Muay Thai Boxing is a popular form of martial art and is similar to other forms of kick boxing, although is often referred to as the ‘art of the 8 limbs’ as fighters use punches, kicks, elbows and knees to strike an opponent. Muay Thai is the No1 traditional sport in Thailand and is also an important part of the Thai culture. Local fights are aired weekly on TV. These fights are even more thrilling when experienced live in one of the two most popular Thai boxing stadiums in Thailand, Rajadamnern or Lumpinee Stadium, both located in Bangkok.
You can also witness the intense passion and drama of Thailand’s national sport here in Phuket, where you can be amidst the crowds of onlookers whose cheers blend with the strains of high-pitched Javanese clarinets, drums and finger cymbals that accompany the fights from beginning to end. Tourists all over Phuket come together to see the spectacular fights at the Patong Beach area stadiums on Soi Sai Namyen or on Bangla Road, which are held nightly.
Training, Traditions and Ceremonies
Muay Thai is demanding on the body, mind and soul and therefore training is heavily focused on body conditioning as well as mental preparation for combat in the ring.
A training session will include activities designed to get the body in peak physical condition such as shadowboxing, running, skipping, abs workouts, weight resistance exercises, medicine ball, and weight training. Fighting training will include combat moves on Thai pads, focus mitts and heavy bag. Once in the ring, students will spar with their trainer and other students, practicing the key methods of attack using punches, kicks, elbows and knees.
The relationship between the Thai Boxer and his teacher consists of a special bond and the teacher is always held in high esteem. This relationship is particularly expressed during the so called “Ram Muay” dance, an aesthetic ritual, performed with a series of gestures and movements in rhythm to the ringside musical accompaniment. With the ceremonies complete, the fight begins.
Each fight consists of five rounds lasting three minutes. Music is accompanying the fight, rising and falling as the boxers battle it out. All parts of the body can be considered a target and a fighter can use most parts of the body as a weapon, but is not allowed to strike an opponent with the head.
Punching and kicking are considered the weakest of all blows and are used more as a way to weaken the opponent. You can expect to see a range of attacks including uppercut and cobra punches, roundhouse, diagonal, spinning heal kicks, elbow blows such as horizontal attack and uppercut, knee hooks, bombs and slap. Most of the fights end with an elbow or knee strike to the opponents’ stomach or head.
History of Muay Thai
The origins of this martial art and sport are claimed to stretch back to the wars with the Burmese during the 15th century. What was once an actual fighting technique for warfare soon became a spectator sport and an integral part of the Thai culture.
The sport has changed a lot from its original days as a bare-knuckle, no holds barred fighting contest. Many changes have been initiated to make the sport safer in a bid to reduce the incidence of death and injury. But Thai boxing is still a violent contact sport and considered by many as the ultimate in unarmed combat. Demonstrations of Muay Thai are held in many of the tourist areas but they are mostly for show.
List of Thai Boxing Camps in Phuket
Tiger Muay Thai | www.tigermuaythai.com
Tiger Muay Thai is Located in the Chalong highlands to the south of the island and is Thailand’s no.1 Muay Thai, Thai Boxing, Fitness and MMA training camp. Located in idyllic mountain top surroundings of coconut palms, banana trees and tropical forest, students can focus on their training and take part in programmes running from beginner level right up to professional fighter.
Sinbi Muay Thai | www.sinbi-muaythai.com
Dragon Muay Thai | www.muaythaidragon.com
Patong Boxing Gym TrainingCamp | Patong Boxing Gym Training Camp
Lion Muay Thai Gym & Training Center | www.lionmuaythai.com
Suwit Muay Thai | www.bestmuaythai.com
Rawai Muay Thai Boxing Camp | www.rawaimuaythai.com
Promthep Muay Thai Camp | www.thailandmuaythai.com