Muay Thai training in Thailand is like nothing you will find outside of the country. Likewise, their culture and mannerisms differ and could be a roadblock in getting the most learning out of your trip.
If you’ve decided to take your Muay Thai Training to the next level by travelling to Thailand, I congratulate you. There is no better way to immerse yourself in the art and make huge strides in your skills. Period. That said, when travelling from outside the country into Thailand to train Muay Thai at a Muay Thai gym, it can be intimidating, or straight up scary as hell. To get the most out of your experience, you’re going to have to create rapport with your trainer, regardless of the fact you’re paying him!
1. The first step in doing a little research on Muay Thai Training gyms in Thailand. Believe it or not, you can’t just walk into any gym in Thailand and they will start your Muay Thai training just because you got some greenbacks. There are specific gyms throughout Thailand which have opened themselves up to accepting foreigners and these are the gyms you should target. I’ve personally trained at Sityodtong Gym (http://www.sityodtongmuaythai.com/) and they treated me like family over there. Sitsongpeenong is another gym open to foreigners. Whatever you do, know which gym is open to you being there before even considering getting on a flight.
2. Next, learn a little bit of Thai before you go. You don’t have to be fluent but just a few words. “Hello” “I Understand” “thank you” “sorry” “see you later”. These few words will go a LONG way in creating rapport right off the bat. For one, it’s an icebreaker. Something about foreigners butchering their language is a laughing riot to all Thai’s. Also, it shows that you are at least trying to understand their language. (Imagine if the roles were switched and they came to your country expecting you to know their native tongue). In addition knowing some basic language about Muay Thai training will help you in training and getting better as you’ll be able to understand your trainer better.
3. Bring a damn towel to every training session for god’s sakes. It’s 90 freaking degrees over there every single day and you’re going to be drenched from just walking around. For all the time I spent over there, it’s always the foreigners unloading their sweat all over the floors and splattering people in the face with drips instead of punches. If you want your trainer to like you, wipe that sweat off after each round of training. He doesn’t want to find out what your bodily fluids taste like!
4. Be on time! Stay late and train! Show some dedication to the art, if not for yourself, at least to show them you’re committed to learning! This will communicate that you want to learn authentic Muay Thai and not to just run you into the ground with padwork. Muay Thai training is more than just hard rounds on the pads!
5. Be sure to tip your trainer well at the end of your time there. If you’re reading this, chances are your coming from a country where the exchange rate allows you to live like a king over there. They know this, you know this. They often charge a rate which is pretty decent for them but cheap in relation to what it would cost in your native country to get that sort of Muay Thai Training instruction. Be generous! It will obviously make your trainer happy and excited to keep moving forward the next time you come. It will also make you feel good about the whole interaction as well.
In Muay Thai Training and in life, your success is dependent on the relationships you foster.
Use these tips to create a strong relationship with your trainer over there to get him to share the deepest secrets he has to offer about Muay Thai (as well as make a new friend). Again, Muay Thai Training in Thailand is unlike anything you’ve ever experienced and a must for anyone into the art. Good luck! (Chok dee!)