Thursday, 23 September 2010

Muay Thai in Abu Dhabi

Combative sports and Martial Arts seem to be fairly popular in the UAE. Well, talking the talk seems to be more of an accurate description. I've now been to two different Muay Thai classes and I thought I'd write a little review of both.

Cobra Muay Abu Dhabi
I attended the Cobra Muay classes at the One to One Hotel and at Hilton Hotel. They are ran by a cool Aussie called Matt. The main indicator of the quality of the club is demonstrated by the fact that they are a fighting club who train and promote fighters.

The classes were really punishing and after every session I could barely stand up and my hands were shaking from the exertion. The trainer makes sure you blast your abs and just loves dishing out hundreds of kicks when you are working the pads. Saying that, the class is totally relaxed and there are no press-up punishments for talking or having your hands on your hips, like we had at my old University club.

The guys that attend the sessions are all really friendly and happy to talk to you. If you get paired with a decent boxer, you'll probably end up with bruises up and down your forearms and legs (that's through the pads too!) but you'll also get great one on one tuition from them.

I really enjoyed the classes and I'd totally recommend them. The classes are hard but that's the whole point of going. The reason I have looked for a new class is because the club has recently moved to Zayed Sports City and it's just not practical getting a taxi home from there in the evening.

see!/group.php?gid=103001156548&v=info&ref=ts for details.

Sheraton Hotel Muay Thai
The second class I've tried is at the Sheraton on the Corniche. It's a bit of a strange one. First of all I'll say the class is purely fitness; in the two sessions I've been to we've not even put gloves on. It is very good for general fitness and flexibility however.

Secondly, the trainer makes me laugh. I'm presuming he is Arabic (I haven't asked). He conducts the class in a mixture of Arabic "Yalla Yalla", Japanese "Ichi, ni, san" and English "...and go!". But the funny thing is I'm sure he's learnt his English from the Gladiators ref, Jon Anderson. That's the only reason why he would speak English with a booming Scottish accent!

The class it's self isn't really Muay Thai. We wear shoes and practice punching and kicking in lines, more like a Karate class. There has been zero mention of grappling and he teaches kicks from the knee, when everywhere else teaches you to whip kicks from the hip.

Most of the class could be described as corpulent. And the majority of these guys just stop when they get a bit tired. I'm not being funny but don't turn up if you don't want to exercise! I'll be keeping up the class because I'm improving my fitness by staying there, but I am on a look out for a more authentic club.


  1. Thank Man for sharing this review, I was looking for a Muay Thai club and now you have convinced me to stop looking for one and actually turn up to one... And I think I'll start with Cobra (though I'm scared to die)
    thanks again for dharing your review

  2. Nice review, something I was looking for!

    Do you by any means, know of a ninjutsu training facility here in AUH?

  3. Hi Paul
    Thank you for a great post and blog by the way :)
    Went to Abu Dhabi on a holiday last year with my girlfriend, but didn't see any Muay Thai though.
    We went with Atlantis Rejser and tried a few of their excursions and Ferrari World as well :)

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living in the United Arab Emirates