Sunday, December 1, 2013

Hygiene and Attire When Training In Thailand.

During visa runs and in camp I meet some pretty interesting and not so interesting people. By the way most of these travelers dress and act, I'm convinced that they have a misconception about Thailand. They're assuming since it's a 3rd world country it gives them a free pass to be skimpy with their hygiene. Before you embark on your trip to Thailand or if you're already in a camp, here are a few unwritten gym rules and cultural etiquette that'll help you gain social acceptance in Thailand.

I've witness some farangs wearing ridiculous clothing while training. Ranging from Shakespearean shirts, shredded Incredible Hulk jorts and Muay Thai shorts that used to be white but are now brown and smell like cat piss. Follow these rules if you plan on making friends or people like you.

Thou hast incredible taste for fine linens

At a local amateur event back in the US I witnessed a fighter compete while wearing bicycle shorts. Yup, the one with the padding on the butt. Basketball or running shorts are understandable but chances are you're not going to fight in them (unless you're from the sticks). Invest in a few pairs of Muay Thai shorts and use the right tools for the job.

It's okay for a man to train without a shirt but it's not socially acceptable in Thai standards to go topless in public, men included. Wear light shirts or tank tops for your runs. They don't want to see your white fleshy skin reflecting sun light.

Sports Bra
Sorry ladies but showing off your stomach is considered provocative in Thailand. Training with no top on just a sports bra can send out the wrong message to your trainer and fellow gym mates. You can wear a tank top to cover up your stomach while not losing mobility in your shoulders for training.

Gear Whore
Always ask before you use any gloves, shinpads or handwraps that are laying around. keep in mind that if the gear looks new chances are they belong to another foreigner. Nothing is worst than sticking your hand in a glove that's full of someone else's sweat. Once you get the green light on using community gear, stick with it for the remainder of your stay or just buy your own equipment.


Now that you are properly equipped and looking like a stud, you can show more courtesy to your instructors and gym mates by taking your cleanliness above and beyond.

Rinse Off Before Clinching

Clinching can get a little intimate. It is polite to rinse off any sweat before you engage in clinch work.

Nail Clipped
If you are planning on clinching or sparring make sure your finger and toe nails are properly clipped. Be nice to your training partner, knee him, kick him, sweep him, but don't scratch him. His girlfriend might get jealous.

I hate clinching with the new guy.

Cleanliness should be of high standards and most gyms offer laundry service. Make sure to always throw your used clothing and handwraps in the laundry basket or wash them yourself. Also always wear clean training gear before you hit the mats. Don't stink up the place for your instructor and training partners.

The Thais are super clean with their daily 3 showers, baby powders, deodorants and perfumes. Shower with soap ASAP after every session and make yourself look and smell appropriate after training.

Hey guys, mind if I sit with you?

Rashes and sickness
It's possible to end up with some sort of skin rash, cough or sneeze despite all your best efforts.  Don't be that guy who sports staph infection as if it's a cool trophy or that dude who is coughing all over everyone. Do the best you can to treat it and prevent it from spreading on to others.

Wrap Up
These cultural rules generally apply to everywhere in Thailand. There are some gyms in the bigger cities and touristy areas that'll grant foreigners some leeway. Even though most gyms cater to foreigners you are still a visitor and should follow the local customs. Have some respect for your training partners, the gym you are training at and most importantly yourself.

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