For Thais, fighting is a religion, entertainment, and a national sport.
It’s very much like Americans with football, or Europeans with soccer. It’s much more than a sport, and damn near everyone in the country is into it.
This doesn’t mean you’ll see street fights everywhere you look in Thailand. Thais are peaceful people and they respect fighting for what it is – a sport.
Fighting in Thailand: The Sport
Muay Thai (or Thai Boxing) can be traced back to 18th century Thailand, and has its roots deeply ingrained in Thai culture.
Thailand has a large number of young fighters who spend their lives training for the ring, and for many families, sending their kids off to fight camp is an acceptable way to guarantee them a future and income for the family.
Thai Boxing is known as “the art of eight limbs”, due to its incorporation of knees and elbows, as well as fists and shins. It provides knowledge on both offensive and defensive strategies, and can be used to submit an opponent through strength, resilience and agility.
Muay Thai stadiums fill with roaring spectators and hopeful fighters every week around the country. Almost every Thai you talk to will either have been a fighter themselves, have one in the family, or at the very least, speak very highly of the sport.
Why you should try Muay Thai in Thailand
This is all great to know, but why should you do it?
Maybe you’ve never been interested in fighting as a sport and so you think there’s no reason to start now. But then again, when in Rome, right?
Thai Boxing has become such an incredible worldwide phenomenon that there are now a sea of Muay Thai gyms all over Thailand that take in foreign beginners, and allow you to learn the basics in a very low pressure environment.
Thais love sharing their culture with foreigners – be that through “family style” dinners, where they will feed foreigners delicious food, or offering to take you around town on their friend’s rental motorbike. But their culture is also teaching you the basics of their favorite sport. Albeit, whilst amicably laughing at you when you inevitably fail to follow their instructions!
In essence, learning Muay Thai in Thailand is a surefire way to get a really unique view on Thailand and this country’s wonderful culture.
Additionally, as travelers know, staying fit while traveling can also be a challenge. The constant cycle of eating, drinking and talking can leave little room for that daily exercise you said you would do.
For long-term travelers, the challenge of staying fit while also spending time exploring a new country can be exponentially more difficult, which is why learning how to fight Muay Thai in Thailand can be a perfect middle ground to meet both requirements.
On the one hand, you’re keeping yourself healthy and getting in those exercising minutes you want, and on the other hand, you’re also experiencing Thai culture at its core and learning about this wonderful nation.
You don’t have to be an athlete to try Muay Thai in Thailand
Perhaps you feel that a sport like this might be reserved to those already in shape or with previous experience.
Perhaps you feel that you wouldn’t be able to handle a strict regime of exercise like the one you imagine training in Muay Thai would demand.
However, although Muay Thai is an incredibly demanding sport, it is not just reserved for those who wish to make a career out of it or who are already fit to begin with.
Thai gyms are aware that foreigners from all walks of life might be interested in their sport, and they are more than willing to cater to your abilities. You can train daily, and you can train once a week. There is no right or wrong way to do it.
It is also important to know that if you do decide to learn how to fight in Thailand, you will likely never really get to spar (train with a partner) unless you spend a lot of time conditioning, and your trainer believes you are good enough.
Most Thai boxers spend the majority of their time learning how to punch and kick fast and strong, whilst keeping themselves fit and ready, rather than actually training and sparring with other fighters.
This means that when you walk into a Muay Thai gym, the focus will be on getting you fit and ready. Building up strength, rather than preparing you for a ring, is the main purpose.
The social aspect of training Muay Thai in Thailand
Training in Thailand is also a group experience.
Depending on the size of your gym you will be offered accommodation and perhaps even food as pack of your training package.
This means that for however long you choose to train you will get a sociable experience. Indeed, you can choose to live with other fighters, either beginners like yourself or veteran fighters from Thailand and abroad.
That allows you to be completely immersed in a culture you have never seen before, and feel healthier for it too. You will learn to love a whole new sport you may have never paid attention to. And you will likely be invited to professional fights, and gain experience at them with your new found group of friends.
If you do have previous fighting experience and came to Thailand looking to expand your knowledge on the subject, then we’re glad to say you came to the right place. Thai gyms are very used to foreigners, and they can help set up a perfect trainer for you and set up a training schedule that will help you meet your goals.
Our final thoughts on Muay Thai training in Thailand
In the end, learning Muay Thai in Thailand is an experience with very little downsides and an array of rewards.
Whether you’re a veteran fighter who wants more knowledge of the sport, or an Average Joe looking to experience something new and take home some unique stories to tell your friends, training Muay Thai in Thailand is for you.
If you do it for a week, or for several months at a time, you’re bound to see a spike in your confidence as well as your health – so what’s stopping you?
Recommended for your trip to Thailand
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