For many of you, the idea of training muay thai in Thailand is akin to living the dream. Be it that you train in the gym of your choice for a limited number of weeks or you train in Thailand indefinitely, I suggest you consider the following before you decide where to go and how to get there.
What Are You Really Looking For?
This is the major question that will set precedence for all to come. Take the time to be introspective and reflect on what it is you’re really after, not what you think you’re after, not what others have told you to reach for but what it is that truly drives your desire to train in Thailand. If you’re stuck, reflect on the daydreams you have about training in Thailand and go from there. Be completely honest with yourself regardless of how ridiculous some of the answers may seem to you. Simply identify them. Write everything that comes to mind down. Draw pictures if you have to. Do whatever works. Don’t let fear of any kind influence your answers. This includes the fear of not having enough money to fund your dream. I’ll discuss the finances in a future post.
Some questions to assist you:
What Are Your Training Goals?
Do you want a general progression of skills? Do you need to work on one specific aspect of your game (i.e. the clinch)? Are you preparing for an upcoming fight? Are you simply there to lose weight? To have fun? Just to say that you did it? Train with the best? Is it a mix? Do you even know? Not knowing is fine as are all answers. The entire point is to get a mind map of sorts to lead you in the direction that’s specific to your individual dream.
How Do You Want To Live?
For some, sleeping at the gym in a rudimentary room with a crew of fighters on bunk beds is the dream, for others, it’s having a posh hotel room with WiFi, cable television and no curfew. Do you want country? Ocean? City? What size of city? Do you want to be surrounded by other Foreigners or are you happy to be the lone one? Do you want to be able to hit bars, malls and movies in English outside of training time? Do you want to avoid all distractions outside of the gym? Do you want to throw yourself into the unknown and see what manifests?
What Is Your Timeline?
How much time do you dream of dedicating to training in Thailand? How many weeks, months, years? Is your dream to train there indefinitely? Or are you happy walking off of a plane and just seeing what happens?
How Dedicated Are You?
Do you want to train fulltime, meaning a minimum of six days a week? Do you want to train twice daily? Do you only want to train a few times a week? Do you want a fixed schedule or the freedom to drop in? Are you planning on vacationing? Is this part time for you?
What Type Of Gym Culture Are You Looking For?
Do you want to meet a lot of Foreigners? Are you happy being the only non Thai? Do you want to train with fighters in their prime? Or are you looking for a feeder gym – a gym filled with young fighters honing their skills? Do you want a gym that understands your culture (i.e. Western culture)? Do you want to completely submerse yourself in traditional muay thai (Thai) culture? Do you want a family style environment or a competitive one with new fighters always coming in and out of the gym? Do you want a gym with a lot of power and contacts? Is being promoted at the best venues important to you? Do you prefer small temple and country fair fights? Are you okay with fighting at a bar? At a ring set up in the middle of nowhere solely for gamblers?
Do you want to train with other women? Do you want to train with Thai women, Foreign women, a mix, or does it matter at all? Will you be happy if you’re not allowed to train in the ring? Does it matter if the gym doesn’t promote women?
I realize I may be throwing a lot of questions at you, some of which you may not have the answers to. That’s alright, I just want to get you thinking. I want to get you dreaming. Really feel what it is that you’re after. From there, I’ll help you make it all take form, if that’s what you decide to do. Sometimes really delving into what it is that you want makes you realize that you’re either not ready or that which you thought was a dream to train in Thailand was but a fantasy to indulge in, not persue. In that case, it’s better to realize it early, save time and energy and move towards what you’re really after.