This article originally appeared on Evolve MMA.
After making the decision to sign up for a Muay Thai class, the next step is finding the right gym for you. Narrowing down which gym is better-suited for your personal style can be overwhelming, especially if you do not know much about any Muay Thai gym in Singapore, or you haven’t walked into a gym in a very long time.
There’s no need to be intimidated when searching for a martial arts class. It’s a matter of understanding what you personally hope to accomplish with your training and finding a Muay Thai gym that works for you.
Here are a few things you should be taking a close look at when looking for a competent Muay Thai gym in Singapore:
1) World-Class Instructors
It’s is impossible to overstate how important it is to find a quality gym with competent instructors when you decide to sign up for martial arts classes. The first thing you want to do is make sure the person teaching the classes you will be attending is qualified to be there in the first place.
You certainly don’t want to end up at a gym with an instructor that bought his/her belt from eBay, do you?
It does happen. That’s why the term “McDojo” is commonly used in the martial arts community to describe schools owned by people who aren’t qualified to be martial arts instructors. Look for a Muay Thai gym that has competent, experienced, and qualified instructors. Someone that has decades of experience and has committed his their life to the art. To be the best you must learn from the best. If you are able to find an instructor that has competed at the highest level of the sport or even won world championships, even better. An authentic World Champion will know Muay Thai like the back of his hand and be able to impart all of his knowledge to you.
Many top Muay Thai gyms offer complimentary introductory classes, so take advantage of these and use them as an opportunity to observe how the instructors interact with students
Your introductory session is also a good opportunity to observe how students at the gym interact with one another. Generally speaking, you want to train at a gym where everyone gets along.
2) Convenient Schedules
There’s no point signing up for a Muay Thai class if training times conflict with your work schedule. Fortunately, good Muay Thai gyms are aware of the fact that most of their students have busy schedules, so class times are carefully picked and spread out throughout the day so that there’s a class time that’s convenient for everyone regardless of life, school, or work schedules.
Ideally, if you can find a place that has early morning classes all the way to late night classes, you will have plenty of opportunities throughout the day to fit in a class. Another thing to take note of is that in Singapore there are a lot of public holidays. Find a Muay Thai gym that stays open on the weekends and public holidays. The last thing you want is for the gym to be closed on days you are lots of free time!
3) A True Martial Arts Environment
When you search for a Muay Thai gym in Singapore, it is extremely important that you find a gym that teaches and emphasizes the true values all martial arts have in common. Martial arts are a lot more than just techniques and drills, it’s about learning how to respect yourself and those around you, gaining a higher level of self-discipline, understanding the value of perseverance, and constantly setting goals in order to become better at everything that you do.
A Muay Thai class in Singapore that doesn’t highlight these values robs you of some of the most important benefits of training martial arts. Don’t settle for less when you decide to learn Muay Thai, make sure the instructors at the school you decide to train with stress these values with their students.
4) Quality Training Partners
Making sure you will have enough partners to train with is essential when you’re looking for a Muay Thai gym. You want to train at a gym where there is a good mix of people with different body types and skill levels.
For example, if you’re new to Muay Thai, you want to train at a gym where there are others who are just starting off as well. That way you can compare tips and strategies with them and enjoy the journey together.
You also need training partners who are better than you are to train with since they can often help point out what you’re doing wrong, and encourage you when you’re putting things together nicely. The margin of error is a lot smaller when you spar someone who is more experienced than you are, so you’re forced to be disciplined with your techniques.
If you plan to compete in the future, you want to train at a gym that has a large number of students since those tend to have a good mix of beginners and advanced students, and lots of different body types and fighting styles for you to practice on.
5) Clean, Family-Friendly Environment
Make sure the Muay Thai gym you decide to train with is clean and family-friendly. You’re going to be spending a decent amount of time at the gym if you take your training seriously, so you want it to be somewhere you and your family members are comfortable. You want a place where the bathrooms and mats are clean at all times. If you’re a very busy person, like most people, you might have to take a few showers there.
The same goes for the surrounding area since you’re going to be walking to and from your car or public transportation when you train. Make sure it’s safe.
Most importantly, you want to train in a Muay Thai class where there’s a positive atmosphere. A good martial arts school is full of students encouraging each other and helping each other out.