This is going to be a lengthy one as it’ll be more informational than anything. As the way practices run are different from places to places, the following is based on my Jakarta experiences though I can’t imagine other countries’ having too much differences.
For the last two months or so I have been doing muaythai in my neighborhood gym. I’ve given taekwondo a try in the past, and didn’t like it too much as I hardly break any sweat during the practices. So I gave muaythai a try and I think I almost puke myself out after the first hour.
The sessions run pretty similar each time at the place that I go to . Rope-skipping for fifteen minutes, followed by stretching and shadow boxing for basics, with intermittent push-ups and sit-ups. The effectiveness of this part depends on how hard you put your energy in doing the moves and also the correctness of the technique. There’s usually one training assistant who walk around and correct the students’ poses. And then we’d wear our hand wraps and start doing drills. Almost like a circuit, we’d be timed for a ‘break’ every two minutes on each drill with the punching bag. The drill could be a combination of movements utilizing hands, elbows, knees and shins. The ‘break’ means either ten push-ups or ten sit-ups. And that would keep going for the next half hour to an hour. At any point, one of the trainers or assistants would pull some of the students and start doing quick movements with the pads. The pad work session is the one that got me hooked to muaythai. It’s fast, tough and exhausting. After four rounds with the trainers, with push-ups in between of course, I’d enter my no-thinking zone and just go zombie from exhaustion. Which is awesome. After all that’s good an done, there’s the usual strengthening/ cardio drills of push-kick, fast jabs and a few other tiring exercises before we’d do abs. Rounded off with a ten minute cool down session that would bring us to the end of the two hour session. In hell. No. not really. It’s really pleasant after you start walking again the fourth day after your first session. Here is a typical mass class.
However, if you opt to go to one of the drop-in sessions, some clubs only have drop-in sessions and no organized class at all, you will be paired with two-three other students and a trainer. You will skip, stretch and shadow box just the same and then take turn to do pad work with the instructors. A lot more time to rest in between I find this to be a less effective way to spend two hours as I got bored waiting and my body had also cooled down during that resting time.
Where to Go
There are a number of places offering muaythai in Jakarta these days. Here are the differences
– The Big Flag Gyms – Celebrity Fitness, Fitness First, Gold Gym. Almost all of them provide muaythai classes. The quality is less dependent on the gym but to the trainers themselves. Some of the would be outsourced from freelancers or a Muaythai Club and some would be their own in-house trainers who had been trained by these professional Muaythai trainers. It’s a good start to try out if you already have a membership on such gym as it’s usually included in the monthly fee. Monthly gyms fee runs at Rp. 500,000 per month last time I checked. (Which was years ago but can’t imagine it’d go too far above that)
– The MuayThai Club – They carry their own club name. Some would still rent space at commercial gyms, public halls and some lucky ones would have their own dwellings. The benefit of going to a specialized gym is that you’ll most likely to get professional fighters who’ve done this for a long time training you. There will of course have all the pads and punching bags that the other places may lack. Try around and see which one smell the least like your five days old socks. Or convenience. Whichever matters the most to you obviously. The ongoing rate is Rp.50,000-75,000 per session of 1.5-2 hrs though I’ve seen places charging Rp.100,000 a session. They usually have students discount and multiple pass. Almost every areas have a gym now, I’ll try to post a semi-exhaustive list soon as the latest collective post I’ve found on the net was dated in 2010 and a lot have changed since.
– Private Trainings – All you need is to provide the space and you can easily find trainers to come visit you at your convenience. You can try ask the clubs or you can approach one of your trainers from above said place and arrange special deals. Not sure how ethical that would be but that seems to be how it works. Or Kaskus.com. That works most of the time too. The price ranges. Rp.250,000 per hour seems to be the ongoing rate with lots of fluctuation.
Why It is an Awesome Way to Exercise
Adrenaline rush! By the end of the two hours I’d usually be sore and sorry and exhausted beyond belief. And as I drink my Cimory Yogurt, that has become a staple on my after-practice drink, my body just felt really, really good. Like I really own it for real. It’s weird. I have this weird relationship with my body and muaythai somehow made it to be a good-weird one. I just feel fit and energized for the rest of the week following the practice and crave for even more sessions. I skipped the last week’s sessions and my body is already yearning to kick some bags around.
What to Bring on Your First Class
Wear short pants, comfortable breathable t-shirt, a tiny towel for your sweats, water bottle, no shoes necessary as it’s a barefoot martial art (is there any martial arts that require shoes, come to think of it? ok. fencing maybe), hand wrap (Rp.100,000) available on the gym or sport stores and book stores in Jakarta (yes, our book stores sell things from camping gear to cymbals. It’s very odd). And that’s it.
Once you’re hooked, you can start climbing the gear ladder slowly through the different types of gloves/mitts. Once you start sparring, then there’ll be mouth guard, shin guard and any other guard you’ll need. I probably would need full body knight’s armor in this case. But that’s probably one or two years down the road for the average person.
On Fighting Against One Another
I get a lot of questions from girls asking if there are a lot of women doing muaythai. And based on my short two month stint, muay thai is gaining track in the females’ world. Somehow words got around that you can loose a lot of weight from this particular martial art, and it’s very true. The boy locker room’s smell might hinder some of the bravest souls but keep on charging with your search. There will be a gym suitable for you that you can tolerate the smell. The way I look at it, the smellier the gym, the more I feel like punching whatever’s put in front of me. The other question is whether we’ll have to punch each other or not. Nobody has to punch anyone when you just start the art. However, you will sometimes get bruises on your shins, arms and any other parts that you end up using in practice. A good trainer would tell you to suck it up when you say “OUCH” one too many times as that’s how you build stronger shin bones. Though correct me if I’m wrong as I’ll have a bit of yelling to do at the source of this information. It’ll be capslock all the way in my text. YO TRAINER! WHY YOU TELL ME THAT YO! hehe.
That’s what I’ve got so far. Please feel free to ask questions as I love spreading the word about this new found obsession.