Often called the art of 8 limbs, Muay Thai or sometimes simply called Thai boxing, is the national combat sport of Thailand and incorporates stand-up striking techniques, alongside clinch and neck wrestling. Like all full contact sports, Muay Thai requires complete body conditioning, making it an excellent method for losing weight or toning muscles, as the rigorous training regimes require entire body movement.
At Phoenix MMA, we instil the mental discipline and physical endurance required to practice Muay Thai, and turn even the most mild mannered beginner into a force to be reckoned with. Enjoy taking your time to learn the fundamental techniques without pressure to compete, or if you’re keen to face an opponent, we can help you develop your skills by drilling the punches, kicks, knees, elbows, offensive and defensive techniques all needed to compete in the ring.
Equipment: For Muay Thai classes you’ll need 16oz gloves, shin guards and loose fitting vest top or t-shirt, and shorts should be worn.
History of Muay Thai
When we talk about Muay Thai, we refer to the fastest-growing form of mixed martial arts (MMA) in the world today. Traditionally, it was known as Thailand boxing and was mainly practised as a form of Thai cultural heritage before spreading to other parts of the world. The origin of Muay Thai dates back to hundreds of years ago during the formative era of Thailand, where the Thai Army used it in the Siam region (current day Thailand) to fight off their neighbouring kingdoms.
Most people refer to Muay Thai as an Art of Eight limbs because of its fighting nature, which utilises both legs and arms to take down an opponent. Almost all body parts are used for defence; hands play the role of swords; shins act as shields or armour while the knees and elbows act as axe or hammers. Muay Thai utilises blows such as reverse kicks, knee and elbow strikes, and foot jabs, among others.
The First Muay Thai practice is believed to have occurred as early as 1238 during the Buddhist period. Here, the first Thai army was made to protect Siam from her warring neighbours. The soldiers were taught the use of weapons for defence. Additionally, hand to hand defence skills were also taught, and full-body defence mechanism was later introduced as a means of defence if they lost their weapons during war.
Training camps were then set up in cities and villages to help pass the soldiers’ defence skills to the villagers. The villagers used Muay Thai not only as a fighting tool but also as a means of physical exercise and self-discipline.
Following its first introduction in the early years, kings who took over leadership played a significant role in the growth and popularity of Muay Thai. For example:
King Krungsri Ayutthaya
During his time of reign, more young people were trained to help them defend their families following the increased war in Cambodia, Burma, and Thailand. Muay Thai training was seen as a pinnacle of education for the youths and can be compared to a university degree in today’s world. In this era, the first boxing tape was won; it was a hemp wrapping that was tied around the winner’s wrist and fingers.
King Narai Era
King Narai was a big fan of fighting competitions. While on the seat, he initiated the introduction of the arm and headbands. A starchy fluid was added to the head wrapping to make them stronger and durable in an attempt to reduce head injuries to the contestants.
During his reign, he brought the first set of rules for the fights. Initially, no rules were used to govern the weight, age, and experience of the fighters. Striking rules, time limits, and the mode of dressing of the contestants were all set. Boxing rings specially made for Muay Thai fights were also set up.
Modern-day Muay Thai
The worldwide spread of Muay Thai intensified further during World War II. During this time, Thai soldiers spread their skills and techniques to other armies who they interacted with while on the battlefields.
The Best Combat Sport for You
Muay Thai training applies to people of all ages, and one can start from as young as five years. This sport is not gender-biased. Engaging in Muay Thai has countless benefits that include;
- It is an excellent form of self-defence.
- A unique way of full-body workout.
- Enhances hip mobility.
- Enhances self-discipline and unleashes your inner warrior.
- Improves your overall health.
Despite your age, gender, and physical fitness goal, you will always find a Muay Thai class to fit in at any of our gyms. At Phoenix MMA gyms in Southampton, Gosport and Bournemouth, we hold Muay Thai classes for everyone. Whether you are a professional Muay Thai fighter or you want to learn Muay Thai fighting skills for self-defence and body strength, we will take you through your fitness goal with utmost professionalism.