Tiger Muay Thai Review

Muay Thai

Most would be forgiven for thinking that two weeks in Thailand could only result in warm ping-pong balls; energy drink induced heart failure, or a massage and happy ending on the beach! However, it’ actually possible to get all the above souvenirs, and return, ready to pose for your Men’s Health cover. Tiger Muay Thai, Phuket

Faced with the terrible prospect of two weeks in Durban, I decided to pursue my “boxing career” and have some fun at the same time in Phuket where a friend lives and teaches English. Muay Thai has always been on the south side of hipster, even in Cape Town, but is becoming more and more popular due to its fitness regime and accessibility to learn at all levels.

{I am human so arriving on Friday night, (which is conveniently followed by a Saturday night) a bottle of Sangsom rum or three, and a bunch of mates I hadn't seen in a while… inevitably delayed my training until Monday.}

I arrived first thing on Monday morning and commenced my Muay Thai training in the beginner’s class, under the able supervision of “Mr Miyagi” and his team of trainers. I soon realized that the Thai trainers appeared to be the odd ones out as the participants of the Muay Thai class consisted of foreigners from all corners of the globe of all shapes and sizes, and varying fitness levels. The core of the session revolves around Muay Thai technique, via shadow boxing, sparring, bag work and pad work. At all times the trainers are walking around helping everyone learn the Muay Thai moves, but never pushing you beyond your limits, or making you feel like the beginner you are.

The trainers are patient and understanding, and you really don’t feel like an idiot when your 25 year old groin can’t quite make the high kick of your former 18 year old self! (Too much sex clearly #iwish) The first session concludes with a “relaxed” warm down of 300 sit-ups and 100 push-ups. (Seems ridiculous. I know! But by the end of ten days you will actually look forward to hardening up those camera shy abs that are starting to peak through!) Mr Miyagi dismisses the class only after all have introduced themselves to the group and shook his hand. Sounds, “school like” but by the end of lesson one; I already had a handful of new mates and it makes pitching up for training next day that much easier knowing there will be familiar faces there.

The above Muay Thai sessions run every day in the morning, and in the afternoon, with every session focused on a new technique with the aim to build your repertoire as the week progresses. Tiger Muay Thai offers a variety of mixed martial arts training sessions on a daily basis. The schedule below shows what is available during a week – one weekly fee allows you access to all the below classes. So you can mix up Muay Thai with Western Boxing, stick fighting, and wrestling or even become a UFC champ and return to Bellville/Boksburg to wear your TapOut shirts and Monster flat peaks with pride!

I combined the Muay Thai general sessions with a private one-on-one session every afternoon in order to further develop my technique and get some extra practice in. The weekend demons had convinced me to give it my all for ten days and really push my body. These sessions really do drive home what is learnt in the morning and afternoon sessions and the knowledge and patience of the trainers really do make you feel like your skill level is progressing. Mac, my private Muay Thai trainer, was a World Champ in his day, but gave me the guidance as if I was an equal. A true legend! The trainers understand that many arrive at Tiger with little or no prior experience (there are many others in the intermediate and advanced classes who are already seasoned fighters) and thus work on the foundation blocks of Muay Thai in order for you to improve and advance.

I decided to split my week’s private sessions between Muay Thai and Western Boxing. Having started my boxing career at The Armoury in Cape Town, I thought I knew enough to skip the general classes and go straight into the private sessions with former WBA titleholder, Chana. An incredible trainer that I hope to join up with again some day! By the end of the week I finally had nailed some new combinations and had moved forward with my boxing career (by using the optimistic words, “boxing career” makes me feel like I’m not actually an accountant by profession… I think I prefer boxer, with no career!) Another few weeks, months with Chana and his brother Songkram and I truly believe I could move up a level with my boxing training.

Now Tiger Muay Thai is not all martial arts! The hidden gem of the daily training schedule is the cross fit sessions. 30 – 40 minutes of combined strength and fitness which pushes your body to the limit. The instructors Kitty and Zach, (both ex-military and could probably lift Khulubuse Zuma!), begin each session with an instruction as to the correct way to perform an exercise focusing on a specific muscle group – which often all we all get wrong at the gym – this is followed a “buy in” warm up to ensure everyone is committed to days workout. The cross fit work out focuses on individual strength, endurance, movement and form as well building camaraderie and encouraging teamwork. It’s all-in stuff!

One month of Muay Thai, Boxing, cross fit and yoga and I guarantee you will be taking your shirt off at Caprice with a copy of your Men’s Health cover as your twitter profile pic! Tiger Muay Thai is situated on a buzzing road, filled with foreigners attending Tiger and the other neighbouring Muay Thai camps. All restaurants have menus that cater for those training and it’s absolutely glorious to be able to order a vanilla protein shake with coconut milk and peanut butter at Tony’s after a hard session (boet)! Thailand is no ice cube, and it gets pretty steamy around midday – the beaches are a ten-minute scooter ride away and a Thai Massage always goes down well.

If you are interested in Martial Arts. If you are keen to get fit and train like you’ve always wanted to but never had the time. If you are overweight. If you think you can never build the physique you wish you had – go to Tiger Muay Thai. I’ve always been the first to admit I wish I could just buy a body like Ryan Gosling somewhere online and never wear a shirt, ever again. Maybe one day one will be able to buy it – but until then, Tiger Muay Thai will turn you into a warrior and build a body that you are happy with.

As if you needed another excuse to Thailand anyway.


  1. Good read, pleased to read yet another positive review as I am planning a trip over myself later this year. I have prices for training and accommodation already (from the TMT site), but roughly how much should I budget per week for food and a private session every day?

  2. Love your articles. Thank you for sharing. To learn Muay Thai boxing is a dedication and need hard working. If we get a good master and well equipped academy or school then it is easy to learn Muay Thai boxing. Boxing in Connecticut