What would be a visit to Thailand without trying Muay Thai Kickboxing?
Thailand is home to one of the greatest martial arts and combat forms – the Muay Thai Kickboxing. Dating back its origins to the 16th century in the kingdom, there are now 1000’s of gyms spread across the globe with anually held World Championships hosted by the World Muaythai Federation.
After we checked a couple of gyms, I stumbled upon the HongThong Muay Thai Gym in Chiang Mai. We already felt that we were in good hands when sending emails back and forth , as we were impressed with the friendliness and speed of answering our emails. The gym is located just a few minutes outside the old city centre and easily to reach via motorbike or car.
It is run by Thailand’s famous twin brothers Kru Joe (HongThong Noi) and Kru Gen (HongThong Lek) who are not only still actively fighting, but also take great pride in training their students.
Hands getting wrapped
The day has finally arrived and I was getting really excited to meet the trainers and other students. The guys and girls came from across different nations such as Switzerland, the Philippines, South Africa and many more. I felt a bit reliefed after I came to know that I am not the only rookie here.
We started with our warm-up by jumping ropes – something I haven’t really done since…, well, a looong time it turned out. It looked pretty easy when I looked at the other students and I felt a bit lost for a moment to be honest. But putting my nervousness away, I quickly figured it out and started happily jumping.
30 minutes later:
The sweat is pouring down my face and I’m grasping at my water. It’s 34 degrees C. on the huge digital clock across the gym. Hell yeah, I feel great!
My training started with learning the basics of punching by doing shadow boxing. I soon continued on a punshing bag made from tyres and felt how my knuckles woke up.
It took only some more minutes when Joe took me aside and I continued with the full program: Kicks, punshes, elbow -and knee strikes. He was completely covered into saftey gear, so that I could feel free with my punshes and kicks. I already felt every single muscle in my body was in movement. By now, I finished 1.5 hours of training and two 1.5l water bottles. Joe pushed me physically extremly to the limit, but always knowing the right time for a one minute break.
It’s time for the ring
Just when I thought “hey dude, you really made it”, I was asked to put on additional safety gear and step into the ring. Oh lord! Okay, no excuses, I can make it! I encountered with some of the students who have been there for 4-8 weeks and continued with one-on-one fighting sessions – for beginners. Speaking that nobody turned me into a matchstick, but rather taught me helpful moves and techniques such as the right way to block a kick, but most importantly: never ever close your eyes or look away for fraction of a second, because it might be probably your end. I admit: Though I am swimming at least once per week, I needed to ask my partners in the ring to have mercy with me, as I could fight for max. two minutes, before grasping for air.
Then Joe and Gen announced that the training for today is over and all fighters and students ended the session with stretching.
A couple of weeks of Muay Thai Kickboxing and I assure you that it’s a greater way to workout, rather than just going to the gym. It’s a fantastic martial art which focuses very strong on body condition. Moreover does it helps you to overcome fear and anger and turns it into pure adrenalin which makes you want to continue training every day.
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Joe proudly shows us his trophies
HongThong Muay Thai Gym training schedule:
Morning session: 07:00-09:00
Afternoon session: 16:00-18:00
Single session: 290 Baht
Daily (2 sessions): 490 Baht
Weekly: 2500 Baht
Monthly: 8900 Baht
Three months: 23.900 Baht
Have you ever tried Muay Thai or any other martial arts? Let us know in the comments below!