Muay Thai & Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Classes in Bocas del Toro, Panama

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Muay Thai & Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Classes in Bocas del Toro, Panama

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Last year, my colleague Emily Becker published a blog post about where you can work out in Bocas del Toro, and the various fitness and yoga classes you can take part in. But his was before Ray Torralba moved to our lovely town, in order to teach Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai classes to adults and kids in Bocas del Toro. Therefore I would like to share this post as an addendum to Emily’s post from last year. It is definitely worth getting the word out.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a self defense technique that focuses on grappling (Clinch fighting, Takedowns, Throws, Submission holds, Pinning, Controlling Techniques, Sweeps, Reversals, Turnovers, and Escapes), and mainly ground fighting. All my male friends absolutely love it, but I must admit, as a girl, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu doesn’t appeal to me much. I simply don’t like the idea of rolling around on the floor with some hairy, sweaty dudes. That being said, many women do like it, and I don’t want to dissuade anyone from experiencing it on their own.

Jiu Jitsu Instructor Ray Quintana Torralba with one of his new students in Bocas del Toro
Jiu Jitsu Instructor Ray Quintana Torralba with one of his new students in Bocas del Toro

On the other hand, I am so very happy that I discovered Muay Thai in Bocas, and that I now get the chance to practice it regularly! If you have never heard of Muay Thai before, it is a combat sport from the muay martial arts of Thailand that mainly uses stand-up striking (kicks and punches), and is characterized by the combined use of fists, elbows, knees, shins and feet. This martial art is associated with a good physical preparation that makes for a full workout and an efficient fighting technique. It involves lots of jumping, just as in boxing, and is an excellent exercise to stay fit.

Typically, a regular warm up session will include jumping the rope, push ups, squats, sit ups, and some shadow boxing. After everyone is pretty much worn out (in a good way), our teacher Ray will move on to teaching the techniques - and you will practice how to properly throw a kick or punch. He will hold a cushion in his hands, and you can just go at him with everything you got.

Getting to train with Ray, besides being a great work out, is excellent value for your money. This is my brother in law throwing some punches.
Getting to train with Ray, besides being a great work out, is excellent value for your money. This is my brother in law throwing some punches.

I find it to be an excellent stress release after my work day, and every frustration or anger I felt during the day is just burnt away in positive energy and laughs. Having done Taekwondo for several years when I was younger, I am no novice to this type of training, but I had forgot just how great it feels to kick something. It is way more effective than meditation for stress release, but that is just my personal opinion =) . It is also a great way to get to know new people and make friends. The same girls are coming to the classes all the time, and we are truly having fun while training.

This is me kicking something... if feels great to kick stuff at the end of the day!
This is me kicking something... if feels great to kick stuff at the end of the day!

Bit the best part about this class is that no previous experience is required to join. If you are in town for only a short amount of time, you can drop in for only $5 per class, or if you stay longer, pay a monthly fee of $60 and go every day of the week. Classes last 2 hours, so it’s a great deal! The down part is that you get to walk around with bruised body parts (mainly from Brazilian Jiu Jitsu), but a nice tan will take care of that for you.

Class schedule:

  • Monday: 6 p.m.- Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
  • Tuesday: 6 p.m.- Boxing / Muay Thai
  • Wednesday: 6 p.m.- Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
  • Thursday: 6 p.m.- Boxing / Muay Thai
  • Friday: 6 p.m.- Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
  • Saturday: 10 a.m.- Open Gym Boxing / Muay Thai

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Search our blog if you're visiting Panama! From must do's, where to party or eat, to which beaches and hiking trails you shouldn't miss, you'll find great insider info about Bocas del Toro, Panama City and Boquete, as well as Panamanian culture, customs and traditions, and certainly tips and advice for learning Spanish while in our country! We've been writing about all things Panama for over 10 years and nothing beats local knowledge from the locals themselves.


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1 Response to "Muay Thai & Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Classes in Bocas del Toro, Panama"

  1. I think Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is the better one. Self-defense is something everyone should learn now, especially women and children. As it does not involve punching children can use it for self-defense against bullies. Women must definitely learn this as they are getting attacked a lot these days.


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