By: Shawn Gorman
When I started training Muay Thai, my training instantly went from 0 to 100, being as obsessive as I am. I have traveled to Thailand a few times now, but originally went to see what it was like to be around the best in the sport. I believe that training at home and in Thailand both have their ups and downs, but they compliment each other very well. First of all, experiencing Thailand, the training, going to fights, and the culture is important to help you understand and respect Muay Thai and the culture surrounding it. It is also important to develop yourself at your home gym, creating bonds with your peers and coaches. This is where you develop your style, work on your basics, find your rhythm with your favorite training partner.
Anyone can go to Thailand and train. There is no achievement you need to obtain, no validation from others, no acceptance letter to go there. Most gyms in Thailand have varying levels of experience and people from all walks of life. Some people go to fight, some go because they feel like they have plateaued in skill, some go because they just love Muay Thai.
When I first went to Thailand, I drove myself into the ground with my training, I gave it my all. I got better, of course you get better, my schedule was eat, sleep, train Muay Thai 7 days a week. Some gyms are better suited for learning than others and the amount of instruction given by trainers will vary, especially considering the communication barrier. Larger gyms that are friendly to foreigners will give you top quality instruction, but it’s harder to develop a relationship with a pad holder because of the amount of people training there every day. Smaller, fighter based gyms will give you the opportunity to work with the same trainer, but possibly less instruction, and are based more in learning by repetition, learning by watching.
Training at 8 Limbs has gotten me to where I am today. Having a coach that constantly pushes me to be better, and is always tweaking my technique. My foundation has been built here, I have developed strong relationships with so many people, always pushing my teammates and vice versa. Having main training partners really helps me focus on what I am working on and always keeps me on the grind to get better. My teammates take care of me with solid, challenging and controlled sparring, and we look out for each other mentally and physically, preventing as many injuries as possible. My home gym at 8 Limbs has provided me with a strong foundation of strength, conditioning, Muay Tae/Muay Femur style, and a family like support through the thick and thin of my Muay Thai journey.
I think everyone should go to Thailand to train at least once, get your grind in, and watch the top muay thai fighters in the world train, fight, and goof off. Just don’t be one of those “I only fight in Thailand” folks, because they have a tendency of underestimating competition back at home. My goal is to travel back and forth between Thailand and 8 Limbs. Ideally I would be able to spend a few months in Thailand and come back and do the same exact thing. Don’t stop learning through your Muay Thai Journey, Blood, Sweat, Tears, and Love.