Tiger Muay Thai, Phuket - Thailand
Spent over a month at this camp, from Late June to early August.
The good stuff first:
* They have a ton of space and equipment
*There are dozens of trainers, all experienced professional Thai Fighters
*They have an MMA program run by a pro MMA fighter. I didn't train in the MMA classes, so I didn't rate the "grappling" training, but the trainer is a purple belt in BJJ and from what I saw, he runs the classes well.
*Sparring 3 days a week with other students. Most gyms here only offer limited sparring with the trainers.
*Pro shop on site where you can buy anything you need
*helpful English speaking administration can help out with visa issues, accommodation, travel, etc
*They can help you get a fight in Thailand
The Not so good stuff:
*Classes are inconsistent and volatile. They can be tiny, or HUGE, Some days you train with 8 guys, some days there are 25 people.
*Transient feel. People are constantly coming and going. Classes reflect this and are mostly random, so it's difficult to build on what you've worked on previously.
*I started in the beginner program, since i've never specifically trained Muay Thai before. After 3 sessions, I was moved to the "intermediate" class. I couldn't tell a significant difference in the level of intensity or level of instruction. If anything, the beginner class was more demanding, with a stronger focus on conditioning.
*Limited one on one time with trainers - You only do about 3-5 rounds with a trainer per class, and this is sometimes interrupted or truncated due to large class sizes. With so many students in each class, if a trainer speaks to you specifically more than 5 times over 3 hours, it's a good day.
*Little to no development of technique unless you buy private lessons and develop a strong relationship with a trainer. The classes are structured so that random techniques are taught daily, and the trainers usually just yell "more pow-ah" or "come on mahhhhn" during the one on one pad training. To be fair, this is not always the case, a few of the better trainers will slow you down and correct your technique. Again, inconsistent.
Overall, I feel that this is a great club for two types of people:
1 - Experienced Muay Thai fighters who want to buy privates and/or train in the more structured advanced class.
2- Tourists looking for something fun to write home about
For someone like me who plans to live in Thailand for the next year or so, I couldn't make it my home gym. Too transiant, too impersonal. I'll miss the guys at the gym though!
1. Budget with 2-3 Privates a week in mind. Book with one of the VIP trainers, I personally recommend Nazee. The good trainers really are excellent and if you invest your training dollars with them, they will go out of their way to help you improve.
2. Stay at Momma's. The camp acommidations are more expensive, and not as nice. Momma and Hong down at "Forest Bungalows" will sort you out with a great little bungalow for about 9,000 Baht.
3. Rent a motorbike on weekends and see the Island. It's worth every penny.
Good luck and happy training!