Tiger Muay Thai Fight Camp in Phuket
Thai Boxing or Muay Thai is Thailand's national sport. It is also one of Thailand's tourist attractions with many visitors wanting to see a fightcard. The top class fights take place at the two major Muay Thai stadiums in Bangkok. This is where the fighters at the very top of the sport ply their trade. However there are a lot of good fighters in Thailand and there are many satellite stadiums around the country where up and coming fighters try to make their mark.
There are two Thai boxing stadiums in Patong that are aiming at the tourist market. There is one at the end of Soi Sansabai and another off Sainamyen Road near to the bowling alley. There are also several smaller Thai boxing venues around the island and a big stadium in Phuket Town that have mostly Thai customers. All the boxing stadiums, including the two in Bangkok, will charge foreigners much more to enter than Thais. They justify this by giving foreigners the best ringside seats, if they are available. Ticket prices for foreigners at the two Patong stadiums can be as high as 2,000 baht. Even most Premier League football clubs do not charge such high ticket prices yet the Thai boxing stadiums still do well.
The appeal of Thai boxing for tourists is not just limited to viewing the sport. There are many people who actually want to participate. You might think there would not be that many people who would fancy stepping into the ring and exchanging brutal punches, kicks, knees and elbows. Well strangely, there are many people who come to Thailand to do just that. Thai boxing is recognised as one of the world's premier martial arts. Anyone who has followed the rise of mixed martial arts (MMA) at fighting events such as UFC will know that Thai boxing is one of the disciplines that works. MMA has enjoyed a surge in popularity over the last decade. Thai boxing techniques have proved to be very effective within MMA and therefore many people want to learn more.
In response to the surge in international interest in Thai boxing, there are now many training camps around Thailand offering fight courses for foreigners. There are several gyms in Phuket that offer fight training to foreigners but the premier camp must be Tiger Muay Thai and MMA in Chalong. This camp has an impressive set up. It is not purely a Muay Thai camp. They also train MMA and traditional western boxing. Located on a quiet side road the camp has boxing rings, an MMA style cage, mats, weights and many training stations.
The camp has plenty of bungalows for resident fighters but also accepts non-resident fighters for training sessions. They are serious about their training. This camp is not really for people who want a bit of casual sparring and training. They expect the students to work hard and be committed.
You can take private personal trainer sessions for 600-baht or you can join the group classes at weekly or monthly rates. The camp is American owned and managed with Muay Thai trainers from Thailand and international MMA trainers. The trainers include some guys who have fought at the top level including ex world champions. The camp covers the full range of Muay Thai and MMA fighting skills including some serious physical condition training.
They have many long-term residents who stay at the camp for months to hone their fighting skills and physical conditioning. There are quite a few female fighters some of whom are very good. The camp sends fighters to many of the local fightcards and also sends fighters to international fightcards. In fact, top UFC fighters Jon Fitch and Mike Swick have both used the camp as a training base.
If you want to get a taste of what the camp is all about you could visit one of their monthly BBQ Beatdowns. This is an evening of in-house fights at the camp fight ring. You can buy tickets in advance for only 350-baht and this includes beer and buffet food for the evening. The event is quite informal but the fighters like to put on a good show.
You can get full details about their next BBQ Beatdown and everything else that is going on at the camp at the Tiger Muay Thai & MMA website.