Muay Thai Training Holiday

Muay Thai Training Holiday in Thailand

Muay Thai, the ancient fighting style from Thailand that over the last decades have grown in popularity around the World. Over the years, we have heard plenty of fighters converging into Thailand to learn the art as part of their MMA repertoire. But did you know that even non-fighters that is visiting Thailand on a Holiday can go on a similar journey to learn about the Martial Art even though you do not know how to fight? 

For 1 week, a group of travellers met in Bangkok on a journey of discovery into the world of Muay Thai. Just like Medical Holidays and Eco Holidays, travellers planning to visit Thailand can plan a Muay Thai Holiday. For some of you, you might think that Muay Thai is just all about fighting but trust me, there’s more to it than just 2 guys pounding on each other in a boxing ring. There’s the historical aspect of the art form as well as festivals that goes hand in hand with the martial art. 

In this 1st posting, we’ll focus more on the various type of Muay Thai training you can choose from and in the 2nd post, we’ll look at all the fun things, Muay Thai Entertaining, like a stage performance, actual Muay Thai competitions as well as the other fun things you can discover along the way. I must give a special thanks to the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) for arranging this Media Tour as well as the fine people at 2Fellows Network and Design Co. Ltd. that provided us with all the necessary arrangement including translators to help us communicate with the various schools we visited.


Muay Thai Holiday
Muay Thai Training Holiday
Over the span of the week, we visited 4 different schools in Bangkok that focuses on 4 different aspects of Muay Thai, the first one was the Petchyindee Muay Thai Academy in Pinklao that is in the midst of renovation (but the training never stops!). The plan by the head of the Academy is to turn Petchyindee into a 1 stop centre for fighters from within Thailand and travellers from around the world to stay, train, and do their recovery without the need to leave the gym area. With dorm style rooms and private rooms including a spa area being build, the place is turning out to be a fantastic venue for fighters that just want to focus on Muay Thai without the stress of needing to source for accommodations and recovery centre outside of the academy. 

With 2 fighting rings and a spacious area, the place can accommodate a lot of fighters to train and prepare for fights simultaneously. I had an awesome opportunity to train with Sam-A Kaiyanghadaogym, Thailand’s reigning Lumpinee Bantamweight (122 pound) Champion, in Wai Khru (the Thai Ritual to pay respect and homage to the teachers and the elders) as well as defence as he said that while my kicks and punches are strong, my left side defence is pretty weak. For me, just having him train with me is already an honour, to have him give me pointers to improve on my fight is just absolutely amazing! We ended the day at Petchyindee Muay Thai Academy with an all-out one-on-one reflex training and I got a few good rounds of beating from him and another trainer which basically exposing my weak side and got me to eventually on reflex, actually blocking properly on my left by the end of the day. Truly a fantastic experience that I’ll bring back to Malaysia.


Muay Thai Chaiya Thailand
Muay Thai Chaiya in Bangkok
The next day’s training was at the Legend Thai Boxing Gym in North-Sathorn (Soi 6), Silom Bangrak. Unlike Petchyindee, Legend Thai Boxing is more focus towards catering their service to the office people, students and anyone who just want to spend some time in a gym to work up a sweat instead of seriously train in the art of Muay Thai. That does not mean they don’t have properly good fighters in the gym though. The reason it’s called Legend Thai Boxing is because of the living Legend, Putpathnoi Worrawuth, a 5 times Champion that only lost 5 of his 140 career fights not only lend his name to the brand but also heads the team of trainers in Legend. Having experienced the working culture around the globe, he was at ease with communicating with fans from across the globe and knows how to put the members at ease while they are put through their paces in the gym.

 After we changed into our gym clothes, it’s all about fun in all the activities we went through. From the warm ups to the fist, elbow, legs and knee exercise, each activity we did has an element of play in them so that non-fighters could easily adapt and enjoy the workout. As a modern gym, the training was done within an air conditioned space but don’t let that fool you as we did work up a lot of sweat going through the regime. So for travellers looking at a place they could just go and have a workout and learn more about Muay Thai in a fun environment during their stay in Bangkok, Legend Thai Boxing would be one of the places to go.


Sam A Reigning Muay Thai Champion
Petchyindee 1 on 1 training with Sam-A - Reigning Muay Thai Champion 
Traveling fighters on a budget should check out SaengMorakot Gym, located near Rajadamnern Boxing Stadium, Temple of the Golden Mountain, Kaosarn Road and the popular MBK Shopping Centre, it’s the place for the serious fighters to be at. Jar Tui, as an elite Promoter at Lumpinee and Siam Omnoi Stadium saw the need for a simple venue that provides an elite and intensive training regime and established SaengMorakot Gym for such a purpose. For over 20 years, this gym has produced and is still producing some of the best fighters and champions that has graced the top stadiums in Thailand.  

Spending the day there training with these fighters, I can understand how they can produce between 10 - 20 active winning fighters as the training is very serious. They joke and have fun during breaks but when it’s time to train. The only sound you hear from this 200sq metre gym is the sound of punching bags  or sparring gloves being attacked at full force. According to some of the fighters, this gym is quite flexible with traveling fighters as some only goes there for 1 session, choosing to fight either in the morning or in the afternoon, or a full day session. For those preparing for competitions, there’s also monthly training package where they also provide accommodation and food to control and prepare the fighters for their fights. 

So far, 3 days, 3 different training style from 3 different type of gyms. That’s not all! I’ve kept the best for last! Simply because I’ve been a big fan and I want to do it justice in my writing. You might think that Muay Thai is just that, bunch of people learning to use their 8 deadly limps in attacking their openings in a boxing ring but that’s not really it. There’s plenty more to learn about the martial art, the historical aspect of the art, the philosophy behind each type of Muay Thai style and how, like all form of self defence art, we can apply to our daily life for self preservation. One such form of Muay Thai is Muay Thai Chaiya. And we got to learn about the art form from the master himself, Kru Lek at his home, Baan Chaang Thai.  Like all classical form of Muay Thai, Muay Thai Chaiya has been honed and perfected for over 2,000 years and is believed to be the Muay Thai style that has the best defence. I had the opportunity to be Kru Lek’s punching bag in his demonstration and despite me going at him at full force and with as strong a grip that I could muster, he can easily block, disarm and attack me with ease… all within 1 fluid motion. 


Mike Yip Petchyindee Trainers Thailand
Mike Yip (center) with the Petchyindee trainers in Bangkok
Personally, I think I’ve taken quite an interest in Muay Thai Chaiya is simply due to the fact that it has quite a number of similarity to Tai Chi and Wing Chun in which defence is the utmost importance and how a master of the art can easily defend and use the attacker’s strength in the counter attack. According to one of his senior instructor, Smartchai Boonnoon aka Mark, a Muay Thai Chaiya exponent have to knock their opponent out most of the time in order to win in competitions because they are so good in defence that most often than not, the fighter loses fights due to points even if they walked away from the competition without injuries. 

Aside from learning the basic patterns of Muay Thai Chaiya, we also get to witness some demonstration on self defence that’s useful to the ladies. Kru Lek’s wife showed the girls at the training that despite her small size, with the proper Muay Thai Chaiya training and application, she can easily defend herself against attackers that’s bigger than her. Before I left the venue, I talked to Kru Lek for a chance to further my lessons with him whenever I visit Bangkok and being the gracious man that he is, he said that his doors is open for me whenever I want to expand my knowledge in the art.

4 days, 4 different fight schools. Spending the whole day with the respective champions and masters in learning more about the art of Muay Thai, what more can I asked for? If not because of my obligations back home, I would just stayed on to learn more. But sadly, that’s not the case and I have to go back to my daily mundane life and put my hope of learning more in-depth in the art form of Muay Thai for my next trip to Bangkok. 

I didn’t return home empty handed of course, I have presents for 3 lucky readers but you will have to wait for the contest post to be up to learn how you can win those presents from me!

---

The Muay Thai Blogger Tour 2014 was organized by Tourism Authority of Thailand and a list of gyms and camps that teach Muay Thai can be found at My Legend My Muay Thai Website.  

This featured article is written by Mike Yip of who attended the Muay Thai Blogger Tour in Bangkok, Thailand in September 2014. 

1 comments: