Saturday, October 19, 2013

Review: First week training Muay Thai at Team Quest Chiang Mai, Thailand

After spending the summer back in the U.S. I was anxious to get back to my new favorite place in the world, Chiang Mai Thailand.  The reason why I love Chiang Mai so much is not only is it one of the cheapest places in the Thailand to live, it also offers the most variety and comforts of home.

Usually I get home sick or start missing the western comforts of home whenever I travel for more than 3 months at a time but not in Chiang Mai.  Here you can stay in modern apartments, eat southern style BBQ ribs, salad bars, and even prime rib.  Plus they have Rimping Supermarket which is the Thai equivalent of Whole Foods so if you're ever in the mood for your local beer from Oregon they have it.  

Why I'm Training at Team Quest:

MMA and Location sum it up.  There are other good Muay Thai only gyms in Chiang Mai such as KC Muay Thai and Santai but both are a bit out of town and hard to get around without a motorbike and are traditional Muay Thai only gyms.  You can search my blog for reviews on both.  

I was excited when I first heard about Team Quest opening up in Chiang Mai, to me they are like the equivalent to Phuket Top Team in the north.  Ever since Tiger Muay Thai Chiang Mai got ripped off and closed doors it has also become the saving grace to Chiang Mai for anyone who wants to train MMA and Muay Thai but doesn't want to live in Phuket.  

Map of Chiang Mai and Team Quest Thailand


Team Quest Thailand in Chiang Mai is located in a quiet neighborhood halfway between the airport and the old city.  TQ is a short walk to the main mall of Chiang Mai, which contains three food courts, tons of restaurants, shopping, and a world class movie theater.  

Team Quest Thailand is in the perfect location.  It is a 5 minute drive from the airport, a 5 minute drive to the old city which is the main part of town and walking distance to the mall which has everything you might need.  It's also the closest decent muay thai gym to the Nimmanhemin area which is where all of the university students and entrepreneurs hang out, think East Village New York.  

This trip I'm not training for any fights specifically so I'll only be training in the afternoons a few days of the week.  I'm starting with Muay Thai and plan on doing some Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu as well.  This week i've done two Muay Thai classes and am planning on attending the saturday Jiu-Jitsu class this afternoon at 2:30.  

Click to enlarge - Note Jiu-Jitsu starts at 6pm

Training so far:

I've only done the Muay Thai classes this trip so far so check back next week for a review Team Quest's MMA and Jiu-Jitsu program.  As far as facilities and equipment go, Team Quest Chiang Mai is sponsored by Fairtex so all of the gear, pads, rings and heavy bags are top notch.

The MMA gear, mats and everything still look brand new from what I saw, but the Muay Thai equipment is starting to fade from being out in the sun.  However, after use I was happy to see that the equipment all in good working condition.  There are no sags or hard spots in the bags, the mats are good, and the ring is good as well.  

Typical Muay Thai Training Schedule:

During both Muay Thai classes we started off with skipping rope and running.  I like the area in front of TQ for running as it is long enough that you can shuttle back and forth and not even leave the camp grounds.  The jump ropes were nice and heavy, however most were too short and I had to search around for one that was long enough.  A bit of stretching, one 5 minute round of shadow boxing which I prefer over 3 short rounds, and then straight into technique.

The technique portions have been great so far.  They have been straight to the point and functional.  I hated long explanations of techniques that some gyms especially ones in the U.S. would give, making your muscles get cold by the time you practie them.  But at TQ they were straight to the point, useful and not too long.  

Then it was my favorite part, which is bagwork and padwork.  

Muay Thai Class at Team Quest Thailand

The Muay Thai Trainers:

I had Kru Nut hold pads for me both times, for those who don't know he is a the biggest Thai trainer possibly in the world at 6'2" and 265lbs.  I didn't realize how beneficial it was to have a guy my size, bigger than me actually hold pads for me.  On top of that he is actually really technical and skilled as well.  Big props to TQ for finding him and brining him on board.

I haven't had a chance to work with the other trainers yet but most of them seemed legit as well.  There are generally 3 rounds of padwork but on slow days when there aren't many students, they give you more rounds which is a nice thing.

Muay Thai Sparring:

My second favorite part after padwork is sparring and I was happy to see that we sparred both days I was there.  We did 4 rounds of Muay Thai sparring changing partners each round which was perfect. There were some good training partners there as well.  I even got to spar Kru Nut for a round which was a good experience. It was also nice that they have extra shin guards there for guys like me who didn't bring any.  I also had to borrow a pair of 16oz gloves as I only brought my 12oz gloves with me. 

My thoughts so far:

  • Great location
  • MMA Program 
  • Good trainers 
  • Good equipment (fairtex baby!)
  • Great scheduling (both the class times and the actual classes themselves)
  • Nice class size (both classes so far had 8 students and 4 instructors)
  • Free water during training (Although I would rather have them charge an extra 200 baht ($7US) per month and have a sign that says drink as much as you want and fill up your bottle too, than have it be free and have a sign that says please only drink out of cups during training times only.

  • Shared hand wraps - As with most Muay Thai gyms people hang their hand wraps after class to dry and students just grab which ever pair they choose.  Some people don't mind but I personally think it's a bit nasty to use someone else's smelly handwraps and really don't like the idea of other people using mine.  I would prefer if TQ made everyone buy their own pair, since they are cheap anyways, write their names with a marker and be responsible for using their own and washing their own.  
  • Mouth Guards - It would also be a good idea to force everyone to buy a mouth guard before sparring, even a cheap boil in hot water one.
  • Not enough onsite rooms - One of the reasons why so many people go down to Tiger Muay Thai in Phuket is because they like the idea of living, eating and sleeping at the gym.  At least that was the case with me when I did my first fight camp.  One easy solution for TQ would be for them to book out an entire floor of a closeby apartment and use that as base for everyone to stay at.  That way there will be a good sense of community at the gym.  
  • Impossible Plank/Pushup Burnouts - I like the idea of a burnout plank/pushup at the end of workouts as it tests both mental and physical toughness.  But since the Thai trainers aren't doing it along with you, it is easy for them to have you do it for an impossible amount of time without going into bad form or cheating.  I timed it at 2:33 with a total of 20 pushups without resting, which I would bet is impossible for even the really fit fighters while maintaining good form.  I would like either the trainers to do it along with us so they know what it feels like, or at least try it once themselves, time it and use that time as a goal.  That way people can keep good form and have a test that they can actually pass instead of hurting themselves or cheating.  
Give it a try:
Set your phone time for 2 minutes and 33 seconds, no with good form hold a plank and every 10 seconds or so doing one pushup, but don't touch the ground or rest.  Keep holding the plank and doing pushups, how many can you get up to?

Hold that for 2 minutes and a half and do 20 pushups without resting.

Final Thoughts:
So far so good.  Team Quest Thailand is the perfect mix of great location, good training, and both MMA and Muay Thai.  Check back next week for a review on the MMA program at Team Quest Chiang Mai.

Warm Regards,

Johnny FD - The must read book before coming to Thailand.


  1. Great Review, I'm going to check it out as I'm in Chiang Mai and looking for a camp to train at... Also JD, you should consider becoming our affiliate.

  2. In your opinion what would Team Quest be like for someone who is an absolute beginner and looking for something new (wanting to train somewhere amazing like Chaing Mai and drop a few pounds in the process)?

    Any insights would be grand.

    1. Team Quest is good for both beginners and professional fighters as they break off into separate groups during class and have a totally separate MMA class for pro fighters. You'll be fine as a beginner.

  3. Johnny,

    I would have contacted you directly but I didn't see your email listed anywhere.

    A friend of mine is selling his shares in this place, seems like it would he right up your alley since you love Chiang mai so much.

    If you want the details, hit me up ( and I'll put you in touch.


    1. Hey Chris, thanks for the offer. I'm not one to ever invest in a business based in Thailand, I just enjoy coming as a guest. Thanks for the heads up though =)

    2. Pushups and planks are easier for smaller guys. I've done it that long in class after not hard training for a while and yeah it sucks.
      Good breakdown.

  4. Hey man,

    Can you recommend a good place to stay in Chiang Mai? Maybe the name of the Apartment Complex, and what kind of rate to expect?

    Thanks. Have just bought your ebook!


    1. Hey, thanks for buying my book, give it a read as I talk a lot about where to stay and how much you should pay. Feel free to leave another comment and ask anything I didn't cover in the book, but it should all be in there.


Hey if you've read this far, you might as well at least leave a comment. Even just to say what's up! If you have any questions about training in Thailand just ask it here in the comments and I'll answer so everyone can benefit from it.