I had a friend come visit me from Canada and for obvious reasons, he wanted to check out the beaches so here I am, in Phuket, being treated like a tourist once again. It’s definitely a different vibe here than my all-Thai area in Bangkok and I find that I’m being treated more like a walking ATM then a person but whatever, I’ll write out an entry on the differences of training in Phuket vs. Bangkok in an upcoming entry.
Phuket definitely isn’t new to me. I’ve spent a lot of time here and aside from all the hustlers (taxi drivers especially), it’s a pretty cool place. It’s definitely nice to breathe clean air again (which I noticed the second I stepped off the plane) and it’s also nice not to have to squeeze my way through the crowds like I do in Bangkok.
I won’t be here for very long, but while I am here, I’m going to make the most of it and check out some of the gyms that I’ve missed on my previous trips. I’m currently staying at the Patong Boxing Gym (which has moved locations and undergone a lot of changes), but the other day, I stopped into a gym that I had high expectations for, J. Prapa. Here’s a tour of the place..
J. Prapa gym isn’t heavily marketed online like most of the other Phuket based gyms. For some reason, I pictured it as being a “hardcore” gym with a lot of Thai fighters. I even thought that it could have been a “hidden gem” so to speak since many of the gyms in Phuket are packed with foreigners, most of which are complete beginners. My expectations for the gym were high – especially considering that Jomhod Kiatadisak is there. Jomhod, for those who are unfamiliar with him, is a living legend who has won more titles than any other Thai fighter (he holds lumpinee and rajadamnern titles as well)..
The gym is located in Kata beach. I’ll be honest and say that the location is great, but that’s about the only thing I was impressed with. While I pictured it to be a “serious” gym, I couldn’t have been more wrong. The overall skill level of the students is very low and the level of instruction is even worse. The majority of the students look like they just walked up from off the beach, billabong shorts and all. One guy was even wearing a toque. A toque in Thailand, while training Muay Thai, I’m serious.. Here’s some video evidence..
Now, that’s not the gyms fault. But what IS the gyms fault is the poor quality training. In all my years so far in Thailand, I’ve never seen worse. J. Prapa has group padwork! Picture 10 students in a ring with only 1 or 2 trainers. All the students will be instructed on which combination to perform and get about 30 seconds on the pads.. Once the 30 seconds is up, they will then go to the back of the line while the next student performs the same combination. Repeat this process 3 times (3 combinations) and that’s it. That’s the padwork structure..
Even my friend, who is a complete beginner, could tell that the training was of low quality and didn’t even bother finishing the session. I had one look at things and immediately decided that I was going to save my 400 baht (fee per session) and just sit and observe things. If you’re at all serious about your training, I’d suggest that you give this gym a pass and train at one of the other gyms (there’s certainly no shortage of them here in Phuket)..
THINKING OF GOING TO THAILAND TO TRAIN?
I’ve developed a 70 page guide that profiles everything you need to know about training in Bangkok, Phuket and Pattaya. In the manual, I discuss the visa issues, the Muay Thai camps, the different areas, the transportation, the food, the culture and customs, the girls, the scams, the safety issues and most importantly, how to save a ton of cash along the way!