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  1. #1


    Phuket Top Team
    Phuket, Thailand

    The state of jitz in Thailand

    I've been in Thailand for over 2 years now and the BJJ scene is really coming along.

    Eddie was just here for a seminar at Tiger Muay Thai, which was awesome by the way (Thanks Eddie!)

    I've spoken to a few guys who were considering coming out here for a traincation and some much-needed debauchery, but were on the fence.

    So I'm going to drop a bit of a datasheet to help you make sense of the scene here and hopefully get your ass out to this beautiful land of smiles!

    Major BJJ Locations

    There's really only 2 major places to train in Thailand right now: Bangkok (the capital city) and Phuket (a city in the south more of a beach town).

    And to a lesser extent, Chiang Mai which is in the mountains of the north and a popular place for entrepreneurs to start up their online businesses due to it's being incredibly cheap to live there.


    Bangkok has some really good jiu jitsu now.

    1. Arete - My favorite place to train there is Arete ( which is run by a very high level Nova Unićo brown belt from Canada, Andrew MacDonald and another very high level NU guy from Japan, Mitsu.

    This place is right in the center of town in a posh neighborhood with good food options and good (but pricey) accommodations, although you don't actually have to stay there since the sky train will get you anywhere you need to go within 20 mins.

    Arete has such a great vibe, very open minded, no bad attitudes, reminds me a lot of 10p San Fran (miss you guys!)

    There's also brown belts and black belts from all over Asia and Brasil constantly popping in, and mini seminars almost every month.

    No gi only on Fridays. The rest of the days are gi.

    2. Bangkok Fight Lab - I haven't trained here yet but it looks like a great facility and is the most centrally located school in BKK.

    The BJJ and grappling instructor is Lee Livingstone, a black belt from the UK.

    3. EMAC - Emac has a black belt instructor but I don't know him personally.

    This school is situated in the financial district and it has a good vibe.

    I've gone there for open mats but I can't speak to the class quality.

    4. Q23 -

    Q23 is also in a really central location and is run by Malaysian black belt Adam Kayoom, who is also an MMA fighter.

    I really like Adam's way of teaching. He is super detail-oriented and explains things in a very logical way that doesn't assume anything about your level of knowledge.

    These are the main 4 schools in BKK.


    I used to live in BKK for about a year but the pollution and lack of nature started to fuck with my health so I moved down to Phuket.

    Phuket is quite special because most people who train here live on a street called Soi Taied.

    Soi Taied is literally a 'fight street'.

    We've got Tiger Muay Thai here, Phuket Top Team, half a dozen muay thai gyms, food, hotels/apartments, laundry, tattoos, weight gyms, crossfit/conditioning, ice bath, sauna, yoga, massage places.

    Basically if you want to come train in Thailand and not worry about a damn thing except for training and chillin', this is where you need to be.

    Also, as somebody who runs an online business I think it beats both Bangkok and Chiang Mai because you're so close to the beach, everything's close (no wasting your time on transportation), and rooms/food are cheaper than in Bangkok in my experience.

    1. Phuket Top Team - This is where I train under Olavo Abreu, Carlson Gracie black belt 4th degree.

    Anybody who has met Olavo will tell you the same thing: he's an amazing kind person whose good energy rubs off on everybody.

    He's also a total bad ass and has that heavy Carlson style pressure game that makes you lose your will to live.

    We also have a 3rd degree Ricardo De La Riva black belt here, Joćo-Paulo, super cool guy always joking and incredible checkneeks.

    Thiago Tavares is also here training muay thai now but he's spending time on the mats fucking everybody as well.

    PTT has no-gi and wrestling 3x/week and a yoga class on saturday morning.

    It's a bit spendy (around $200/month) but the other schools in the area charge the same. Probably collusion.

    Anyway, there's always tons of black belts passing through and a lot of MMA fighters with big hearts who will really test your technicality no-gi.

    2. Tiger Muay Thai

    Tiger Muay Thai's BJJ program is headed up by Fernando Maccacheiro, 4th degree Brazilian Top Team black belch.

    This guy is also super nice, super knowledgable and very technical.

    Whereas Olavo's teaching is more focused on sport BJJ, Fernando focuses more on takedowns (even in the gi) and MMA stuff.

    No gi classes here are 3x/week and gi classes 2x/week.

    Class sizes are generally smaller here but there's a lot of good dudes stopping through, including plenty of Russian guys with Judo and Sambo backgrounds.

    Also a lot of talented MMA fighters and no gi guys including Roger Huerta, Stuart Cooper, Alex Schild and a lot of high level guests.

    3. AKA Thailand

    AKA is the newcomer on the Phuket MMA/BJJ scene.

    They're actually NOT located on the fight street, but they're 20 minutes away by scooter so still accessible.

    They've got 2 legit brazilian black belts there now who are also both MMA fights.

    First guy is Marcio "Gracinha" and the other guy is Pedro Vinagre.

    Both super cool guys with crazy BJJ and no gi.

    AKA is probably the most MMA focused school and the grappling takes precedence over the gi.

    They also have the dopest facilities I've ever seen. HUUUGE mat space and the whole compound is nestled in some verdant hills and looks like an airplane hangar. It's totally badass.

    **Chiang Mai**

    1. Team Quest - I haven't trained at Team Quest but from what other guys have told me it's mostly no-gi without much in the way of instruction.

    I heard they've got a black belt teaching gi there now but I can't confirm.

    Can't say much else about TQ without personal experience.

    Cost of Living/Training

    If you really bootstrap it, you can get by on about $1000/month, but you won't have much left over after training expenses, food and shelter.

    If you have a $2k/month bankroll, you'll have more money to spend on weekend trips to the islands, forests, neighboring countries, etc.

    AirAsia flies all over SouthEast asia for about about $50-$200 each way, depending on the destination. Domestic flights are like $50 each way. It's pretty baller.

    If you have $3k/month, you probably won't even be able to spend it all unless you splurge on a really nice apartment or condo, and have a hooker addiction.

    By the way, Thailand has some of the most beautiful and feminine women in the world, so if you're single (or just an unfaithful, no-good dawg) and you haven't been here, I really just don't have the words to explain to you what it's like. Come and see for yourself...

    What else...? Ah! Weather:


    Thailand has 2 seasons, rainy and dry.

    Rainy season is characterized by...rain. A lot of it.

    So it's not really the best time to come in terms of enjoying the beaches and islands.

    But it's actually a good 30% cheaper to stay here during rainy season and get your roll on. There's fewer people passing through but there's still plenty of hard training here.

    If you're on a budget, low season starts around April/May and lasts for around 5 months.

    10th planet JJ is still in its baby stages here. If you play lockdown half or rubber guard, 9/10 guys won't know what the hell you're doing.

    I caught a much bigger and more experienced guy in a dead orchard. He was so frustrated he picked me up and slammed me. Our wrestling instructor came over and politely told him to never fucking do that again. Then I tapped his ass a second time

    Anyyyway, even if you can't stay here for more than a month at a time, I promise Thailand will be the time of your life. So pack up your shit and book a flight already!

    Oh, one last thing, don't forgetch your gi. Caaralho.

  2. #2
    Jack Hanley's Avatar

    Salt Lake Grappling Club
    I have a house guest for the next month who is from Chiang Mai. He has friends back home who train grappling. But, he doesn't know which gym. I will ask him if he can find out if they train at Team Quest and see if he can try to get some info.

  3. #3


    10th Planet Birmingham UK
    Birmingham, England.
    That's all good we were in Thailand in 2008 and there was zero Jiu jitsu and we went a lot of places

  4. #4
    Jack Hanley's Avatar

    Salt Lake Grappling Club
    So my house guest from Chiang Mai is talking to one of his friends who trains in Chiang Mai.

    He says there are two places to train in Chiang Mai: the aforementioned Team Quest and a gym at Chiang Mai University.

    He mentioned that the neighborhood of Team Quest has a lot of traffic in the morning and night but it is what he described as "the old village" and said that you could probably find pretty reasonably priced housing there ($10 or $15 per night maybe in a hotel).

    He is not sure if non-students are allowed to train at the Chiang Mai University gym. But, there is definitely lodging there along the canal also for probably $10-15 per night.

  5. #5
    Ben Eddy's Avatar

    10th Planet Freaks
    Nice guide. Thanks for writing it all down Vic! insta #jesushadamoustache

  6. #6


    Phuket Top Team
    Phuket, Thailand
    My pleasure get your butt out here already!

  7. #7


    10th Planet SF/Melbourne
    I've trained at Team Quest for several months over a few different trips but choose to give it a miss these days.

    Anyone can use the facilities at Chiang Mai University. You just have to get a yearly ID that costs around 300B. The university has tons of options for recreation: weights, Judo mats, badminton, boxing ring, air rifle range, archery, pools, etc. There are no jiu jitsu classes there but if you have a partner already it is a great place to show up and roll. There are a few guys in town who show up to do mostly Judo but you can talk them into having a roll if you're friendly. Hard to pull off this whole situation without speaking some Thai, I imagine.

    If you're in Thailand to train and you don't want to stay in Bangkok then you are going to Phuket. If you are stretching the budget then don't sleep or eat on fighter street. Hire a motorbike and find a place 5 or 10 minutes away. The food options are thin around there unless you cook but it's hard to find accommodation that has a stove.

  8. #8


    10th Planet Los Angeles
    I practiced jitsu in Thailand last year (it was really amazing) and after that I had a beautiful trip in Maldives with my girlfriend (now she is my wife). The main problem that I have meet was the cost of living in Maldives and Thailand. It was very hard for me to find useful information about that, because all sites try to make just promotion and are not interested in helping people. So, on this site I found information that helped me to understood how much money I need for this trip and it solved my many problems, because I could prepare for different situations and I avoided an unplanned spending.


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