Gym Hoppers and the Importance of Loyalty in Muay Thai

I’d like to share my opinion on something that has always been annoying to me, but has recently been brought to my attention. So, allow me to embark on my first rant of the site. It shall be the first of many.

I have only ever trained at a handful of gyms in my life. At first, I trained at one on an island in the south of Thailand while on holiday, before moving up to Chiang Mai and spending a couple of months at a gym there. After that, I moved to Bangkok and found the gym that was right for me, decided to start my fight career there and haven’t been anywhere else since. However, In recent times, I am noticing more and more people who flutter from gym to gym, training here and there, and fighting for whichever gym they happen to be at during that particular time. I shall call these people ‘gym hoppers’.

Anyone who has been at a gym for long enough will have met a gym hopper. You might have that one friend whose Facebook pictures always feature shots of him/her in different gyms, or that one who trains at a different gym every time they go to Thailand. It’s not big and it’s not clever. Many people might not have a problem with gym hoppers at all, but for some reason, I do. In fact, I sometimes find myself feeling genuinely disappointed when I see this happening. Personally, I wouldn’t even wear shorts carrying the name of any brand or gym other than my own. Perhaps that might seem a little over the top to some people, but to me, it’s simply disrespectful to do so. My gym supports me, so I do the same for them by buying and wearing their gear.

I’ve ranted about this to a few people in my time, with mixed reactions. Some have agreed, and some have said that it shouldn’t be a problem, as fighters just want to build their names on their own, and should be allowed to take whatever they can from the different people that they train with. To each their own, I guess. I can agree that it shouldn’t really bother me, as since I am a fighter and not a trainer or gym owner, it doesn’t really affect me. The reason for my seemingly irrational annoyance at this issue is rooted in the fact that I believe that those who display gym hopper traits are missing one of the core values of Muay Thai: loyalty.

There is a reason why we use the names of our gyms in lieu of our surnames when we fight (at least in Thailand), to proudly acknowledge and represent who made us and where we come from. So, why do so many fighters insist that they can be ‘independent’? From many, the impression I seem to get is that it’s an ego thing. The idea of ‘belonging’ to a gym or trainer is apparently offensive to their self-pride. Although I realise that this is not the case for all gym-hoppers, it’s something I’m beginning to notice more regularly.

It is difficult for me to see how a fighter can expect to grow and develop in their fighting career when they are unable to stay in one place for a while. Trainers make huge investments of work, time and heart in order to build their fighters, and to walk away from that would be not only quite offensive, but a waste of time.

I have noticed a cycle. This usually begins with the fighter being genuinely and whole-heartedly loyal to their gym, as any devoted student would. This period may last a few months, a few years, or perhaps a lifetime. However, I often see cases where the fighter then becomes less active in training for one reason or another, and is then distracted by opportunities elsewhere. They’ll be tempted by attractive aspects of other gyms, and then compare those with that of their own. They’ll look for holes in the training offered by their own gym. Perhaps they’re not getting enough clinching, or there aren’t enough sparring partners for them, or they’re simply bored with the routine. Once they’ve found those holes, they will then convince themselves that they would be better off elsewhere, and make a move. Many of them go on to brag about how superior it is at their new gyms, as a back-handed insult to the previous one, before often moving on to another one shortly after. Of course, I am speaking very generally; I cannot speak on a case by case basis. However, more often than not, those people want to return to their original gym at some point. The chances are that if you are one of these people, your gym would rather let you go. That’s not to say that there would be any animosity surrounding the issue, or that you would be kicked out, but a trainer will be much more willing to invest their time into building you if they know that you are fully dedicated to learning from them. Otherwise, it’s not quite worth it.

If the gym at which you’re training isn’t right for you, by all means, seek training elsewhere. However, I’d urge you to give it a good amount of consideration before you do so. There may be genuine reasons for which you need to move on to another gym, or you might just be suffering from a slightly inflated ego, which leads you to believe that you somehow don’t need your gym anymore. I shall call this ‘Too-Big-For-Your-Boots Syndrome’.

There have been various occasions on which people have tried to convince me to train at gyms other than my own, telling me that their gym is much better than mine for various reasons. Different gyms are good for different people, so I find this a bit redundant. There have also been times where I’ve felt less than optimistic about my own training, which is almost unavoidable when you do it every day. Regardless of that, I wouldn’t want to train or fight under anyone other than who I’m with now, and who I’ve been with from the start. To me, it’s simple. It’s about loyalty, a value that often seems to be overlooked. I’m not talking about blind loyalty here. Of course, it goes both ways, and if a fighter is not getting adequate training or is being treated unjustly, they would be well within their rights to look elsewhere.

One of the great things about training in Muay Thai is the family atmosphere that surrounds you when you’re in the gym, and even more so when you are at a fight. It’s always nice to feel part of something, and the bonds that form amongst the people in and around the gym are hard to forget for those that experience them. As well as the fact that it would feel wrong for me to train with anyone else, I simply don’t know if I would want to. For me, fighting can be a hugely emotional thing, and it’s not something I would want to go through without a trainer who understood me or to whom I was close to.

As a fighter, you can’t build success on your own, and it’s important to remember those who have helped you to get to where you are. It’s not about who seems to be offering the best deal at a certain time, it’s about who has built you, trained you and supported you, and will continue to do so. I find that most experiences are always what you make of them. If you put yourself into something with your whole heart, others will, too; that is when you start to achieve.

I’d be interested to hear some opinions on this topic. Whether you’ve had any experience with gym hopping and find it as annoying as I do, or you think I really am being irrational, feel free to get in touch. 

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79 thoughts on “Gym Hoppers and the Importance of Loyalty in Muay Thai

  1. I found the place I want to stay for the long term, I don’t see myself going anywhere else. In Thailand there are all also a lot of factors to take into account that might not necessarily have to do with the gym. The best example of external factors I can think of is there are a lot of gyms with good trainers but the air quality due to pollution is sub-par.

  2. This is such an interesting topic and I think it really illustrates differences from western and Thai gym experiences, expectations and etiquette. I suspect you’re talking about a specific set of persons, or a “type,” as we get many of a certain type through out gym as well and they drive me crazy in a general sense even though it’s only a few individuals. Totally a moral code though.

  3. I totally agree with you on all points Emma. My Gym recommanded our students to train at the Gym we know well and have good cooperated with when she / he visiting Thailand. Unfortunate they stay for a few days and then went to other gym by others recommandations.

    Every year we visit Thailand, we train there and will always be a part of that gym. Later on, we had to cut those Gym-hoppers students loose becouse in the end, they dont seems to have some loyalty to anyone except themselfs.

    Keep on your good work Emma and i hope some day i have the honor to meet you in Thailand. Thank you for ure honest and great writting about Loyalty in Muay Thai.
    //Pichai

  4. I wouldn’t consider myself a gym hopper, but I’ve trained and fought out of multiple gyms throughout my career since I’ve lived and worked in different locations. I do agree with a majority of what you are saying and I respect your thinking, however I do believe there are major benefits from training at different gyms.

    Before I get into it, I think it’s important to know that I’ve given 100% dedication and commitment to each gym I’ve trained and fought for. I do my best to make the owner, trainers and my training partners proud by training my ass off and fighting with heart. I have great relationships with all my old trainers and training partners and still keep in contact with them today.

    All that being said, one of the best things that has come from training at different gyms, is meeting and connecting with some awesome people that I wouldn’t have ever met if I were to stay at one gym. I’ve also gotten different looks from experienced trainers and been able to spar with a variety of training partners, which has helped me develop in various aspects of my game that were initially overlooked.

    Also, if you fight often, you will meet a lot of fighters through the events and befriend some of them. I don’t see any problem with fighters occasionally making the trip to train and spar with each other at their respected gyms as long as it’s okay with the owners and trainers.

    Now, when it comes to loyalty, I believe it is super important, but, I also believe that it is a two way street. If your gym/trainer isn’t willing to help alter your training regimen, work on certain aspects of your game or have your best interest at heart, then that gym is ultimately holding you back. Although this might sound selfish or egotistical, loyalty to yourself and doing what is in your best interest is super important too. If you are stuck in the mindset that you HAVE to stay at at a gym just because it’s the loyal, proper thing to do, then I believe it’ll be a major detriment to your growth as a person and as a fighter.

    Don’t get me wrong, if you found a gym you love, a trainer who cares and you live in the same area of that gym, then there is no need to be training at any other gym. If you train at competing gyms in the same area, then that is just an asshole thing to do.

    In the end, if you move to a different city or plan to travel around Thailand, I really have no problem with you training at different gyms. I believe as long as you keep a humble, open mind, work your ass off and are respectful of that gyms rules, then there is no harm done.

    • Thanks for the comment. I wouldn’t consider you to be a gym hopper for that, and I totally understand where you’re coming from. I don’t believe that you should always feel obligated to stay at a certain gym no matter what. If you aren’t getting the right training or support for one reason or another, then of course, you might need to think twice about where you’re training. Also, if you’re travelling, its impractical or perhaps even virtually impossible to only train at one gym. I’m also not saying that anyone who chooses to train at different gyms is in the wrong. As Sylvie said in her response post on her site (http://8limbs.us/blog/value-gym-loyalty-thailand-fighter-customer-culture), I’m really referring to a certain type of person. I’ve heard from many trainers and gym owners and seen how hurtful and sometimes heartbreaking it can be for them when they have put their whole heart into teaching someone only for them to unexpectedly move on to somewhere else for their own benefit. For me, it would feel like I was ‘cheating’ on my own gym if I trained anywhere else. That might be a bit lame, but it’s just me. If you maintain respect and loyalty, that’s fine. However, I’ve seen plenty of people who’ve moved on from the gyms who had built them, only to trash-talk them afterwards, and obviously that’s not cool at all.

  5. I think loyalty really actually comes from humility, which is a quality that is sorely lacking in the western culture. The realization that you really don’t know it all and the ability to trust your training to a gym or trainer without thinking you know better than everyone else. Obviously, I’m not talking about blind trust and you have to first find a gym and trainer that you can trust and get along with. Without humility and loyalty, “gym hoppers” will have a harder time progressing. This is the basis for all apprenticeship-based learning from martial arts to craft to whatever.

    • I totally agree. So many times I’ve witnessed people talk back to Master Toddy or some of the instructors in training (only foreign students, of course) and been gobsmacked.

  6. Excellent article. I think this is a topic that will never have an answer.
    In my travels I find there are two types of fighters/practitioners. Martial athletes and martial artists. We all know where I’m going with this, you only have to listen to George’s St Pierre talk post fight UFC to know this age old argument of athlete v artist. However, in the case of gym hoppers v Muay Thai purists this debate rings true. An athlete takes and builds and takes and builds from any source that will improve their physical ability. An artist gives and takes and creates and works on physical and mental perfection. Something that goes beyond ‘peak fighting years’ and spans a lifetime of practice.
    Neither should be frowned upon, we all choose a different paths and want to gain different things in life. I believe that there is kickboxing and then there is Muay Thai. The latter consumes your heart, mind and soul and embeds itself onto your entire being. It changes the way you walk, the way you talk and the way you see the world, in this life and the next.
    To each their own, although i believe that to have the heart of a true warrior one must display humility, dedication, compassion and above all loyalty.
    Respect others, respect yourself and respect your trainers. Show how much they mean to you by staying true. Whether its a month, a year or a lifetime.

  7. I love the article, and raises some really good questions. I agree 100% with some of your points regarding gym loyalty, but that loyalty as currency is only good insofar as the gym is taking your best interests at heart. If a person genuinely feels that their training is not getting them something they feel they need, then they have every right to train somewhere else. Bruised ego’s also affect gym owners, not just fighters and its not just a personal investment they are losing, its a monetary one as well. So its hard for me to say they are damaged more by the loss of person than by the potential paycheck especially for people who are only in Thailand for a month or two. But if a person decides to take up a serious Muay Thai training regimen and actually fight, then a single camp is damn well pivotal and necessary.

    But I feel that there is an insidious element to this – if a person comes out here to train, and pay alot of money for that exchange of skill and guidance – provided they put in the time and effort, the gym ought to at the least, respect that business transaction and cater to their development. I crave continuity as much as the next – and certain gyms have shown me that this has not been the case. However, if a person wants to develop, they need the continual guidance and regularity of a single camp. But for many people, they simply want to come train at a few different places out here to get some variety and learn something different from what they are used to. Not everyone has the luxury of being able to move overseas for 6 months, with commitments that cannot be discounted back in their homelands – thus travelling around and visiting different camps is not only a good idea for travel, but its just smart because they can possibly find a camp that will suit them in the long run if they do decide to train and fight for a length of time.

    I flew halfway across the world to check out some of my Muay Thai hero’s – and I hope that my camp, the one I hold dear, can understand this as not a subversion of their tutelage, but a desire to improve myself as well as expand my horizons beyond the singularity of any one camp. Its hard for me to see loyalty as a form of currency unless the fighter actually does not pay for training and actually does works for the camp, in which case leaving is a dick move. If they do pay, especially the ridiculous prices some camps charge, then its their choice to move wherever. Payment in dedication is what you provide your camps – loyalty, tutelage, respect, guidance, support is what you get in return.

  8. Find me a gym that doesnt have trainers showin half hearted trainin, three rounds on the pads and come to work with alcohol breath, or even worse not turning up. Ive been to gyms where trainers ask you for money and throw you in the ring just so they can make a little commission from the promoters at your expense. Im big on loyalty i understand what youre saying, but quite frankly Im from England and I still havent found a single gym that trains harder than my gym back home. Sometimes the lack of loyalty is caused by the lack of interest from the trainers. Ive lived in Phuket for three years and have only trained at two gyms, however till this very day I still struggle to find a proper kru, unless youre willing to pay top dollar for privates. Throughout my time here, I have accepted that most of the time, you just have to train yourself(as in after pad work, they leave you to it). Ive trained in Bangkok before and thats about the only place where theres no slacking. Proper serious training. But again, I went running with the resident Thai fighters and they were taking short cuts having a cigarette break during the run etc. Although this is only what Ive experienced, i get the impression that nobody really cares about this sport anymore, its run by gambling its all about money and the beauty of the sport has died down. Sad but in my opinion true.

    • Hi John, it’s a real shame that you experienced that kind of training, but it’s not uncommon in Thailand. Although I haven’t been to Phuket, let alone trained there, I have heard that it is a problem there. However, I think that this stems from the fact that most people there are living a temporary lifestyle. Many students or fighters will just pass through, only staying for short periods of time. Although it sucks, because it’s their job, I can understand why a trainer would be less motivated to put the effort in, when that is the case. In that same vein, gym-hopping feeds that kind of behaviour.

  9. I completely agree with the sentiment behind this article. I have been coaching and teaching for 20 years and I can say that gym hopping is a symptom of what I would call bad character. Clearly, I think it is ok to find the right home and seek out knowledge in different places, but the flaky dilettantism of people who keep things fresh by changing their environment, rather than themselves, is a sign of weak character. I know the longer I teach, the less I am interested in sharing my hard won knowledge with the fly by nighters, and I know that is an attitude shared by most all of the real masters – like the saying suggests – when the student is ready, the teacher will appear.

    • Thanks for your response. I totally agree. with any gym, job or relationship, it might be easier to jump ship and go somewhere else when you don’t like the way things are going, but often the solution is to persevere and look within yourself for the change that you really need.

      • Hey Emma, just curious, what was your experience of training at the gym in Chiang Mai for a couple of months, and what persuaded you not to stick it out and persevere there? A few months is a pretty good chunk of training investment, what changed your mind?

      • Hi Kevin!

        I did enjoy the training, but initially had to relocate to Bangkok for work. Plus, after I moved to Master Toddy’s I realised the kind of training that I’d been missing out on, and that in fact, I hadn’t learned a whole lot at that first gym. It was one of those typical gyms where they make you go hard on the pads but pay almost no attention to your technique. I loved it there at the time, but I didn’t want to start fighting under them, as something just didn’t sit right with me, and I didn’t trust them enough. The manager at the time had an apparent gambling problem and would often knock on people’s doors to ask for rent in advance to pay off his losses, and a few trainers had to be let go because of drug problems and such. Also, they’d always go to fight in this once particular stadium, where I’d seen a lot of questionable fights (in the way of blatant mismatches, etc). Needless to say, I didn’t want to commit to that gym as I didn’t feel that I’d be taken care of properly. So, I was with that gym while I studied for my certificate to teach English as a foreign language, and waited to see where I’d be working before fully committing. When I found Master Toddy’s, I instantly knew that I’d made the right choice. Over a year and a half later, I’ve never looked back 🙂

    • How much time does a new guy have to waste at your facility before you are willing to teach them? It sounds like your negative attitude toward people is the source of what you perceive as their “flaky dilettantism”.

  10. Gym hoppers are whack- when mma was in its infancy in the early 2000’s, most people had to gym hop to get the proper technical training, these days most gyms have all you need, just have to find the right one..people that gym hop these days typically like being the center of attention, top dog and dont like to get there ass kicked..so they go where they can be the main guy… most of em, if not all, never really successful

  11. I have an opinion about this as its been on my mind for the last few months. The idea of a team is odd when there is a hefty price tag attached to training. I spent most of my time in privates as the atmosphere was anything but a team atmosphere. The head trainers stood me up multiple times without an apology, or without rescheduling when it would fit my schedule. A students time is valuable, in a team environment all aspects of the team are important, when things like this happen and happen frequently, what you are telling your students is that they are not that important, and that there time is not valuable. Sticking with a gym because you are simply part of a team is short sighted. You should feel like you are truly part of a team, thats the goal. You don’t want people to migrate, pay attention to their needs, and if you are unable to do that, stop accepting more and more people. If you are spread thin, hire a gym manager..

    • Hi, Tom.

      Thanks for your comment. I’m sorry that you’ve had that experience with training. Of course, if your gym isn’t treating you right, you shouldn’t feel any need to stay with them. I am not suggesting that anyone should have blind loyalty to a gym or trainer just because ‘that’s what you should do’. The trainer-fighter relationship goes both ways, of course.

      • There is a gym that I call home and it took some length of time to find it. I think it’s a crude idea to vilify “gym hoppers” as I feel it starts to close the hearts of core gym members to accepting new people fully. I’ve been on both ends of this as a trainer and as a student and find it counterproductive to start forcing judgement on a person’s situation or goals. Personally, I put a high priority on respecting the people and their accompanying situations of anyone who came through my door to learn and any foreign door I walked through to learn. This emphasis always led to my respect being reciprocated and my classes being cohesive. Some gyms try to own their students the minute they walk through the door, forcing patches and uniforms and sneaky extra expenses on their students. This is something I’ve always found to be disrespectful. If you’ve done enough to earn loyalty, typically by means of compassion and genuine interest in your student’s well being and development, more often than not, you will get more loyalty than any gym around you. But if to get that loyalty you have to resort to ostracizing and shunning people with a broad and easy to misinterpret and misapply label, it feels like a cruelty and an exploitation. There are far too many instructors and martial artists that think that instant respect is a one way street pointed towards them and forget to apply it outwards. As an instructor, you earn your student wearing your patch and proudly representing your gym, not cramming it down their throat accompanied by “or else!”

        Some people will walk into where you call home and be casual, or transient, or even selfish and when you encounter this, you can either shun them and set them aside, or engage them as equals with a situation you might not fully understand and build a space that they are likely to set down their luggage, unpack and call their home. If they go elsewhere, so be it, but hopefully you’ll have helped them in some way and you’ll need some other way to console your ego.

        We’re not building armies and raising banners; we’re bettering ourselves and that can take whatever form it needs to for anyone that wants it.

        Perhaps I’m in the minority, but that has been what I’ve taken from my experiences on both sides of the coin.

  12. I learned muay-thai initially in Thailand. Returning once a year to fight at the same Gym where I begun and fighting back at home. They were both my homes in different countries with true loyalty to both. My trainer left my current Gym and I became lost. I was So in love with muay thai but unable to find my true home again. So I went searching, found great places to train but struggled to settle back in probably because I had 10 fights under the one trainer/Kru. I worried I was a Gym hopper!! I had no choice. Searching and more searching. It was decided that I would start my own. But I am a great believer in the bond between Trainer and fighter-like no other.

    • Hi, Mikey.

      Thanks for your comment. I totally understand what you mean. In fact, I had a similar experience. I had my first ten fights with one trainer, who then left my gym. That left me feeling really lost for quite some time. I will be posting about this very soon, as that had a really significant affect on me, which I’d like to share. I continued to stay with the same gym, but it did feel very strange for some time. After you’ve only ever trained under one person and have created such a firm bond with them, it’s hard to recreate that with someone else.

  13. Pingback: Article on gym loyalty | Everyone has a plan in life, until they get punched in the face...

  14. As a former fighter, and a young trainer at only 19 years old, I have had a few run ins with gym hoppers. Again being young, they see me and don’t think much, they mostly think of age as experience. I have been a martial artist for nearly 15 years. I have a core fight team who we have all shared blood sweat and tears, like a family. Gym hoppers to me are pitiful to say the least. You are 100% right when saying that a gym owner, or trainer in my case, puts time into a student we expect and deserve a certain amount of loyalty and respect. I am not talking to the students who give me notice and a reason for leaving, as I understand things happen and people go where they are needed. I am talking about the guy who leaves my gym trains with someone else then expects to be welcomed back into the family. It simply does not work like that. Thank you for putting your rant on and it is good to know im not the only one who feels this way.

  15. I trained at the same gym for 2 years and I loved every minute of it. I recently moved away and had to leave and I have to admit, leaving that gym was harder than leaving my home, I was worried about training somewhere else, it felt disloyal, I was worried that I wouldn’t make as good friends and it wouldn’t feel as welcoming. I spent a long time researching and picking my new gym and ended up finding one that’s 5 minutes from my new house and the funny thing is… I love it. It isn’t like my old gym, there is more space, different people, a different vibe. The routine of a session is different so my body aches again, the people are different so sparring is scary again. The change has been good and I didn’t need to be scared – it is still Muay Thai – I will love it wherever I train – but I will always fondly remember my original gym because that is where I started. I think the change will push me to be a better fighter, but I will always be loyal to my original gym.

  16. The fact of the matter is ppl dont really stick with martial arts for any longer than a year anyway, I remember reading an article stating that the drop out rate was 99% in the first year of commencement. Being a veteran I actually believe this as well… I’m so used to seeing the same old cycle being repeated at the gym on a monthly basis… New starter turns up > buys brand new top of the line gloves > buys brand new mma shorts, muay thai shorts whatever > quits after a month > wash rinse repeat. If you are of the 1% that have stuck out an art form for more than 12 months well then I tip my hat off to you ! And another thing before I go, you really should take ppls training experience with a very fat pinch of salt too : when someone tells you that they have been “training for 3 years” – its pretty much bullsh$t. What they mean is this ; I have done 2 x 1 hr sessions a week for years totally 41.6 days in total. No-one, I repeat no one, trains for 40 hours a week my friend. Here endeth the lesson.

    • re: “No-one, I repeat no one, trains for 40 hours a week my friend. Here endeth the lesson.”

      Not that it really matters, but not no-one. Thais regularly train 40 hours a week, and those that train seriously with them do as well.

      • Hey mate – yeah good point. I was taking about the stock standard westernized gym though. I can’t count on my fingers how many peeps have turned up telling me that they’ve trained 5 + years only to see that they have barely mastered the basic stance. Tragic stuff.

  17. I have never moved from my trainer of 6 years…I have been a complete loyal person to my trainer and very good friend..the style and technique I have perfected is all from his teachings. Very recently I trained elsewhere (so help me God lol) and that was purely because I was in a different part of Thailand. I was desperate to kick some pads so for once I thought “hey why not give another gym a chance and see what their trainers can offer me”. I was overwhelmed with the great attitude I found in the two gyms I went to and the warm welcome I received was brilliant. I gained some more friends and one of the best things I gained was more tools for the toolbox!! The most recent trainer had a different style to me and showed how some of the technique I used could be beaten by his. There was me all these years thinking I knew it all! lol
    I guess if you have gone as far as using the gym name as your own it could be difficult (depending on your mindset) to move away (as did Buakaw)….but I’d say a simple answer to this topic may be “up2me”. The trainers I met didnt seem to have any problem with me coming and going as I pleased….Thai’s in general also have the “up2me / up2u” attitude and wont take it personally if you do what you want…as they do too!

    So – do as you please…dont think too much about what others do…its up2them! lol mai pen rai kap and chok dee kap.

    • Hey Jay, you bring up a great point, especially for farong in training. Gyms have a “tool box” as you say, and quite often by becoming proficient in one tool set (be it in striking, defending or clinch) you can be utterly unaware that there are very good counters to what you are doing. You get this a lot when Westerners come to Thai gyms and are pretty surprised that things that worked for them in sparring and in fights, all the time, are sometimes useless against their trainers or Thai fighters. It is infrequent that students can get past the “tool box” knowledge and sink into the deeper “school of thought” or system of a gym (and that gym’s heritage) that make certain tools much more potent despite counters, I think. The best Thai fighters are not just using techniques.

      One of the most interesting things about Muay Thai is that it is so componented, that there are tools, that moves, strikes, techniques can be learned in relative isolation…up to a point. For farong coming to Thailand it is uncommon to really get beyond just the learning of techniques and tools, so it can make sense to move from one gym or another (in reason).

      Additionally, the issue is complex because most commercial gyms in Thailand (those that make a good portion of their income on farong) also are now a hodgepodge of techniques as their excellent trainers themselves have come from elsewhere, have had careers and teachers that are quite diverse. I remember how with Sylvie, when we first game to Thailand, we were just amazed to have trainers literally teaching opposite techniques (where to put your guard, where to step, basic stuff) 5 minutes apart from each other. When one would leave, the other would come and re-correct. It was humorous and interesting. This added to the entire piecing together experience of Muay Thai. There was the realization that there is not there is not one Muay Thai or as people on the internet talk about “true” Muay Thai, but 1,000s of Muay Thais. In fact Andy up here at Lanna pushed the idea to a limit by saying “Everyone has their own Muay Thai”. And Den up here says “Everyone learns the same Muay Thai” (meaning it in the way that everyone learns the same stuff in High School), putting it together is, as you say “Up to you” (I used to love Sakmongkol saying this over and over when he briefly taught Sylvie….”too many technique…up to you”).

      I think that often farong go a little too far in this collection of techniques approach, as if they are picking up moves in a Kung-Fu flick or for a video game – Muay Thai’s componented nature can lead to this. There are very deep principles of movement beneath a set of techniques that make them potent, and schools of Muay Thai have contrasting principles that simply can’t be blended. Much of the Muay Thai that is being taught in the West seems like a watered down trickle of some moves that a Western has adopted as his (her) own, a tool box, and it feels like something deep is really lost, the living system and tissue out of which those techniques are born, the Art. It becomes a game of rock, paper, scissors with hands and feet. And then those techniques just get pasted onto a mish-mash of other body postures and movements in MMA contexts so that we are really left with almost no Muay Thai at all.

      The hardest part is that Muay Thai itself is becoming quite fragmented, that once there were purer, or at least deeper lines of knowledge being past down, arts that were geographically bound, and that schools and teachers carried them forward beyond a generation, a time when Ram Muays showed something of the school, the uniqueness. A benefit to gym loyalty now it is the attempt to get down below just the threshold of techniques or moves, into the heart of Muay Thai, but there is something very beautiful as well about how varied the techniques are, and that in the end your Muay Thai expresses you.

  18. Somebody made a comment about there being a difference between western this and that. Whether you live in the west or in Thailand, it’s the same. it’s not just about muay thai. other martial arts such as jiujitsu experience the same issues. People always blame their lack of progress on the gym, but most of the time it’s not because of the gym that we fail to progress. Everyone hits a road block sometimes, and in order to progress we must think. When people fail to think, they blame it on the gym their at. i know this dude who’s been hopping gyms, and he’s the worst martial artist I’ve seen, although he’s experienced. He was at my gym and another, but recently left both to join the newest talked about gym. it’s okay with, he’s garbage anyways. This is my 2 cents.

  19. Great writing, i wish i could write as clear as you do. As for the subject, i wholeheartedly enjoyed what you had to say. I am really new to Muay Thai and being part of a Martial Arts gym. I go to Revolution Dojo in Houston and it is a family. I could not see myself going to another gym. I would miss the people. I really enjoy seeing them rise in the Muay Thai world and make Houston a future Muay Thai hotspot. I heard your interview on the Muay Thai Guy podcast and had to read your rant. lol. Very good keep it up.

  20. I’m not a fighter and I train in different gyms every time I went to Thailand. I plan to do that every time because I would like to meet new people, make new friends, while still keeping in touch with the old ones. However, if I train in gym B, I won’t wear gym A’s attire. It doesn’t feels right. Yeah, I try not to offend anybody there.

    Make friends, stay humble and empty my cup.

  21. I’ve only been training for 22 months and at first wondered if I would stay at this gym. Theres a whole host of gyms to choose from in Manchester however i’ve realized that i’m now a part of the gym, not just a guest. The trainers and fellow students are all part of an extended family to me now and it’s one of the few places where its give respect and gain respect.

  22. When I used to be active commercial gyms were not the norm, but training was mostly organized by public club. Back then we exchanged with other clubs. Everything we did was for the sake of adding new experiences and improving skills as well as mind set. Everybody wore the attire of their liking.
    With commercial gyms taking the spotlight, they try to pin fighters down to one gym by charging higher fees and forcing them to buy certain gear. That’s like forcing them to be loyal. It’s a small handicap for those who want more than just a good workout. Those who want to become better fighters and compete are being put into disadvantage.

  23. i`m a nutjob soo staying in one gym perminant was never really an option . i hang as long as people can put-up with me , then the day comes agin that it`s time to move on . if it weren`t for gym hopping i , and countless wierdos` like my self would get no martial arts training at all . but persistance , and some serious gym hopping has made me the tough wierdo i am today . long live the gym hoppers!!!

  24. okay i agree, mostly. But i do think there are occasions where you reach your pinnacle at a certain gym, which only happens after quite a while of being there, but once you reach that point, any further training is only going to nullify/slow your growth process as a fighter. You can become so comfortable fighting with the same people, dealing with the same problems and tackling the same game plans and defenses that you yourself fit into a mold. And as we all know it was the great Bruce Lee who stated that the best style is to have no style. However, i digress, because this is only applies to the ones who face no real adversity when they step into their home gym, otherwise, loyalty and dedication are keys to growth and success in mostly anything

    • Hi, thanks for the comment! I think that if you’re at a gym where you feel that your growth is stunted and you aren’t able to progress, then it wouldn’t be in your best interest to stay there. Thankfully, I have never experienced that at my gym, which is why I’ve been here for so long. I don’t believe in blind loyalty for the sake of it!

  25. Hello, and thank you for another great post.

    I must confess that I am one of those so-called gym-hoppers, though not entirely out of my own volition. In my experience, the consistency of the gyms I’ve been at have not been great. Sometimes, I sign up for a gym because the training starts off great, but I’ve had so many disappointing experiences where the training just goes downhill a couple of months after I join them – somehow the trainers get lazy, or the gym keeps changing trainers, etc.

    I find it disorientating to have to change gyms, and I wish that didn’t have to be the case, but in Singapore where I train out of, the high rental costs means that gyms are more concerned with making money, so their priorities aren’t always on moulding great fighters out of their students.

    Still on the lookout for my gym mecca, but until I find it, I’m resigned to gym-hopping. As much as I would love to be loyal, I am still a paying customer, and I will leave if I don’t find the training satisfactory.

    • Hi Denise,

      Thanks for reading and commenting, much appreciated! 🙂 It’s a shame that you’ve not yet been able to find the right gym for you, it can be uncomfortable having to adjust to new trainers and environments. However, if the training isn’t right for you, you have no obligation to stay. The gym needs to be able to offer as much commitment to you and your progress as you do to training there in order for it to work. Good luck with your training and thanks again for reading!

  26. Well…. It is also a two way street. Certainly loyalty is owed to an instructor who teaches free of charge. But… most gyms are in business, they charge money. All Mystical Martial Arts BS aside, this makes people customers of sorts. Business’ have to provide good service or lose customers, not whine if customers leave for better service elsewhere. Instructors who provide instruction strictly out of love, with no money exchanged, do get loyalty.

    • Hi Clark, thanks for the comment.

      Of course, if your gym isn’t providing a decent service, you shouldn’t be obliged to stay there simply out of loyalty. While I believe that loyalty is very important, I don’t believe that it’s something that should be given regardless of all other factors.

      Gyms are indeed businesses, and there are plenty of gyms that operate much like a production line, providing little care or investment for their students. Situations like this do not call for loyalty simply because a customer trains at that gym. Similarly, the fact that customers pay a fee for that service does not omit the need for loyalty.

  27. Hi guys, let me start by saying that I have being involved in the Martial Arts as a whole for over 35 years I had fought and tought as well. I used to owned a couple of studios my self.
    I agree and desagree with some things said. LOYALTY AND HONORSHIP to the one who have tought you a systemshould always be there, I consider my self an old timer, and I will always hold Respect, Gratitud, Honorship and Loyalty to my original Master, he is the one who had guide me, thought me and safe me me from my own self.
    Unfortunately he is leaving in my country and I am here now in the USA.
    I RESPECT tremendously your views and attitude towards your believes in regards to your gym. ALTHOUGH we must agree in one thing, Martial Arts as whole havs become commercialized in such form that most teacher or some teacher I must say, only see in there student money values, granted they need to pay rent and such.
    Having said that. Lots of practitioners and fighters will look for what they can get for the money they pay for.
    That is why so many martial artist become nomadies and will change from place to place looking for what is best for them. We are in different times now, and loyalty isn’t so much in the mind of those who seek for knowleadge. Just think this way YouTube have participated in sprading the word to world by bringing videos of different martial artist around the world. This in it self will enduce people to compare and perhaps fleet their gym to look for something better.
    In the western mentallity their is very limit loyalty for thei masters lust like it is in the orient. It is just different way of looking at it.
    I can continue on an on but I am not sure I will be understood.
    Although I have to say, that I do admire this comments being said buy all of you, all of you have a valid point..but defenetly be LOYAL to your current Master, be LOYAL to your old Master, be LOYAL to what you want to accomplish in Your Martial Arts carrier, and ONLY use kinds words and give credit to All your Masters because each one of them have influence in you a little of them self in YOU.
    God Bless You All!!

  28. I remember when Fedor was at the height of his MMA career, and aside from some striking training in Holland, he was still preparing for all his fights in his original sambo school. He was interviewed and he stated “I COULD train ANYWHERE in the world, but I train HERE, because this is my camp”. I think that nailed it for the most part. People are always looking for the “bigger, better deal” but the history of the fight game is that the basics win fights and your first trainer, who “brought you to the dance,” likely will be the one who knows you best.

    Human nature I suppose, but after a few fights, people seem to think they are “too good” to “lower themselves” to working with regular people in classes, or people who don’t have as many fights as they do. They lose sight of reality; a “regular person” can still hold pads, do drills with you and spar, etc. But it is in the nature of the fighter.

    Nice article, thank you

  29. This is a nice thought. Except that my gym charges me a large sum of money monthly, makes me wear their low-quality and overpriced gear, locks me into a lengthy contract, and has a head instructor that is nowhere to be found. As a result, the watered down classes are taught by inexperienced instructors, who just happen to be other students who are also paying an outrageous fee.

    It’s a brilliant business model if you can achieve it…all in the name of Team, Honor, and Loyalty.

    • The sum of pay should not be necessarily an issue when dealing with the idea of loyalty. There was an agreed-upon payment and once agreed to, until there is a renegotiation one should stay loyal to that amount of money. These are businesses
      However the experience that it seems that you are having Greg is a different issue entirely. Frankly if classes at that program were free this would still be an issue. But all the martial artists involved including the student, the trainers, managers and gym owners must also adhere to the principles of martial arts. If that is not happening, that is a totally separate issue and one should definitely be done with that facility. While there are bad programs like that running around that is not the truth of all. I think the issue here a lot of times is people will have a great program and still complain about the prices and still complain about training and still look for issues and get some problems so they can move somewhere else to look for something shiny and new simply because that seems to be the western way of doing things.
      And that is disloyal and those people are extremely disrespectful, and I frankly don’t want them in my gym.
      They bring down my training on all types of levels.

      Here’s a thought, what if guys came to a gym, not the crappy one that your talking about, but a good one
      And people stayed at the gym. As new people came and the old stay. the complaints about getting better training because you get different looks and different sparing partners (which is a ligament issue) at a new gym would be nonexistent.
      Or the very least greatly reduced.

  30. I understand what you trying to say , I have been training for 2 months in Thailand . I stayed at the same gym however , I know next time I won’t go back to the same gym . Reason 1: Pattaya is not very beautiful. 2nd the gym was full of Italians not that I mind Italians but at some point there was no one who could speak English anymore (Owner of the camp is italian) . 3rd most of the trainers I was training with left to Australia to fight . 4th the dogs peed in the ring . So therefore I know I won’t go back to that gym again. I would like to train on the Islands any suggestions ?

  31. Hello Miriam

    While I understand your points I also think you should consider that there may be other more practical reasons as to why someone would switch gyms. For instance, I had to switch due to job concerns; new job was in the same city in Thailand but there was a gym and affordable apartment closer than where my regular training place was. Taking into account the lack of a commute compared to the two trips a day to my former place then economics/practicality rules. I still go to my former place on the weekends but during the week a leisurely 10 minute walk trumps a 20 minute motorbike ride through heavy Thailand traffic.

  32. Pretty pointless. This is your journey, not your gyms, not your trainers, etc. Your gym exists to make money off you. You feel as though your gym is not fulfilling the gaps in your game that you want, or whatever it is, move on. You are not obligated. Fighting is nihilism. Do what is best for you. That being said do no expect shit if you do not show loyalty.

    • I think that if you feel that your gym exists only to make money off you, then you are certainly at the wrong one. It’s a two-way relationship and one that should be equally valued by trainer and fighter. The first gym that I trained at long-term wasn’t investing in me at all, it seemed more like a conveyor belt of people coming in, doing sub-standard training and being thrown into mismatched fights before leaving again. I didn’t feel that I was really learning anything, so I left and the one I’ve been at for the last two and a half years is constantly moving me forwards. I’m happy here, so I haven’t had the desire to go anywhere else. Perhaps that is why I have such strong opinions on the topic. Doing what’s best for you is always good, but you can only go so far alone.

  33. I am a gym owner so I see this argument for a different standpoint. In the case of people paying for training they are free to go wherever they want. Why not? But for sponsored fighters it is a different story. If sponsored foreign fighters are receiving free training (and sometimes free accommodation too) then they should be loyal to their gym that is investing in their development. Thai fighters are registered to their gym (in a legal contract) and can’t go to another gym unless the new gym buys their contract. Why is this not the case for foreigners? I agree with the loyalty argument but it’s also a matter of respect and being grateful. Sponsored foreign fighters miss this point and feel like they are free to do whatever they want. They go elsewhere and then come back expecting to be trained again… but the bond is broken.

    • Hi Diana,

      Thanks for your comment. I agree that respect and gratitude are important aspects of being part of a gym. We have a couple of foreign sponsored fighters at my gym and they’ve been nothing short of awesome, but it’s a shame that some gyms have had not so positive experiences of that. I think it comes down to character more than anything else. Thanks again for reading and all the very best of luck with your gym!

  34. It seems you’re irritated for the sake of the gym and its trainers. I think I feel where you’re coming from, since I’ve carried similar sentiments regarding my gym and its past members who have moved on. But in regards to the action of “gym hopping”, I can think of many circumstances where it would be more ideal, and “okay”, to switch to a new gym and very unideal to try to stay training with a past gym.

    I was introduced to Muay Thai at the time a friend started a gym, and he’s grown into a powerful, respectable trainer in this area. I feel very loyal, as I wouldn’t have even known about Muay Thai if it weren’t for him. And to make it easy, he’s a great and awesome trainer. But circumstances has it that I’ve recently moved 100 miles away from his gym. Still, I feel like I might put efforts to have it be with him if I ever return to competing. But in consideration of that, it’s a very unideal goal. He always wants to make sure we’re ready for fights, and that includes proper hours training weekly. I couldn’t drive up each day; He knows some gyms and their trainers closer to where I am now, and I could just work with them in the meantime.

    Anyways, I just agree with the feeling, that loyalty is important yet lacking in some people, but I wouldn’t agree that the problem shouldn’t be tagged to “gym hopping”. But again, I agree it’s a problem, especially for the trainers, when the fighters take what the trainers give, and leave without giving back.

    I think if it would come to switching gyms, keeping in touch and maybe publicly showing love and support for past gyms are decent examples of loyalty.

    • Wow, my typos are strong here… most importantly, 2nd-last paragraph:

      “….but I wouldn’t agree that the problem SHOULD be tagged to….”

    • Hi Chris, thanks for taking the time to comment.

      I agree with you, there. I don’t think that simply changing gyms is always gym hopping, and you’re right that there are always cases when it just wouldn’t be feasible to stay at a particular gym for various reasons. It is still possible to show loyalty in when switching gyms in those cases, as you said. When I talk about gym hopping, I’m referring to a more specific group. I actually regret that I didn’t make that a little clearer in the original post. I’ve thought about writing a follow-up post to clarify some points, perhaps I shall do that soon.

    • I’ve been with him for the last two and a half years and can quite honestly say that I have never had any training anywhere near as good as the training I get here. I’m always happy to receive comments, but insulting remarks from keyboard warriors aren’t welcome.

  35. there be a whole lot of tonge flapping going on around here.

    everyone is right but still very wrong.
    do what ever it takes and learn what you need to become a stylish feemur fighter.

    most people started way to late in life to learn the full muay thai set, including mae mai-luk mai , boran , chia, ledret and supplemental tkd kicks.

    i would choose a coach-trainer who has the same body style and movement as my self.

  36. whats the matter with managing your career and development .

    a fighters needs come first and formost .

    i have a time line of wants and needs, yes. project management of muay thai, is here.

    if you dont know what you want to learn then seeking how to get it ,aint going to happen quick.
    most of you people are very beginer or naive about muay thai and the fight world in particular.

    i dont think there is enough rageing and flaming -exposee`s about bad camps and trainer named and listed . .
    all those places-locations , and people must be exposed , pictures ,camp names .

    the land of fake smiles will take all your time and money .

    a trip over seas is a major money expenditure and there must be a foreseeable signifigant yield in technique to justify such a venture.

    standing still taking all the poo at an inferior gym , with a lazy trainer , is a fools parsdise .
    stop the idealism and become selfish and get what you need .

    time and age are against most travelers to thailand for training.

    i have been rather mild this letter . i need more starbucks now .

    bye

    • Hi there,

      It seems you have either misread the post or not bothered to read the comments section.

      I am getting exactly what I need from my gym. I would never advise anyone to stay at what they perceive to be an ‘inferior’ or ‘bad’ gym for the sake of loyalty alone. It seems that you’ve had a less than positive experience here, which is unfortunate. I can’t imagine why, judging from your sparkling attitude.

  37. Pingback: This is why You Shoud be a Thailand Gym Slut | Muay Thai Scholar

  38. There is nothing wrong with Gym Hoppers. To my believe, gyms in Thailand are also aiming this business. Like any other gym around the world, you will always have different students with their owns goals and different commitments. C’est la vie.

  39. I’ve only just come across this, and while there are some ‘ok’ points, I disagree with most of it. My background is BJJ and it is generally commonplace people will stay in one gym for a long time. There is in BJJ a true sense of loyalty and in the old days people where ostracized for changing gyms, because each gym had a set way or different techniques etc and they didn’t want these getting out. Now with the internet it’s less of an issue. The second being that because BJJ has a rank system it takes a long time between ranks and if you skip around it’s hard to judge, this leads to lineage which is also seen as an important factor and thus means people stay in one gym for most of their training.

    Now Muay Thai is a business first and foremost, they churn fighters out to earn money. Hell, sometimes even as far as betting against their own fighter and poisoning them to make sure they lose. When you walk in the door they see dollars, yes a BJJ gym will also see potential business, but at the end of the day you are paying them to train you. It’s not like they are investing their time and effort for free, you are paying for a service, unless you happen to be a sponsored fighter. Even then gyms will just cut their ties if they need to, loyalty doesn’t go far.
    If you think one part of your game is weak or needs work, and there is a better place to train it, then as a consumer you have the right to take your money else where, I personally would always say why I was going, as to not burn bridges etc. and those guys who you mention train at one place, leave it for another gym and bad mouth it, that’s a total dick move.

    I always believe if you are honest and upfront about your reasons there should never be any hard feelings, but at the end of the day we have a freedom to take our money to the gym that is going to train us the techniques that we are lacking or want to work more of.

    • Your familiarity with BJJ and less-familiarity with Muay Thai (in Thailand) shows in your comment here. You’re not wrong in your assessment of commercial dissociation or disinterest – there are many gyms that have a “just business” attitude toward westerners who are temporary customers.

      However, this commercial business practice is grafted on top of much older, much deeper ingrained attitudes and practices of very deep loyalty. The kinds of things you are familiar with when you describe BJJ histories. In the west we disconnect business from family, but in Thailand the two are intimately connected. So the interest in money and interest in a fighter as a family member and investment are not mutually exclusive. The feeling of total betrayal if a fighter who has been invested in by the gym leaves can carry over to the seemingly platonic relationship between the western “client” and Thai gym.

      Certainly if you feel your gym isn’t taking care of you, there’s good enough reason to take your business and loyalties elsewhere. But assuming that the gym sees it as a clean cut, capitalist severance is not always (or even often) a correct assumption. I’m not disagreeing with your encouragement for people to get the most out of their training. I’m just pointing out that there is a great deal of cultural and traditional undercurrents that can steer these choices in directions we as westerners might not foresee. I reckon Emma’s post is mostly trying to let people know that there are benefits to being patient and wading into these deeper relationships, rather than only treating training as a gym membership.

  40. let me tell you`s how i generally run my operation.

    yes i am a trainer , i have had many high level amatures and pro`s.

    i use my three car garage as a fully decked out gym.

    call me a muay thai – western boxing fanatic and advocate
    of the highest degree.

    anyone coming over must be referred to me by well trusted people in the business.

    i assess the capabilities a prospects – capabilites, present and future then, determine if they are worth my efforts.

    every coach trainer is always looking for the ONE !

  41. I think the reason for your Travel is important when looking at this subject. Some people are only staying in Thailand for Holiday and are doing a lot of traveling. For them, the joy of Muay Thai is getting combined with the joy of exploration. Landing in phuket and visiting all the different gyms “on the soi” is something many people do. It’s part of the travel experience. Also, if youbare the type to only go to Thailand for a month out of the year, you may also want to explore a different gym every time you go, so you can experience Muay Thai in different areas. Make comparison in styles, north vs south. Bangkok vs Pataya, etc. This can allow people whos loyalty is to one gym (the one at home) to pick up different skillsets and ideas and stay versatile. Me, I stay for long periods at one gym. I chose my gym for a reason and I went back for a reason. For me, all thise reasons I stated for gym hoping do not apply, so I think one shouldn’t judge other people, instead try to understand why pwople do different things. Your reasons aren’t the best reasons as are mines, they are just that, your reasons. This is coming from a loyalist.

  42. loyalty….You are gym staff and You help your gym whit Your blog , You advertise your gym by this news …come on baby ! 🙂 55555 Anyway …You are ‘farang’ , You pay and You can change gym same to change shorts ! Different is for ‘real’ Nak Muay that living in Thailand from many years and in this case I’m agree that there are many case of ‘farang’ fighters that ask to be accepted as part of the camp , same Thais , and are not able to exchange this with the maximum loyalty. At same time the camp have to give to the fighters ‘farang’ the best opportunity to reach the success that the fighters deserve ,otherwise if this does not happen or is late in coming , Thais or farang fighters not have other choice of change …. remember Buakaw story as example

    • Hi Roby,

      Actually, I don’t work for my gym and all of my blog posts have been written purely of my own accord. I wasn’t paid or compensated for writing this, it’s my own opinion. I agree that loyalty goes both ways and if the fighters are being treated unjustly or not receiving proper training or opportunities for fights, then of course they should look somewhere else. I’ve said that several times in the comments section already. That’s also why I have left the gym I was at when I wrote this post.

  43. Pingback: Breaking Up with my Gym | Under The Ropes

  44. +1 To Sean it is so true that it’s a two way street, I found this article after searching for nearby gyms and the feelings associated with leaving lead me here. For me training with my gym for several years who taught me everything from a kid to now, always been there for me in each others corners, walking out together with our teams shirts on and so much loyalty so that multiple fighters past and present change their fighters surname to the clubs. But the rub here is the massive decline of the gym, it’s an old gym and there were two coaches a guy who was past 60 but only dedicated his time to teaching beginners as his fighters days he put behind him and a guy half his age who was a well seasoned fighter who ran the fighters classes. The problem is that, the guy who runs the fighters classes had lived a town away about 6 months ago and decided to open his gym there as a) a number of fighters actually live in that town and saves them the 1 hour commute. b. he wanted to set up a more fight oriented gym with weights, cross training etc. The problem is I was one of the few guys who live in this town so the commute for me is not possible; so now what’s left is basically a beginners class and nothing for the experienced guys who now are relegated with helping the beginners (which is now just me and one other guy down from a dozen). It’s heartbreaking and I’ve stopped going because I’ve literally stopped being challenged and instead looking for gyms nearby that friends in the community are training at and the things they are doing there just motivate me, the brotherhood, competitive environment with active fighters etc. Thing is I haven’t really ever talked to the older coach because he trains a different class… I don’t know whether to tell him or if he would even care? Basically the serious fighters have been neglected and I agree at a point we deserve to be selfish and actually progress further; any rational coach would see that.

    • Hi, thanks for the comment. My situation was very similar to yours. It was home for a long time and being there was what made me as a fighter. For a long time, I couldn’t have imagined training anywhere else. Unfortunately, the quality of training started to go gradually downhill until the point where I was being completely neglected. As with your gym, beginners were valued more that’s just where the money is, I guess) and it just wasn’t the place for me anymore. It was difficult for me to make the decision to leave, but I had to do it for the sake of my own training and love for the sport. I wrote about that in this post, if you’re interested in reading: https://goo.gl/3JcKcO

      I completely agree that you do have to be selfish at some point, blind loyalty when you’re not getting anything in return isn’t what I meant to convey in this post, although I see why it came off that way. If I were you, I’d talk to the trainer at your gym just out of courtesy, but wouldn’t let it affect your decision.

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