My First Visit to Yokkao Gym in Bangkok, Thailand

11:15:00 AM Pinoy Boy Journals 0 Comments

I started training Muay Thai back in 2016. It was labor day on the 1st of May and I pretty much set to have a change of lifestyle. I quit smoking a month prior and started to become more conscious of my diet. I mean at 34, some things have to change. Three years later, two coaches after and gallons of sweat from my gym training, i finally had the courage to fly to Thailand and train Muay Thai - right where it all began. Disclaimer though is that i didn't get the minimum three months training in Bangkok because it's ought to be extremely hard even for seasoned practitioners. 

I was at Siam Paragon finishing a meal when i planned to head out to Yokkao one day. I've been doing my research on the best gyms in Thailand and found out Yokkao - which is based in Bangkok. I actually flew to Bangkok for this, just for experience. If i didn't like it, i can go back training in Manila anyway. After enjoying my Pad Thai like every day, i went to ride the MRT bound for Asok. On my first time to visit, i walked from the train station towards the gym. It was about a 20 minute walk but what made it unbearable was the extreme heat of the midday sun. Later on, i got lost using Google Maps. Apparently, to go to the gym you need to enter the insides of the streets. The highway is the wrong way. You can ride rented motorbikes at the train station but it's a bit costly. I recommend riding Grab instead because it's metered. 

I couldn't believe i was finally at the gym and seeing trainees from around the world pushing themselves to their limits got me even more excited to train. I also saw all the Muay Thai superstars training and of course, Spencer, who is without a doubt my favorite fighter of all time. He is my ultimate spirit animal, for chrissake. Just a little bit of trivia, before starting my 6 or 7 round session, i would watch his Instagram posts about his fights and trainings just so i could get the blood going and learn from his punches and kicks. It gets tiring if you've been training nonstop 4-5 times a week, so a little boost helps. 

There were no Filipino students when i visited. But what surprised me is that the manager is a Filipina. She became a friend instantly, and convinced me into finally training at Yokkao. Giving her a disclaimer that although i have been training for three years now back in Manila, we all know it's a different banana training in Thailand - the birthplace of Muay Thai. Neri even promised to give me the best trainer in Yokkao and eventually i would realize training inside the ring instead of the mat is actually a privilege. 

I ended up staying at Yokkao until almost sunset that day. That's close to five hours just observing how things work this side of the world. It's a lot of blood, sweat and tears going on here. But it's also the place where champions are trained. Seeing these fighters up close was more than enough for me. Ugh, the art of 8 limbs in full action. I just couldn't contain my excitement. Spencer Brown was such a delight to see. I couldn't imagine the power and strength this bloke has. I'm such a big fan. 

I got trained by this KRU on my 3rd time training. He was straight, strict and had the poker face. He meant business. I got scolded a couple of time but this made me focus even more with my drills. 

Before i left for Bangkok, KRU Swing here in Manila, gave me advices on how i should train at Yokkao. The pressure is definitely on, even for him. My performance there would tell how well he has taught me for over three years. I told him, no pressure. These is all for experience. I will go back to the Philippines and get better so when i come here, i know better, too. It's that simple. I am Muay Thai enthusiast, not a Muay Thai fighter. 

I would actually see a lot of tourists coming over to Yokkao to have their picture taken with Singdam and of course, Saenchai. I mean, who wouldn't? These happen to be some of the greatest Muay Thai fighters of all time. Damn. I, too, have my photo taken with them. 

Imagine my delight at the shop buying Muay Thai shorts, wraps and even mouth guard. Yokkao - the brand, is such an icon. I wouldn't go home on my first visit to Yokkao without buying stuff from there. 

Come to think of it, i never knew Yokkao Gym would be a place i would start going to more frequently whenever i am in Bangkok. Heck, i never knew i would start to train Muay Thai in the first place. But times have changed. Since, I'm not getting older, i needed to change my kind of lifestyle and become more aware of my body and its needs. I yearn to get stronger and become a better version of myself. True that my intent to train Muay Thai is for health and fitness, but it has become a way of life for me and protection whenever i am traveling. You'll never know when an elbow or a kick would come in handy. Muay Thai has become a part of my life now. As i type this, it has been more than 2 months since my last sparring session with KRU Swing here in Manila. I was suppose to fly again back to Bangkok Q3 of this year to train at Yokkao. I don't think it's possible because of the current situation. I am afraid, i don't know Muay Thai anymore. Gee, this virus. 

Here i am with my Filipina friend and manager at Yokkao Gym - Neri. For the next sessions, which i will be writing about soon, she took care of me making sure i get the best training possible even for a day or a few days straight. Her only request is that next time when i fly back to Bangkok and train at Yokkao, i bring here instant noodles from the Philippines. What a sweetheart!

Don't be fooled by its signage. It's a pretty legit gym - spacious and clean. Get inside the bathroom and it's airconditioned. Are you kidding me? Location is perfect, too. It's just a little bit away from the madness of Sukhumvit.  This is not a sponsored post but an appreciation post. Yokkao has become my second home in Bangkok and i can't wait to go back once this pandemic is over. I wonder how all the trainers are and the many trainees who chose to live in Bangkok indefinitely. 

Oh, and after my first visit at Yokkao, i started training intensely the next day. No if, no buts, just pure hard Muay Thai training. 

Want to train at Yokkao? Click here.