Training Muay Thai in Thailand can be a life-changing experience. In fact, many Muay Thai students consider it a rite of passage.
There a few things to consider, however.
Training in Thailand is not like training at home. The training is different, the weather is different, the food is different, and even the teaching methods are different.
This article sheds some light on some of the more overlooked aspects of training in Thailand. It may seem minor, but knowing this information will make a world of a difference.
How To Prepare For The Experience
Before you go to Thailand, you have to make sure you are ready. After all, you do not want to risk ruining your Muay Thai vacation in Thailand.
Build Up Your Cardio
If you want to have a truly successful experience with your holiday training, then build up your cardio and work on your conditioning beforehand.
You will spend a lot of time doing road work in Thailand. Muay Thai athletes run twice a day for up to 12 kilometers (or nearly seven and a half miles). The morning run is usually longer than the afternoon run, so work on your cardio before you go to “The Land Of Smiles.”
Work On Your Conditioning
Thai athletes jump rope in the afternoons, especially if it is raining. This can last up to 30 minutes. If you have never jumped rope on the balls of your feet for that long, you will get blisters.
Practice jumping rope for at least 15 minutes straight to toughen up the skin on the soles of your feet. If you develop blisters on your feet in Thailand, wrap them with medical tape. If the camp lets you, jump rope in sneakers.
You will also be doing a lot of sit-ups in Thailand. The mixture of sweaty skin against the rough texture of the ring canvas or gym mats can cause the skin on your lower back to peel. If you get to Thailand and your skin is not conditioned, rub a little Vaseline on your lower back to ease the friction.
Skin burns and blisters seem like minor injuries, but they could sideline you from training. And, if not taken care of, they can lead to infection.
How To Pick A Muay Thai Training Camp In Thailand
While you work on your cardio and conditioning, start looking for a training camp that suits your wants and needs. This will lead to you getting some of the best Muay Thai training in Thailand.
You may want to go to “The Land Of Smiles” to develop your clinch techniques or your kicks. In this case, you have to find a camp that could help you do that.
Here is how you can narrow down your choices.
Look At Your Favorite Muay Thai Talent
Every training camp in Thailand specializes in something different. Some camps are known for developing clinchers, some camps are known for developing kickers, and some camps are known for developing well-rounded athletes.
It is not always about finding the top Muay Thai gym in Thailand. One way to find the right training camp is to find out where your favorite Muay Thai World Champion trains at.
For example, if you want to hit like Rodtang “The Iron Man” Jitmuangnon, then you might want to go to Jitmuangnon Gym. If you want to clinch like Petchmorakot Petchyindee Academy, then you may want to train at Petchyindee Academy.
Look at what each camp specializes in and make your choice based on whether that gym could help you or not.
Do Not Worry About Language Barriers
In Thailand, you often hear trainers tell their students to “watch and do.” If you are a visual learner, then this is great — you can watch how other talents perform techniques and try to copy them.
If you learn from hearing techniques being explained, do not worry. You will still get a lot from your training if you cannot speak Thai.
Many times, the trainers will position your body instead of explaining the techniques to you anyway. Do not let language barriers deter you from picking a training camp that you are really interested in.
Bring The Essentials
If you go to Thailand to train Muay Thai, bring the essentials: your gloves, shorts, mouthpiece, cup, and shin guards.
Oftentimes, gyms will have these things available for you to use – save for the cup and mouthpiece.
You can also travel light and buy these things when you arrive in the country. Many of the stadiums, such as Lumpinee and Rajadamnern, have gear shops attached to them.
How To Get The Most Out Of Your Training
If you come to Thailand from a colder, drier climate, you will have to adapt to the air. The humidity can make it harder to breathe during training, but here are some other things to consider.
Ease Into Training
You might feel 100 percent on the first day of training. But on day two and three, the aches and pains are going to settle in, and soon you will start to feel sluggish. You will probably be excited to train in Thailand, especially if it is your first time.
Also, you will probably want to show the Thais how hard you work. But please, take it easy.
If you push yourself, you could get injured and miss training altogether, which would be disastrous. So every so often, take a morning or afternoon session off. Practice these things and you will also turn into a better Muay Thai training partner at whichever camp you choose.
Keep Yourself Hydrated
You may think that once you are in Thailand, you are clear to do what you like. But remember: every day you are sick or injured is one less day you get to train.
One of the best things you can do for your body is to stay hydrated. Do not wait until you are thirsty or wait until in between rounds to drink water. Drink water throughout the entire day and at night.
Also, bring some electrolyte packages with you to the training camp. You can find these at convenience stores all throughout the country. They will help keep your muscles hydrated and functioning while training.
Eat And Drink Wisely
Thais love flavorful foods. Thai dishes are spicy, sour, sweet, and bitter — sometimes all in one dish. But if you come from a country with bland food and try to eat Thai food for every meal, your stomach will not be happy. If you are not used to spicy dishes, opt for blander foods like fried rice dishes.
When eating out, try to avoid eating salads. You do not know if the vegetables were cleaned in filtered water or tap water, and if you are not used to drinking the tap water in Thailand, you will have stomach trouble. This is also why you should avoid the ice at street food stalls.
Whether you are a beginner or professional athlete looking to train Muay Thai in Thailand, be smart about your choices and you, too, can walk away with a new perspective on Muay Thai — and yourself.