With the growing popularity and serious study of the Muay Thai Library project which documents the men and techniques of Thailand, taking a private session with a great kru or legend of the sport is fast becoming a “must do” when coming to train in the country. There’s no better way to get a concentrated burst of knowledge, in kaimuay world of long-term training camp grinding, famous for producing great talents, but not always teaching technique directly. I get the question all the time: Who should I take a private from, who is the best? Which makes sense, as I’ve filmed over 90 hours of one on one instruction with legends and krus all over Thailand which you can watch and study here. Just know, I can’t answer this question privately, on an individual basis, but I do have a general answer: Hands down, from my own wide experiences, and from all the feedback I’ve had who have experienced privates through me, it’s Sagat. I also happen to book privates for him and other legends, giving my time to the effort, (his spoken English is good, but he does not read English), so I first hand hear lots of feedback. I’m not saying he’s the best for everyone, nor that you’ll have the same experience I and others have had. But, if there is just one private to take, his is really the one. Subscribe so not to miss my next article on The 5 Best Muay Thai Privates in Thailand.
Why Sagat? He Lives Up to the Legend
Seeing photos of Sagat, donning an eye-patch or striking a pose in costume to reclaim his ownership of the Street Fighter video game character that bears his name and likeness, you think you know what a badass he is. He’s intense. He’s performative and a bit dramatic. He’s also incredibly funny when he wants to be. But standing in front of him is another thing entirely. He has a charisma that is only a copy of a copy in photographs. And because he has the performative, character-driven character, he also has spent a great deal of time in his 60+ years on this earth honing that indescribable energy I’m trying to describe here. In my voiceover for Muay Thai Library entries with Sagat, I liken him to a tiger. It’s tiger energy, by which I mean that the way he prowls around the ring feels very much like you’ve been lured into an enclosure with a predator; one that, as it moves around you, not directly threatening you yet, is constantly reminding you of its size, power, skill and finesse… just by pacing around. That’s Sagat.
His knowledge of Muay Thai is pretty incredible. He has a breadth of knowledge that allows him to work through technique as though they’re categories. He tells me we’re going to work on punches, and we do, but the depth of technique for each element of a punch, how to deliver maximum power with maximum efficiency, has always impressed me as something that he could keep teaching me for months. And it would just get better and better. It’s a little like those graphics where you focus on a continent, then it zooms in, then zooms in again, and again until you’re down to the insects in the grass. Sagat is able to delve into techniques like that, from the macro to the micro. His English is quite good from living and teaching in Australia for 4 years, and even when I speak Thai to him he sometimes insists on answering in English – but the important aspects of techniques and his secrets of power and efficiency aren’t in words. It helps if you’re not lost in language to be able to speak English with him, but it’s not where all the brilliance is. One of his favorite refrains is “how feel?” He draws the last word out, arching down in tone. That’s where the technique is. In the feeling. And he’ll remind you of this again and again in the most wonderful way. People who know Sagat from the videogame will want to scream “Tiger Uppercut!” as his catch phrase… those who have been lucky enough to train with him in Thailand will likely prefer, “how feeeeeeel?”
If you are in Thailand, I highly recommend you take the opportunity to train 1-1 with Sagat. He’s offering privates out of 13 Coins Gym in Bangkok, 3000 Baht for 90 minutes. I don’t know if you can book him directly through 13 Coins – I believe Sagat has his OWN “Street Fighter” gym, inside the 13 Coins space, but separate from it – but because of my Library project for a long while people have just been contacting me and I’ve communicated with him privately to set sessions up. This is just me donated time on my part, I’m glad to help people have the experience of such a great teacher. If you’d like to have a once in a lifetime experience just shoot me a message on my Facebook Page. Any level is welcome and multiple sessions would never be redundant. He truly is the best private in Thailand.
As a side note, I’ve had people just rave about the experience. One person said Sagat ended up taking them to Rajadamnern Stadium to watch fights. What?! How about that for a memory? Their also is a really cool shirt it seems they are selling that alone would be worth the visit to the gym. Just a small sample of the things I hear back:
- Absolute legend of the sport
- Very precise and corrective (not always the case in Thailand)
- Puts great energy into his privates
- Beautiful, effective and efficient fight-oriented technique
- Speaks English (which is always helpful)
- Has been teaching for 35 years
- Ummm, he’s Sagat
A note on training with a legend: When you train with legends of the sport like Sagat, you are getting something well beyond even the great technique he fought with. In person you are absorbing their energy, their rhythm, something you can only really feel when you are standing there with them, and moving with them. There is no replacement for this, you have to be there. But it is more than that too. Since their fighting days, when they were at the top of their sport, their mind did not stop developing their fighting approach. You can really feel this with Sagat. They have, for decades, continued to work on their approach, refining it, perfecting it. Some of this comes from their experience in the ring, but most of it comes through instructing others, training new fighters, improving on mistakes and weaknesses they may have had, stealing from other greats who had success against them. When you train with a legend you are getting a wisdom well beyond the fighter they were. With Sagat you can really feel this. His muay is incredible now, decades of thought and instruction after his remarkable career.
Study Up First
One of the cool things also, is that because I’ve filmed 3 sessions with Sagat, you can study up in advance to really hone in on what he teaches. This can give you a much more satisfying private session because you’ll already be in on what he is teaching you, and you’ll be able to get deeper into the technique. You can find these in the Muay Thai Library:
#69 Sagat Petchyindee 3 – Muay Maat Tigers & Snakes (67 min) watch it here
#60 Sagat Petchindee Session 2 – All the Strikes Tuned and Dangerous (101 min) watch it here
#38 Sagat Petchyindee (part 2) – Maximum Damage (61 min) watch it here
#26 Sagat Petchyindee – Explosive Power (57 min) watch it here
I really recommend this kind of pre-study for any private you might take in Thailand, if the kru has been documented in the Muay Thai Library. There are so many styles and so many techniques, it really gets you speaking the same language right away. You can find a list of everyone in the Muay Thai Library here: Muay Thai Library – Preserve The Legacy Project
More Video Clips of My Work With Sagat
Take a look at these clips and just get a sense of the energy and intensity he puts into privates, and the incredible detail of his instruction. Lots of people complain that Thai krus don’t spend a lot of time correcting technique, and this is true in long-term training. Sagat on the other hand has a very strong sense of what is right, and what works. Some of the most beautiful and effective technique you’ll find in the world.
He’s At 13 Coins in Bangkok
So Sagat runs his own gym located inside 13 Coins gym in Bangkok. You can just Google Map it, but here is the Map Link if you need:
There is also a 13 Coins hotel attached, I don’t know anything about the rates, but it might be cool to spend a week or more, live right next door, and just do a deep dive into the technique of Sagat. If you contact me on Facebook to book just be patient because Sagat can respond very quickly, or sometimes he takes some time to respond. I’ve found him to be extremely dependable when I have arranged a time for a private, but the communication can be delayed. The ideal lead time in booking a private would be between a month and week advanced notice.