After many trips to Thailand, I finally visited the world famous Sitmonchai Gym! Sitmonchai Gym is in a small town close to Bangkok called Thamaka. The main reason for my visit was to train alongside three great fighters from the gym: Pornsanae, Yodkunpon, and Thepnimit.
Unfortunately upon arrival, I realised that Yodkunpon was not training at the time. He was studying in Bangkok. Also Pornsanae just had a fight and was resting.
Why Sitmonchai Gym? How It Started
I had met some of the Sitmonchai fighters and trainers with foreign manager Abigail at Rajadamnern Stadium when I went to watch Pornsanae fight. From our first contact we all just clicked and I felt welcomed into the Sitmonchai family. It was amazing to sit with the Sitmonchai team and watch one of my favourite fighters Pornsanae fight live in front of my eyes; and as expected, he took a beautiful win over his opponent with the beautiful, signature Sitmonchai style.
Before I describe the gym’s training routine, it’s worth mentioning the difference in Sitmonchai’s style from other gyms is that the main focus is on very fast and powerful punches, and hard low kicks. Fighters from the gym still clinch, knee, and elbow well, but their specialty is their punches and low kicks.
When I arrived at the gym, I was shown my room and was greeted by the rest of the fighters and members of the gym. Like before, I felt as if I was part of the gym for a long time. Everyone was very welcoming and just a bunch of great guys. I was very lucky too; my main trainer was the head coach of Sitmonchai Gym, Kru Dam!
The Training at Sitmonchai
Run 5-10 km. It depends on you how much you want to run as no one will hold your hand, but everyone will try to motivate you. After running you will shadow box and/or do bag work until one of the trainers calls you to do pad rounds. You will do 4-6 rounds on pads. Normally two rounds will be on the low kick and punch as well. The pad work was really good, and very hard and fast paced. After pads you will do basic conditioning drills: press ups, sit ups, etc. or you can do free weights.
You can run a shorter run than in the morning or skip rope. Then you will do pad work for 4-6 rounds and bag work before and after pads. (Evening pad work always seems harder!) After everyone finishes their pads and bag work, you can do technical sparring or hard clinching; sometimes you can do both. To finish, most people do conditioning and focus especially on sit ups and core exercises.
The gym has a good number of trainers. During my stay there were five different trainers. All of them were slightly different, but they were all excellent and very enthusiastic to teach and push you hard during your stay.
Oh my God! The food! I loved it! I would say it’s worth going to Sitmonchai Gym even just for the food! There were big portions and a variety of foods daily!
You will get a very basic but clean room with a cold shower. (This is standard in most Thai gyms.)
The Location / What to Do in Thamaka
Because of the gym’s location in a very small and quiet town, there is not much to do apart from training. If you’re serious about training and don’t like distraction, you will love it.
To sum it all up, Sitmonchai Gym is really an amazing Muay Thai gym with a great vibe and family-like feel to it. You can be a complete beginner or a very experienced pro fighter, you’ll have a great time and will definitely improve a lot, especially your hands and low kicks.
This is the second review of Sitmonchai Gym to appear on MBSB. You can check out the first review here.
Mariusz Slowinski is a Muay Thai, boxing, and strength and conditioning coach from London, England. He is the first non-Thai to have worked as a trainer at Keatkhamtorn Gym in Bangkok. Mariusz travels to Thailand regularly to learn more about the Art of Eight Limbs and has learned from some of Thailand’s greats. Connect with him on Facebook, Instagram, and his website, Coach Mariusz.