96 Peenang Gym is a raw, rustic, but professional Muay Thai camp located in a slum beneath a bridge in the Klong Toey area of Bangkok. Despite the gyms bare bones approach, it has built a reputation for producing strong, talented, champion fighters.
The Klong Toey slum is built around a train track, next to a rubbish dump, beside a long haul truck depot and beneath an eight lane overpass. Thousands of boys come from all over Thailand to train at gyms like Peenang around Bangkok, in the hope of earning money to send back to their families in the small farming villages where they often come from. The gym is open to anyone who has the talent and drive to succeed, but everyone much show dedication and have the heart to fight. There is a real working class atmosphere, and with the rubber floor mats soaked in sweat, the gym even smells of the hard core work ethic that the champion coaches push their students to strive for.
96 Peenang isn’t for the faint hearted, with the scorching hot and humid days being filled with long card sessions in the adjacent empty empty school courtyard, strength and conditioning exercises, shadow boxing, skipping, hour long clinching sessions with slippery, greasy training partners, weight lifting, finally topped off with an exhaustive pads session with one of the demanding coaches. The boys are treated fairly, often live at the gym in rudimentary conditions, though they all share a common bond; that they all train hard and that their pain is shared.