If one thinks about our Dear Green Place, the first idea that must come to mind is that it is nothing if not adaptable.
Inhabited for millennia, Glasgow has been Roman, Catholic and Protestant; it grew from a small settlement on the River Clyde into an important trading port, was at the forefront of the Industrial Revolution and is now a centre for culture, science, education and art.
As long and storied as her history is and as versatile as she’s shown herself to be, it seems that combat sports, Muay Thai in particular, would be a natural reflection of all that Glesga is.
You shouldn’t think of Muay Thai as merely two guys beating the tar out of each other in a ring; for one because Muay Thai is also open to women and children.
More to the point: Muay Thai is not about the fighting but about conditioning oneself for the fight… here again, Glasgow and this ancient combat sport run parallel.
Today, Glasgow stands ready for anything, from the influx of international students flooding in to study at her fabulous universities to the disastrous fires that gutted one of the most illustrious buildings of the cityscape.
The Muay Thai boxer stands ready for anything too: be it a punch, a kick or a clinch, these martial artists have schooled themselves to endure and overcome… and yes, even triumph over their opponents.
Let us now find the best Muay Thai gyms in and around Glasgow so that you, too, can become a fighting Glaswegian who is ready for anything.
Why Practise Muay Thai?
Did you think it strange to draw a parallel between our city and Muay Thai fighting?
Really, the two have more in common than you might think; all you have to do is scratch the surface of this close-combat discipline to hear echoes of our city’s history.
There is an ethos to the martial arts in general and Muay Thai specifically that calls to people determined to be their best selves.
Muay Thai training originated as a form of combat preparation; it served as military training at a time when long-range weaponry didn’t exist and hand to hand combat is how conflicts were resolved.
Over time it came to be regarded more as martial arts training and, when King Rama V of Thailand took the throne in the mid-19th Century, his fascination with it turned Muay Thai fighting into the national sport.
Some of the top reasons to train Muay Thai include:
- getting in your best shape ever – it’s all about endurance and strength
- meeting like-minded people
- it teaches you to keep calm, no matter what
- it will cloak you in fortitude: knowing you can handle anything is a real confidence booster
- it’s great for cultivating self-discipline
- it helps you develop mental toughness
You might wonder about mental toughness; isn’t it associated primarily with sports? Indeed, it is but more and more, this attribute is seen as vital to success in general.
So, whether you are working your way through school or fighting for a promotion; live a life of adversity or are just looking for your big break, the conditioning you undergo as a Muay Thai fighter will arm you to adapt and overcome in every other aspect of your life.
Just ask those who study Muay Thai techniques in Belfast; they are no stranger to adapting and overcoming.
The Best Clubs for Muay Thai
There is a reason that Glasgow is the most populous city in Scotland: it has something for everyone, even the prospective martial artist.
Consider yourselves lucky, Weegies! While there is only a handful of Muay Thai clubs in Cardiff, you have several dojos to choose from.
We’ll start our tour of them right in City Centre, with The Griphouse.
Guy Ramsey and Paul McVeigh, the club’s co-founders, have themselves trained under some of the best martial arts teachers; now they bring their wealth of experience to you.
While they do train to competition level, if you are interested solely in attaining your best self – not competing, that is fine by them. They will be glad for you to join them at £7 per session (£70 per month).
And if you’re not sure Muay Thai is the martial art for you, you might try Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, MMA, wrestling or boxing while you're there.
Staying in Central Glasgow, let’s peek in at Boxfit Glasgow.
If you are thinking that Boxfit and Thai boxing are oceans apart… you may be right: Boxfit is a high-energy cardio workout that incorporates many elements of boxer training, such as rope skipping and working your core.
However, you must be in peak physical form for Muay Thai boxing so maybe such a class might not be a total waste?
What we really like about this club is that membership numbers are kept low to assure everyone they will get the attention and training they need.
We also like that, because this gym is smack in City Centre, their trainees come from many walks of life… kind of like the Muay Thai clubs in London!
Also, their prices aren’t bad: your trial membership is £30 for two weeks; a weekly pass is £25.
If, for whatever reason, your fitness goals have not been met this year, you can get back on the horse at Everyday Athlete.
As their name implies, they are open to everyone from new mums to those looking to train with Thai pads and focus mitts.
They put a rather fun spin on their Muay Thai training but don’t place them in the same category as franchise gyms that want your membership but leave getting fit up to you; they are quite serious about this ancient art of fighting.
They offer a prep program for a flat rate of £99; beyond that, you can secure your membership for as low as £75 per month. Too bad there is no such Muay Thai club near me!
You might think that, with a name like Glasgow Fitness, there would be no such thing as martial arts training, let alone a serious combat sport like Muay Thai practised there. Oh, how wrong!
Although they have everything covered as far as fitness goes – fully outfitted workout spaces as well as yoga classes, personal training, Thai massage and even nutritious meals prepared onsite, their true love is Muay Thai training.
Of course, you could just go there to relax in the sauna; you don’t have to undergo a training session every time. If you’re near Thornliebank, why not drop in and see what they have to offer?
Just a little further southeast, past Thornliebank, is Newton Mearns; if you have already undergone strength conditioning and are ready to get serious about sparring, clinching and beating a heavy bag, Pro Muay Thai is the place for you.
As their name suggests, they do only Muay Thai and, under the guidance of experienced fighter Cha MacKenzie, they do it exceedingly well.
In fact, everything about this gym is great, from the club’s layout to the fact that they welcome kids as well as adults, beginners and those ready for their pra jiad – their ceremonial armband.
Did you know that more women are seeking out Muay Thai for self-defense? The Muay Thai classes in Birmingham are brimming with women warriors!
What Muay Thai Gear Do You Need?
Obviously, you would not wear a swimsuit if you’re going to do yoga; likewise, if you’re a devotee of mixed martial arts, you wouldn’t dream of outfitting yourself in a basketball uniform.
Many people associate the karate gi with martial arts; if you were studying judo, such garb would be appropriate. The dobok, worn by those practising Tae Kwon Do, is slightly different than the gi but neither of those is worn in Muay Thai.
If you are male, you will most likely fight shirtless but, for practice, you may wear any tee-shirt you’d like. However, as the workouts are fairly intensive, you might consider breathable training shirts.
Also, the Muay Thai shorts worn in the ring are shorter than basketball shorts because they follow the traditional style worn in Thailand. You should note that the leg openings are wider than regular shorts to permit high kicking, so wearing compression shorts underneath them is advised.
If you cannot find any Muay Thai shorts or would like to have a wider variety to choose from, you might check out MMA shorts; they too get the job done.
Hand wraps and Muay Thai gloves are a must! If you cannot find a comfortable pair of Muay Thai gloves, you may consider boxing gloves but ask your coach, first; s/he may not approve of those larger gloves.
Shin guards: your shins are in for a lot of work; it is best to protect them during training. Likewise, you might consider ankle supports; all of that kicking with surely fatigue them.
Of course, a mouthguard and a groin guard are essential but protective headgear is not and elbow and knee pads are optional.
Unlike weight training or other disciplines, Muay Thai does not call for a large cash investment to get started; true to its historical roots, it relies on you to furnish its essential ingredients: your mind, your body and sincere dedication.
If you’re ready to do so, Glesga Muay Thai clubs are ready for you!
Find out how they compare to Muay Thai clubs in Manchester…