Muay Thai is new for women
Muay Thai is traditionally called "The Science of Eight Limbs" because you use eight limbs to strike
- hands, elbows, feet, and knees. Muay Thai is, of course, from Thailand, and there's a lot of folklore linking Muay Thai to Thai autonomy. Thailand was the only nation in Southeast Asia never to be formally colonized by a foreign power the way Burma or Vietnam were, for example.
Since the 70s, Muay Thai has become increasingly global, and international participation in the sport has grown exponentially each year.
Training as farang women is drastically different depending on the gym or camp and where you're training in the country. (Note that farang means european decent or white women which is very different from Thai or Japanese or women from Asian decent)
To be taken seriously, you have to train really hard every day and come ready to learn. When people see how dedicated you are, they will become more open to helping you; sometimes giving you extra rounds on the pads, walking you through different bag work exercises one-on-one. Also, you should learn to speak some Thai, it would help to develop a different kind of relationship and you would become more of like a little sister to them
But there is another layer to training as a woman in Thailand. One that is more controversial. That's about the sexual politics at play, especially between male trainers and female fighters. Few farang female fighters travel to and live in Thailand for extended periods of time.
Many of them expressed that they felt some kind of sexual pressure from their trainers. The intensity varied: One woman was almost raped, another was verbally harassed and made uncomfortable by a trainer's advances; several ended up dating their trainers. In some cases, if a woman wouldn't sleep with her trainer, this affected the kind of training she received.
This is not unique to Thailand, though - these kinds of sexual dynamics take place everywhere. (The story of the woman raped by her Jiu-Jitsu instructors in Maryland is a prime example of this.) But what was unique to Thailand is that there seemed to be this perception that farang women were promiscuous partiers and that white women would (and wanted to) sleep with almost anyone. This is one of the many ways the fraught relationship between tourism and sex and sexuality in Thailand bubbles over into the Muay Thai world.
Trying something new is almost always intimidating in some way, but the Muay Thai community is so welcoming. Having trained at gyms and camps all over the country and the world, you would find that, for the most part, there is a kind of warmth associated with a passion for Muay Thai, a sense of community that feels markedly different from other types of spaces. It's intimidating at first, but it's so empowering.