The Kiatmoo9 Gym has been the recipient of the prestigious “gym of the year” award (2002) and during years when the gym does NOT win the award, it’s usually one of the nominees.
What makes Kiatmoo9 unique is that all of the fighters that fight out of the gym live in the village and because of that, the camp doesn’t have to provide accommodation because the fighters all return to their homes after training.
The fact that the gym doesn’t get “imported” fighters (like the Bangkok based gyms get) speaks volumes for the quality of the training because the elite fighters that come out of the gym (Singdam and Panomrunglek) have been produced there from scratch.
Singdam, who was the recipient of the “fighter of the year” award in 2003, still sits at the top of the rankings and headlines the major cards. In fact, at the time of this writing (April, 2013), he’s the current champion in light weight (135lb) division at Lumpinee stadium.
He has also captured the lumpinee title in the super feather weight division (130lbs), as well as two Thailand national titles (126lbs and 130lbs).
Panomrunglek has captured 4 major titles as well. He’s won 2 lumpinee belts (“fly weight” title in 2003 and the “super fly weight” title in 2010).
He has also won a Thailand national title in 2009, as well as the Toyota and Isuzu sponsored tournaments. Like Singdam, Panomrunglek was also elected the “best fighter of Lumpinee” (2004).
Other top fighters training out of Kiatmoo9 are Superlek wor sungprapai; a former champion who’s currently ranked number 9 in the bantamweight division at Lumpinee and Rungnaray, who is currently ranked in the number 2 spot in the light fly weight division (108lbs) at Lumpinee stadium.
The Kiatmoo9 gym is located in the Buriram province, which translated, means the “city of happiness”. Buriram is located approximately 410km northeast of Bangkok in the region of Issan.
You can access the gym by plane (Nok Air has direct flights from Bangkok) or by bus (which you can take from the Mochit bus terminal). Click here for a detailed travel guide on getting to Buriram.
The gym itself is in the district of Takotapi, which isn’t far from the Cambodian border. In fact, the province of Buriram used to be under Khmer rule and in the early 19th century, the town, originally named Muang Pae, was renamed Buriram and came under Thai rule. Given the history of the province and its inhabitants, it’s not surprising that the people at the gym speak Khmer language.
There are no rooms available for fighters at the gym (Thai or foreigners) so if you would like to train here, you can book a room at the Takotapi hotel.
That is a family run hotel located a short 10 minute walk from the gym (the owners speak English). To find the exact location of the gym, your best bet is to get assistance from them regarding the details of getting there from the airport of the bus station.
Training Info & Photos
The training routine at the Kiatmoo9 camp is best described by Matt Neilsen; a Muay Thai enthusiast who spent time training here..
The sessions consist of a 1 hour run with sprints at various points in the morning. 30 minutes skipping with a heavy rope in the afternoon, three to five 8 minute rounds on pads (yes … 8 minute rounds), three to five 8 minute rounds on the bag, and 1 hour clinching, finishing off with 300-500 fast knees on the bag. Twice a day, 6 days a week, 7 days a week if they have a fight coming up.
The pad rounds are intense. There are no preset combos, you just throw what ever you want and the pad-man catches it perfectly. If you wait too long before throwing a technique (3 seconds) the pad-man bashes you or throws you to the ground.
The owner is open to the idea of foreigners training there, but only if your skill level is up to par. Frankly, they just don’t have the time to be breaking down the basics to beginners as their main priority is on the development of their own fighters.