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Thailand: Muay Thai Training Camps

A tour of some of the muay thai camps throughout Thailand.

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Muay Thai

Muay Thai is the national sport of Thailand. Thai's love it like Victorians love AFL, or Colombians love soccer.
It's a beautiful and complicated sport requiring supreme levels of fitness, flexibility, agility, patience and determination.

Over the past few years more and more Westerners have discovered muay thai, and farang friendly camps are springing up all over the country.

Having trained on and off over the past 6 weeks, I have to say it's addictive - like learning a new instrument, you just want to keep developing and improving your technique; getting your angles right for maximum impact and becoming stronger each day.
Just as you get sore fingers getting used to guitar strings, your limbs (especially shins) can get really sore and raw as you harden up!
As a tip, Thai masseuses know exactly how to ease the pain and renew the limbs of injured fighters with Tiger balm.

In my limited experience of just some of the camps I can say they are all very different in vibe, style, demands, etc.

Style and Approach

In my home country "kickboxing" is usually associated with tatoo covered meat heads who like to show off.
Muay Thai is not kickboxing... it couldn't be further from it! Muay thai requires calm, patience and maximum concentration.

In keeping with Thai culture anger and aggression is forbidden when competing or training in the national sport - even whilst fighting.
If you watch a professional fight, you will see two calm, expressionless individuals in combat who show a deep respect and courtesy for each other (despite dealing some serious blows).

Camps

Rawai Muay Thai, Phuket

I joined Rawai, as it is just around the corner from Atsumi and wanted to get fit after fasting for an extended period.
The camp has a happy and fun vibe - run by four brothers who really know their stuff.
All instructors are patient and good with farang.

I did 4 days training.
Each day has 2*2 hour sessions; 8am - 10am and 5pm - 7pm - with a mandatory 8km run at 7am to warm up :-)
As beginners we learn correct techniques for punching, kicking, blocking and defense, elbow and knee blows, etc - mostly just with the bag and sometimes practicing in pairs.
It was a really fun and genuinely tough experience and great way to come out of the fast.

Super Pro, Koh Samui

SuperPro is located in party central of Samui, Chaweng. So, you can work off those beers pretty darn quick (if you still have energy to go out in the evenings, that is!)

SuperPro is one of the most demanding camps I trained at, and certainly one of the best organised.
The guys work you hard! You really don't stop much during each 2 hour session.
- 20 minutes continuous running or rope skipping to warm up.
- Then freestyle on the bags, followed by guided attack combinations on the bags (punch+punch+uppercut+hook+knee, etc).
- After every 15 minute round we had to do 10 push-ups then 12 sit-ups before a measly 1 minute break for water - then back into it.

What I really liked about SuperPro is that every participant gets at least 1 personal session with a trainer on the pads - so you really develop your angles, position and technique.
Personal sessions are the most demanding - the trainer tells you what he wants and you must respond without delay ("punch!" "left kick", etc).
If you're not giving power they will tell you too - "come on, more power!"
A lot of guys were staying at SuperPro for a few months to really hone their skills and fitness and I can see the appeal.

Horizon, Koh Phangan

Horizon is located in one of the most beautiful, chilled corners of the world - Haad Tian, Koh Phangan.
The camp itself it on the top of a rocky hill overlooking a beautiful lagoon - with lovely elevated huts for sleeping and a nice (if not a little run down) gym with stunning views out in the open air.

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The vibe here is more relaxed than the other camps, but the training is more personalised.
There were only 6 other people training whilst I was there, and the lead trainer worked individually with us throughout the day. I probably didn't get much more fitter here, but technique improved 10 fold.

Surrounding the camp, there is a health retreat and a few hippy cafes - aside from that it's just like "The Beach"

After each training sesion we jumped straight into the sea for a swim. I tell you, there is nothing like it, when you're so hot and knackerd than to jump into the cool clear-blue sea.
Had a wonderful time here. Not as strict or rigid as other camps, but training suited the environment.
I would actually recommend this place as a starting point or for people who are not so serious and want to train in paradise.

You can view all the photos taken at Horizon and surrounds here

Fighting Spirit, Bangkok

This is where things got pretty serious! Though sadly I only had 1 day here....
I turned up for training at 7:30 and the instructor asked me to shadow freestyle to assess my technique. He said my blocking was off so I had to do continual leg blocks for 10 minutes. Doing this for just 3 minutes is exhausting - 10 was killer.

After dutifully completing the task but nearly puking at the end I was given a 3 minute break to drink water and rest.
We then did some kicking work on the pads. My right kick was off slightly, so he watched me do 300 consecutive right kicks into one of the big bags... the session went on like this..... this was hard training, evoking images of Uma Thurman when she trains with Pai Mei in Kill Bill 2
If I had more time in Bangkok I would have stayed longer.

All in all....

I was never interested in any kind of martial art or boxing, but muay thai got me hooked! I love the philosophy and it has improved my fitness, strength and confidence. Love it!

Posted by SkinnyFists 03:54 Archived in Thailand Tagged muay_thai rawai superpro thai_boxing fighting_spirit horizon_muay_thai

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