Finding the right trainer and/or muay thai gym in its homeland can be a difficult task, particularly for those here long term. If I had to generalize, I’d estimate that your average Foreigner who is on limited time and of limited knowledge has a fairly easy time finding the right fit. New is beautiful.
Again, if I had to generalize, I’d estimate that those of us here long term generally tend to develop discerning tastes. We know what we want, we know what we don’t, and oftentimes other elements influence our decisions. Among them, our financial situation. A number of us stepped away from our employment and saved considerably to follow our passion for muay thai in Thailand. Not all of us have income coming in.
Training Foreigners muay thai is big business here in Thailand, and what is currently considered normal monthly training fees for Foreigners (not inclusive of accommodation and meals) for a six day a week training schedule at a gym in the muay thai epicenter of Bangkok, can average the full time monthly wages of an entry level office worker in the city, which is double your average trainer’s wage and between three and four times the wages of your average farmer and manual labourer in the country. At the time of this writing, this amounts to 12,000 Baht or roughly $400 USD. In addition, if you fight regularly, your gym typically takes a cut of your (known) winnings.
This may be easy for some to digest if they’re in an environment that provides some and/or all of the following:
– a trainer who regularly shows up sober/not hungover,
– a trainer who makes the effort to teach and/or correct technique,
– a gym that provides a welcoming and safe environment,
– and a promoter within the gym that doesn’t consistently or randomly rip you off.
Sometimes you’ll find this and sometimes you won’t. Sometimes you’ll be able to figure this out quickly and sometimes it’ll take some time and some grief. In addition, sometimes you’ll find this at a gym and the person training beside you, won’t.
The subject of the business of muay thai in Thailand and how it relates to Foreigners/Farang is one of gravity.
This isn’t the piece to delve into it, but it is a subject I plan to approach in future posts on MBSB. Nonetheless, for the current direction of this piece, all I can say is, finding the right fit over the past couple of months has been a daunting task for me.
My last post regarding my search, Understanding Isaan Weddings was written on March 19, 2011 and it took until May 23, 2011 to find the right fit. This wasn’t due to lack of trying. To recap, I had a training situation I was more than happy with for approximately one year. I was receiving private training at a gym that was no longer functioning, six days a week. A heavy work schedule for my kru coupled with new family commitments made training together impossible. Once I found out, I considered my situation, particularly the thought of moving away from the city of Buriram. That perhaps was my largest hurtle. Living here isn’t easy, but I don’t feel like my time in Buriram is finished,
so I investigated every option I could to find what I was looking for, most notably, a trainer that cared.
A lot of opportunities came my way. I was offered free training in the country. I was offered to pay what I wanted with another trainer in the city. I had people who were sincere in their dealings with me, and others who had alternate motives. Most notably, the kru who offered to move to the city to train me for free. I asked….”Where are you going to live?”. His answer, “I can sleep on your floor, but don’t worry, I’m a (twenty-nine year old) virgin”.
Eventually I agreed to train with a friend in the street in front of his house. It was a pretty incredible deal, I’ve known him for over a year and he loves muay thai. Problem was, he’s roughly 30 kgs / 66 lbs heavier than me. For those of you who have never trained in Thailand and/or have never been thrown around by someone a portion of your size, 30 kgs / 66 lbs of Thai farm boy turn muay thai fighter man is a lot to contend with. After a few weeks of training, we realized, it just wasn’t feasible. I was going to get hurt.
So, I’ve stepped back into the world of training at a fully functioning muay thai gym and so far, it’s been great. The gym is in Buriram city and has had a number of names over the years, Lookchaomaesaitong, Sakneephon, Neephon, and Sit Namkabuan.
Friday, June 10, 2011
For more information on Buriram, please visit my other website Buriram Info. It’s a complete travel guide which offers hotel bookings, information on how to travel to Buriram, as well as multiple options of things to do.