Thailand (temple grounds)    
    • Hi, this might be out of the normal topic, but I thought you all might be interested in a book-- Children of the Neon Bamboo-- that has a really cool Martial Arts instructor character who set up an early Muy Thai gym south of Miami in the 1980s. He's a really cool character who drives the plot, and there historically accurate allusions to 1980s martial arts culture. However, the main thrust is more about nostalgia and friendships.    Can we do links? Childrenoftheneonbamboo.com Children of the Neon Bamboo: B. Glynn Kimmey: 9798988054115: Amazon.com: Movies & TV      
    • I really appreciate your wave patterns analogy; it applies to a lot of interactions. 
  • The Latest From Open Topics Forum

    • Hi, this might be out of the normal topic, but I thought you all might be interested in a book-- Children of the Neon Bamboo-- that has a really cool Martial Arts instructor character who set up an early Muy Thai gym south of Miami in the 1980s. He's a really cool character who drives the plot, and there historically accurate allusions to 1980s martial arts culture. However, the main thrust is more about nostalgia and friendships.    Can we do links? Childrenoftheneonbamboo.com Children of the Neon Bamboo: B. Glynn Kimmey: 9798988054115: Amazon.com: Movies & TV      
    • Davince Resolve is a great place to start. 
    • I see that this thread is from three years ago, and I hope your journey with Muay Thai and mental health has evolved positively during this time. It's fascinating to revisit these discussions and reflect on how our understanding of such topics can grow. The connection between training and mental health is intricate, as you've pointed out. Finding the right balance between pushing yourself and self-care is a continuous learning process. If you've been exploring various avenues for managing mood-related issues over these years, you might want to revisit the topic of mental health resources. One such resource is The UK Medical Cannabis Card, which can provide insights into alternative treatments.
    • Phetjeeja fought Anissa Meksen for a ONE FC interim atomweight kickboxing title 12/22/2023. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cu92S6-V5y0&ab_channel=ONEChampionship Fight starts at 45:08 Phetjeeja won on points. Not being able to clinch really handicapped her. I was afraid the ref was going to start deducting points for clinch fouls.   
    • Earlier this year I wrote a couple of sociology essays that dealt directly with Muay Thai, drawing on Sylvie's journalism and discussions on the podcast to do so. I thought I'd put them up here in case they were of any interest, rather than locking them away with the intention to perfectly rewrite them 'some day'. There's not really many novel insights of my own, rather it's more just pulling together existing literature with some of the von Duuglus-Ittu's work, which I think is criminally underutilised in academic discussions of MT. The first, 'Some meanings of muay' was written for an ideology/sosciology of knowledge paper, and is an overly long, somewhat grindy attempt to give a combined historical, institutional, and situated study of major cultural meanings of Muay Thai as a form of strength. The second paper, 'the fighter's heart' was written for a qualitative analysis course, and makes extensive use of interviews and podcast discussions to talk about some ways in which the gendered/sexed body is described/deployed within Muay Thai. There's plenty of issues with both, and they're not what I'd write today, and I'm learning to realise that's fine! some meanings of muay.docx The fighter's heart.docx
  • Forum Statistics

    • Total Topics
      1.3k
    • Total Posts
      10.9k
×
×
  • Create New...