I don’t know about you, but sometimes after a particularly stressful week, I just want to punch a wall. I don’t because, you know, it’s not very ladylike and I don’t want to break my hand, but, good news! Muay Thai kickboxing gives me an excuse to put on gloves and really beef it out with someone! I had no idea how much stress I could turn into power until I tried Muay Thai. I love the fast-paced repetition of punches and kicks. It’s exhilarating to take yourself into the mindset of a fighter and really put all your strength behind hitting something (sometimes even someone). The best part is that it’s up to you who you decide to imagine on the receiving end of your blows!

Muay Thai is a form of kickboxing that originated in Thailand. The fighting technique uses many parts of the body (knees, elbows, legs), not just fists, as in boxing. This is one of the reasons it is an amazing workout. While fighting you’re getting your cardio in, as well as building muscles. Balance and flexibility are all part of fighting technique as well. According to Livestrong.com, you could burn as much as 690 calories during a one-hour training session for Muay Thai. As your get stronger, your muscles will burn more calories and each session will become more rewarding for your body.

For all the women out there who think this may be a man’s sport — don’t. I came across plenty of ladies in the kickboxing classes, and although they were dominated by men, I found it extremely gratifying to let out some feminine aggression.

Evolve Mixed Martial Arts

At Evolve I received a half-hour, one-to-one trial session with a world-class fighter. (They have an impressive rotation of notarized fighters as trainers — left me a bit star stuck!) He taught me some basic moves, combos of punches, elbow jabs, kicks, and knees. Each time I made a move, my trainer would respond with a ‘hiyah,’ giving me the traditional boxing ‘goading,’ which really got me into the fighting mindset.

The Muay Thai group classes entail physical training for optimal fighting performance and pair-work fighting practice, all overseen and directed by a trainer. Softness isn’t allowed and if they see you slacking, they will get on you to get up and get with it!

Evolve is a little bit pricey compared to other Muay Thai gyms, but if you have a lot of time to devote to fighting each week, then this may be the right choice for you. Evolve offers a wide spread of fighting classes, including yoga and fight shape, which helps students optimize their bodies for fighting. Membership provides unlimited entrance to any class. They also offer open gym timings.

For Evolve locations, classes, and fees visit evolve-mma.com

RoyalThai Fitness Training Center

RoyalThai Fitness Training Center is unique in that it is located outside. I really enjoyed the natural feel of fighting outside with the breeze offering some relief as I was sweating my butt off! The experience here is a little more intimate than going to a large gym with many instructors and students. Only one class is held at a time at the training facility, and the trainers are resident.

Here, I received a similar one-to-one trail session with a Muay Thai master. Again, I worked on the basics and pushed myself to be faster and stronger. I noticed my entire body aching after these high intensity workouts.

While strength training and cardio are incorporated into the RoyalThai sessions, the vibe here seems to be more about learning the art of Thai Kickboxing, rather than getting in shape (although it’s going to happen either way!). Personal training sessions are offered on a per session basis, as are group classes that include one-to-one time with a trainer. Different levels of classes are defined, so students can work their way up according to their abilities.

I’d recommend this center for someone who is interested in specifically learning Muay Thai and/or who may only have one or two days a week to devote to training, as you pay per session.

RoyalThai Training Center is located at Revenue House, across from Novena MRT station. Find them online at muaythai.com.sg

Impact Mixed Martial Arts

Impact offers a variety of fighting classes, from Muay Thai to No-Gi Grappling (a form of Brazilian ji-jitsu). The training facility is small, but quite relaxed and overrun with gloves and other fighting gear. Being an outsider, it seemed quite unorganized at first, but then I saw that this is a simple lack of pretention—here people just want to learn to fight and sweat it out.

I joined a group Muay Thai class and managed to follow the warm up with the class before being split off to work with a coach and a few other newbies. Instead of going over six or seven basic kicks and punches, like I had been taught in other classes, he focused on just two types of kicks, and gave the group ample time to practice with each other. Apparently, this is the kind of class I would participate in until I gained enough knowledge to join the main class.

I would recommend Impact if you’re looking for a laid-back place to train and possibly meet some people with the same interests as you. They also offer a lunch-time cardio kickboxing class, which would be a great supplement for the muscle building moves of a regular fight class.

You can visit Impact MMA at their gym on Shenton Way or visit their website at impactmma.com

Impakt Singapore

Impakt Singapore is another option for mixed martial arts gyms. They have the full line of fight classes, as well as ‘boxing fit’ classes, which are based on more cardio. Personal training sessions are offered as well.

At Impakt I joined a mid-day group class, which was surprisingly small. I was able to receive quite ample one-to-one time with the coach, who again went over basic moves with me. I practiced steps, kicks, blocks, and punches on my own with supervision and then moved on to do some basic fighting with another beginner. The level of excitement increases so much when actually fighting against someone, I can easily see how this sport would become addicting once you get the moves down! I also did some fighting with the coach and standard endurance and muscle building exercises (burpees, sit-ups, squats).

I would recommend this gym to those who have time during the afternoon to attend classes, as off-peak unlimited classes are significantly cheaper and a good value as you have more contact with the coach.

Impakt is located at the Overseas Union Trust Building near Tanjong Pagar MRT and on the web at www.impakt.com.sg

And finally, there’s Fight G MMA

This is actually where our Chief Nomad Alex goes on a regular basis. They offer a selection of MMA, Muay Thai and Brazilian Ju Jitsu classes. It’s super conveniently located at North Canal Street, so if you’re working in the CBD it’s a good option. It’s also (by far!) the most economical with monthly unlimited packages starting at $110 per month. The only downside is that these guys are so popular that the later evening classes get really packed. If your schedule is flexible, go for the 5.15pm classes as there’s usually around 10-12 people as opposed to 25/30.
For more information, visit their website at Fightg.com

All of the training facilities mentioned in this review have free trials, so you can see for yourself if you love punching and kicking things as much as I did! Happy fighting!