The ancient art of Muay Thai has been around for many hundreds of years and this fighting style was honed by Thai warriors who were fearless going into battle with their enemies. Using kicks, punches, knees and elbows, a Muay Thai fighter is highly skilled and it is no surprise that the rest of the world is in awe of this brutal style of fighting. Thai boxing is an integral part of a new sport called mixed martial arts (MMA), made famous by the UFC and Bellator, the two major organisations that hold MMA fight events.
The rules are complex, with 5×3-minute rounds to decide a bout and a Muay Thai fighter would train extensively in preparation for a fight. Watch a few Muay Thai videos on YouTube from major venues such as Lumphini Thai Boxing stadium in Bangkok and you’ll get an idea what goes on. If you would like to try your hand at the unique fighting discipline, there is Muay Thai in Reading at a local MMA gym and they have all the equipment, all you need to bring is yourself.
When you visit a Muay Thai gym, the instructor would ask you what you expect from taking a course; it might be that you want to learn how to protect yourself, or you want to regain that level of fitness you once enjoyed. Some people find Muay Thai so appealing that they train seriously, with a view to competing when their teacher thinks they are ready. We all have our own goals and the instructor would place you in the most suitable class. The best way forward is to pay the gym a visit one early evening, when the place will be buzzing and check out the many activities; the people are super-friendly and they welcome newcomers.
Aspects of Muay Thai
Techniques used in Thai boxing include the following:
- Striking (punching)
- Kicking – head & body kicks
- Blocking punches and kicks
- Use of the elbows & knees
Prior to doing any sparring, you need to develop your physical fitness and learn how to punch, kick, clinch and block. Once you are ready for some light sparring, you would be kitted out with protective gear, which is supplied by the gym and under supervision, you would practice with another student.
Once you get through the basic first course, the training becomes more intense, your trainer might recommend some weight training to increase muscle mass, then there are exercises to develop stamina; cardio is an important aspect of this amazing contact sport.