As a beginner looking for a muay thai gym to train at, there are many variables to consider which should sway your opinion in choosing the most suitable one. Here are 4 areas that any beginner should take into consideration when selecting for themselves:
4 Things Beginners Should Look For in A Gym
1. Flexible Schedule
The first thing that a student should look at when trying to find a muay thai gym, is if the schedule suits their needs. Do you prefer to train in the morning, or evening? Many muay thai gyms now offer both early morning and afternoon/evening classes as these are the most popular times to train. If you cannot attend any classes in a particular gym that are on offer, try another gym.
If you are someone who works at strange hours, or does shift work that constantly changes, you may need to pay for private lessons with a trainer at times that better suit you. It is rare to find a gym that has classes running at all hours of the day and night, so unfortunately sometimes the only way to train is to pay the extra money for one on one muay thai lessons at a time that suits you.
2. Quality trainers
If you are wanting to learn skills that could potentially save you or your loved ones from serious harm one day, or are wanting to jump in the ring against an opponent who has put in countless hours at training in order to be better at hurting you, it’s best to be sure that you are learning from someone qualified to teach you these skills correctly.
There are many muay thai trainers that have never competed in a real muay thai fight, and some have never even actually learned real muay thai at all. Some trainers are Karate, or Tae Kwon Do instructors that simply claim to teach muay thai in order to make a little extra money by attempting to attract a broader audience. There is nothing wrong with Karate or Tae Kwon Do, but if you are wanting to learn muay thai, you want to be sure the person teaching you actually knows how to do it themselves.
By simply doing a little research (youtube/google can sometimes be helpful), or even just asking the trainer a little about themselves, you will find out what you need to know.
Your trainer does not necessarily need to be a world champion or a world famous fighter, as anyone who has been in the ring a handful of times will have plenty to offer to a beginner. But obviously the more successful the trainer, the more experience they will have and it is likely they will have lots of room for you to grow as a fighter/student.
3. Good Facilities
Does the gym train on bare carpet, or a soft floor? Does the gym have many heavy bags? Does it have a boxing ring? Does it have strength and conditioning related equipment?
Just by simply looking around at the facilities it is easy to tell if the gym is a safe area to train in, or whether the owners have invested any money back into the gym. At the end of the day, having brand new equipment is not the most important thing when it comes to teaching muay thai as many great fighters have been created in gyms in thailand where the equipment is very old and/make-shift, but it can sometimes indicate how serious the gym owners are about providing for their members.
4. Fun and friendly training environment
This is last on the list but probably the most important topic on the list. If you do not enjoy or look forward to training, it is very hard for you to get consistency as you are likely to find excuses not to train. Without consistency improvement is a very slow process and potentially non existent.
A gym should offer controlled sparring where you can feel safe that you are not going to get hurt, and won’t be showing up to work the next day with a black eye. If the muay thai gym has a highly competitive sparring class where people are trying their best to hurt each other rather than improve their skills, then this may not be the right gym for a beginner to train at. If the trainer is a super skilled fighter, but makes you feel unwelcome and therefor apprehensive about showing up to class, it may a good idea to put some consideration into whether this is the right gym for you.
If the trainer is unfriendly, then this usually means that other students are unfriendly as the trainer sets the standard for what is acceptable in the gym.