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Choosing a Muaythai Gym

As fight sports and martial arts become more popular, new gyms are springing up all over. For that reason, the difficulty of finding a quality gym – the one that’s right for you – is becoming increasingly difficult. There are several options to consider: Location, price, coaches, classes offered, amenities, student skill levels, and training.

Just like with many things in life, you might have to sacrifice certain options to get the exact result for which you are looking. The key is to identify which traits are most important for you and find a gym that best matches those traits. This guide will walk you through that process.

Location

This is one of the largest factors that plays into a student’s decision to join a gym. Most people will sacrifice higher-quality training for location just so they do not have to make a long commute. For most fighters, time is money and fighting is not their major source of income. However, if you are looking to fight at a high level, you might have to look outside of your hometown or even look outside your country to receive proper training.

Most people consider Thailand to be the holy land for Muaythai training, because of the abundance of high quality gyms. Thailand is also the birthplace of the sport. If you do not want to move to Thailand to train, don’t worry, use our “Find a Gym” feature and search for gyms in your area.

Price

Depending on the gym you go to, price can be a big issue for fighters. If you have never looked into any kind of martial arts gym, the price tag to train might come as a shocker. Gyms can charge anywhere from $20 a month to $200 dollars a month. You should go into your search expecting that a more well-known gym with a large staff and a lot of quality equipment will be higher on the price scale. Unlike traditional fitness gyms, your tuition is not only covering the cost of equipment and utilities, but also the instructors’ time.

As with all gym memberships, Muaythai gyms usually have contracts and payment plans. Be sure to read your contract carefully, because there is usually a clause in the contract that charges you if you cancel membership before your contract is up. Gyms also have payment plans to fit students’ needs. You can pay for a year up front, which is usually the cheapest way to go if you have the money. Gyms will also have half-year contracts, monthly payment plans, and a onetime drop-in fee, which is often the most expensive payment option.

In some countries, if you fight for the gym, the staff will give you free training as long as you give the gym a portion of your fight earnings. This is not always the case and will certainly not pertain to students just looking to train for fun.

Coaches

Seeing that you are paying high gym prices because of the trainers’ expertise, you should do your research before joining a gym. Try to get some time to speak with the head coach or trainer to see if he/she is someone with which you can get along. Here are a few questions to ask the coaches:

Hot Tip: Kru Certifications

Beware of certifications and accomplishments not related to Muaythai. There are a few Muaythai trainer certifications, but they do not hold much weight in the fight world. Fight records and accomplishments hold more credit than certifications in Muaythai. Also, be very weary if the trainers do not have much experience in Muaythai or only have accomplishments in other martial arts.

  • How long have you been coaching?
  • What is your fight record?
  • Who have you trained under?
  • Where did you used to train?
  • What accomplishments have you or your fighters achieved?
  • What is your style of coaching?

Even if you like all of the answers to these questions, the best way to find out a coach/trainer’s true qualities is to participate in one of their classes.

Classes Offered

Once you have a feel for the coaches at the gym, it’s time to check out the types and times of the classes offered. Everyone has a preference for time they like to train and workout, so make sure the gym offers classes during times that fit your schedule.

Depending on the type of gym you are looking into, the classes can be broken up into multiple types: Beginner classes, advanced classes, clinching classes, sparring classes, or strength and conditioning classes. If you are new to Muaythai, you should ask the gym employees if they offer intro classes, which will help get you up to speed with the basics of training.

Amenities

Muaythai is a sport that is focused on powerful striking and damage inflicted to your opponents. Unlike some martial arts, you cannot get very far in the sport by just practicing technique without the proper equipment. Each gym should have a standard set of amenities to provide students. However, not all gyms will be equipped with the “proper” amenities – so be careful with this part of the decision.

Nice-to-Have Gym Amenities:

  • Water Fountains
  • Showers
  • Loaner Gear
  • Pro Shop
  • Music

Among the amenities that are required are heavy Thai heavy bags, pole bags, or traditional heavy bags. If the gym does not have any punching bags, check to make sure they at least have training pads. The training pads that you need to look for are Thai pads, focus mitts, belly pads, and kick shields.

If the gym does not have any of the equipment listed above, it might be ideal to look elsewhere.

Student Skill Levels

Depending on your level of training and what you are looking to get out of the gym, you will want to take note of the other students’ skill levels. Some people look for a gym where they can learn from the other students, in addition to the coaches. Typically, if you train with higher caliber fighters, your skill level will also increase due to the level of technique being exhibited around you.

On the flip side, some people might want a gym where they are ahead of the class and are able to help others with their training. In either case, make sure that the skill level of the gym matches your goals and expectations.

One thing that cannot be overlooked is how you will (or won’t) get along with the other fighters and students. You are going to be spending a lot of time with these people, so try to get a feel for attitudes and personalities beforehand.

Training

One of the factors that should play a major role in your decision regarding a gym is the training. If you are new to Muaythai, you should be looking for a gym that will teach you the fundamentals. By watching some of the classes or even joining one a class, be observant to see if the coach and trainers are helping you and other beginners. Staff members at good gyms will correct students’ bad techniques rather than let them continue to practice the wrong movements.

You should have an idea of what you want to get out of the training. Make sure it matches up with what you want to get out of the gym. If you are there for a workout, make sure the gym focuses on cardio and constant work rate. If you are looking for technique, make sure the training is conducive to fine tuning your craft.

Kick the Bags

The best way to see if a gym will work for you is to try it out. You should find out if the gym offers a free two-week trial to test the classes. Some gyms offer this great feature. Take advantage of it to see the quality of the training first hand.

If the gym does not offer a trial period, try signing up for only one month just to make sure the gym will be a good fit for you. This way, if the gym does not work out, you are not stuck in a long-standing contract.

The first gym you visit may not always be the best fit, so feel free to shop around until you find the perfect match.

This guide covers all of the options to consider for choosing a Muaythai gym: Location, price, coaches, classes offered, amenities, student skill levels, and training.
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