Paddys Gym

I first saw Paddy’s Gym on the show “Human Weapon” on the history channel. I then became interested in coming over to Cambodia and training in the Cambodian style of kickboxing known as Pradal Serey and sometimes called Bokator, although from what I understand Bokator is the ancient style, similar to Muay Boran or ancient Muay Thai as can be seen in Ong Bak. Since I would be coming to Thailand I figured I would come to Cambodia for a bit to do some training at some point and got my chance when I needed to do a visa run last week.

Although there are many of places to train in Cambodia (if they were to be searched out) I was intent on training at Paddy’s Gym. If you do some reading on online about the guy you will see that he gets a lot of praise for being a great trainer. I was also happy to read that he had been a western boxing coach and my hands need a lot of work.

In my conversations with Paddy I got some background info on the history of the gym and some info on the kickboxing scene in Cambodia in general. Paddy has been training fighters for a long time and has lived in Thailand for a number of years, teaching in Pattaya and generally being very involved in the fight scene. He came over to Cambodia nine years ago and saw that he could get a shot at making his own camp, something he thought to be difficult in Thailand where there is a very well entrenched infrastructure amongst the Thai’s that is difficult to break into as a foreigner. He came to Cambodia and fell in love with the country and its people and saw in them a love for sports. This love for sports I can attest to personally, just looking around Phnom Penh it is amazing to see how many people of all ages and groups outside playing some sort of sport or game. Paddy gave me some amazing information that really caught me off guard. In Thailand there are two shows broadcast on TV on the weekend. In Cambodia there are SIX, three times as Many as Thailand in a country with about 1/5 it’s population and definitely not known for kickboxing. Paddy saw this love of boxing as well the hardness of the Khmers and could do nothing but devote himself into building the next Khmer world champion.

All of the fighters Paddy has save for a couple of guys are all 100% trained by him having had their first fight under him. He built his stable of fighters up from scratch and taught them his way. His way means focusing on the hands first then working your way down and focusing on kicks last when all the other basics have been covered. He like many others has noticed a big deficiency in the boxing skills of South East Asian fighters. The reason for this comes mostly from the fact that kicks score far more points than do punches and so naturally the focus is placed on landing kicks to the body as much as possible. Paddy views a fight differently though, a knock out in the first round is a good thing as opposed to the local mind set which see’s it as a boring fight in which the betting stakes did not get high. He is about going in for the kill and destroying your opponent. Once again I liked his thinking. What is great about all this is that Paddy has had a huge impact on every fighter in Cambodia. Before you would never see a punch in a fight, that was until his fighters starting knocking guys out with JABS and everyone decided they had to get on the boat and train their hands as well. He has forced the evolution of kickboxing in Cambodia and that alone is an amazing achievement for anyone.

Now onto my training, so I arrived at his gym and it definitely reminded me of the old school urban boxing gyms you see in the movies. Rocky style, gritty, enclosed deep inside the fitness center with the bare essentials and the sounds of a busy city outside. I immediately liked the place.

The place runs by the clock with a three minute timer on the entire time training is taking place. Paddy is of the thinking that it is better to make sure you do shirt intense work, similar to a fight instead of pitter patting a bag for 20 minutes bored out of your mind.

When he took me on the pads the first day I was there the pad work was basic, very basic with no little tricks or counters but the pace was intense and I was smoked. One twos, and kicks, that’s it. But as many as could be crammed in 3 minutes. I did two rounds with him and although I was dying I could tell that everyone was satisfied with my conditioning, they knew that those three minutes were meant to be far more tougher than a fight, so when fight time comes you aren’t gasping for air waiting for the knock out punch. It fits in very well with the motto written on the gym walls “Train Hard, Fight Easy.” This was the first day and it seemed it was just a general assessment to see where I am at. Look at my technique for the basic weapons I would need in a fight and see at what pace I could use them. That was the end of day one. At the end of the training session his team lines up in files and ranks military style and gets some feedback on the session and given any news that needs to be put out.

The next day with Paddy he focused on technique and the first thing he did was correct my jab cross. When someone with three years experience comes into a gym and the first thing the trainer works on with you is a jab and cross that tells you your working with a good trainer. There were definitely a lot of things I needed to tighten up in this basic technique and the rest of the week I was there that’s all I focused on. One, two, one two, one two.

If you are ever in Cambodia please drop by this place to train or at least show your support for what is happening. In a way what he has going on there shares a few parallels with MMA Pakistan in the sense that Paddy is trying to spread the word about Cambodian boxing within Cambodia and the rest of the world which equates kickboxing immediately with Thailand despite the fact that the walls of Angkor Wat show scenes of kick boxing hundreds of years before the “birthday” of Muay Thai.

I had a great time in Cambodia and at Paddy’s Gym. For more information please check out their website I will have pics of my entire trip up tomorrow.

I would like to say Thank You to Paddy Carson and the fitness center staff for making my time in Phnom Penh enjoyable and good luck to all the fighters working hard every day to do their country proud and to secure a better life for themselves and their families.




  • <cite class="fn">steve</cite>

    I was one of the first 4 kickboxers, and first thaiboxer ever trained by paddy he took me to 4th degree black belt in fullcntact karate as well. Despite training in thailand regularly, i stil use the same approach to fighing that paddy instilled in me….hands first, knees and low kicks to follow. i now have a succesfull stable of fighers of my own in K1, MMA and muaythai and owe it all to my Master Paddy carson for ingraining his iron will in me. the motto of my gym is TRAIN HARD,FIGHT HARD

  • <cite class="fn">Pat Tausch</cite>

    In Pattaya, one can also hire jeeps and cars. The tourists can search around, for different companies offer different prices and conditions.

  • <cite class="fn">Grasshopper</cite>

    Great story, mate. The web site is

    It’s just moved, as of Feb 1, 2010, and now has 2 full-size rings. The new place is near the Russian Market, or Tuol Tom Pong Market, In Phnom Penh.

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