So, I decided I would write a short post on finding a good Muay Thai trainer. I don’t mean finding a “certified Kru” in your local McDojo back home but finding a good trainer when your training in Thailand. This is really directed towards guys who are brand new to Muay Thai and are coming to Thailand to train for the first time.
So your in Thailand, you’ve chosen a camp to go train at and your now hitting the pads. You’ve never had any pad time and after even two rounds, your gassed. This is GREAT RIGHT?! Not necessarily. Not all trainers are alike and just cuz you have a Thai guy holding pads for you and just cuz he has had 900 fights doesn’t make him a good trainer. Some guys are good trainers for certain people, as in they click with certain people and some trainers are good trainers for almost anyone and everyone and then you have some who suck. I mean they are terrible and they are wasting your time and money.
Here are a couple of major guidelines that can be the difference between time well spent in Thailand and time wasted Feel free to add more in the comments below if you feel I missed something and I will go back and correct it.
1) Your pad holding is interactive. This is the most important thing in my book. If you have been perusing through this blog you may noticed that at certain points I make reference to the “jab, cross, kick” man. This stereotype is the total opposite of what a good pad holder should be like. A good pad holder is going to keep you on your toes, he is gonna throw stuff at you, kicks, elbows – may try to clinch you. In response he wants VARIED attacks and counter attacks. It’s not just pad holding with a good Muay Thai trainer it’s half sparring half pads. The “Jab Cross Kick” man will do just that. Jab, Cross, Kick. Nothing else. A lot of people, because they are in Thailand and are training with Thai guy, think they are thus getting good training. Not true.
2) You are being introduced to new techniques and strategies. This is similiar to point number one. Your pad holder has to be interactive if he is to introduce you to new stuff. Muay Thai isn’t just about combination, and hitting someone hard, it’s much more dynamic and versatile, even more than its famous moniker “science of eight limbs” suggests. It’ about faking your opponent out, it’s about making them miss and responding with an attack of your own, its about chaining together a number of techniques and reactions. I’m not talking about punches and kicks I am talking about something different. Evade, strike, parry, clinch, knee. That whole sentence there is not a series of moves, it’s one move, one “trick” and there are hundreds if not thousands of them, all dependent on the fighter and what has worked for them. A good trainer will introduce you to a number of their favorites.
3) Your form is being corrected. Most foreigners will never have the noodle leg, rubber man slap of the true Nak Muay, but a lot of them get quite close. Thai’s spend the early part of their childhood getting this down before moving onto the little tricks and strageties that make a great fighter. Most foreigners, because they start so much later are in this childhood phase when normal Thai fighters are retiring. Your kicks, elbows and knees (most boxing is often better than the Thais, which is why I wont mention it) probably need work, your not eprfect yet, and your trainer should be correcting you. If it’s your first time in Thailand and you have trained less than five years and your not getting this correction. You probably have a crappy trainer.
4) Your pad holder has good communication skills. This one is kind of tricky because of the language barrier. However, after years of experience on multiple trips, I have had trainers with great English who are worthless at explaining and trainers with no English who would be the charades world champion with their wonderful teaching skills in pantomime. I think this pretty much comes down with who is a good teacher by any standard and who is passionate about imparting their knowledge to you. If your trainer really wants you to learn, he will get his point across, any way possible.
So, if your brand new, and even if your not, look over these points carefully. If you agree or have some of your own points to make, please comment below!