Common Questions

Common Questions…about starting training at
Bury St Edmunds Gym?

Why is the camp called Phraya Pichai? What does it mean?

Chief instructor Kru Bob Spour founded Phraya Pichai Muay Thai originally in 1979 with John Barker. The Camp was named after Phraya Pichai Dab Hak (General Pichai of the broken sword), a historic Siamese warrior in the Ayutthaya Period originally appointed by King Taksin as a personal bodyguard, who climbed to the rank of Commander-in-Chief.

From humble beginnings as a Thai boxer to historic national hero, Phraya Pichai remains an honoured and respected champion of the Thai nation – and a fitting name for our traditional Muay Thai camp.
>> Click here to read the full story of Phraya Pichai.

I’m a beginner, which training session should I start with?

We offer a Beginners Classes for those starting out, which will build both technique and fitness at an appropriate rate. If you have no experience of martial arts or your fitness needs building up, then this is the class to begin with. However, as a beginner you are welcome to train at any of the other classes as they suit all ability and fitness levels – although the pace will be quicker. The session format allows pairs to train together at their own rate, working their own drills. Up to four instructors circulate among the group offering appropriate coaching to individual pairs depending on their experience. All levels are catered for. You’ll leave every session having learnt something new.

What do I need to bring to a training session?

All you need for a training session is a bottle of water, towel, skipping rope and a pair of bag gloves (you can borrow some gloves from the club initially). Wear some loose fitting clothing, such as a pair of shorts and a t-shirt or vest top. A pair of Thai boxing shorts are ideal if you have them. Footwear isn’t required as Thai boxing is practiced in bare feet. If you need some Muay Thai equipment, you can either buy it from us >> click android tv box for a general list or any appropriate retailer.

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Do you need to be very fit to start Thai boxing training?

You don’t need to be fit to start Thai boxing, the sessions allow for all fitness levels and ages to participate. If you’re concerned about your starting fitness level, why not try out our Beginners Thai boxing class or Thai Fit Circuit Training session >>Timetable. You’re fitness and conditioning will improve every week with regular training, and before you know it you will have progressed a long way both physically and technically. Your Chief instructors are also Level 3 Personal Trainers, you are guaranteed of safe and effective training sessions.

Can I just turn up?

Yes, just turn up with your basic equipment (see here, gym rules) and you’re good to go. Your first training session is FREE. Check out the timetable by clicking here.

Do you have any girls training?

Yes, we are proud to almost have a 50:50 ratio of male to female Thai boxers. Our ladies are superb role models, and both friendly and capable boxers. Many ladies also enjoy the ThaiFit Circuit Training Sessions.

Do I have to fight?

No, most people that train in Thai boxing outside of Thailand simply do so for fitness, self-confidence, self-protection and social interaction. Our gym has a real team feel, and many of the non-fighters come and (enthusiastically) support the camp’s fighter’s.

If you do compete, then you’ll have plenty of opportunity and the support from the rest of your friends at the camp.

Can I train in the Open Sessions?

Yes you can. Regardless of your experience, anyone can stay on for the open session – pad work, bag work etc. Instructors are on hand to help you and everyone is free to train as they would like.

More advanced students also use this session to push their fitness and get some sparring practice

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Why do you offer standing order training fees?

The standing order plan allows those that are training regularly to save some money. It also saves time at the start of each training session, as it minimises the time spent taking payments and allows us all to get on with training! The standing order package also includes yearly license/insurance and a club T-shirt. Further savings are available to family members from the same household (>>click here for details).

Can I pay-as-you-go?

Of course. Although not the best value option, it’s best for those that can’t commit to regular training.(>>click here for details)

Can I change my mind about my payment method?

Yes. There is no tie-in period with the standing order, so you can change or cancel the regular transfer at any time. With a standing order, you are control of the payments, not us.

What do I do with a completed standing order form?

You must deliver the completed standing order form to your bank, to instruct them to pay Phraya Pichai Bury St Edmunds regularly.

Am I insured while I’m training?

All monthly members automatically receive member to member cover and fighters insurance as part of their monthly fee. Pay-as-you-go students will have to buy their annual insurance separately (after a maximum of 4-training sessions). (>>click here for details).

Do I need passport photos for my license application?

Yes you do, but we can take a picture for you to include with you application. We’ll take the photo before you start training so you don’t look a sweaty mess — just make sure you do your hair nicely!  😉

You teach children. Have you been checked by the Criminal Records Bureau?

Image result for BoxingYes, all our instructors and assistant instructors teaching junior classes have obtained Enhanced Disclosure from the Criminal Records Bureau. We also attend child protection courses.

Can I have a private session?

Yes. Private 1-2-1 sessions are available to allow you to rapidly progress your Thai boxing skills and or fitness and strength goals. Your Chief instructors are also Level 3 Personal Trainers, and can get you were you want to be – fat loss, muscle gain, aerobic fitness, strength endurance etc. (>>click here for details).

Do you do gradings?

Yes, although they are not compulsory. Chief Instructor Bob Spour usually attends the Bury St Edmunds Camp twice a year. On these visits Kru Bob conducts a seminar and also grades those students want to grade. If you have been training hard, regularly and can demonstrate that you know the relevant sections of the Phraya Pichai Muay Thai syllabus, then it’s possible to jump multiple grades in one assessment. Coloured Prajiad or kruaang rangs (arm bands) are worn on the left arm to signify Thai boxing grades.

Can I wear any design of Thai boxing shorts for training?

Thai boxing shorts are specifically designed for the job and don’t restrict your movements. If you’ve got a pair, wear them! We do sell Phraya Pichai shorts if you want them, but feel free to wear any design you like while training. If you are competing, then the Phraya Pichai shorts must be worn—you are representing our camp and are part of the team.

What is a Wai? Why do you do it in training sessions?

Muay Thai or Thai boxing is a martial art from Thailand. As a traditional Muay Thai gym, we abide by the rituals of the country and the ring sport. The “wai” is simply the Thai way of shaking hands and showing respect. Respect for yourself and others is a big part of Muay Thai. The wai gesture involves lightly pressing the palms of you hands together in front of your chest (as if to pray) and then raising your hands toward your forehead as you nod your head downwards.

What is the Royal Salute?

The Royal Salute is a traditional bowing gesture performed at the end of Phraya Pichai Camp training sessions, paying respect to the teachers and training partners present. It begins with a standing “wai” gesture then moves to kneeling on the right knee before returning to a standing wai gesture and uttering the word “soo” meaning respect.

Common Questions…about advanced training and fighting?

Do I have to spar?

No. The technical class generally contains no sparring. The Open Training session provides the opportunity to spar if you’d like. All sessions are relaxed, and individuals are permitted to train as they wish—even within the same session, different people perform different drills depending on what they need/want to work on.

Do male and female Thai boxers spar together?

It’s your preference. Sparring partners are chosen amicably during training. We ensure that sparring partners are of similar weight and experience. If a mismatch must occur, then the larger and /or more experienced boxer must use control (see gym rules). Generally, our ladies love sparring the guys, they get to bash them around!

Is sparring full contact?

Again, it’s you and your sparring partner’s preference. Sparring is generally very controlled (you don’t want to hurt your team mates), but those that are fighting often like to engage in heavy contact to prepare them for competition. This is ALWAYS agreed by both parties before the round begins!

What happens if a training partner spars too hard?

Firstly ask them to calm it down. If necessary the instructors will intervene. Continual excessive contact “offenders” may be banned from the club. The fighters love more contact, these are the people to spar with if you want to go hard. All others are building confidence and sparring is a learning experience NOT a fight.

How long will I have to train before I can start competing?

It depends on each individual, but, if you train regularly and train hard, with our training format you could get into the ring within 3-months of beginning training.

How do you wrap your hands for training/fighting?

Wrapping your hands will protect the many delicate bones of the hand and support your wrist during punching.

There are many ways of wrapping your hands, but a good generic method is shown in the following video:

What is an Interclub fight?

An interclub fight is a novice bout against someone from a different club in a boxing ring in front of an audience, but with no winners or losers. Interclubs provide novice boxers with ring experience before progressing on to either the amateur or pro circuit where a win or lose fight record is affected. Gum-shields, groin-guards, gloves and shin-pads are worn, with head-guards and body-guards usually being optional. Fighters are matched for experience and typically to within 3kg of body weight. Rounds are generally 1.5-minutes or 2-minutes long with a 1-minute rest interval. Bouts tend be fought over two or three rounds. Elbows and knees to the head are NOT allowed. Contact can be either light or much harder, depending on what the fighters and coaches require. Fighters should not be looking to knock each other out—there is no win or lose decision—an interclub is to gain ring experience. That being said, an interclub is still tough!

Children (under 15-yrs old) can compete, but head contact is prohibited and full protective equipment is worn (including head and body guards).

What is an Amateur fight?

An amateur Muay Thai fight stipulates that additional protective equipment is worn by both boxers. In addition to a gum-shield, groin-guard and boxing gloves, head-guards, body-guards, elbow pads and shin pads must also be worn.

Rounds are typically 2-minutes long with 1-minute rest interval. Regular bouts tend to be fought over three rounds, and title fights over four rounds. Fighters begin with C-class bouts in which elbows and knees to the head aren’t allowed, and progress to A-class bouts were the fights are full Thai rules (allowing elbows and knees to the head).

Amateur fights employ strict weight categories for the fighters. (click here to see what they are) and are matched depending on fight experience. If you are a successful amateur you may be selected for the national team and represent England at the European or World Championships.

What is a Pro fight?

A professional fight is fought with no extra protective equipment than a gum-shield, groin-guard and boxing gloves. Again, fighters compete within weight categories and are matched depending on fight experience. Novice fighters begin with C-Class bouts which typically employ 3 x 2-minute rounds with a 1-minute rest interval, and allow not elbows or knees to the head. B-Class bouts generally employ 5 x 2-minute rounds with a 1-minute rest interval, and again do not allow elbow or knees to the head. Finally, A-Class bouts are fought over 5 x 3-minute rounds with 1.5-minute rest intervals, and are full Thai rules—elbows and knees to the head allowed. Pro fighters are paid, but you won’t be able to quit your day job!

What is a Pro-Am fight?

Pro-Am fights are a stepping stone between A-Class amateur and A-Class professional rules fights. Fighters wear gum-shields, groin-guards, gloves and elbow pads, and fight full Thai rules—elbows and knees to the head allowed. Bouts usually employ 5 x 2-minute rounds with a 1-minute rest interval.

What weight should I fight at?

Generally, to be competitive as an amateur or pro fighter you should be within the normal body mass index range (from 18.5 to 25 kg/m^2). If you are significantly heavier, you will always be matched against taller opponents and struggle with your lack of range. For a quick idea, take a look at the following graph, which indicates the typical height of boxers in the different weight categories.

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What is “sealing the ring”, Wai Kru and Ram Muay?

These are the pre-fight rituals that a nak muay (Thai boxer) will perform once in the ring before the fight takes place. After entering the ring over the top rope—traditionally to keep the fighters head and mongkon (head circlet) above the rest of their body and all parts of the ring—and bowing in all four directions, both fighters will proceed to circle the ring in an anticlockwise direction starting at their own corner. This “sealing of the ring” symbolises sealing out the influence of evil spirits from the ring. The fighter will pause to pray in each corner, and Phraya Pichai fighters will perform a stamping gesture in their opponent’s corner to convey what will happen to the opponent now they’ve entered the ring to fight them.

After sealing the ring the fighters will begin the “Wai Kru” (meaning to pay respect to the teacher). Kneeling in the centre of the ring and facing their own corner, the nak muay will bow three times, signifying paying homage to their teacher, family and finally what ever they personally hold sacred.

Following the wai kru the boxers will immediately start the “Ram Muay” or boxers dance, which is should be unique to each camp. The Phraya Pichai ram muay concludes with the boxer depicting Phraya Pichai Dab Hak (General Pichai of the Broken Sword) in battle, decapitating his enemy and digging a grave for him! The ram muay is an opportunity for the boxers to display their balance and agility, warm up, check over the boxing ring and intimidate their opponent.

Following the ram muay both boxers return to their corners until summoned by the referee to the centre of the ring, where the boxers will be briefed regarding the rules. Both boxers return to their corners where the trainers will remove the boxer’s mongkon (head circlet) while reciting a prayer. Then the fight may begin.