If you stay at a Muay Thai Camp long enough, you will notice there are certain types of people training at most gyms. Whether they are people coming in for a few days or long term students that stay for years, each student will fall into certain categories. These categories are not mutually exclusive of each other; which means that some people can fall into multiple categories. You will not find all of these categories training at a single camp, but you will notice them if you visit different camps across Thailand.
Here is a list of the 10 types of people that you find training Muay Thai in Thailand.
The Good Timers
These are people training at a gym for no other reason than to have a good time. They are the typical weekend warriors: they party on the weekends, go out with friends during the week, and enjoy their time in Thailand. Muay Thai training is simply a way to meet new people and have a lot of fun. These people can be found booking trips with their new friends to different tourist attractions and will always be at a bar/club on the weekend. While most Good Timers are only around for a couple weeks at Thai camp, it’s possible to find long-term Good Timers at a Thai gym who have no intention of fighting but rather use Muay Thai to socialize (and stay fit).
Ideal For: People who are staying on a short holiday (2-4 weeks) to Thailand and want to maximize their fun in the shortest possible time. You are most likely to find these types in locations that cater to the party lifestyle, such as Phuket, Koh Samui etc.
The Soul Searchers
These are people who come down to Thailand to try and find something they’re missing back home. Either they were unhappy with their life, ended a serious relationship, or are unhappy at work and looking to clear their mind. This is one of the largest group of people who come to Thailand to live and train muay thai. Go to any muay thai gym with long termers and you will see a lot of soul searchers training at the gym.
Ideal For: Those who feel lost at home and need a change in your life then this is the perfect place to find yourself.
The Fight Crowd
These are guys who come to Thailand specifically to fight in the ring. They don’t give any excuses and they train their butts off. You will see them running before both training sessions and they almost always have a few fights under their belt. They are dedicated to the sport and intend and trying to take it as far as they possibly can.
Ideal For: People who are serious about fighting in the sport.
Note* You will find a much higher concentration of the fight crowd training in Bangkok compared to tourist destinations like Phuket. This is especially true if you choose a small gym that is not popular among the main stream. This list applies mainly to tourist destinations like Phuket or Chiang Mai.
You might want to check out our 14 Types of Fight Outcomes If You Fight in Thailand
The Star Chasers
These are the type of people who go to a gym because there is a specific “Star” training at the gym. They feel that hanging around and being close to a superstar in the sport, will make them a better fighter. They love being able to tell their friends that they trained at the same gym as Buakaw or that they sparred with Saenchai. These guys are the male version of the groupies as they will brag to you about which superstars they met and who they sparred with in Thailand.
Ideal For: Muay Thai fans who love impressing their friends and boasting about famous fighters they trained/sparred with.
The Sex Tourists
These are mainly guys who come down to train a bit of muay thai and bang some of the local women that are in the area. Training “Muay Thai” is usually used as an excuse to cloak the real reason why they are coming to Thailand – THE GIRLS. These guys are usually at the gym sporadically between dealing with women troubles that they often run into while dealing with the various crazies that they end up seeing on a nightly basis. You will often see them train for a while and then disappear for a few days after a long weekend. They come and go and will usually end up fleeing Thailand in the night or end up quitting training all together to move in with their new girlfriend.
Ideal For: Guys who want to conceal the real reason why they are traveling to Thailand: to bang Thai chicks
The Cross Fitters
Yes, it’s true. Crossfit has invaded the sport of Muay Thai. The very awkward kipping pull ups can be seen making their rounds to Muay Thai gyms in Thailand. You will see these guys doing Olympic lifts and making the rest of us look like lazy bastards. They can be seen lifting weights after training in an attempt to keep from losing muscle. These cross fitters can general be seen eating healthy and making your diet look pathetic. They usually walk around looking Jacked from all the heavy weights they are lifting on a daily basis. If you see someone pulling out a “WOD” (I pray you don’t know what that is), run away before you get sucked into doing a workout that will make you feel out of shape no matter how fit you are.
You often see these types in tourist mecca’s like Phuket, training at the CrossFit camps like Titan or Unit 27. These ‘Boxes’ often through in Muay Thai classes as part of their fitness program.
Ideal For: People into the Cult of Crossfit or people looking to become a convert (jokes).
These are people who fall in love with the idea of training Muay Thai in an exotic country like Thailand, while absorbing the Thai culture and lifestyle. Think of the book: Eat, Pray, Love. These are people who are coming to fulfill that romantic desire to go out and explore a new culture and sport. There is often a secret desire to find Love, even though they will adamantly deny this to others. Look for the hopeless romantic to fall in love whether they are staying for two weeks or 2 years. It’s bound to happen.
Ideal for: Anyone who loves the book Eat, Pray, Love
The Muay Thai Enthusiasts
These are people who love the sport of Muay Thai and everything about it. They come to Thailand because they want to get better at the sport they love. They absorb everything that they can, while they are training in Thailand. Most of these enthusiasts will spend hours of their day watching muay thai videos, reading fight articles, or spending all their time on MuayThaiPROS.com 🙂 These people will take privates everyday, in an attempt to try get as good as possible while being abroad. They don’t necessarily have an intention to fight in Thailand, but many of them do fight and can end up in the fighter category.
Ideal For: Anyone who loves muay thai.
These are people simply training muay thai while they are on vacation. They don’t have any real intention of going to a gym when they return home, but they want to tell people they train the sport. These people will usually upload a million photos of their training sessions on facebook in an attempt to fool people that they are actually training in the sport.
Ideal For: People who are on holiday in Thailand and want to do something to tell their friends about
The Fitness Junkies
These people are obsessed with all things fitness. Did you know that you burn 900 calories per muay thai session? – a common phrase that can be heard from most fitness junkies. They are training to keep up with their fitness goals, rather than improve their muay thai. The fitness junky can be seen calling other people “fat” or obsessing about the body fat % of a person. You will often see daily selfies from the fitness junky that shows off their abs or another body part that is looking “ripped.” Expect to see motivational quotes all over the fitness junkies facebook wall and be bombarded with training updates.
Ideal For: People who are obsessed with fitness and less about Muay Thai.
The Lose Weight’ers
Another category of people you’ll find lingering in some Muay Thai camps and a variation on the Fitness Junkie. These are people who are ONLY looking to use Muay Thai (and especially the rigorous calorie burning sessions of Thailand’s Muay Thai Camps) to lose weight (not so much for just fitness or to stay ripped). This category might have people who are obese, fat, or simply a little overweight. They often come down with a set goal or time-frame for weight-loss. Typically, you’ll find these types at places that specialize in cardio or fat-loss. These places might have a Muay Thai program added on only as an accessory to another program (weight loss, detox-center, fitness-style camp in Thailand). Sometimes, there are actual Muay Thai camps that cater specifically to weight loss; here in Thailand, these places are known as ‘fat camps’ because of the emphasis on weight loss and NOT learning actual Muay Thai technique or fighting.
From personal observations, I’ve noticed a handful of “Lose Weight’ers” actually learn to love Muay Thai so much that they end up becoming fighters. This is usually not the case though — more often then not, this group transitions to “The Good Timers” when their weight-loss goals become derailed by the Thailand nightlife lifestyle.
Ideal For: People who want to lose weight and want the support of other people in the same boat (the camps that cater to this often will have other like-minded people with the same goals)
These are women who come down to Thailand with then intent of trying to hook up with a Thai trainer. These women are either fascinated by the appeal of an ex-champion training them or they love the attention these trainers show them. Regardless of the appeal, these girls will go out of their way to try and hook up with a trainer in Thailand. A lot of these girls have no shame and will do whatever it takes to land themselves a nice looking Thai Trainer for a few nights while on holiday.
Ideal For: Women looking to go on a crazy roller coaster ride and experience some of the Thai culture first hand.
These guys are easy to spot in any gym. They will usually approach you between the pad rounds and ask you how many fights you have had. They often claim to have black belts in other martial arts and will tell stories about themselves. Almost 99% of the time they won’t realize that nobody gives a damn how many “street fights” they’ve been into or that they KO’ed someone in the ring before, but they will keep talking and feeding you crap.
The funniest part of The Bullshitters is that they can talk the talk, but they often don’t walk the walk. Usually when it comes to sparring or clinching The Bullshitters are always coming up with an excuse why they can’t spar. Excuses like, “I hurt my back last week” or “I have a bad knee” are often used to explain why they never spar or clinch in training. The truth is these guys don’t want anybody to see how bad they really are. While you should expect that these guys would be eager to get into the ring, they will make every excuse under the sun to avoid it. The Bullshitters are all talk and no substance. If you engage in a conversation with one, gently smile, listen for a couple seconds, then politely walk away. Trust me, you don’t want to listen to their bull shit.
For the next level of Bullshitter, we have another category below.
Ideal For: Anyone who is into sales and loves telling others how great they are at something
The Social Media Fighters
Kevin Ross had an article about a certain category of Bullshitter. He coined the term ‘Social Media Fighters’ to describe this type which I feel is a very apt description indeed. You might think of these people as Bullshitter 2.0 types.
Social Media Fighters, unlike the regular Bullshitter, try to take their bullshit a level higher. Rather than just announcing to people at the gym (and unfortunate friends who are too polite to run away) about their sparring and technical prowess and that long ass story about how they knocked out some drunk guy at a club last week utilizing that cool spinning elbow technique Kru Bob taught them, this type of person takes the Bullshit a level higher by publicly announcing far and wide via social media that they have an upcoming fight. This is immediately proceeded by a flood of instagram/facebook photos showing their hard-ass training as they prepare for said fight. They may even post a legit fight poster of the upcoming fight with their profile picture as proof.
Then when the fight date arrives, The Social Media Fighter suffers an unexpected injury/sickness/family death and regrettably must cancel the fight.
I’ve personally seen a NUMBER of these types come through Thailand training camps! In some cases, a Social Media Fighter might actually go through with a fight, but the fight is not about actually the challenge or improving Muay Thai, but so they can say they are a ‘fighter’. And if a social media fighter loses a fight, you’ll hear 1001 excuses for why it wasn’t their fault: the judges were biased, the ring was too slippery, the opponent lied about his/her experience level, the boxing gloves were not balanced right, etc.
Ideal For: anyone who loves taking lots of Instagram selfies in Muay Thai gear, wearing Tapout or other Douchewear clothing, and telling everyone they meet that they are a fighter.
Ok, So Maybe There are 14 Types of People not 10!
People Can Change Categories Over Time
If you are going to visit any popular Muay Thai gym in Thailand, you will find someone from every group represented. While smaller gyms in the middle of nowhere will have a higher concentration of “The Fighter Crowd” and “Muay Thai Enthusiasts,” most larger gyms will have a whole range of personalities there. Plenty of people training in Thailand might start off as a “Vacationer,” then realize they love the sport and turn into a “Muay Thai Enthusiast,” eventually becoming part of the “Fighter Crowd.” You might have “The Enthusiast” turn into a “Sex Tourist” after he does a few rounds at the bar.
People often evolve from one category to another or even fit into multiple categories at the same time. Plenty of “Romantics” end up becoming “Enthusiasts/Fighters” after a while in Thailand. The choice is for you to make. Remember, just because you are training in Thailand you are already better off than 95% of people who dream about it. So don’t sweat it. If you don’t see yourself becoming a fighter, there are plenty of other groups to join!
Note* This article is meant to poke fun at different people and shouldn’t be taken personally. It’s not an attack on anyone who chooses to train in Thailand. It doesn’t matter why you are training in Thailand, the point is YOU ARE TRAINING IN THAILAND!
Did I miss something? If you think there is another group I left out please let me know in the comments below.