We asked Anuj Bahri, at specialist travel agent Trayvale Travel, to provide some information about learning Muay Thai while on holiday in Thailand.
Think of Thailand and you will picture the land of a thousand smiles, a land of mountainous interiors, beautiful tropical islands with white sandy beaches; a beguiling place, where elephants roam and ancient Buddhist temples stand as monuments to the country’s all-encompassing spirituality.
These qualities have made Thailand a firm favourite on the backpacker trail. It is also proving to be a number one party destination, thanks to the famous full-moon parties and the hedonism is legendary.
However, there is a different type of traveller to Thailand, someone who might appreciate the above delights but generally has something else on their mind: Muay Thai, also known as Thai boxing.
Muay Thai is Thailand’s national sport. An ancient martial art that is immensely popular with all parts of Thai society. Fights are broadcast every day on national TV from purpose built stadiums and from the makeshift rings set up in villages to celebrate festivals.
Where to learn Muay Thai in Thailand
Training camps can be found in every part of Thailand, from the urban centres of Bangkok to lovely picturesque islands like Phuket, Koh Samui and Krabi with beautiful sandy beaches and swaying palm trees. The training camps are popular and attract amateurs looking to learn Muay Thai for fun, fitness, or self defence, as well as professional fighters wanting to hone their fighting skills.
First, you need the the right equipment for your own safety. In Thailand this equipment is mandatory in all gyms.
1. Muay Thai Shorts - with supportive, elasticised waist and loose around the thighs for endurance training.
2. Mouth guard – wearing a mouth guard whilst training ensures that your lungs become used to breathing under endurance and provides protection when sparring.
3. Jock protector (cup) – these are optional whilst training for beginners when doing bag work or cardio exercises.
4. Hand wraps – these ensure your wrists and knuckles are secure when punching pads, bags and when sparring.
5. 16 oz gloves – these are used for conditioning your punching power and techniques when sparring with opponents. Heavy padding helps to prevent injury to yourself and others when sparring. You are allowed to wear 12-14 oz gloves when competing in tournaments
6. Shin guards - Muay Thai boxers use their shins to kick and block. Whilst training long hours Practising technical and power drills, your shins need protection.
Muay Thai training consists of two sessions a day Monday to Saturday, 3 hours a session. Overall 6 hours of Muay Thai training every day. All warm-up and training classes are overseen by the Muay Thai gym’s qualified and experienced trainers.
A typical day at your gym would comprise:
For Beginners – Intermediate : 7am – 8am
Start each morning with stretches and combining meditation. Yoga is beneficial for flexibility of joints, tendons, and muscles and is especially important to help reduce injuries. Yoga classes are open for the novice to the experienced yogi – the gym’s yoga program is suited to your needs. Each yoga class ends with a session of meditation to relax and focus on your daily goals.
For Beginners - Advanced : 7am – 8am
Muay Thai fighters run to build stamina, endurance and cardio conditioning which is essential to cope with a 5-round Muay Thai fight. The running program is not mandatory for most gyms, but strongly advised by your trainers. Your gym trainers will occasionally take guests on a variety of runs from 3 kms to 7 kms in length. From flat roads to hills and beaches, you run at your own pace.
Warm up & Stretching : 8am – 8:45am
Warm up with a skipping rope, tire bouncing, shadow boxing, stretching. Warming up and stretching exercises are very important to do a warm up and prepare all your muscles, joints and bones to avoid injury.
All of your power in your kicks comes from your hips, so you might as well have them stretched and conditioned to give them maximum power.
For Beginners - Advanced: 8:45am – 10:30am & 4:30pm – 6:30pm
1. Sparring – with focus on controlling your power and speed; learning footwork, head movement and bob-n-weave. The objective is keeping everyone safe, not hurting the trainers or sparring partners.
2. Muay Thai C.O.R.E Training – trainers will use a variety of old school Muay Thai and modern techniques to build your abdominal muscles – a must for fighting. Training also includes 3-5 rounds of Muay Thai pad work to build endurance, cardio and core.
Trainers will work with you on the bags, training your hands, knees, elbows, legs and neck. Be prepared – trainers will change aspects of training to better teach you Muay Thai techniques. Eventually your trainer will focus on the Thai clinch and other techniques which are unique to the art of Muay Thai.
How much does it cost?
Flying to Bangkok, Thailand from the UK can range from £450 to £600 and if you plan to visit various other Thai destinations Thai Airways will include regular return flights for free when you fly with them.
Each individual Muay Thai gym have their own fees for training costs and will vary in the number of available spaces they can offer. In general, group sessions for a morning or afternoon can cost between 300 – 500 Bhat (£6-£10). You can also block-book your morning and afternoon sessions in advance which will work out cheaper than the normal daily rate. If you decide to go in a group then special discounted deals can also be arranged in advance.
However, in addition to daily training sessions (morning & afternoons), many guests also opt for private sessions. Working with trainers one-on-one will maximize your training. Private 1-hour sessions costs between 500 – 800 Bhat. When you purchase your private sessions, aim to train with a variety of trainers so that you learn the best from each trainer so you enhance your abilities.
Contact details to book:
Trayvale Travel can book your flights, hotels and Muay Thai training programs. As some of the reservations team also train in Muay Thai and visit Thailand regularly to train and work with most of the Muay Thai gyms, they can offer great advice on your amazing Muay Thai learning experience in Thailand. Call 02075802928 or visit www.Trayvale.com for further information.