It’s like a lot of things. There are always two sides to it. On the one hand there are the people on the inside – the ones in the know. They’re the folk who know all the jargon and are familiar with the ins-and-outs of it all. And then there are the rest of us, the ‘general public’. Sure, we’ve heard some names and words maybe, but we don’t really know what the details are about. We’ve just got an impression; no more than that. And it doesn’t matter whether it’s car engines, computers, or Muay Thai, we need to know more to feel comfortable.
Superpro Samui is generally described as a ‘Muay Thai training camp’. And those who are already inside the inner circles will understand this perfectly. They’ll not only know the name, but will also know what it’s all about too, as this place is internationally famous. It’s quite likely that many of you reading this will have heard of Muay Thai and will be nodding, going “. . . right, that’s Thai boxing.” And then you’ll probably look at the pictures and turn over the page without reading any further. But it would be a great pity if you did!
Because Superpro is actually not only one of the best-equipped gyms in the island, but is also probably one of the best family fitness centres in all of Thailand – the programs are extensive, the equipment is plentiful and state-of-the-art (‘Life Fitness’ and ‘Technogym’) and there are more than a dozen resident trainers if you need them. And If you don’t, then you’re
welcome to come here and use the facilities anyway – but more about this in a moment.
Superpro Samui started off back in 2006, founded by a couple of Dutch partners, Remon Daalder and Edwin Van Os. Remon had enjoyed a long and successful career as a promoter and kickboxing manager, and Edwin brought not only his experience as a promoter, but also his expertise as a well-known gym owner and trainer. The first stage, even though it was much smaller than todays facility, quickly became a presence on the international martial arts circuit. And then two years
later, Robbie Timmers came on board.
Robbie had already long-since been involved with the martial arts scene back in The Netherlands, and had established the biggest online martial arts magazine (‘fighttalk’) in that country, plus a string of related shops, as well as organising tournaments and events, and managing professional athletes. He was intrigued, and decided to give it a go for a year to see how it would work out. And what happened was that he became very much involved. So much so that he fell in love with the island, moved to live here full time and joined the enterprise as a partner. And in the years that followed, the thinking behind Superpro gradually expanded to turn it into the much bigger idea that it is today.
An outsider might well imagine that a Muay Thai training camp would be some kind of macho thing, all sweat and testosterone and arm wrestling contests, where trainee boxers lived in tents and went jogging at dawn like American marines. In truth Superpro could quite easily be marketed as a laid-back island family-holiday village, with 50 comfortable modern apartment rooms, plus a pleasant swimming pool, to cater for all types of guests – but in this case with the emphasis on health and fitness. And if you are already staying elsewhere then you’re warmly invited to use the gym (it’s only 200 baht a day) or to join in with one of the scheduled group CrossFit sessions, or any of the training.
“A lot of people see martial arts and Muay Thai as a very specialised discipline,” Robbie explained. “And it certainly is. But here we’ve worked hard to establish a much wider concept. As well as having rigorous programs for serious fighters in Muay Thai, Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) and Brazilian jujitsu, there are beginners’ classes for all ages, too. We have world-class trainers, but they are also aware that people have different goals – from becoming a professional fighter (or learning the basics), to keeping fit or simply losing weight. But there’s now a very wide range of facilities, activities and programs. And this means that, say, if someone’s here for a couple of weeks on holiday, they can work with us in any way that they want so it can fit in with their time here. The atmosphere is super. Everyone is open and friendly towards each other because they share the same outlook and aims. Sport is one of the few things that cross international boundaries – it’s a great social leveller!”
It’s worth mentioning that during his previous life back in The Netherlands, Robbie also found time to run clubs and events for street kids, and volunteered to visit prisons and hold training sessions and classes for the inmates – it’ll give you a better idea of where he’s coming from. And that also explains his decision to expand the ‘camp’ here on Samui to include the increased variety of accommodation and the extended range of facilities.
Coming down the small side street to Superpro (very close to Bangkok Hospital Samui) doesn’t immediately reveal the extent of the facilities here. But then you’ll come to something that’s the size of a modern aircraft hangar, with four pro boxing rings next to each other and a big area with mats, bags and pads. Across from this is the gleaming weights gym with cardio machines, with the MMA cage alongside. The accommodation is partly above this, and with a whole added section,
plus the pool, at the rear. And the associated CrossFit hall is just nearby. Although you can use the facilities at any time you want, group training sessions are scheduled to run between 8:00 am and 10:00 am, then again in the cooler period between 5:00 pm and 7:00 pm, every day except Sunday (when the gym is open but there are no classes). There are also yoga sessions every Tuesday and Thursday evening, but with the emphasis on flexibility rather than meditation.
You’ll find all the info you need about courses, costs, trainers and staff, plus the exact location, and much more, on their excellent website listed below. You may not have heard of Superpro before – but believe me, they got the name spot on!
Rob De Wet
For further information, telephone 0 7741 4393.