The Worst Muay Thai Gym in Thailand I’ve Ever Trained At

Koh Tao only has one ‘proper’ Muay Thai gym, Island Muay Thai, which is up the road next to Monsoon Gym in Sairee Beach. The basic reason why I was unhappy with this gym is because it could have been really good (and I wish it was). The facilities are okay, and the location is really good. I lived in Koh Tao twice – for six months each time – and really wanted a decent Muay Thai gym to train at. The reason why Island Muay Thai is so bad is because the trainers simply don’t care.

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They know they are the only gym on the island and most of their students are backpackers that don’t know anything about Muay Thai, so they just smile and take your money without putting in much effort. The typical class started with jump rope and what seemed like 5 rounds of boring shadow boxing with no instruction. The pad work was terrible – the worst I’ve had in Thailand. The trainers were lazy and didn’t have any heart. I tried a few different trainers (including the head trainer) and half the round he would be talking to someone else or otherwise not paying attention. Then they would tell you to do 5 rounds on the bags by yourself, also with no instruction. And that’s it!

I wondered what the hell I was paying for, as I could have done that on my own. We also never sparred or clinched. I’m always surprised when I read positive reviews of Island Muay Thai; I even emailed one of the website owners asking him: “Bro, what the fuck man, how could you give Island Muay Thai a good review? You very well know that gym sucks.” He responded, “Yeah, I know, but this is Thailand, you have to remain politically correct.” This is exactly why it’s hard to trust any reviews about gyms.

The other reviews on forums are by guys that never trained at any other gym so they have nothing to compare it against. They had a good time at Island Muay Thai mostly because Koh Tao is a fun island to live on. Hopefully, one day the trainers will develop their love for Muay Thai again and step up their training but, until then, I cannot recommend Koh Tao’s Island Muay Thai to anyone. There is also another “Muay Thai” gym on Koh Tao near the main pier; it’s indoors and really tiny. I checked it out one day but was instantly turned off when the instructor explained their colored belt ranking system to me. What I’ve always loved about Muay Thai is that they focused on what actually works and didn’t have stupid colored belts – like Karate and Taekwondo have, that you earn by wasting your time memorizing hypothetical ‘katas’ and forms. I would not recommend this place to anyone. The only colored belt system that I actually respect is the one in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu – for all other Martial Arts it’s just a way to make you think you’re improving so they can keep you as a student, and make more money.

Source: Tours Maps

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