10 Ways To Spot a Gimmick Muay Thai Gym

Tips On How To Avoid Training At “McDojo”

With Muay Thai growing all over the world, it’s never been easier to take up one of the best sports in the world! Unfortunately, this also comes with plenty of people who have no idea what they’re doing and have no business running a gym to train other people.

Here are a few ways to spot those kind of places so you know where to avoid!

1. What type of heavy bags do they have?

If you walk into a gym and they ONLY have these:

instead of these:

..turn around and walk out!

2. You ask the head trainer about their experience with Muay Thai and their response is one of the following:

“I’ve never had a Muay Thai fight, but I’ve been in plenty of street fights.”

“Call me Kru. I paid to take a weekend course and I earned the title so now everyone has to call me Kru.”

“I’m a black belt in Muay Thai.”

“I’ve never trained before but I think I’m fully qualified to teach others because YouTube taught me how.”

“I went to Thailand a couple times and decided to open a gym and teach but I have no experience in the sport myself.”

3. There is no discipline or structure in the classes

The students are told to do 30 kicks and they go “drink water” for 5 minutes and none of the instructors say anything about it. Or the students do however much they want and the instructors don’t care. The worst is when everyone else uses 100% power during “technical sparring” and nobody says anything.

4. They don’t work on your basics

Basics are your foundation to EVERYTHING in your Muay Thai journey. If you have a bad fighting stance and you continue training like that, guess what? Everything else is going to turn out bad too.

5. Technique is never corrected

Even if it was a class that everyone took for fitness reasons, this is still not okay. Proper technique avoids injury. If this was a class that people took to learn Muay Thai, then this is definitely not okay. Nobody comes in knowing everything and they need someone who knows what they’re doing to help them become better. Better technique leads to more speed and more power. Shitty technique leads to people getting their asses kicked in their fights.

6. They don’t clinch. Ever.

Clinching is an essential part of Muay Thai. If you’re not clinching, it’s not Muay Thai.

7. The instructors don’t know of any Muay Thai fighters other than Buakaw and Saenchai

Sure, they’re living legends, but that doesn’t even scratch the surface.

8. They throw you in to spar on your first day

Sparring is something you work up to when your skill levels are up to par so that you can attack and defend yourself properly. You should never be made to spar on your first day.

9. They don’t know your goals

If they don’t take the time to get to know you, then a lot of complications can arise. For example, if you are only there to learn self defense or to get in shape, then there’s no reason for them to kill you during training or talk to you as if you have a fight coming up. But if you want to fight, then they should make sure you are ready before stepping into the ring, physically and mentally.

10. They don’t step in to do what’s right

If there’s bullying or harassment going on under their noses, they need to do something about it. If they sit there and allow it to happen, it’s a reflection of them and how they run the gym – don’t go back.

What other ways can you tell the difference between a REAL Muay Thai Gym and a gimmicky one?

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Angela Chang
Plant-based fighter, foodie, and aspiring physical therapist. Angela is currently living in Bangkok and training full time.

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