Choosing a Muay Thai Gym

Choosing a Muay Thai Gym Choosing a Muay Thai Gym

It can be hard to find the right Muay Thai gym. Every school is a little different. Differences include the techniques and training exercises all the way to how instructors react to individual students. But all Muay Thai schools teach the ‘art of eight limbs’. With a strong focus on striking with hands, feet, elbows, and knees, Muay Thai is a full body combat sport.

Finding someone with the skills and technique you really want to learn can be a challenge. Despite the popularity of Muay Thai, finding a trainer capable of propelling you to international fighting fame is difficult. The best trainers often have a long list of hopefuls and may live far from where you do.

Choosing the wrong gym is a great way to get your body and pride hurt. Fear not, there are some tried and true methods for finding the perfect master to teach you the ancient art of Muay Thai. Regardless of what your end goal is, these steps will help you find the right gym to call home.

Decide what you really want

Are you looking for a Muay Thai gym to get fit? Is this another in a long list of martial arts you are trained in? Or are you looking to learn a method of self-defense? Your goal is going to be a big factor in which school is best for you. If you have never fought or trained before, joining a gym full of pro-MMA fighters is often a bad fit.

Muay Thai is primarily a sport but has a long history of military relevance. That military history is great but also makes Muay Thai a lot more brutal than other sports. Not everyone is looking to harden their shins by kicking trees. Some people are just looking to have some fun getting into shape.

If you are looking to take your cage fighting or MMA career to the next level, don’t waste time with trainers who aren’t serious about competition. Let potential trainers know what you want to get from them. Be upfront with the trainer and realistic about your goals.

Ask about the teacher’s history

Old-school trainers can be overwhelming for people new to fighting. Their techniques seem harsh and they generally value tradition over all else. For people just looking to learn how to throw a punch, such a strong focus on tradition is frustrating. However, for people looking to find a connection to history, tradition, and people of the past, it can be invaluable.

One way to make sure the person training you is what you think they are is a background check. Not the kind that police do, but a simple look at where and how they earned their right to teach. Check to see which organizations your potential instructor is certified by and see if they are in good standing.

Organizations like the Thai Boxing Association track instructors and provide some information to potential students. Contacting these organizations is simple but the more traditional ones can take a little extra work. The result is worth the effort though and can lead to unexpected benefits.

Decide if you want to compete

Training to enter the arena is a lot different than training for fitness. Joining a hard-core gym is likely to be overly stressful if you’re just looking to get into shape. While learning Muay Thai at a planet-fitness instead of at a specialized gym is pointless if you want to cage fight.

Competing demands significantly more time sparring, training, and overall dedication than simple fitness. You need a serious trainer willing and able to push you to accel at cage fighting. The best trainers have their own schools and teams competing so getting “on the team” might be difficult.

Serious competition training needs to include significant amounts of sparring and shadowboxing. Having a decent stable of other quality fighters also shows the trainer can actually do what they say. If there aren’t enough quality fighters at the Muay Thai gym, it is unlikely that you will get the experience needed to achieve success in the ring.

Check out the equipment

Traditional Muay Thai fighters harden their bones by wrapping their hands and feet before striking banana trees. Unfortunately for most students, trees soft and large enough to harden bones don’t grow in most places. But modern fighters do have access to a myriad of high-quality equipment like punching bags, Muay Thai gloves, and pads.

Some people choose to train with non-traditional methods like tires, ropes, and elastic bands. But not everyone wants to train on a tire or other non-traditional equipment. Some people prefer purpose-built equipment that offers a higher quality user experience. Just make sure the equipment you are going to use fits your expectations.

Stay on the same page

It might not seem very important at first but the comfort level with the Muay Thai gym is a big factor in success. Without a good bond and trust in the instructor, you won’t be able to push as hard or learn as much as otherwise. You need to be comfortable challenging your trainer and in accepting their guidance.

Trainers need to understand what you are comfortable with. Part of this comes from telling them your goals. But they also need to be able to read your body language and mood to help you focus on training without causing negative outcomes. They need to know how to push your buttons without pushing you over the edge.

This doesn’t mean they can’t be abrasive and constantly challenge you to improve. But you need to trust that they have your best interest in mind. It doesn’t matter what their pedigree is. If they are unwilling to listen to legitimate concerns, make you uncomfortable just being around them, or refuse to give helpful feedback, they shouldn’t be your trainer.


  1. – Unattributed – How To Choose A Muay Thai Gym 17 Tips
  2. – Unattributed – Choosing a Muaythai Gym
  3. – Angela Chang – 10 Ways To Spot a Gimmick Muay Thai Gym
  4. – Jeo – What makes a good muay thai gym?