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Roberto Pedreira













Fairtex Muay Thai 


By Roberto Pedreira



Fairtex Muay Thai Training Camp is located inside the Fairtex Sports Club & Hotel. It is the only one of the five reviewed here that I didn't train at, although some of my friends did and I observed activities on many occasions over the years. 

One of Fairtex's mottos is "Train like a Thai, fight like a Thai." The facilities may be excellent, and they are, and the trainers may be superb, and if they aren't it isn't because Fairtex can't afford to hire the best, but any Thai who could afford to train in a luxury hotel would not need to be a Muay Thai fighter. Unless the hotel meant Thais in general, rather than fighters, the kinds of kids who basically lived and grew up in a camp.

As you might expect, the training fees are higher than elsewhere in Pattaya. Instead of 270-300 baht, try 800 baht for one session, 600 baht if you pre-pay for 10 sessions. But if you can make a one-month commitment, the price would go down to a reasonable 250 per session, assuming that you trained 5 times a week (and would include all of the other sports facilities as well).

What didn't appeal to me was precisely the luxury atmosphere. On the other hand, if the trainers are getting paid more, they might provide better training. I can't say. But in any case Fairtex is at minimum twice the cost of any other gym and for that you get carpets, AC, and a generally more First World environment.

I concede that I have reservations about a gym that is geared to rich tourists. Neverthless, from what I saw, the training routine is identical to that at every other gym. The trainers are just as good. Fairtex has its former champions, like every gym. The main difference is that instead of poor kids training there are rich farangs (if that isn't a tautology; to Thais every farang must be rich, or else how could they afford to come to Thailand, let alone to kick pads like an impoverished kid from the countryside?) 

The location is prime, a short jog from the beach. In addition to the cost of training you have to consider the cost of getting to the gym. For Sityodtong, that can add up. To Fairtex, a baht bus (10 baht) would probably suffice.

Fairtex has four large rings, and every manner of bag, all new and well-maintained. It is, indeed, the only gym in Pattaya that has good quality bags (Thais don't care; they hardly use bags, but then, maybe the poor quality is the reason). On the other hand, you don't learn Muay Thai by hitting bags. That is supplementary training, like running, tire jumping, and the like. The essentials of Muay Thai training are running and clinch sparring, and pad training when you have a fight coming up.

In short, I didn't train there. It seems excellent if the luxuriousness and price don't bother you and you want to train with rich tourists. That isn't bad, but it is different from the way that Thais have traditionally trained Muay Thai. 

Fairtex has a Muay Thai "social session" in the evening for people who want to sample the "Muay Thai experience. " It consists of (or includes) three 3-minute rounds on the pads. "Real" Muay Thai training takes place in the mornings (8:00-10:00) and afternoons (3:00-5:00).

Fairtex is also attempting to work MMA and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu into their menu of sports and activities which includes almost everything one could imagine. They have swimming pools and tennis courts, ping-pong, rock-climbing, everything.  

In 2007 they offered Royce Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. Their large banner attracted my attention. I went in to talk to Royce. He wasn't there. He sent a representative, named Johnny, from Texas. He had a purple belt and had met Royce twice at seminars, he told me. Royce had authorized him to conduct seminars. He seemed like a nice guy who loved jiu-jitsu. I was not surprised to hear that not many people were training jiu-jitsu. Although Fairtex is well air-conditioned, how many people bring a jiu-jitsu kimono on their vacations to Thailand? Not many, it seemed (I never have).

In 2013 Fairtex installed an MMA room. Small, but like everything else there, first-class. Instead of a purple belt representative, they recruited  a black belt from Rio de Janeiro, associated with Black House MMA. Actually, he was from Wisconsin, but may have had one or more Brazilian parents, and possibly was even born in Brazil. He had trained with Rickson Gracie's students Tiago Vega and Luiz Claudio. He was 23 and had been training BJJ since he was 9, according to Fairtex. He also seemed like a nice guy, and was in good shape, and basically, I didn't have any reason to doubt that he was legitmate. His name was João Bosco. Google indicates that there are two João Bosco's. He would be the smaller one of the two. 

No-gi training only was offered, no doubt due to Fairtex's reasonable assumption that guests would not have kimonos. According to João, not many people were interested in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (or possibly, didn't know what it was) and he was headed for Abu Dhabi. On the day that I met him, he had two students. He was OK with that, it seemed. Unlike Muay Thai, it is hard to teach BJJ to a complete beginner on a walk-in basis if the student doesn't already know what BJJ is. That was the problem that Rorion Gracie faced when he came up with the solution of having Royce fight exponents of other styles in the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Anyone who watched that knew what a "guard position", or "mount position" was and what an arm-lock or choke was. People didn't wonder "why is that guy lying on his back hugging the other guy's neck or pulling on his arm?". They had seen Royce. They knew. They wanted to do it too. 

But the UFC is no longer style-versus-style. Now it is MMA. Everyone does everything. It is hard to get a fix on what jiu-jitsu is from watching the UFCs now. Indeed, the majority of the small group of people in Pattaya who have heard of jiu-jitsu think it means "ground grappling."

I will leave it at that but suggest that you check it out for yourself. 

The pictures below might help. Fairtex has a web site too, naturally:












Above. Royce Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, 2007




Above. Left, lobby. Right, reception.

Below. Boxercize area.  


Below. Three views of the four Muay Thai rings.




Above. Tennis courts.

Below. Three pictures of Fairtex Jiu-Jitsu instructor João Bosco.




Above. Three pictures of João Bosco.



(c) 2013, Roberto Pedreira. All rights reserved.



GTR Archives 2000-2022