I find it hard to say anything bad about the service or business of someone who as a person I have nothing against, but after spending 4 months at 301 Muay Thai/MMA camp I think a review, albeit a subjective one, is in order. I wanted to compare my rating of the gym with others so I asked for four other people to give me their opinion of the Muay Thai training at 301 on a scale of 1 – 5 and we were all pretty close in answer. Three of us gave the same answer while one was a whole point lower and one was half a point higher. I no longer felt bad for being too harsh.
Please note this review is for the Muay Thai training only, I can’t speak for the MMA training at the gym because I’ve never participated.
I used the same 5 star criteria used by Muay Thai Scholar in his Muay Thai gym reviews to rate 301 Muay Thai/MMA Gym. I also went over the criteria in Muay Thai Scholar’s 13 characteristics of the best Muay Thai gyms in Thailand to come to my conclusions.
I initially chose 301 for it’s remoteness but a month in I was tired of the lack of entertainment, food variety and amenities in the vicinity. Nearby there were mainly overpriced (and not that good) tourist restaurants and resorts along the beach geared towards families on vacation. Once you exhaust the tourist attractions like Sam Roi Yot National Park, the caves and Monkey Island and recently opened kite surfing it can get pretty boring pretty quickly. For some the remoteness is a plus, I thought it would be for me too and probably would have been fine for not more than a month but 4 months was definitely WAY too long to be there.
Facility/ Equipment ★★★★☆
The pro size ring and MMA cage are nice and well kept. The weight set is old but there is enough there to do a decent workout. There’s also a freshly painted basketball court and a well maintained pool. Bags and gloves are all in decent shape.
The couches in the chilling area aren’t very clean because that’s also the dogs chilling area but the ring, cage and mats are cleaned using disinfectant between sessions on a daily basis. Tables and surfaces are also always cleaned off after meals and common areas and walkways in front of the rooms are swept daily.
Clinching only started to pick up as a more regular occurrence before I left, if it stayed that way I don’t know. But for the majority of the time clinching was only a couple of days a week, for very short session; the length of the session often dictated by the students rather than the trainers. The gym is primarily geared towards tourists and there were no Thai’s that trained at that gym so the clinching partners are generally other inexperienced tourists.
Pad Work ★★★☆☆
One trainer at 301 is said to only hold pads for anaerobic endurance and does not correct form or technique. I also didn’t like the way he held pads, he doesn’t adjust for different people. And like I said doesn’t correct form or technique so I tried to avoid him. The other trainer will take more time to correct form and show you technique. How often he corrects you is very dependant on the mood he is in, if the owners are around or if you have a fight coming up. I have trained with him and at times he seemed so passionate about what he was doing and many other times it seemed like he couldn’t be bothered.
Technical Instruction ★★ ★☆☆
The two Western owners of the camp will correct your form and foot work in technique if they are around but one of the two Thai trainers won’t correct you at all unless there is an owner standing close by, and the other trainer is inconsistent with correcting you. Also I feel there is not enough emphasis on getting the basics down pat before moving onto more advanced things. For example I am not sure why we were learning reverse elbows when most people still couldn’t even kick properly. That’s what makes me feel like it is a camp geared towards tourists. Just show ’em what looks cool and tell them everything they do is great. That makes them feel good, and it doesn’t really matter because it’s not like the majority of them are going to be fighting anyway. In the four months I was there there were only about five people who came to get fight training for actual upcoming fights rather than for tourism and they definitely got different treatment. They were also more MMA than Muay Thai which meant the Western owner was overseeing a lot of their training so the Thai trainers also did a better job teaching Muay Thai to the MMA fighters.
Training Partners ★★☆☆☆
In the 4 months I was there the crowd was predominantly just tourists with little to no prior experience. No Thai’s train at that gym. If you are only going to get in shape then I’d say it’s not a big deal but if you are serious and already have previous experience in Muay Thai than you may be hard pressed to find decent sparring partners. I’m not saying fighters never go to that gym, but it’s not really geared towards fighters in my opinion so you’d have to get lucky to arrive when there is a full house of people with good background experience to spar with.
There are other camps in Thailand with great reputations that are much less expensive (even if you factor in having to pay for your own food whereas it’s included at 301). Maybe 301 feels that the pool and the location are worth the higher price tag, I’m not sure, but in my opinion unless the training drastically improved then the price is much too high.
Overall rating: ★★ ★☆☆
Overall rating actually comes out to like 2.75 but I rounded up 😉
I heard that at one time 301 had great Muay Thai training when Gen and Joe, now the owners of Hong Thong gym in Chiang Mai, were trainers there. Unfortunately for 301 although their trainers are nice personality wise they are lacking in professionalism, consistency, training progression skills and often times they lack enthusiasm.
This is based on my experience and have heard many other students reiterate the same things I’ve written in this review. But I’ve also met others who just love 301 and who were either return customers or planned on returning again. At the end of the day it just depends on what you are looking for in a camp.
I think if you just want to get in shape then the quality of Muay Thai training is not as big a deal, as long as you attend training and give your all.
If you have more experience you could look at it from one of two ways: You may like the location of 301 as a place to fully immerse yourself into Muay Thai. Being experienced you can just tell the trainers what you want to to work on and that may be good enough for you. On the other hand you may find the lack of experienced sparring and clinching partners to be disappointing and hinder your progress. Unless you happen to go at a time when other fighters are there which wasn’t the case for the most part while I was there.
One of the trainers has apparently been fired (the one that never corrected form and didn’t do very much to begin with). There has also been a new trainer hired on who I know nothing about. So the training may have picked up. The owner has also sent me an email saying that things are much better now that he is the one who has full control over the management and the new staff has been hired. To prove it he has invited me to stay for two weeks free! I may just take him up on that.
See what life was like for me from my arrival the camp leading up to my first fight here.
Or see what my first fight was like for me here.