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Being the best martial artist possible depends on many things. Of course, natural talent is essential to be successful in any sport, but even more so, you need to work harder than anybody else to be the best.
But, one factor that tends to get neglected quite often is the gym where you’re training. The coaching staff, the program, the equipment – all those elements play a crucial role in your development as a fighter. If you don’t have the best conditions and expert coaches to train you, you can’t expect to come too far.
We’ve put up a list of all the best Kickboxing gyms in the world, including all the factors that make a gym excellent or outstanding. That includes the coaches, the modernity of practice and equipment, and of course, the most significant measure of a good gym – the number of above-average and champion fighters coming out of that gym.
Mike’s Gym is a Dutch gym based in Amsterdam. It would be wrong not to put a Dutch-based Kickboxing gym on this list, as the Netherlands traditionally develops the world’s best Kickboxers. And, out of all the great gyms in the country, Mike’s Gym might be the best.
There’s a reason why everybody in the fighting game across the world has heard of this gym. Almost since it opened its doors, Mike’s Gym is producing elite Kickboxers like clockwork. Many of them became world champions through their careers. Primarily in Kickboxing, but many transferred those skills to MMA and made a mark on that sport too.
The main man behind the fighters’ success is the owner and head coach of the gym, Mike Passenier. He is an expert coach with all the respect in the world from virtually every fighter he has ever coached. He knows how to work on conditioning, strength, technique, and mental toughness.
But, he values and appreciates his fighters too, which is why the relationship works so well. If you have great chemistry in the gym, it’s easier to work and communicate what needs improvement. Although the rules in Mike’s Gym are stringent, that ensures discipline and hard work.
Everybody is there for each other, helping out any way they can. Having incredibly talented fighters surely helps with the development of others. Imagine having the likes of Melvin Manhoef or Badr Hari as your sparring partner while having one of the world’s best coaches on giving you specific instructions.
Another hotspot of Kickboxing talent in the world is Thailand. Of course, most of the fighters there practice Muay Thai, but it’s not hard for them to adjust to Kickboxing rules because the sports are very similar to one another.
One of the best – if not the best – gym in Thailand has to be the Banchamek Gym in Phuket. If you are already into Kickboxing, you’ll quickly recognize the name. This gym is the home of Buakaw Banchamek, one of the best Kickboxers in history. So, it’s easy to see how beneficial it would be to train in Banchamek Gym.
He’s not the only great fighter there, too. There are over 30 professional fighters in the gym, and many of them are among the world’s best martial artists. Not only will you be able to learn the proper technique, but sparring with fighters of that caliber will get you on a completely different level. You’ll get some experienced advice – small tips and tricks to help you become a more prolific fighter.
Banchamek Gym is known for its rigorous strength training and cardio workout that many people can’t even endure. It takes a lot of time and effort to get to Banchamek’s fighters’ fitness level, so you shouldn’t even consider coming here if you’re not prepared to work out as hard as possible.
American Kickboxing Academy – AKA
The American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) might be the most popular martial arts gym in the world. They offer numerous classes in different martial arts, including Kickboxing, Muay Thai, Boxing, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and Wrestling. That’s why the gym provides one of the most prolific MMA training camps in the world.
Be that as it may, you can opt to train only Kickboxing if that’s the case, and you’ll have a team of the world’s top trainers and fighters along your side to help you each step of the way. Many grapplers came to AKA and developed into spectacular strikers.
The best of them are Daniel Cormier, Khabib Nurmagomedov, Cain Velasquez, and Leon Edwards. All these guys were primarily grapplers and wrestlers but became incredible strikers under head coach Javier Mendez and his coaching staff. Cormier, Nurmagomedov, and Velasques all became UFC champions and among the best pound-for-pound fighters of all time, while Edwards is well on his way to becoming a champ, too.
The gym is based in San Jose, California, but recently opened the AKA Thailand gym in Phuket, where the primary focus is on Kickboxing and Muay Thai. They are far from over when it comes to developing phenomenal fighters, both in Kickboxing and MMA.
American Top Team (ATT)
American Top Team is another gym most famous for its MMA fighters, but they teach fundamental martial arts just as well. The gym is situated in Coconut Creek, Florida but has affiliated gyms all over the United States the world.
The founder is Dan Lambert, and the gym has been operating from 2001 to the present day. They are well known for their outstanding Boxing and Kickboxing programs, which can be seen in their top fighters.
Some of the best strikers in MMA are ATT fighters. The list includes UFC champs and interim champs Dustin Poirier, Colby Covington, Joanna Jedrzejczyk, and Amanda Nunes, among other great names in the world of martial arts.
Most of the fighters have a background in other sports and continued to develop their crafts in the American Top Team gym. Poirier is a fantastic boxer, while Nunes and Jedrzejczyk both have a history in Kickboxing and Muay Thai.
If you want to learn proper Kickboxing, Muay Thai, or other martial arts, you will not go wrong visiting ATT and learning from the best.
As you can see, we tried to incorporate gyms from all over the world in this article. There are incredible coaches and gyms worldwide, so you have the opportunity to train with the best fighters in the world regardless of where you live.
City Kickboxing gym is no different. It’s one of the best Kickboxing (and other martial arts) gyms globally, creating champions in Kickboxing, MMA, and Muay Thai. However, the gym is situated in Auckland, New Zealand, but it is well worth the trip even if you’re not living nearby.
The fighters you’ll have the opportunity to train with are well known all over the world, and the focus of your training will be prolific striking. The gym was founded in 2007 as a Kickboxing academy first but quickly started teaching mixed martial arts.
The founders are Doug Viney and Eugene Bareman, and their initial motivation was to have their own gym to focus on their own martial arts training and careers. However, they didn’t realize how expensive it can get to run a gym, so they started training professional fighters. Little did they know it would turn out that they had even more coaching skills than they had as professional fighters.
The gym was and still is the home to some of the most incredible Kickboxing and MMA strikers in the world. The most famous fighter in the gym is Israel Adesanya, an undefeated UFC middleweight champion that uses his prolific Kickboxing skills to shut down his opponents.
Other notable fighters training in City Kickboxing gym are the UFC Featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski, Dan Hooker, Shane Young, and others.
The list we put together doesn’t necessarily mean that only these gyms have the capacity to develop incredible talent. Other gyms have made Kickboxing champions across the world as well, so it’d be wrong not to at least mention them.
For instance, in Utrecht, Netherlands, the Colosseum Gym will have you training with spectacular kickboxers such as Peter Aerts and Mohammed Jaraya. The best part about the Colosseum Gym is that they regularly host massive sparring sessions with top talent from all the great Dutch Kickboxing Gyms. Rico Verhoeven, Hesdy Gerges, and Hicham El Gaoui often participate in these sparring sessions, too, so it’s great to check out.
There’s also the Tiger Muay Thai Gym in Phuket, where the world’s best Muay Thai fighters are training alongside UFC champions Petr Yan and Valentina Shevchenko. Jackson-Wink MMA gym from Albuquerque, New Mexico, might have the most expansive collection of the world’s best strikers, such as Jon Jones, Andrei Arlovski, Holly Holm, Carlos Condit, Cub Swanson, etc.
You might have noticed that most of these gyms offer more than just Kickboxing classes – most of them are classified as MMA gyms. That’s the reason why the fighters coming out of these gyms are so successful. You can utilize stuff you learn from different fighters, get different perspectives and improve in many different ways.