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Discovering Muay Thai: another martial art in Ashrafieh

What do Tony Jaa, a bunch of MMA fighters, and some of the people down at Body Garage gym have in common? Well first, they all enjoy a hard work out. And second, they are all practitioners of Muay Thai. Muay Thai is the official martial art of Thailand, and is also called the eightlimbs striking art, for you use your feet and hands, but also your elbows and knees to strike.

Muay Thai is more of a combat sport than a martial art actually. But it can be called a martial art for it was used by the army, when disarmed, as a means to defend themselves. The sport is similar to other Indochinese kickboxing systems. It is Thailand’s national sport.

The sport was already used by the military when King Chulalongkorn came to throne in 1868. But the latter ushered the golden age of Muay Thai. He was greatly interested in the art. Since the country was at a peace periode, the sport was used more as a means to exercise, or to learn self-defense.
Masters of Muay began teaching in camps were students would live and be provided with shelter and food. Matches were usually organized by the king, between camps.

In 1921 under the rule of king Rama VII, the first ring was built in Thailand. The boxers wore gloves and leg padding, whereas before they used hemp rope as protection.

Muay Thai is being used around the world these days, as a stand-alone sport, or as a base for the Mixed Martial arts fighter, along with wrestling, and jujitsu and kyokushin karate. As a result, western practitioners have incorporated much more powerful hand striking techniques from boxing.
The training in Muay is rather vigorous; it heavily focuses on body conditioning, as it is designed to train you up to competition level. The training includes running, shadow boxing, rope jumping, body weight resistance, abdominal exercises, and weight training. The kicks in MuayThai are different, for they use the shin to strike. So part of the training is to hit heavy object with your shin, repeatedly.

The sport gained recent fame by appearing in popular culture, with actor Tony Jaa and his OngBak trilogy. Sagat from the game Street fighter uses the art and recently by Yanin Vismistananda in the incredibly beautiful movie Chocolate.
Muay Thai is a great way to exercise, toughen up, and learn a way to defend oneself. If you are interested, just head to the Body garage Gym in Ashrafieh next to Optic et vision. They have classes twice a week, Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 9 til 10. The monthly fee is of 40 dollars. The class is very professional.

Body garage: 01 200009.


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