I am planning to go train in Thailand for 3 months (ticket already bought!) on September 9 and I have still to choose my training camp for the duration of my stay. I don't really want to hop around different gyms as I won't be there for too long so I want to make an informed decision right away. I am in advanced discussions with Sitmonchai's foreign liaision (Abigail), but I am still not sure if I will go there or not.
My background: I am an amateur fighter with 6 fights under his belt (nothing crazy) and would really want to find a gym with serious training and not too much westerners if possible. I have also been training for 3 years now and it would be my first trip to Thailand.
I have filtered down a couple gyms in my list: Kaewsamrit, Sitmonchai, Kem Muay Thai, and Namsaknoi. If you could give me a brief overview of your impressions of those gyms would be cool. I am looking to develop a more Muay femur style (technical) if that can help.
Here's my impressions of each gym, if you could confirm my assumptions it would be really helpful.
Kaewsamrit: Seems like a good old-school gym oriented more towards boxing Muay mat ("heavy hands"). As I need to step up my clinch game as well, I don't know if it is the best option. I do enjoy watching highlight clips of Anuwat Kaewsamrit exploding skulls with his fists though, but I am afraid that this style is a bit limited. Although I am pretty sure they would adjust to my style/level.
Sitmonchai: Similar to Kaewsamrit but it is the most expensive on my list and don't know if it's justified. Known for their aggressive style and hard low kicks, I am afraid that it might be a bit one-dimensional as well. I do enjoy the fact that they pair you up with Thais though (if they actually do and how frequently?), major point for me. They seem to have a lot of active fighters as well, which should help motivate me, but I also heard that other than the pad sessions with the trainers, you are pretty much left to yourself to train. I would like to have guidance on what I am doing right/wrong as well and not just hitting pads till exhaustion.
Kem Muay Thai Gym: Beautiful location, seems like a clinch-oriented gym with disciplined training. The gym is new and doesn't have much info on it though but my major fear is that it might be geared towards westerners more. I am not a Muay Thai expert with 300+ fights but I do want to have quality training partners. It does seem like a more complete style of fighting is being taught there though.
Namsaknoi: The most recent of all the gyms. What attracts me is Namsaknoi himself with the breadth of his technique and his legacy. Seems more oriented towards technique and from what I've heard they only spar twice a week (not enough in my opinion). I am also thinking that it attracts mostly westerners as I haven't been able to find info on Thai fighters training there, and also because it's on a beautiful beach.