The following will only discuss the duration of your Muay Thai training in Thailand, not the totality of your time spent in Thailand. Should you decide to travel and train, please factor in the appropriate time you want to spend traveling. The purpose of this piece is to focus on Muay Thai.
Now is the time to factor in some of what you previously worked on: determining what it is you really want and realizing what you can take. Don’t worry about the finances yet, we’ll discuss that in the next piece.
The main areas of work you previously have done and should now consider are:
- What are your training goals?
- What is your timeline?
- How dedicated are you?
- What can you physically take?
If you’re a new reader, please ask yourself those questions before continuing this exercise. Ideally, check out the linked pieces above and do the work.
Putting It All Together
I’ll lead by example here and do the exercise as if it were my own, on my second trip to Thailand.
What Are Your Training Goals?
To be the best that I can be. To learn the art of Muay Thai over fighting for a belt. A belt is cool, but I really want to progress in my technique, stamina and intelligence. Constantly progress. I’ll take fights but I refuse to fight fake fights in tourist areas. Meaning, I won’t fight the female equivalent of a taxi driver who last trained Muay Thai as a child and needs some extra money that week. I’ll only fight real nak muays. I want the real deal in every respect.
What Is Your Timeline?
Indefinitely. I’m all in.
How Dedicated Are You?
I’m all in. This is full-time and will rise to whatever challenge is thrown at me.
What Can You Physically Take?
I’m a terrible long distance runner and I know this will be a challenge. So will past injuries, most notably a previously fractured spine. I can’t run twice daily, it’ll kill my joints. Training on concrete may pose an issue as well. My current cardio level needs improvement. I’m allergic to MSG and rice puts weight on me like eating (small) bowls of candy. This will also be a challenge.
My strengths are that I can handle long durations of hands and clinching without tiring. I have a freakishly high pain tolerance, can keep calm when hit, and I’m stubborn and driven. I can take heavy weight, heavy hits and I’m an explosive striker. I need to work on my kicking speed.
Biggest worry – not being able to keep up with the running.
Putting everything together was very straight forward for me. I didn’t care about vacationing, I didn’t care about training part-time or drinking or anything like that. However, let’s pretend I was a student with approximately two months to travel during the summer. I had the same training goals but I would only dedicate a portion of my trip to Muay Thai training. I wanted to see cultural sites and possibly visit neighbouring countries. However, during the portion of my trip in a gym I would train twice daily. To get the most out of my stay, I’d either have to factor in the time it would take to improve my cardio level into my training time in Thailand or I would have to be disciplined and improve those levels prior to my arrival.
What about you? Put it all together. Let’s say your training goal is to have one fight in Thailand. If you’re in peak physical condition, it’s quite possible, once you determine the right gym, to show up in Thailand and fight within two weeks. If you’re not, you’re going to want to factor in more. This section is fairly difficult for me to lead you through as there are so many factors that can shape your timeline. You can have more than one answer, more than one choice. The point is to think and make educated decisions. Too many people show up to train in Thailand and feel that they have wasted time by not having a clear idea of what they were doing.
Some Things To Consider
- Jetlag. If you’re prone to it, factor this time into your trip.
- Travel times within Thailand.
- Acclimation. Adjusting to the Thai heat may effect your stamina. Adjusting to Thai food may do the same.
- For those of you who are interested in training long-term (i.e. six months or more), please note that Muay Thai is like anything else, people become accustomed to one another. The newness dissipates and you may find that what you learn begins to tapers off as does the attention you’re given. Often when someone arrives at a camp they’re taught a great deal in a short period of time. The gym will make adjustments to many aspects of your game. However, if you’re there for the long run and they know you plan to be, your trainer will expect you to apply what you’ve been taught consistently before they teach you something new. It’s generally what is expected of the young Thai nak muays as well.
- Factor in the time it may take for you to physically improve. By this, I mean, for most of you training Muay Thai in a Thai gym will be a challenge to your system. I realized during my first trip to Thailand that it took me approximately six weeks to greatly surpass what I had thought was a plateau weeks earlier. In short, for me, after six weeks I felt strong. It wasn’t a consistent growth, rather at approximately six weeks I felt everything – my stamina, my strength, my cardio levels peak. I was in condition to fight.
In the next piece, I’ll discuss how to determine your budget and alternate ways to save and make money to help you realize your goals training Muay Thai in Thailand.