I’ve visited so many Muay Thai dojos throughout my life, and each one of them offered something new. While some people train the ancient Siamese martial art for self-defense only, others are focused on the competition, the spiritual aspect of the game, culture, and becoming one with Thai boxing.
But one thing is clear, no matter where you train. The homeland of Thai boxing offers something you won’t be able to find in your state or local dojo. It could be nutrition, atmosphere, different fighting styles, greater choice of training partners…
Thailand is the best place to train the art of 8 limbs for numerous reasons. I will try to explain why you should at some point in your career travel to Bangkok, Phuket, or anywhere in the birthplace of Muay Thai to boost your skills to the next level.
It’s Time To Get To Know The Culture
The western world sees Muay Thai rituals as “odd” or “strange”. For example, Wai Kru and music during the fight are weird in the western world, but it’s a part of a tradition and respect in Thailand.
But I must tell you another lovely thing – the cultural difference is not limited to your training dojo only. When you walk down the shopping mall, for example, you’ll notice a different lifestyle and communication. The visit to the homeland of Thai boxing offers a cultural impression that you’ll never forget.
As soon as you land at the airport, you’ll be able to get to know the Thai culture in its rawest form. Thai people wear different clothes, but I will tell you the tiny details that impressed me the most.
When I was in a restaurant, a guy yelled “P’sao!” to a waitress, which my friend translated as a “younger sister”. She responded with “nong” (younger brother). I was shocked for five minutes because in the western world we say “hey, waiter, I want to order or give me the bill”.
Greater Choice Of Sparring Partners
Thailand is the best place to train because it is stacked with the masters of Thai boxing. Many fighters took part in 200+ matches. Some of them feed their families by violent fights for a little money, they barely get enough bahts to support their closest ones.
Depending on where you travel, you could get a chance to get to know ONE FC or Muay Thai champions and test yourself against the greatest guys and girls in the game. Sparring with top names will boost your fighting game to the next level, and you’ll look like an extraterrestrial when you get back to the western world.
Everybody has his special strikes, and you’ll get the chance to learn from the best in the controlled sparring session. Sometimes one step forward or backward makes the difference between the champ and an average fighter.
I don’t wanna sound rude, there are coaches in the western world with a piece of tremendous knowledge. But Thailand is the best place to train because you’ll meet trainers who work with kids and seniors for 40+ years. They are focused on one thing in their life – Muay Thai.
Let me ask you a question. Can you compare a person who works from 9 to 5 and then goes to the training session to teach and a former fighter who teaches in the morning, holds private sessions during the day, and continues teaching in the evening? No, because comparison is useless.
Even if coach 2 is the greatest fan of Thai boxing, coach 1 will always be way more experienced. When a new move, technique, or counter appears, trainer number 1 will be the first to show it to his students in the class.
You Will Learn “Authentic Muay Thai”
When you train outside of Thailand, your coaches will mostly rely on some specific strikes, but when you ask about the sub-types of strikes (angle changes, different trajectory, etc.), you might not get the answer you’re looking for. Plus, some of them are ignorant towards the philosophy of the ancient Siamese martial art, which stops you from growing spiritually.
But you’ve got to understand them, money comes first in the western world. So teaching obscure techniques and focusing on the tiny aspects of the game might not be profitable.
Some gyms focus on the technical, not spiritual, and traditional aspects of the game. Coaches are under huge pressure, they must pay bills and support their families. And finally, some trainers don’t have in-depth knowledge of ancient Siamese martial art.
Thailand is the best place to train because you will learn the exact Thai shape of the technique. Let me give you one totally strange example.
I’ve never seen somebody landing a left jab followed by a left Brazilian (downward roundhouse kick) to the head. It is a very weird combination, but it’s recommended against a defensive opponent. When I was in Phuket, the coach noticed the power of my kick and told me to fake a jab then land it to the foe’s face.
As soon as I attempted it in a battle, the opponent was dazed and the bout was stopped for five seconds. I touched his nose, it was not a fight-ending blow. This is an example of an authentic and unpopular Muay Thai technique that landed clean out of nowhere, thanks to the great idea of the instructor.
Getting To Know The Dark Side
The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows, it’s a very mean and nasty place. Why am I saying this? Well, the western world mostly believes that Muay Thai is all about enjoyment and doing the things you love, but they are – blind. Thailand is the best place to train because it gives you the chance to get to know both the bright and dark sides of Thai boxing.
You’ll start wondering whether people watch Muay Thai bouts because they love martial art or because they bet on bouts. Everything’s based on profit here too, but fighters aren’t paid much, bookies mostly earn a fortune when the huge favorite gets knocked out or is unable to continue the fight.
You won’t shut down your eyes to uncomfortable truth anymore. Elite dojos offer great training conditions, but in some camps, you’ll train outside, in the dust or mud. Fighter’s source of motivation is mostly the enormous amount of love towards Muay Thai.
You’ll Get To Know “Secret Moves”
You’ll hardly find coaches in the western world who know a perfect angle for the sweep, for example. Thai coaches are former fighters in 99% of cases, they proved themselves in the ring many times before and they can show you the tiny moves that might put your fighting game to the next level.
When I traveled to Phuket, a coach gave me one instruction on how to hit the opponent’s standing leg when I grab his striking limb.
In the western world, the trainer was focused on “hit his other leg, he’ll go down” but an experienced guy from Thailand said to “chop the lower third of his calf muscle, shifting the weight of my body slightly forward”. Do I have to explain which move was more efficient (you can try both of them)?
Excellent Weight Loss / Healthy Lifestyle Opportunity
You’ll completely change your surround and nutrition style because Thai food is way different than the food from the western world. The athletes mostly stick to organic food, but you’ll wish to cheat and eat hamburgers or sweets from time to time. I have to disappoint you, but it’s not easy to buy those types of groceries in Thailand.
Secondary, Muay Thai training sessions are based on a lot of cardio and running, which pushes you into a caloric deficit. You’ll have to eat a lot of fruits, veggies, and lean meat to make up for lost calories. Your energy expenditure will be put to a whole new level, plus it’s hard to buy a protein shake when you’re outside of Bangkok or Phuket.
Thailand is the best place to train Muay Thai because it turns a fat or obese casual Muay Thai fan into a lean, nice-looking, and handsome athlete. If you can walk down the city looking for sweets and junk food after two training sessions per day, wait ago! But when you’re outside of a big city, that’s going to be a losing game – you’ll have to adapt to local food and say goodbye to obesity!
If you’re motivated, you can take part in training sessions all around the globe. But Thailand is the best place to train because it offers a unique approach the lets you get to know every single positive and negative side of Thai boxing.
When you get back to the western world, you might look like an alien, but your knowledge will be on a whole new level. Which is your favorite place or dojo to train and why? Please comment in the section below!