It’s been a long time between these training journal updates, but I’ve still been at it consistently and over the past year, I’ve spent the majority of my time training in Phuket.
Prior to that, I was living in Bangkok with my girlfriend at the time, but things didn’t work out and I decided to head down South for fresh air and beaches.
There are a lot of options for training in Phuket, with new gyms popping up every few months, but it’s hard to find the QUALITY of training that I got used to in Bangkok.
A major downside to the gyms in Phuket (for me personally), is that that the training is so structured. I like to do my own thing.. which is what I got used too in Bangkok.
Running around in circles, doing jumping jacks and group stretches.. I can’t stand that. Conformity has always been an issue for me – which is probably why I never ventured into a traditional 9-5 cubicle job like most people I grew up with.
Anyway, I’m in the Philippines right now and for some reason, the internet at my apartment hasn’t worked in 2 days.
Since I can’t distract myself with Facebook and Youtube videos, I figured I’d throw a blog post together so I can at least feel productive.
This also gives me the chance to tell you about the little known gym in Phuket that I’ve been training at lately…
It’s called Rattachai Gym, and it’s located about a minute away from Soi Taied, which is where Dragon, Tiger and Phuket Top Team are located.
It’s a small, family run gym that was started by Rattanachai Wor Wolapon (Kru Nai) and his wife. “Nai” is a 3x lumpinee stadium champion who used to work at Tiger Muay Thai.
The atmosphere at the gym is very laid back, which is why I like it. There’s nobody forcing me to do anything I don’t want to do.
If I want to show up late, do my own warm up, smash pads and then head back to my room and get work done.. I can.
That being said, if you DO prefer structure (as most people do) and WANT to be pushed, you’ll get that as well.
The atmosphere is quite nice. The trainers are usually smiling, people can hook their music up to the speakers.. it’s just a good vibe.
The trainers are very accomplished as well. In addition to Kru Nai, who I mentioned is a 3x lumpinee stadium champion, there are other high level fighters on hand as well.
One is Angkarndeth a former Rajadamnern stadium champion who’s a VERY technical pad holder.
Another is Kritong Monsaichon, who is also a lumpinee stadium champion who I’m told has a knockout victory over Buakaw.
Kritong is very small, but very technical .. still fun to work with.
I would go into more detail about the trainers, but it’s Phuket and the trainers at gyms seem to change a lot. Just know that they’re doing a good job bringing in talent.
They do the group warm up thing, but it’s not mandatory. Having spent so long at a clinch-focused gym in Bangkok, it’s hard to find compatible clinch training in Phuket.
Not saying Rattachai compares, but the clinch certainly isn’t something that’s neglected. You clinch with other foreigners, as with most gyms in Phuket, but the trainers here will jump in the ring and get involved as well.
You’ll typically get about 3-4 rounds on pads (more if you ask for it) and they alternate between sparring or clinching after everyone is done.
Rattachai gym, as I mentioned, is a family run gym and it’s literally located at the back of their house.
With regards to training family run gym vs a big commercial gym where few people even know your name, I prefer the first option. You get treated more like a person and less like an ATM.
A few years ago, the daughter of the owners (Tuptum) needed an emergency surgery; the cost of which was well beyond what the family could afford (approximately $50,000 USD).
This was back when Kru Nai was working at Tiger Muay Thai.
One of his students, Ben Pittsley, wanted to help and he publicly reached out to UFC president, Dana White.
He basically told Dana that a little girl was going to die if she didn’t get the medical help she needed, and that HE should pay for the surgery.
Dana respected how up front Ben was and decided to help. He put up the $50,000 dollars that was needed and today, Tiptum is happy, healthy and can be found playing in the gym.
I’d recommend dropping in and giving Rattachai gym a try for sure. It fits all the criteria. High level trainers, a welcoming atmosphere and friendly people.
It’s right around the corner from some of the most popular gyms in Phuket anyway, so there’s a good chance you’ll find yourself in the area at some point.