Summary : A severe lack of Thai fighters makes Keatkhamtorn pretty rubbish.
I recently landed in Bangkok Suvarnabhumi airport for my 3rd stint in Thailand. This time, I decided to go for the “let the chips fall where they may” approach to planning (basically no planning), so I didn’t know what gym I was going to visit first. I don’t always recommend this approach, but when you’ve spent a bit of time in Thailand it’s pretty safe to do so (and a lot more fun in my opinion!). Besides, plans rarely come to fruition when travelling anyway.
I knew there were a few muay Thai camps that I wanted to check out but I thought I’d stay at a few gyms near the airport, since I was already there. I did a Google search on one of those internet thingys at the airport (anyone know what they’re called?) and the first gym to appear was Keatkhamtorn gym. It has a good reputation and has produced many champions down the years so I thought I’d give it a shot.
When I arrived at the gym in my pimped out taxi, I was greeted by Jakae, the owner of gym. Jakae immediately made me feel welcome and I got a sense that this was a very foreigner-friendly gym.
In terms of personnel at Keatkhamtorn gym, there were 5 other foreigners training there from France, United States and Canada. There were 3 Thai trainers and only 4-5 Thai fighters at any one time, all of whom were 50kg and below. After reading some of the other reviews online, I was surprised to see only a few Thai fighters training here. I was also surprised with the lack of atmosphere in the place. I know that Nopparat was absent from the gym during my stay due to broken ribs (I think), but I’m not sure there were any other big names missing from the gym. It just seemed kind of flat.
Morning training started at 06:00 with a 3-4km run around the area. The majority of the running route is kept to the soi and avoids the main road for the most part. The run isn’t compulsory, you can skip as a warm-up if you so wish. After the run, the fighters knee bags and then wrap hands for bags and pads. Trainer “Tobo” instructed me to get into the ring and shadow box. After about 1 minute he could see what kind of technique level I had so he told me to glove up and hit pads with him. Before I started hitting the pads, he checked my foot movement by advancing towards me and instructing me which way to turn and what and what type of step to use. Tobo is a good, technical trainer who picks up on small flaws in the Thai boxer’s technique. I had been out injured for over a year when I turned up to this camp so I was a proper skinny-fat man but Tobo knew that so took it easy on me!
The routine follows the standard shadow, bags, pads, clinching and the sessions lasted around 2 hours. The session is usually ended with some “boot camp” style training which involves sprints up and down the gym, push-ups, burpees and other body-weight exercises. Bag training isn’t overseen by any of the trainers, you’re left to your own devices there.
I was a little disappointed with the clinching as there wasn’t any Thais anywhere near my size in the gym and only 3 or 4 Thais training altogether. As I mentioned earlier, Nopparat was out injured which was a shame as I would have liked to have clinched with him. I ended up clinching with a 50kg Thai for about ten minutes at the end of sessions and once or twice with an American guy named Bret. Not really what I expect when I visit a Thai gym in Bangkok but maybe I came at a bad time? I also practiced technique work with other foreigners.
I got 5×4 minute rounds morning and evening for the few days that I attended Keatkhamtorn so no dramas there. I didn’t get any sparring in during my stay and I can see that being an issue if I were planning on staying any longer.
All in all, pretty disappointing. It may be worth another shot at a later stage but, to be honest, there are other gyms which I will prioritise over Keatkhamtorn so I doubt if I’ll return. On a positive note; the surrounding area is pretty nice and the people here are really friendly. Oh, and the food here is really good; great selection of dishes and the dishes are big, although I think I paid about 100 baht per meal which is steep.
Keatkhamtorn gym is definitely foreigner-friendly and you will get looked after here, it’s just a little too foreigner friendly for my liking.
Good food/eating area
Technique is taught
Not enough Thai fighters
Largely training with foreigners/small Thais
Lack of atmosphere
Includes boot-camp style training
Laemthong Thor Ponchai
Keatkhamtorn Gym Photos
The gym provides on-camp A/C accommodation for a maximum of eight boxers. There is also a hotel a few minutes from the gym which costs 5,800 baht per month.
Training + room + 2 meals per day 25,000 baht per month
Keatkhamtorn gym is located in Khannayao, Bangkok which is about a twenty minute drive from Suvarnabhumi airport. The soi is pretty quiet and seems to hold quite a close-knit community, doesn’t seem like a bad place to settle down in for a while.
Keatkhamtorn Gym Address: 10/3 Moo 11, Nawamin Rd., Khan Na Yao, Kannayao, Bangkok 10230 Thailand
Keatkhamtorn Gym Map
View Keatkhamtorn GYM ~ Bangkok Thailand in a larger map
Phone: +66 (0)86-314-6004
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