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)..

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7 COMMENTS

  1. Hey admin just got back from 2weeks training at J.Prapa gym and I’m a bit insulted by your comments. Charn and Jomhod are excellent trainers pad holders and all round skilled muaythai trainers.

    Dont know when you had your lil browse around the gym an goin by your video there was alot of tourists there that were beginners but the gym does advertised from beginners to pro (and its also across the road from club med) so there gonna get alot beginners with dispensable income.

    So in future spend 400 B

  2. TC,

    Good to hear that you had a good experience there. My opinions are exactly that, MY opinions. When I went there, I was NOT impressed with what I saw. They had GROUP padwork. I’ve been in Thailand for years now and I’ve been to probably around 30+ gyms and I have never seen a gym with GROUP padwork before.

    That’s not what people travel to Thailand to train for. If they wanted group padwork they could just stay in their own countries. If I spent my 400 baht, I would have wasted my money that day. My friend, who was a beginner, ended up leaving the session early feeling like he wasted his time..

    I mention in my write up that it’s not the gym’s fault that they got a lot of complete beginners. Rather, it was pointing out the fact that the beginners (who need the MOST instruction) wern’t getting the one on one time that they needed.

    I also mention that the write up is based on my impressions of the gym (based on that 1 day) so if anyone has a different opinion of the gym (like yourself), feel free to post it below.. The whole point of these gym profiles/reviews is to give people honest opinions and guideance to help them chose where to train..

  3. hey bill if u come back to pattaya one day on sai sarm have many gyms and cheap one session 300 baht and u can train as long as u want tony’s gym and at golden gym is a good trainer and rosalie from scorpion stays there now she still remembers u from scorpion im from aus i remember u put video of john wayne parr training in bkk for fight and he won againt yodsanklai but the first two fights 1 in oz yod won then contender asia yod won but john beat yod in thai this time very good and rosalie told me she is going to start training again soon and they have been talking about her fighting with angie parr john waynes wife she lives in oz with john but angie is from usa. but if u want and u have time u can try look for fighter from aus i thinks hes the best he has a good record and now he has 2-3-4 world titles nobody can beat him now his name nathan “the carnage” corbett he fought in jamaica in tournoment champions of champions and he fought the best from europe and k.o and the ref said stop but nathan thought he said start fight again so he got disqualified so he didnt get his belt from champions of champions and normally he wins by elbow k.o he’s on of the best in the world at elbow im sure he could beat yod baukow john wayne but now he has alot of muscle so now he fights at a higher weight div when he started i think about 70kg but now 87-93kg im not sure anyway bill if ur in pat hope one day i can meet u and we can train together but im going back to phuket in about 2 weeks to start work now i have work on bangla rd but i wish i could work internet same as u if i meet u maybe u can tell me a little about how i can do that u know u do muay thai rewiews if i can work internet i can do same but do bar rewiews and restaruant rewiews. when i was training at golden gym where rosalie stays now i seen a man from cananda he used to box but he not anymore and i told him about ur website and rosalie told him to maybe he might be a customer for u or just a friend from canada. i think he from toronto but i like george st.piere. ok hope to train with u and meet u someday bye.Travis

  4. Hey there, I went there a few years ago and found J Prapa to be ok. It was alot quiter then or maybe you went there when it was peak season. I would never do group classes anyway, they never did a few years back (i think TC was right in that it’s still a business and anyone who wants to spend their dough is welcome). you never learn anything in group sessions the same as if you train in classes back home. The 1-2-1 sessions were quite expensive (think 1000 baht) but I learnt alot. If you do 1-2-1 sessions you’ll do fine anywhere but there are other gyms around that’ll do 1-2-1s cheaper i think.

  5. J Prapa gets very, very busy in the high season, often with beginners, and the trainers just have to make the most of a bad situation by accommodating as many students as they can.

    It’s pretty chilled out and if you are staying long term you don’t have to haggle too much to get a discount.

    I lived in Kata for three years and I used to train at J Prapa from April to Novemberish and then find another gym n the high season when it got too busy. There’s a lot of youngish thai fighters who are good to spar with which I like.
    .

  6. Hi there admin, I been going to Thailand for training for the last 7 years and I have tried all kinds of gyms all over. For the last 4 years I always bring my guys to J.Prapa.

    I find Charn and Jamod to be great instructors. We have never gone to the group class as we are always between 8 – 12 people of all levels. Charn always has 3- 4 instructors and builds the class wonderfully. Giving everyone, no matter if they are beginners or seasoned fighters, there moneys worth .

    So in conclusion, I would say that you were really unlucky, could be that you expected something it was not. Next time tell them what you are looking for and you will get it.

    BTW going there tomorrow for 2 weeks.

  7. Hello Admin, I also trained with Charn & Jamod in late April & found J.Prapa gym an excellent experience..approaching low season there were trainers available for 1-2-1 for most of the session & in comparison to Patong Boxing gym it was twice the experience ….One of the younger trainers did some individual pad work & techniques that you would never pick up with group training that I have experienced at other gyms……trick is to ask for what you want… chôhk dee

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