10 of the BEST UK Muay Thai Gyms you should be visiting in 2018
As part of what I do with the Warrior Collective I get to visit an extraordinary amount of the best UK Muay Thai gyms and clubs each month on a regular basis. This allows me a great insight into which places would make ideal places to visit for off the cuff training, different sparring partners or for an alternative viewpoint with regards to coaching/teaching methods.
I see a lot of people travelling overseas to spend time training at gyms in lots of far flung places (often going without any real idea of what the quality of training will actually be like in reality on a day to day basis once they are there) when in actual fact the UK now has some phenomenal talent within it’s own right that is more than worthy of visiting.
Don’t get me wrong, travelling to places like Thailand will allow you to submerge totally into a different culture, train free of distractions (if that is what you want and you choose your location wisely) and experience Muay Thai at it’s purest source. I am certainly not trying to put you off, I am just offering the viewpoint that sometimes we can often miss great training that is close to us by following the “grass is greener” rationale. I also think people can get caught up in the unnecessary trap of finding extreme locations in which to train as a kind of social media one-up-manship!!
What then makes an awesome gym to visit for someone who is already training in Muay Thai? I had to have a think about this as I am a huge fan of all the Muay Thai gyms/coaches that I visit so could well just have ended up listing each one I have ever been to ha ha! I have made this list though by focusing on the following; quality of facility, experience of instruction, amount of training available to a visiting practitioner and level of sparring partners available. After much deliberation, here are the 10 that I recommend for a UK based staycation (get it…) or training visit in 2018;
Bad Company – Leeds
Anyone who knows the Muay Thai scene in the UK will of course be familiar with Bad Company. The Leeds based gym opened by head coach Richard Smith in 1992 has now been consistently producing world class fighters (including the likes of Liam Harrison, Jordan Watson, Rich Cadden, Andy Howson, Andy Thrasher and many more) for over 2 decades. It has also just won once again (for 2017) a national Muay Thai gym of the year award, beating off stiff competition from some of the other top gyms in the country.
Not only do gyms rarely survive this length of time in any country, they have also managed another hard to match feat in that their fighters stay active under their banner without feeling the need to swap to alternate gyms at any point in their careers. They regularly have fighters from all over the world visiting to train whilst in the UK and it is not hard to see why. Richard and Lisa Smith are both exceptional coaches (as former high level fighters in their own right) and manage to keep their talent pool both wide and deep by maintaining a family centred training environment at their incredible Yokkao sponsored facility.
Everyone who goes to Bad Company, no matter whether they are young child, novice adult or world level athlete feels an important part of the gym and gets treated in exactly the same way. I am lucky to have personally been on a number of occasions and am always blown away by the standards regularly displayed across all ages. An easy gym for me to recommend!! Check their website out today at www.badcompany.co.uk to see for yourself why I have included this in my 10 of the best UK Muay Thai Gyms to visit in 2018 list and for further information on all their training, private lessons and how to contact them to arrange a visit!
All Powers Gym – Stockport
All Powers Gym at first can come across as a very eclectic place. It is the training location of choice for many high level MMA and Muay Thai athletes based within the Manchester area offering great coaching in each of these disciplines. It also houses instructors from a wide range of other combat sports including BJJ, Boxing, Wrestling and more.
A lot of it’s success, popularity and position within the Muay Thai community though is down to one man, the very brilliant Panicos Yusuf. The Muay Thai World Champion (and fairly recent convert to the Pro MMA scene) is well liked and respected within the UK for good reason. A hugely talented fighter with the remarkable ability to pass on his particular style and understanding of Muay Thai to those lucky enough to train under/with him.
The facility at All Powers is second to none, lots of space, ring, cage and a strength/conditioning area. The athletes/fighters training out of this gym are all of a high standard and combined with the excellent ethos/instruction, make this an awesome place to visit! I am fortunate to personally train regularly with Panicos at All Powers so cannot vouch for this gym enough!! Check their website out today at www.allpowersgym.co.uk to see for yourself why I have included this in my 10 of the best UK Muay Thai Gyms to visit in 2018 list and for further information on all their training, private lessons and how to contact them to arrange a visit!
Keddles Gym – London
Keddle’s Gym is located in St Mary Cray, Bromley and is ran by the phenomenally experienced Alan Keddle. For those of you not aware, Alan is not a only former European Champion in Muay Thai, he has also been the go to coach for many high level MMA athletes over the past 10 years including UFC Champion George St Pierre.
The Gym’s ethos is very much one about hard work, you get out what you put in. This is most evident not only by the excellent standard of all those that train there but also by the many fight posters, title belts and other fight memorabilia that adorn the walls of this long standing club. If you do manage to visit you should definitely ask Alan to take a peek at his office, it is literally crammed floor to ceiling with VHS videos, photos and all sorts of amazing stuff accumulated over a life time involved with the combat sports. It is what I imagine the coolest Martial Arts themed library/museum in the world would look like!!
No matter whether you prefer Muay Thai on it’s own or as an addition to MMA training, this gym offers it all. Great coaching, excellent facilities and awesome people, what’s not to love!! Check their website out today at www.keddles.co.uk to see for yourself why I have included this in my 10 of the best UK Muay Thai Gyms to visit in 2018 list and for further information on all their training, private lessons and how to contact them to arrange a visit!
The Griphouse – Glasgow
Scotland has a long history of producing great fighters across all combat sports. The Griphouse is pretty much where they all end up, it is like a magnet for talent. This Glasgow based gym has a well deserved reputation for putting out amazing athletes across all disciplines including Muay Thai, MMA and BJJ. A vast smorgasbord of exceptional coaches including the likes of Guy Ramsay, Paul McVeigh, Dean Reilly, Mani Singh and Keith Mclachlan ensure that there is a real depth to the levels of striking experience on offer here!
The gym itself is a little like the tardis from Doctor Who. Deceivingly enormous and filled with all sorts of cool surprises. Dry humour and solid banter mixes with a very no nonsense approach to training. This ensures the Grip is an awesome place to train no matter what level you are, everyone is treated equally well. Those that have trained in the past are always keen to revisit, it really is that special a place!
Although this list is specifically for Muay Thai, this gym could easily be on a similar post for MMA or BJJ. You really will be spoilt for choice going here. An excellent place that I look forward to going back to myself soon! Check their website out today at www.thegriphouse.co.uk to see for yourself why I have included this in my 10 of the best UK Muay Thai Gyms to visit in 2018 list and for further information on all their training, private lessons and how to contact them to arrange a visit!
Double K Gym – London
It is no exaggeration to say that Kieran Keddle may be one of the most famous coaches in the UK right now. Not only because of his previous successes in professional fighting (former World Muay Thai Champion) or the consistency of excellence found in all his athletes competing internationally, he was also recently the featured expert on the fantastic Idris Elba Documentary series ‘Fighter’.
A man with many strings to his bow, Kieran is a very focused individual. Double K is a former Muay Thai gym of the Year Award winner for good reason. His coaching and gym ethos allow his fighters to develop to fulfil their true potential time and time again. His experience across all levels also gives those who train at his gym real opportunities to travel and fight around the world on promotions few from the UK often get the chance to.
Whilst the gym itself is not as big as others on this list, the depth of sparring partners and available coaching more than makes up for it. Very professional and as mentioned above, second to none at getting results. A place any serious fighter with aspirations should definitely put on their radar. Check their website out today at www.doublekgym.com to see for yourself why I have included this in my 10 of the best UK Muay Thai Gyms to visit in 2018 list and for further information on all their training, private lessons and how to contact them to arrange a visit!
Kiatphontip Gym – Leeds
Having had one of it’s fighters (Ja Ja Kiatphontip) recently win a Muay Thai fighter of the year award for their complete dominance in 2017 should tell you a lot about this phenomenal Leeds based gym. Run by former Rajadamnern No 1 and internationally renowned fighter/coach Jompop Kiatphontip, you can expect to find coaching to suit any ability level here.
As talented an individual as you will find anywhere in the UK, Thai native Jompop is not only an amazing athlete and instructor, he also owns one of the best fight brains geared towards winning fights you will ever come across. Tough, well conditioned and equipped with brilliant Muay Thai technique, the stable of fighters that come out of this gym are truly world class.
The facilities are great, the camaraderie between students has a fun, easy-going vibe about it and the skills on display are consistently crazy, good and crazy-good! With it’s twin gym located in Thailand, another bonus of training here is the potential networking for longer co-joined camps overseas in the future. I love Jompop a lot, go there now!! Check their website out today at www.muaythai-kiatphontip.co.uk to see for yourself why I have included this in my 10 of the best UK Muay Thai Gyms to visit in 2018 list and for further information on all their training, private lessons and how to contact them to arrange a visit!
K-Star Legacy Gym – Birmingham
K-Star Legacy Gym is becoming something of a celebrity haunt of late as more and more people start to realise that head coach Damien Trainor is nothing short of amazing. A well known former multiple time world Muay Thai champion, his experience and long term love affair with both the Thai and Dutch Kickboxing systems have ensured he has developed into an equally amazing instructor.
His diverse and comprehensive approach to striking mean that he would be a solid pick for training in Muay Thai, K1 Kickboxing or MMA at any level. His active social media showcases his brilliance, displaying his excellent ability, coaching methods and fight IQ for all to see on a regular basis. The fighters who he is involved with training often show his touch in the way that they perform in action. You can expect an aggressive, pressuring combination style of attacking intermixed with little nuances of creativity that set them apart from the majority of their peers.
An excellent facility with lots of natural light (it is on the top floor with large windows on all sides), the atmosphere is one of hard work with great support offered to all abilities. Students and competitive fighters alike are all of a high standard and the level of sparring offered is consistently strong. Having seen Damien coach and train on lots of occasions, I have nothing but good things to say. Visit this gym! Check their website out today at www.k-starlegacy.co.uk to see for yourself why I have included this in my 10 of the best UK Muay Thai Gyms to visit in 2018 list and for further information on all their training, private lessons and how to contact them to arrange a visit!
Knowlesy Academy – London
I have to admit, Knowlesy is the one gym on this list that I have not personally been to as of yet (I was supposed to visit midway through 2017 but illness forced me to cancel). However, I know full well just how great it is. The Edgeware based Muay Thai gym is a literal hot bed of highly regarded UK fighters (Alex Bublea and Marcel Adeyemi to name but a few) and has excellent coaches in the shape of Christian and Lyndon Knowles.
The sheer levels of brilliance shown by the Knowlesy fighters is testimony to the level of training/instruction provided by Chris, Lyndon and their team. Chris has been in the fight game a long time, himself having successfully competed at a high level around the world and Lyndon is an amazing fighter, well renowned for having been in some of the most entertaining fights you could wish to watch over recent years. You can’t buy this kind of experience and that is exactly why this gym is thriving.
A great looking gym, you are guaranteed to find exactly the training you are looking for here. Whether you are still relatively inexperienced or an already seasoned pro, the instruction, coaching and sparring is going to make this gym well worth a visit or two in 2018! Check their website out today at www.theknowlesyacademy.co.uk to see for yourself why I have included this in my 10 of the best UK Muay Thai Gyms to visit in 2018 list and for further information on all their training, private lessons and how to contact them to arrange a visit!
Team Tieu – London
The beauty of Team Tieu is that it is not really just one gym but as the name suggests, a group of closely knitted individuals/clubs that group themselves together under the one banner. This means that you have a hell of a lot of choice when it comes to locations (they are all dotted around London), coaches and timetables. The brainchild of the phenomenally talented Philip Tieu, whom is not only responsible for looking after the training of a vast assortment of great fighters, he also takes the lead in organising all the multiple locations available for Team Tieu students and is the CEO/co-founder of the fantastic promotion Muay Thai Grand Prix.
It is no easy task for me to point you in the direction of any one particular coach or location. It is a bit like asking someone whether they prefer Chinese or Indian food for tea, it could change dependent on what someone is in the mood for. Having said that, even I have not physically been to them all but those that I have been to have been brilliant. The talent pool alone ensures that everything within this group is of a really high level.
Given Phil’s exceptionally high standards, you can expect fantastic facilities and great instruction no matter where you attend. Phil informs me that the best location out of all offered for high end sparring is Holborn Gymbox. Like the proverbial buffet, you are going to want to keep going back for more!! Check their website out today at www.teamtieu.com to see for yourself why I have included this in my 10 of the best UK Muay Thai Gyms to visit in 2018 list and for further information on all their training, private lessons and how to contact them to arrange a visit!
2 Technical Muay Thai – Reddish
Anyone who has ever searched for Muay Thai on the internet will no doubt have come across the name Paul Karpowicz. Potentially the star of more viral Martial Arts related videos than any other person I have ever come across, he truly is a unique talent in every respect. Capable of athleticism, techniques and movement you will rarely see in any single individual, he is also a phenomenally gifted coach. I have had the pleasure of spending a lot of time with Paul at 2 Technical Muay Thai and I can honestly say that he never fails to blow me away.
His style of Muay Thai is a strangely beautiful hybrid of pure Thai intermixed with his own Freestyle and Boxing concepts. The fighters that attend his gym are in awe of Paul and it is easy to see why. His coaching is top class and he never fails to get involved in sparring or any other piece of training that he sets them to do. There is literally nothing he asks people to do that he won’t do himself. His creativity is exceptional and those that emerge under his banner often show techniques/styles that you just won’t see anywhere else!
The facilities at his gym are great, the coaching offered there is always brilliant and you really could not want for better sparring partners. They are all equally tough, gifted and crazy. It is a genuinely fun experience to train with Paul and I really cannot recommend him or 2 Technical enough! Check their Facebook page out today at www.facebook.com/2TechnicalMuayThai to see for yourself why I have included this in my 10 of the best UK Muay Thai Gyms to visit in 2018 list and for further information on all their training, private lessons and how to contact them to arrange a visit!
It was actually pretty hard not to make this list containing my thoughts on 10 of the best UK Muay Thai Gyms to visit bigger as there were a good few others that could have easily been on it! What do you think of these gyms? Are there any others that you think I should have included???
If you enjoy this article then you may well love 10 of the Best UK MMA Gyms you should be visiting in 2019 or 10 of the Best Dutch Kickboxing Gyms you should visit in 2018 as already featured on this site.
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