Chacrit Muay Thai: Beyond the Video
At Chacrit Muay Thai, the two primary trainers (Lo and Jeff) literally sleep at the gym. The canvas ring is raised a few inches off the ground, so Lo uses it as a pillow. Jeff likes to sprawl on the couch by the front door. Show up at 9am and you’ll likely find them sleeping, but they’ll yawn, smile, say “Good morning, my friend” and quickly get the music bumping through the speakers.
Every Monday-Saturday morning you’ll find me working the bags or shadowboxing. A few regulars trickle in around 9:30am. You’ll never need to wait for a bag or wait to work with Lo or Jeff if you go early in the morning or in the afternoon. In the evenings, more people come out to train, but not too many where you can’t get a good workout. If you’re more inspired to train when surrounded by others, you’ll feel the energy more in the evening.
About Kru Lo: He’s a retired Muay Thai fighter who is still in his 30’s. This means he’s able to get in the ring and spar with you if you work up to that level and are interested. He’s a jokester, knows how to spar safely, and, most important of all, he cares about you and your well-being. From the first day I met Lo (nearly three months ago) I knew I was in good hands. I’ve hung out with him outside of training, and we usually chat a bit (his English is ever-improving) during each morning session.
About Kru Jeff: Jeff is his farang name (“farang” is the term for “westerner”), but he’s Thai and also in his 30’s. He answers the phones, speaks fairly good English and is by far the best at holding the pads. Jeff knows how to move, mix it up, work inside, work outside, sweep, etc. He’s the real deal, but he doesn’t spar. Like Lo, Jeff too is a happy-going fellow. Always smiling, always ready to help. Ask him about Lopburi, his hometown, and you’ll see his eyes light up.
About Kru Chacrit: He enters the gym as a trainer most days of the week (usually evenings). He is considered the master, and his technique and reputation back it up. When you work the pads with Lo, he’ll touch up your basics and wear you out. Jeff will touch up your intermediate skills and wear you out. When you work with Chacrit he’ll test you with an unexpected move (this is the process of learning here) then he’ll wear you out. Chacrit is also the Visa Wizard. He worked out all the paperwork I needed to get the 1-year Education Visa (very few gyms have the knowledge and willingness to help you out in this regard). Many people know you can get a 1-year Education Visa to study the Thai language, but very few know it’s also possible for Muay Thai. Once I had the paperwork, I had to go to Laos before my Thailand tourist visa expired. This is called a Visa Run. (Send me a message if you have additional questions about this process).
About Learning: There are no formal “classes” here at Chacrit or most other Muay Thai schools, at least in the traditional martial arts sense. Sure, you can sign up for a 10-session package, but do not expect to practice techniques slowly or build methodically upon a structured routine. Don’t expect to drill techniques. We learn in the natural method. You might be shown a thing or two, but then you’ll immediately be hitting the pads and Lo or Jeff will assess then tweak your technique as you sweat.
How to get Here: Take the BTS Skytrain to the Phrom Phong (E5) stop. From there, walk down to the street and head toward the humongous Emporium shopping center. When you’re facing Emporium, turn right, walk past Benjasiri Park (it’ll be on your left) and turn left into the parking area directly before the Dubliner Bar and Restaurant. Stay left and you’ll see Chacrit Muay Thai nestled modestly on the corner.
Connect with Cameron via his Facebook Page. He’s a former MMA fighter turned award-winning poet. He currently writes the Sherdog.com Nutrition Column and teaches Shakespeare for Ottawa University. He is sponsored by WhatsYourFight.com and FCFighter.com.