Jump to content

Review of Sumalee Boxing Gym


Recommended Posts

Background: 

I trained at Sumalee Boxing Gym for 2 weeks. I also lived onsite. 

 

Overall impression (tl/dr): Good for women; good for beginners; good if you want a 'one stop shop' (everything you need is in the gym); not so good for more experienced practitioners. 

 

Muay Thai Training:

The training is decent but can be improved. Rounds are only 3 minutes long with 1 minute rest in between. In between rounds of pad work/heavy bag, you are expected to do 10 pushups/situps/squats. 

A typical morning session lasts 90 minutes (7:30-9am) and will usually have this structure: 

- 15 minute skipping/jumping on tires

- Stretching

- Wrapping hands

- Shadowboxing (supervised - the trainer will correct your technique)

- 3 rounds of pads with trainers 

- 3 rounds of heavy bag (unsupervised - all the trainers are on pad duty)

- Conditioning exercises (sit ups, repetition of basic technique)

- Stretching

A typical afternoon session lasts 2 hours (4-6pm). The routine is similar to the morning session, except there are 3 rounds of light sparring before pads/heavy bag and there are more conditioning exercises. The sparring is supervised in the sense that the coaches will make sure you don't get hurt. However, they won't be correcting your technique between rounds. 

Overall, I found this structure to be just OK. On the one hand, there are plenty of coaches (2:1 or 3:1 student to teacher ratio) and they are friendly people. They are also very well versed in dealing with beginners and will even go so far as to wrap your hands for you. However, on the more negative side, I feel like there is too little emphasis on technique. For example, most coaches do not correct your form during pad work. There is also no standard block of time dedicated to teaching technique - on 2 occasions, we learnt how to catch  a kick and counter but that was it. Furthermore, there is no clinching and most students are complete beginners (they come for the Yoga) - the latter means you really have to hold back when sparring with them. There are 2 sponsored fighters at the gym (1 male, 1 female) but they barely interact with the students beyond a standard 'hi'.  

Due to the lack of technical instruction during group classes, I highly recommend you do some privates on the side. I did 6 while I was there (700 baht/private, 3600 baht/6 privates) and that's where the trainers really shine. The trainers were all once well-experienced fighters, ranging from having 300+ fights (Keng) to 30+ fights (Na), and will happily work on fine tuning anything you want. They will spar with you, clinch with you, teach you strategy - all with patience and in a totally safe/fun environment. I personally recommend Keng as he is the most experienced and he really breaks everything down very, very clearly to you. 

Overall, its clear to me that the trainers know their stuff and are passionate about what they do. It is a shame the group training itself is so watered down.

 

Facilities:

The gym itself has 2 rings, a general matted area and heavy bags. On the good side, the gym is cleaned regularly and is kept very tidy. They also have new flooring which is nice. On the not so good side, out of all the heavy bags, I was surprised to find that only one was a full length one. Others were much shorter which means you can't practise your low kicks on them. I also found the bags to be filled with very hard material - to the point where I could never go beyond 30-40% on them. The gym does have gloves and shin pads you can borrow - however, most of the gloves probably need to be replaced as there are holes in them (often near the palm area) and they stink.   

Outside of MT, the gym also offers Yoga classes once a day. I am a complete novice to Yoga but I tried a couple of classes and they were pretty good. The instructor Rhian is very nice, you get plenty of instruction and it is a relaxing experience. 

There is also a pool on site, a pool table and scooters for rent. There is a pro shop as well which has everything you need for MT - from handwraps/mouthguards to gloves/shinpads to keyrings. The pro shop charges prices comparable to my home country though (e.g. a pair of shorts starts from 1200baht).  

 

Accommodation:

Accommodation is basic but kept very clean. 

 

Food: 

There is an onsite restaurant which sells both western and thai food. The food is pretty good and almost of restaurant quality. The wait staff are also very friendly and there are (a few) vegetarian choices. However, if you arent on a meal plan, ordering a la carte is expensive with most dishes costing anywhere between 5-10 USD. 

Due to the price, most of the students will instead go to Nanas around the corner. You can get a dish and a drink for 48baht there. 

 

Camp Location: 

The gym is in a non-touristy area of Phuket. This is good if you want to train without any distractions. This is bad though if you want to do any sight seeing. There is a convenience store directly across the gym which sells basic amenities (washing powder, shower gel etc.) and you can walk 25-30 minutes each way for massages/7-eleven/phamacy but everything else requires a taxi. 

 

Safe for women/solo travellers? 

Very. The trainers are prohibited from making any kind of unwanted advances and the gym is very safe at all hours. There are also a lot of women training there (I'm talking 50-55%) and most students are solo travellers. Gunn, Sun, Lynne and Rhian all understand English and will regularly check in to make sure you are doing ok. 

 

Hope you enjoyed my review!

  • Like 6
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks 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...