Aloha everyone, I'm originally from the Bay area in Cali which is pretty much the capital of Muay Thai on the west coast. I visit family on the islands regularly, but my job moved me here to Hawaii temporarily which led me to looking for a new gym to train at. Yes i'm a Haole boy, well i'm pake too.
The good news is i found a couple legit gyms here after going to 3 or 4 bullshit fake Muay Thai gyms, so i'm happy. I pretty much toured the whole damn island over the period of 3 months just to find good Muay Thai here. Honestly, can't wait to get back to Cali, you guys have great Boxing, MMA and BJJ, but the Muay Thai level here is lacking....
Alot of people have never been exposed to real Muay Thai here so i thought i'd give an outside perspective.
A guide for anyone who's looking for Muay Thai in hawaii:
Tiger Muay Thai Hawaii
(the instructor is a tough guy, former karate/kickboxer turned "MOO TAI" Expert with a 1-1 amateur record, but claims he's gonna be a WBC champ and doesn't even know real Muay Thai, but is REALLY REALLY good at intimidating people with his moves and how hard his shins are and making them think he knows what he's doing, he doesn't teach technique, he just beats up on his students to feed his ego.)
They SEEM the most legit to someone who hasn't trained or fought Muay Thai before, but in reality they are just good at marketing. All the students there have really, really bad technique and are constantly sore or injured from the instructor's unnecessarily harsh conditioning. It's a huge cash operation, they charge 140 a month for fees, then they hold smoker fights and charge 30 bucks at the door, one day they'll get in trouble for such shady dealings.
Muay Thai Training, Self-Defense | Aiea, HI
Team island Thunder Muay Thai
Another hybrid karate/american kickboxing deal (kind of like the above gym). At least they are nice and mean well, but not authentic Muay Thai, far from it. It seems like everyone feels like they can use the name Muay Thai nowadays, but at least they try i guess....
Team Island Thunder Muay Thai, Honolulu, HI
Laupahoehoe school of Muay Thai
Another Mcdojo cult that claims to teach ancient Muay Thai, and denounces "ring style" Muay Thai as they call it, there's alot of meditation and life discussions, moreso than there is training. It's a very self-contained gym, they do their own thing and believe in their own legend, they don't allow you to spar with them until you've reached a certain "level", also their dues are ridiculous. It's all mysticism and legend, it's strange to say the least.
Laupahoehoe School of Muay Thai
See my write-up on the Master Toddy system Here
M-1 martial arts and fitness
What's Ironic about this is that Muay Thai isn't even in the name of this gym, but it's one of the best ones on the island. They aren't local, they are from San francisco. They are a Fairtex affiliate and have trained in Thailand and have a good amount of ring experience. Good pad holding, solid technical work and clinching.
M-1 Martial Arts & Fitness
It's more of a Dutch style kickboxing & MMA gym, but it's better than any of the above "shitty" gyms if you want to learn good boxing & put hands together with kicks. The coach is funny, has trained some great K-1 & MMA fighters like Maurice smith, matt hume, josh barnett etc. and knows alot of things about striking, especially boxing. These guys are serious, they have a solid stable of serious MMA fighters and kickboxers that win far more than they lose, no one likes to fight these guys.
Mad tiger Muay Thai
A new start up gym. They run out of a BJJ school, the instructor has been to Thailand twice, trained at a real camp, fought there as well. Lots of young up and coming talent. The school runs really free-form like a Thai gym with lots of padwork and clinching. Trained with them a couple times very friendly guys.
Mad Tiger Brazilian Jiu Jitsu