To practitioners of Muay Thai, the sport is a way of life. The dedication, love and loyalty we have towards it is almost religious. Continuing with this analogy, most religions have special journeys which they undertake, these are called pilgrimages. We have something very similar to this in Muay Thai and it consists of travelling to the motherland to train in the raw and authentic environment in which our sport was born.
One of the main reasons people elect to undertake a training trip in Thailand is to immerse themselves in the authenticity of a genuine Thai gym. Although many western Muay Thai gyms are brilliant, there is something very special about training at a gym in the motherland.
Thailand is the Mecca of all things Muay Thai. It is the national sport of the country and a great majority of people understand the demands of training and fighting. In Thailand fight shows are much more frequently occurring than they are in western countries. When you are in Thailand you are able to experience spectating (or competing) on a different level. There are entire stadiums dedicated to the sport where fighters, avid supporters and gamblers all gather to marvel at the majesty of the sport.
When you are in Thailand, you have the opportunity to train “like a Thai”. The training schedules in the motherland are more gruelling than they are in western countries because for many fighters this is a full-time job. A typical day for a Thai fighter goes as the following:
Wake up at 5:30/6am, run 8-10km, train for three hours, eat, sleep, wake up, complete another long run, train for another three hours, eat, sleep, repeat.
Due to the many hours spent in the gym, your fitness and skill level will increase very quickly. Many foreigners will embark on a training trip to Thailand when preparing for fights in order to reach a higher level of endurance, fitness, strength and skill.
When you are in Thailand you do not have as many responsibilities as you would at home. You do not have to balance work, family, social life and training. All you have to do is invest yourself in your training regime. At home you may have many distractions which may take your focus away from training consistently, but training in Thailand reduces this. As long as you are able to avoid the bustling nightlife, you will be able to completely immerse yourself in your schedule.
When training in Thailand you will be surrounded by people who have also travelled from all over the world and from all walks of life to undertake the same journey as you. This opens up a new network of people to associate and bond with.
Of course it is not required for every person who trains Muay Thai to travel to Thailand for training, but many people wish to complete this pilgrimage in order to experience Muay Thai in its home.