I got the opportunity to visit Amsterdam, but it wasn’t to legally smoke the Sticky Green (Marijuana) or to d
rink Heinekens from the homeland! My sole purpose for visiting Holland was to
train with some of the best Kickboxing schools in the world. The first school I visited was Hemmers Gym, which is a family gym with a long lineage of training w
orld-class fighters. Cor Hemmers has trained champions in Kickboxing and MMA including Errol Zimmerman, Heath Herring, Stefan Leko, Bas Rutten, Semmy Schilt, and the Legend Ramon Dekker. Dekker was the most famous being the first non-Thai to receive the Fighter of the Year Award for defeating the Thai’s in Thailand. Hemmers gym exclusively focuses on Kickboxing, offering adult and kids classes.
The second gym was Mike’s Gym, which was a pretty big facility. They have a full array of classes: Kickboxing, Brazilian Jiujitsu, Boxing, MMA, etc. It has a full gym, cardio equipment and weights for their strength and conditioning program. Some the champions from Mikes Gym are Badi Hari, Melvin Manhoef, and most recently Glory Champion Gokhan Saki.
The last but not least was Lucien Carbin, most commonly known for training champions like Alistair Overeem and “King of the Ring” Tyrone Sponge, to name a few.
Despite the differences in teaching styles, and drills… the common thread in all of these schools was the intensity during training and sparring. The majority of the classes were taught in Dutch, but some English was spoken during training mainly to accommodate myself a handful of other visitors. There was always someone who would help translate or I just waited till after everyone else started the drills in order to catch on. I do plan to make future visits to Holland, so I guess I will have to brush up on my Dutch.
Someone asked me why did I decide to go to Amsterdam versus Thailand. First of all I believe that I have awesome Muay Thai instructors here in the states, Ajarn Buck and Yu. I just wanted to get a different perspective, considering how big Glory Kickboxing is becoming. Even some of the best Thai fighters in the World like Buakaw have chosen to fight kickboxing rules because of the bigger purses. My next trip for sure will be Thailand possibly this year!
I know Hemmers gym has a fighter house but with limited space so make sure you reserve well in advance if you plan to visit. I personally stayed in Hostels, which is basically a dorminatory setup. Four to Six people sharing a room, on average 10-15 Euro a night. Make sure you bring a lock and pack lightly so you don’t have a lot of stuff to carry around or secure. I didn’t really have any issues but I heard stories of people bothering your belongings.
When I wasn’t training I basically hung out in Central Amsterdam, which by bus was no more than 30min away from most gyms. Hemmers gym was about one hour train ride south of Amsterdam in a small town called Breda. Central Amsterdam was full of shopping, food, and entertainment options. If you love to party, Amsterdam definitely should be on your list!
Much love and respect to those I trained with in Holland, I really appreciate the hospitality.