Muay Thai is perhaps Thailand’s most famous and unique sport and is a type of boxing that involves the feet and knees as well as the hands. Watching a Muay Thai match at one of Bangkok’s vibrant arenas such as Lumpinee Stadium is an exciting experience that most people will want to enjoy at least once during their time in the Land of Smiles.
Learning Muay Thai is an excellent way to get fit while hanging out in Bangkok. Muay Thai can be practiced by both men and women of all ages and is a good form of self-defence. There are numerous training centres scattered all over the city where visitors can sign up for individual lessons or a full course with experienced Muay Thai fighters.
Choosing to train for Muay Thai
The Muay Thai Institute is one of the most popular places to learn Muay Thai in Bangkok and the institute offers accredited training courses for boxers, referees and instructors. The Muay Thai Institute can be found in the Rangsit district of Bangkok and employs some of the instructors are former champions in Thailand. People who graduate from the Muay Thai Institute receive a certificate that is recognised by the Thai Ministry of Education as well as the World Muay Thai Council and this makes an excellent souvenir.
Of course, it is also possible to learn Muay Thai more casually. Many of the large fitness centres in Bangkok such as True Fitness come complete with a boxing ring where members can take Muay classes in their spare time, while a number of professional Muay Thai trainers also teach people in their own home or hotel room. People who are just passing through Bangkok and want to pick up a few pointers can also stop by the Muay Thai centre that is situated close to Khaosan Road.
Muay Thai Techniques
Before signing up for a Muay Thai course it is a good idea to learn some of the basics of this special Thai sport. ‘Keep your hands up!’ This combat sport involves both physical and mental discipline and uses stand-up striking combined with various types of clinching techniques. Muay Thai is often referred to as ‘the art of eight limbs’ because fighters use their fists, elbows, shins, knees and feet during matches.
While there are various types of Muay Thai techniques, most involve using the entire body movement and rotating the hip with and every each punch, kick, elbow and block. The average Thai fighter is much smaller than their Western counterparts and they use agility rather than brute strength and muscle to beat their opponents. As a result, Muay Thai fighters are usually very fast and good at ducking and weaving out of tight spots to gain better positions to make an impact. However, blows tend to be quite powerful when they are delivered, especially blows from the feet, shins and knees.
People who wish to take part in a Muay Thai match will also be expected to learn certain Buddhist practices such as waiing to their opponent before the match and saying praise to Lord Buddha. People who have completed Muay Thai training will then have the option to take part in public matches in various stadiums around Thailand and show off their skills to crowds of sports fans.