One of the martial arts we teach here at Alliance Training Center is Muay Thai. If you’re not familiar with the sport, we’ll provide you with a brief introduction below. It’s a unique form of striking that is popular throughout the world and guaranteed to give you a serious workout.
The Origins of Muay Thai
Muay Thai has a history that goes all the way back to the 16th century in Thailand, though its roots stretch 1,000 years into the country’s past. Originally, it was a combat system taught to soldiers for when they became disarmed. As time went on, though, it became a self-defense tool for citizens and a popular sport.
In the 19th century, when King Chulalongkorn took the throne, he brought his love for Muay Thai with him, which helped grow the sport’s popularity.
Today, it’s the national sport of Thailand. The Royal Thai Government even founded the International Federation of Muaythai Amateur (IFMA) in 1993 which serves as a governing body for the sport.
However, while Thailand is still seen as the motherland for this martial art, the sport has spread all over the planet. More than 70 countries belong to the World Muay Thai Federation as of 2012.
“The Art of Eight Limbs”
The main difference between Muay Thai and North American kickboxing is that the former allows fighters to use their knees and elbows. This is why it’s known as “the art of eight limbs.” A combatant has eight weapons at their disposal: two fists, two elbows, two knees and two feet.
This is also why the sport has found acceptance in MMA. Professional fighters are allowed the same freedom, which means training in Muay Thai gives them an advantage over just boxing or kick boxing.
The Muay Thai Clinch
Another important difference between Muay Thai and boxing/kickboxing is that the former permits a clinch. This means that a fighter can wrap their hands around the back of an opponent’s neck or head. In boxing or kickboxing, such a clinch would end with the ref breaking it up. In Muay Thai, fighters are actively encouraged to clinch their opponents.
A Muay Thai clinch is extremely dangerous for someone who’s caught in it, as it allows the attacker to hold their head in place. With a clinch locked in, a Muay Thai fighter can deliver knees to the stomach, sternum or face. They can also let go with one hand and land an elbow to their opponent’s head.
Once again, this is a tactic that has found its way into MMA.
Kicks to the Legs
Finally, another important difference between Muay Thai and North American kickboxing is that the former allows kicks to the legs. North American kickboxing doesn’t.
This adds a whole new dimension to fights. Kicks can be aimed at the calf of an opponent, to the side of their knee or into the thigh. Aside from how much these attacks can hurt, they can also leave a fighter fairly immobile.
The common response to such kicks is to “check” them, which means turning one’s shin into the kick to “block” it.
Muay Thai Is Fun and a Great Way to Stay in Shape
If the above has you imagining a blood sport, the truth is that many people here at Alliance Training Center practice Muay Thai just for fun. Pads and special rules ensure that no one suffers the kinds of injuries that happen during real Muay Thai fights.
Instead, you’ll get an amazing core workout that will strengthen your cardio and help you drop unwanted pounds in no time.
Muay Thai is a beautiful sport with centuries of tradition and history behind it.