Yesterday for my birthday I traveled up to Conneticut to attend the Eddie Bravo Seminar at 10th Planet Hartford, which is run by owner John Roderick. I believe this was the 2nd time Eddie has been at the Hartford school. There was bout 40 people at the seminar, and I was surprised at how many people traveled all the way up to Conneticut from New Jersey. In addition to myself, I met at least 5 other people from NJ, including Rob who I ended up partnering up with during the seminar. He currently teaches at Elite Tactical Martial Arts in Flanders, NJ. He was very helpful and gun to train with. If you live in that area, I would suggest checking them out. I also at the end of the seminar met a guy who I believe was named John from Advanced BJJ which is in New Brunswick.
This was the first time I attended a full Eddie Bravo Seminar. My only other experience was at the 2 hour workshop at the UFC Fan Expo in Las Vegas. During that seminar, we spent most of the time drilling the rubber guard. During this seminar, we spent almost the entire seminar covering the Twister and Twister Side Control.
The cool thing is that I have been reading his book “Mastering The Twister” and as I was reading and going through the techniques I had a bunch of questions. A lot of the techniques that we covered helped answer my questions and clear things up in my mind. What I like about Eddie is that he has a very simplistic and repeatitive style to how he teaches. During his training sessions, you don’t learn 1000 techniques, or even 100 techniques, but the techniques that you do learn, you learn well. You get your reps in. In that regard his style of teaching is very much like Ajarn Chai, who is one of my favorite Muay Thai instructors.
A completely opposite method of teaching is that of Guro Dan Inosanto, who will show you more techniques than you can handle during a seminar. Usually after attending a Guro Dan seminar, I can only walk away with 1 or 2 techniques, although we may have seen 50. That is where Eddie differs. However, one of the things that Eddie does very similar to Guro Dan is to infuse his personality into the seminar. He incorporates his personal experiences and sense of humor into the seminar, which makes it enjoyable.
The final comparrison that I can draw Eddie to is to that of Bruce Lee. This has nothing to do with him “inventing a new style”. In fact, neither Eddie Bravo or Bruce Lee have truly invented anything. As Bruce Lee previously said, (I am paraphrasing here) Every technique in Martial Arts already exists. Nothing is new, everything has already been done. Jun Fan Trapping came from Wing Chun, and the Footwork and Kicking came from Savate. The Twister came from Greco Wrestling. Both Bruce and Eddie may have refined some techniques, but that is not what makes them stand out in my mind.
Where I think Eddie and Bruce are similar are on their belief system, or “Concepts” if you will. It’s funny, because Eddie actually made a joke during the seminar about having “10th Planet Concepts” similar to the Jeet Kune Do “Concepts” but that is exactly what he preaches, whether or not he realizes it. Between the 2 seminars that I have attended and watching his DVD, I have heard Eddie say many times (Once Again Paraphrasing) “No technique works 100% of the time. Learn as many techniques and positions as you can. It’s all about having options” Is that any different than Bruce Lee saying “Absorb what is useful, reject what is useless” or “Using no way as your way, using no limination as your limination”?
OK, so I digressed a little bit, back to the seminar. We started off the seminar learning the Truck position and how to transition to it from the back. Eddie pointed out a lot of the finer points of the position and what to do, and not do. It was also nice to be able to work on this with a partner, because looking at it in a book I would think “that won’t work, you will lose your position too easily.” Working on it with a partner who was offering resistance allowed me to see the efficency of the techniques. This gave us the opportunity to work on the Truck position and become comfortable with it. After everyone had a good grasp, we learned how to transistion to that position from Twister Side Control.
After drilling Twister Side Control for a while, then we started to cover several submissions from the Truck including Calf Crank, Crotch Ripper and Banana Split. Eventually we took a look at the 3 steps to transition from the Truck to the Twister Submission. Once again we got to drill this at first without resistance and then with resistance. That is pretty cool because you get to try to defend against it and see how effective it can be.
During the seminar we also covered the Spider Web (arm bar position), and how to transistion to it from both the mount and the back. We also covered 3 submissions from there including the Arm Crush, Arm Bar and Triangle. At some point, we also covered how to transition to both the back and the Spider Web from the Truck position.
At the end of the seminar, Eddie presented the school owner John Roderick with his Purple Belt and Official 10th Planet Certification, which was pretty awesome. It wasn’t a big to do moment, but it was signifigant and a special moment for John. I want to pass on my Congratulations to him for all the deidication and hard work he put in to accomplish this. If you are looking to train in the Hartford area, you should definitely check out his school at Southern New England MMA.
At the end of the seminar, Eddie took the time to sign autographs and snap photos with everyone who wanted. I have definitely become a fan of both Eddie and the 10th Planet System. Regardless, of whether or not you are a Traditional Gi BJJ person, or are committed to No Gi, I think everyone can benefit from the knowledge and experience that Eddie is willing to share at his seminars. If he is in your area, I would definitely suggest trying to attend one of his seminars.
To check out more photos from the seminar visit the Photo Gallery here: Eddie Bravo CT Seminar
One of the highlights of my time spent at the UFC Fan Expo was when I had the opportunity to attend the Eddie Bravo Training and Development session. On the second day of the Expo, there was a 2 hour workshop style seminar, where Eddie taught a group of about 70 people the basics of the Rubber Guard, and the 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu system. It was definitely a really cool seminar, and I felt like I walked away with from this seminar with a lot more knowledge and material than I do when I attend a typical seminar.
First off to give you some background, the first time I ever heard the name Eddie Bravo was in February while I was training in Thailand. I was training out of Tiger Muay Thai, who also has an MMA program and one day while rolling, someone showed me the “Bravo Choke.” Fast forward to about 2 months ago, and while I was watching a Submissions 101 video, I saw an Eddie Bravo clip, and I was pretty impressed. Now mind you, at this point I still had no idea what the Rubber Guard was. Finally, around late June/early July as I was making the decision to attend the UFC Expo, I saw two seminars that I really wanted to attend. The first was Kru Mark Dellagrotte and the second was Eddie Bravo. It was probably at about this point that I really started to do a lot of research on the Rubber Guard, and on Eddie. After reading some forums, and watching some more videos I decided to choose the Eddie Bravo seminar over the Mark Dellagrotte one. I also didn’t want to overload my brain with Muay Thai, since I was going to be doing three intensive days at Master Toddy’s gym starting on Monday, so a little Jiu Jitsu to balance my mind was perfect.
Now back to the seminar, I got there a little early and was about to meet Ricardo Liborio from American Top Team, and one of his students by the name of Tyler. Tyler was a guy around my size and body weight and also flexibility level, so me and him decided to partner up, which made the seminar a lot easier. It was cool too, since Ricardo knew Eddie, it seemed like Tyler got a little extra attention during the seminar, which ended up helping me out as well. In fact, at one point, Tyler had a question about a particular move and Eddie demonstrated it on me so that Tyler could see, which was pretty cool.
Finally, a little after Eddie arrived, he called everyone on to the mat, and started off a group stretch. He lead us through several stretches to improve our flexibility in the Rubber Guard. The whole time Eddie was cracking a bunch of jokes and making everyone feel comfortable, which ultimately relieved us all of any anxiety and allowed us to just focus on and enjoy the training.
After group stretches were done, Eddie showed us all the basic moves and holds in the Rubber Guard, and how to transition from point to point in the Guard. After demoing it several times, he had us pair up with our partners, and then basically walked us through the moves like following directions from a cook book. 1) Break them down. 2) Foot on hip, wrist to ankle. 3) Zombie. 4) Hug The Knee. etc. It was very repeative, and very methodical, and perfect for me. I found this method of teaching/learning to be so much better than learning in the traditional format, where you do one drill for 5 minutes and then move on to the next drill. We literally spent at least 45 minutes to an hour just on the Rubber Guard and a few submissions from it before we moved on to anything else. Believe me, I am not complaining, because I feel like I have already started to develop a solid grasp on it now.
Afterwards, we moved on to a takedown which set us up to go directly into the Rubber Guard, and then we covered a few other submissions from there. From there, Eddie taught us something new he has been developing, which is going into the Rubber Guard from the mount. Much like the Rubber Guard from the bottom, which has unconventional names such as Zombie, New York, Chill Dog, etc. Eddie has developed some cool names for the way to transition from the mount into a top position rubber guard, into submissions. I don’t remember all the names, but it the name that it starts off with is called SkyDive. I also remember one of the submission names, which was called the Magalhaes Armbar (inverted arm bar), which he named after Vinny Magalhaes, who used it in the Ultimate Fighter. What was cool was that Vinny and also George from a previous season of TUF were actually in attendance for the seminar.
The seminar actually went beyond the 2 hours, and if it wasn’t for the UFC representative who was upstairs asking that the room got cleared, I felt like Eddie would have kept teaching us for another two hours. Afterwards, we all took a bunch of big group shots, and then we got to get some private shots with Eddie. Now that I have a little more background in the 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu system, I am looking forward to learning more about it, and the upcoming launch of the www.10thplanetjj.com website.
Since this actually a seminar review, I am going to take a minute to score some of the seminar. I am going to grade on the standard categories for one of my reviews, but keep in mind, the facilities were provided by the hotel, and the mats by Dollumar, and the basis of the seminar was more technically focused and not conditioning based, which skews those categories slightly.
Facilities = B+
Techniques = A+
Conditioning = B
Personal Attention = A
Extras (Photo Ops, etc.) = A+
Overall Experience = A
Would I Recommend This Seminar = Yes
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Since Sunday was my only free day between the Expo and Training, I was looking for a gym that was open so I could squeeze an extra bit of training in during this trip. I had looked at going to Xtreme Couture’s (I still might if I can swing it) and I had also checked out some BJJ schools online, but all of them are closed on Sundays. I was lucky to find out a little piece of information while I was at the UFC Expo, and that was that UFC Star Wanderlei Silva has recently opened a top of the line MMA gym in Las Vegas. To top it off, he was having a special 3 hour Seminar on Sunday. So After I moved to my new accomodations here at Master Toddy’s dorms, I packed my backpack full of my MMA gear and called up Albert (my guide/taxi driver while I am in town) and headed out to his gym.
When I arrived at the gym, I was greeted by two very nice and attractive Brazilian woman, one who is actually Wanderlei’s wife. I told them I was there for the seminar, filled out the paperwork and I was all set to go. Since I had showed up a half hour early, I got to walk around the gym a bit and scope it out. Man, is this place nice. If I ever open a gym, I want it to be set up like this place. To be honest, I am not sure what the square footage of the gym is, but it’s big enough to hold a full sized cage, a weight area, a full sized training floor with about 15 or so heavy bags, a pro shop, a kids playground area, bathrooms, some offices and a nice front desk area. Point being, this place is pimping! I am actually going to include some photos in this blog.
As it was getting closer to the start of the seminar, I was looking around the room which was starting to fill up a bit. I reckon there was about 12 guys in all. The seminar started with a bunch of standard MMA warm up conditioning drills such as running, side shuffle, knee high run, heel slap run, jumping jacks, etc. We followed that with a brief stretching session. Finally after that was all done and we were good and warm, we got to the bulk of the training session. Wanderlei started off the session focusing on striking, and he was accompanied by his two BJJ Coaches at the gym, Vitor and Sidney. Wanderlei showed us some cool techniques, some that were basic and some that were unconventional, which I suppose is his fortey as a striker. We even covered a bit of takedown during the first hour. It was basic seminar format, where they would show a technique and then you practice it with a partner back and forth, with the coaches coming around to correct you. It was pretty cool to demonstrate the techniques for Wanderlei and get his seal of approval on my application and form. That was definitely a good feeling.
Speaking of partners, I was pretty happy to be paired up with a nice guy named Joy who was from Austraila, but I believe he was of Indian ethnicity. He flew all the way out from Austraila just for the Expo and to attend UFC 100. Joy has a strong kickboxing background, but didn’t have much ground game, so i helped him through a lot of that stuff. I was glad he was my partner, because he was a really nice guy.
During hour two, Wanderlei pretty much handed off the session to his two BJJ coaches to cover some ground stuff. We learned a couple pretty cool and effective guard passes, some good sweeps from Side Control, and a few different leg locks, most of which I hadn’t seen before, but I was able to pick up quickly. Oh yeah, we also learned an arm bar setup which was pretty cool. I have actually had it done to me a couple times before, so now I am glad that I know how to do it, as I will know what I was doing wrong to end up in that position and also how to apply it myself. I am not going to discuss the setup details right now, because I want to surprise my training buddy Chris down the road.
Hour three was a cross between MMA and sparring. We started off with just kicking sparring, then moved into hands and feet combos, and finally into MMA with takedowns. This was my only bad experience part of the seminar. For the first “light sparring” round, I was with Joy and me and him had a decent sparring session going back and forth. However, we then switched partners and we were suppose to have another round of “light sparring” I ended up getting paired up with a guy about my size and height, who is in town for a week or so training for an MMA fight. If you have ever heard the term “training dick” well that just about describs this guy. He is one of those guys who only has 1 speed hard and fast.
The round started off ok, with us kind of trading off blows back and forth. I was tagging him lightly, while he kept chopping away at my left leg with leg kicks. Even when you are wearing shin pads those things fucking hurt. I started to notice that every time he went to kick, he would drop his hands, and whenever he did that, I would tag him. Even though I wanted to, I wasn’t tagging him hard, because I did not want to be disrespectful. Well, that must have just pissed him off, because he start to really whale away on my leg. At one point I had to stop and tell him to take it easy, basically because I didn’t want one training dick to ruin my entire time here in Vegas and be too sore to train. That worked for about 10 seconds, and then he started lighting me up again. At that point, I should have either elbowed him in the nose or given him a strong knee to the face but I just sucked it up and made it through the round. I’m not too happy about the fact that my left leg is all bruised up now. Man, I hope that fucking guy gets pounded worse than Bisping and Mir combined in his fight.
During the final round of sparring we switched partners again, and I went with a guy named Walter who trains at the gym. This round included takedowns and strikes. It was pretty cool, because my takedowns suck, but at one point I shot in on Walter, he defended and we ended up in the clinch, but eventually I scored the takedown, which made me think maybe my takedowns are getting better. We ended up on the ground with me on top and I was able to pass his half guard into side control. Instead of going for a submission, I decided to try to pin his hands and just strike. From there he tried to escape to my back, but I blocked it and we ended up with me back in his guard. As I passed, Walter went for an arm bar, but missed and I made it back to side control when the time was up. I was happy with my performance and gave me a lot of confidence to try my hand at more MMA sparring.
At that point, the seminar was over and we all got the chance to take a lot of photos with Wanderlei. We all also got a nice gift of a brand new autographed T shirt personally made out to each of us, and a little supply of Xyience supplements. That alone was easily worth the cost of the seminar.
Since this is a review, and not just a recap, I am going to give this some grades for the following cateogories.
Facilities = A+
Techniques = A
Conditioning = B+
Personal Attention = A
Extras (Photo Ops, etc.) = A+
Overall Experience = A
Would I Recommend This Seminar = Yes
My only complaint is I would have liked a little bit more technique directly from Wanderlei, but I really can’t complain about his BJJ Coaches Vitor and Sindey, because they were also top notch. If you guys are ever in Vegas you should definitely stop by the gym. The website is www.wandfightteam.com
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Well as you may have read before, when I came back to NJ, I took some time off from training to allow my injuries to heal, as well as focus on landing a new job so I can make some additional funds to hopefully travel more. Among the places I want to visit are Thailand again, Brazil, Egypt, Australia and Dubai.
Finally my injuries are healed up and I have started the process of looking for a new school to train at. I believe my focus for now is going to be mostly geared towards some type of grappling, probably BJJ. Eventually I may pursue a more MMA or CSW based school, or one that blends Muay Thai along with a grappling art. In the mean time, I have been doing some training and have a couple experiences to talk about.
I’m going to start with the most recent, which was a “Beginner’s” Seminar that I took today at Balance Studios in Philadelphia. The studio is owned by Phil Miglairese III, who I was actually a fellow student with when I was in high school. It is run primarily by him, his brother Rick and the program director, Josh Vogel. I got to meet all three guys today, which was pretty cool. Well, I actually knew Phil in high school, but it’s been many years since we saw each other.
Phil conducted the workshop today. It actually was more of a workshop than a seminar, as it was only an hour and a half, and covered mostly basics. It was pretty cool because although we covered basics, almost every thing we did was new to me. As I have stated before, grappling is not my strong suite, although I would eventually like it to be. Phil has a great natural style about him. He is comfortable teaching, and makes all his students feel comfortable no matter what their age or experience level. He also infuses his teaching with his natural humor, philosophy and sincere belief in BJJ as a necessity as a self defense art. There was about 20 or so people in the workshop today, including a couple of really cute girls who appeared to be in their mid twenties. That was definitely a plus in the reasons to join this school column. The only down side is that the school is about a 40 minute drive away from my house. I am not sure about tutition, but I will find out next week when I go for a private intro lesson. They also do offer a MMA program after you graduate out of their basics program, and I know some guys who have fought in the UFC train there, so that is encouraging as well.
So, in the meantime, while I kick around the schools I am considering training at, I am doing some private training with a new training partner. A pretty cool fellow by the name of Chris who I met because he found my website. It turns out he lives not to far from me in NJ, and has a basement which is completely refurbished as a martial arts training art. To be honest, this place had more gear than the last school I trained at, and it was just a guys basement. He has 2 large thai bags, 1 boxing bag, an upper cut bag, a speed ball and I believe 1 other bag. On top of that the floors were entirely matted, and there is an additional area for grappling. Chris and I worked out for about 2 hours the other day, including a couple rounds on the bags, some pad rounds and a bit of clinch work and rolling. I could definitely tell how out of shape I was becoming because by the end of the first round on the pads I was ready to puke, and the next morning I woke up and everything on my body was sore. To be honest, it was pretty exciting to find a guy who is as excited about different styles of martial arts as I am. A lot of people are into just 1 or maybe 2 styles, usually Muay Thai and BJJ, and don’t take the time to appreciate the other arts. Chris himself has experience in many different arts including Judo, Muay Thai and some Karate. He’s also a well travel lad having spent time in several countries including South Africa, Thailand, Singapore, UK and the US. I’m looking forward to continuing to train with him on a weekly basis.
Well, that’s all for now. I have been researching several seminars that I am planning to attend. The first one being in June. As things progress with either my school hunt or with the seminars, I will post them on here. Thanks for taking the time to visit my blog. Feel free to comment below.
Be prepared, this is a long post. This took me a while to get around to writing this, mostly because I have been busy with a bunch of issues since my return to the states, including health and job hunting. I also wasn’t sure in what format I wanted to rate/review the camps I trained (will train) at. I think I finally decided on a Letter Grade method as opposed to a numbering system. Here are the following categories I will rate the camps with:
Tiger Muay Thai – www.tigermuaythai.com
Facilities – A+
The facilities at Tiger are by far one of the strengths of Tiger Muay Thai. The facility is top notch, including 6 Muay Thai Rings and 1 MMA Cage. I actually attended the camp right after the construction on 3 new rings, including a new Beginners Training Area was completed. The new area featured a nice mirrored wall, and like all the training areas, completely matted floors. The camp also has dozens of bags to work on, as well as a weight training area. In addition, there are plenty of areas to sit and relax during down time, such as the Tiger Grill and the eating area, or the computer area in front of the main office. The camp also features a pro shop (although it is a little pricey). Honestly, there isn’t much bad to say about the facilities at Tiger. Tiger does an excellent job in allowing for training areas for it’s 3 different levels of the Muay Thai program, as well as the separate MMA program, and a Yoga class.
Training Routine – A-
Each morning starts out with a 30 minute optional technique class. The class is a great opportunity to learn and refine specific techniques including everything from clinch work to defensive techniques and more. If anyone is considering training at Tiger, I suggest taking this class. Following Technique class, you will skip rope for about 20-30 minutes, and then go on to group stretching. After this, you wrap your hands, and then start in a rotation of Bag/Pad/Sparring work. Usually you do each for anywhere from 3 to 5 rounds, 3 minutes each. In between each round was a mandatory 10 pushups. You do this in a rotation so you’ll do 3 rounds of bag work, then 3 rounds of pad work, then 3 rounds of sparring for example. Following this, you’ll do a specific technique on the bag, or with a partner, for a set number of times. Examples are 200 kicks, 100 skip knees, etc. Sometimes they will vary this and instead you will work technique such as a counter to a kick. The session rounds down with 200-300 sit-ups and 150 pushups, and then a group stretch. There are also option running class instead of technique class, and there is the option of taking Yoga in the morning. The session lasts about 4 hours.
The MMA program is slightly different. It starts later, and ends earlier than the Muay Thai. You end up getting less fitness during the MMA, but much more technique. The MMA opens up with a 30 minute warm up and group stretch. From there, it’s all about technique. The instructors will show a technique, and then you practice it for 5 minutes, and learn another technique, etc. This goes on for 40 minutes or so, and in the end you run through them all again. Following this, you go live and get the opportunity to apply the technique. Sometimes it’s free for all rolling, while other times you practice defending a specific situation, such as somebody taking your back. The MMA sessions don’t end with any kind of group stretching or warm downs. MMA classes last for about 3 hours. I would have liked more fitness from the MMA program, but overall both programs rate very well.
Trainers – B-
It’s tough for me to rate this category this low, considering that I thought the training routine was great and I really liked some of the trainers. Among my favorite trainers were Ajarn Mac, and Kru Nai and Kru Sornpitchai (both former Lumpinee Champions). I also thought that the guest MMA instructors from the Freestyle Fight Academy, David and Marcos were great. Actually I thought that they were excellent instructors, and a great choice by TMT as replacements for Ray.
Which brings me to one of the things I was disappointed in. When I arranged my trip to go train at Tiger, one of the main reasons for me choosing Tiger as opposed to a different school was for the chance to train with Ray Elbe. I had heard lots of wonderful things about Ray prior to attending the camp, and I was disappointed that he was away from the camp during my time there. Towards the end of camp, I learned that he was in the US, competing in the UFC Reality Show – The Ultimate Fighter. I was definitely happy for the success of Ray, but disappointed that I was unable to train with him. I suppose it will give me a reason to come back.
Another thing that was a minor inconvenience was that each trainer teaches things slightly different. One trainer will correct your technique on a kick perhaps, and then later that day, or the next day, after you have practiced the technique one way, a different trainer will say you are doing it wrong, and show you a different way. It ends up being a little frustrating. This is where taking private lessons is a nice benefit. In private lessons, you get a lot of 1 on 1 time with a trainer, and you can really form up your technique. I recommend taking several a week if you can afford it while you are at Tiger.
Finally, the biggest reason that the trainers scored so low, was the trainer by the name of Robert Lek. You know the saying, one bad apple spoils the bunch, well that was the case here. One bad trainer ruined my overall opinion of the trainers, or rather the score for this category. I had several negative instances with Robert that I was bothered with, but the biggest came during week 2 of my training. There was an odd number of people for sparring that day, so I ended up sparring with Robert. Now, the idea of sparring is suppose to be “light sparring” where you go between 50 -75%, and you are matched with people of similar body type and obviously experience level, because you are in an assigned area (Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced). Well, Robert went a little further than light sparring.
Considering he is a trainer who has had over 100 fights and has been practicing Muay Thai his entire life, I don’t think he should have been going all out with me. In addition, I was nursing several broken bones in my right foot, which made using it not an option. So basically, Robert beat up on an inexperienced partially crippled man, solely for the purpose of feeding his ego. I say that, because it simply was not for my benefit. If there had been a lesson during the session, as a trainer, he should have pointed it out. For instance, if I was doing something wrong, he should have maybe tagged me 1 or 2 times, and then stopped and showed me what to do, or not do, to avoid it. I was extremely disappointed this particular experience. As I said, there were other encounters both prior to and after this incident, but I am not going to recap them all. It is important for me to point out that this is the exception, and not the rule. 95% of the trainers at Tiger are top notch and extremely professional. Robert simply has some maturing to do, and may have some resentment towards farangs. Once again, most of the trainers at Tiger are exceptional, and overall you will have a really good experience with them, but I did want to point out this negative side, so that hopefully it will be addressed and will improve in the future, for others and myself (when I return to Tiger next time.)
There were some bright spots as far as the trainers go that I do want to mention. I said that two of my favorite trainers were Sornpitchai and Nai. They had great energy and were fun to work with. I worked with them a lot during Technique class, and they held pads for me many times. Both of them were actually former Lumpinee champions. Here is some video of them fighting during the TMT smoker fight on Valentine’s Day.
I also took some private lessons in both Muay Thai and MMA. I did several sessions in Muay Thai with Ajarn Mac, who has over 40 years experience training/teaching in Muay Thai. He was great to work with. He showed me many techniques, and even showed me some Muay Boran. I would definitely recommend taking some private lessons with him, if you go. Also, a few friends of mine did private lessons with Nazzee and Rhet. They also had great energy, and I would recommend them as well. Muay Thai private lessons at Tiger are an affordable 700 baht, and are between 1 hr and 1 hr 15 mins. You can let the trainer determine what to work on, or you can tell them specifically what you want to work on and they will help you.
As for the MMA lessons, since Ray wasn’t around, I worked with the second in command in the MMA program, Andreas Hasselbeck. Andreas has a lot of experience in Grappling and was able to help me round up a bunch of techniques. As I have said before, Grappling is my weak point, and Andreas’ instruction was clutch. My friend Jordan and I split the class, so each of us paid 400 baht per session. That is the best way to take an MMA lesson, because the instructor can demonstrate on someone else why you watch, and vice versa. I believe Ray is back now, so you can currently take sessions with either Ray or Andreas. If you don’t have much experience in MMA or BJJ, taking some private lessons can catch you up to speed really quick.
Administration/Office – C+
This is another weak area for Tiger. All the office staff are friendly, but not as helpful as I would have liked. The basic impression I was left with was “This Is Thailand”, and that’s kind of the attitude everyone has. What I found bad about that, is you have a camp where 98% of your clients are Western, and the owner is Western, I kind of felt that you should have a Western way of doing business. Honestly, the camp could probably benefit from a Western Office Manager, to right the ship. I would accept that job, if it ever opens up.
One area I had a problem with was my accommodations. When I contacted the camp, I specified that I wanted a room right at the camp. I wanted to be able to open my door and walk out and train every morning. When I arrived, there was not room at the camp, so they arranged a camp down the road for me. I appreciate that they did it, and it turned out to be better accommodiations that I would have had at Tiger, but I specifically communicated that my main goal was to be in housing on the camp. Additionally, since I was not at the camp, I was unable to pay with CC, and had to pay with cash instead, which meant I had to get additional money wired in. A lot of this could have been resolved up front with more effective communication from the office. In fact, I did communicate back and forth with the office about a dozen times before my arrival, and I specifically asked questions regarding the use of CC and the cost for my room and training. Once again, there was a couple other minor instances, but they are all things that can be, and hopefully are corrected for the future.
Accommodations – B-
I’m basing this score off 2 things, my off site Accommodations at The Nature House, and my friends who housed at Tiger. I stayed at a place called The Nature House. It was a 2 minute walk down the road. I would DEFINITELY recommend staying there. From what I understand most of the rooms at Tiger are budget rooms with shared bathrooms. The Nature House was great, 12000 baht a month, (about $400 US) and it had A/C, Cable, Internet and a private bathroom. The people were really accommodating. My room was cleaned every day, they took care of me when I was sick, etc. In fact, after my motor bike injury, they actually drove me to the hospital and do the pharmacy to get medicine. They have 6 rooms there, and there are a second set of bungalow’s there by the same family, called “Family Bungalows” The rates are the same, and they are just as nice. You can email them directly at email@example.com the number is 081-5373196 Ask for Ae (Pronounced A)
From what I understand the Accommodations at Tiger are pretty basic. Many of the rooms actually have shared bathrooms, and many of them are without air. This time of the year it’s getting pretty hot there, and a few of my friends who had a room at Tiger ended up moving down the road for either a private bath, or AC. I saw a couple of the rooms, and it wasn’t much to write home about. The two big advantages to staying at Tiger are actually the price and location. The price for most of the Budget rooms are about 5000 baht a month. That is more than half the difference of staying at a place like I stayed at, which cost 12000. Another advantage is you can literally walk outside and start training. I am sure if I was staying at camp, I would have done more off hours training, such as sparring, bag work, etc. Here are some photos of my bungalow:
Student Body/Population – A+
This is by far one of the best attributes of Tiger. You end up meeting people from all over the world, and developing pretty good friendships, as well as an appreciation for other people and cultures. I ended up meeting a lot of people, not only from the people at the bungalows that I was staying at, but also just hanging around up at the camp. Some of the great people I met were: Erik, Shell, Stevie, Wil, Muriel, James, Sera, Chris, Matthew, Jordan, Nick, Bobby, Glenn, Mitto and many more. I met people from Australia, England, France, Sweden, Singapore, USA and many other places. It was truly the best part of the trip, and actually it made me want to visit and travel to other places as well. Here is one pic of me and some of the gang after the TMT smoker fight.
Website – A-
Honestly, this was one of the main reasons that I choose this camp. Even prior to their recent website upgrade, I was impressed with their website. Earlier this year, they actually updated their website and now it is even better. It is more organized, and has a lot more content. They also do an excellent job integrating content from sites such as YouTube, Facebook, etc. for you to connect with on different mediums. Their website provides almost everything you need to know prior to coming to the school. Their website is excellent, and they do a tremendous job having a strong presence on the Internet. Visit them at: www.tigermuaythai.com
Intangibles – A
This is kind of like a Miscellaneous section, to include anything else I didn’t cover in the other sections. One thing that Tiger does extremely well is to organize a lot of extra curricular activities from month to month. It seemed like there was almost something to do every weekend. During my 4 weeks at camp, I attended 2 stadium fights, as well as a TMT Smoker Fight at camp. They also organize group activities such as bowling, beach training, Big Buddah trips, etc. I was really happy with this aspect of the camp. It definitely helps promote unity and gives you a reason to want to return and train again.
Overall – B+
So the way I ended up figuring out grading was to assign each category a letter grade, and that grade translates to a numeric value. (A+ = 4.5, A = 4, A- = 3.75, B+ = 3.5, etc.) Yes, an A+ gets an additional 0.25 bonus, and every other step increases/decreases by 0.25. When I put my figures into the formula, the final grade for Tiger was a 3.6 which essentially is a B+, which I think is a fair and accurate score from my experience at Tiger. I will add that I will definitely return to Tiger in the future, hopefully within the next year. I think it’s clear that overall, I would recommend this place for others to train at. Tiger has programs for everyone from the beginner to the person looking to train for a fight. I wish Tiger the best on their continued success and look forward to training there again.
Thanks for taking the time to read this post, I know it was a long one. Please feel free to comment with any questions you may have, suggestions for additional categories, or requests for future camps for me to review.