As Tom Ford once said- The most important things in life are the connections you make with others.
If it weren’t for the above, we wouldn’t have had a chance to travel to Vienna and therefore would not be able to train at one of the most amazing gyms we came across- Asia Wien.
Thanks to a friend whom we met through the Muay Thai community in Madeira- we visited Vienna- Austria’s capital and city with an artistic and intellectual legacy shaped by residents including Mozart, Beethoven, and Sigmund Freud.
Despite knowing we will be sightseeing a lot- as there is plenty to see around, we knew that part of our luggage clothing will be training shorts, mouthguards, and hand wraps…
Asia Wien is located in Tokiostraße (Tokyo Street) in Donaustadt 22nd district in Vienna with Kagran metro station close by. Fairly easy to spot from the outside, however, I enclose the location – click here
Working out space is enormous- around 150 square meters and is divided by different rooms for different types of training. You will find an area for taekwondo training, and weightlifting with different gym equipment a space with a diversity of punch bags, and a boxing ring for sparring sessions.
The gym is also equipped with air conditioning, spacious changing rooms, and showers.
Flexible training hours allow you to choose what you want to train and what time of the day. You can find a variety of classes such as Muay Thai, Taekwondo, women’s boxing (Bella Box), Power Fitness (Die Hard), and self-defense practice.
Although we only had a chance to train there twice with one trainer, we heard that coaches (there are 7 of them) are the most distinguished teams in Austria.
The coach and founder of Asia Wien that we had the pleasure to train with was Peter Zaruba, who started martial arts at the age of 15 practicing boxing, taekwondo, karate, and original Muay Thai that he started in his club as early as 1986. Peter has been coaching and practicing for 60 years now(!) holding Dan Grandmaster Taekwondo, Khan Muay Thai Master Instructor, Dan All Combat and Kickboxing, as well as Kyokushin and Shotokan Karate and Nunchaku.
The gym has been founded in 1983 and has won 47 national championship titles, 6 world championship medals, and 3 European Championship medals.
Upon walking into the gym first thing, you notice is an extensive number of trophies, medals, and awards. Wall after wall of history of achievements resembling sports museum- a huge piece of history!
Separate space on the wall is reserved for the gym’s sponsors and Peter’s different certificates and diplomas (which are quite impressive by the way).
To the left-hand side, there is a reception area containing tables and chairs to sit down after the session where you can chill and eat some lunch. After that, you move into the training space- which I already described in the paragraph above.
Overall- the space has been well thought of and neatly organised.
Although trainings are scheduled differently, the ones we did started with generous 15 minutes of skipping rope😊 I used to hate that part when I first started but it turned out I wasn’t doing it right. While done correctly it’s much more fun than it looks! 😊
Next, we did some warmup and stretching from head to toe followed by shadow boxing to focus on proper technique- with a minimum of 3 and a maximum of 5 combinations.
Asked to pair up with a partner we moved to the pad work. I considered myself lucky again as not having a partner I had a chance to have one on one with the coach. He hold the shields for me and watched me train on the bag the combinations he has shown me.
The rest were training in pairs holding pads for each other and perfecting movements. Peter is very keen on training elbows and knees as he says this distinguishes Muay Thai from Kickboxing. The gym is equipped with plenty of pads and protective gear but its better to bring your own gloves and shin guards. As we packed lightly (only having cabin luggage) we had to borrow some stuff from the gym.
After that, we had to do some rounds on the bags with the same rule as in shadow boxing- minimum 3 and maximum 5 different combinations including elbows and knees.
From that, we have moved to a few rounds of sparring switching partners every round. The coach was observing everyone and gave some pointers on what to focus on.
During those two classes we had, I noticed that the people training there are nice, humble, and polite. Sometimes I see a pattern (when you visit different gyms) that there are folks acting like they own the place- just because they have been training at certain gyms for a while, and this can put some people off. With Asia Wien, this was not the case, met decent people with good intentions.
The training session lasted 1 hour, and 30 minutes and finished off with stretching. Those that wanted to do something extra were welcomed to do so.
We stayed a bit longer to chat with Peter- the founder of the gym and coach that we had trained with.
He told us about the history of the place, the sponsors, his trips to Thailand, and the fighters he coached. He showed us the trophies and certificates and spoke about the biggest accomplishments of the gym.
We took some souvenirs which you can buy at the reception- for me, it was a T-shirt and Filip got yellow Muay Thai shorts, as we like to collect them from the gyms we visit.
Our overall experience was very pleasant, so far for me it was the first gym with so much history and stories to tell.
The cherry on top was the feeling of knowing that after the training we were going to eat something and by far Vienna had the most vegan options available so far. From supermarkets to vegan Vietnamese food and delicious ice creams 😊