This is a topic that pops up quite frequently. There are a large number of people who have had the honor and privilege of training, and even fighting, in Thailand. They return to their nation of origin and are disappointed in the MuayThai training that they see. The training is nowhere near as intense, nor as “professional”. They complain that MuayThai has been “turned down”.
Yes, they are right! MuayThai has been turned down. What they fail to see, though, is that this is a necessary ‘evil’ in bringing MuayThai to the masses. For a foreigner to travel, train, and fight in Thailand indicates a level of dedication to the sport that very few people are willing to impart. For most of the world’s population, MuayThai is merely a hobby. The masses love the exercise. They love the feelings of confidence and accomplishment they acquire through training. Very few, however, desire to test these skills in the ring.
In international gyms, MuayThai is marketed as a means of physical fitness and self defense. Rather than earning their income through sharing their fighter’s purses, they earn their income through gym memberships. Considering that most international practitioners of this sport are not fighting to support their families, it therefore becomes necessary for the training to be “turned down”. This has broadened MuayThai’s appeal, and has created an environment where these gyms can survive.
So, while it is true that MuayThai outside of Thailand has become “turned down”, it is important for one to understand the contrast between the environment in Thailand and Internationally before judging. Enjoy each training experience for not only what it is, but “why” it is.