Muay Thai 101
Muay Thai as a Martial Art
Want to learn how to defend yourself? While grappling martial arts are highly effective in a one versus one scenario, engaging someone with it could be risky if a concealed weapon or multiple attackers are present. Because of this, a striking art that manages distance and emphasizes quick, brutal technique to quickly engage and disengage is the best option. Muay Thai is a highly effective martial art that utilizes punches, kicks, knees, and elbows. For this reason, it is known as the “art of eight limbs.” Along with the striking aspect, Muay Thai contains some grappling elements. The Muay Thai clinch is notorious for being a very dangerous and oppressive position that is similar to judo and Greco-Roman wrestling. It is used to land devastating strikes, trips, and sweeps.
History of Muay Thai
Muay Thai is derived from Muay Boran, an ancient martial art used by the medieval armies of Thailand, Cambodia, and what is formerly known as Burma. At first, Muay Thai matches were held in honor of the Siamese king, and in 1921, the first Muay Thai ring was built in Bangkok. The ring had no barriers and a dirt floor. The next Muay Thai stadium to be built was located in Tha Chang. A few years later, Lumpinee Garden (later Lumpinee Stadium) began holding Muay Thai fights. More on the history of Muay Thai can be found here.
Tips to get better at Muay Thai
While freak athleticism helps, there are a couple of things that take precedence over speed and strength when it comes to Muay Thai: balance and rhythm. Everything starts with balance. If you can’t keep your feet underneath you, you won’t be doing any real attacking or defending.
One way to think about generating power with a strike is literally drawing power from the earth and using gravity and the transfer of body weight from one meridian to the other (turning the hips). Not only does this require balance, but rhythm as well. You have to know when to implement the different mechanics for each strike/defense, and how to chain these strikes/defenses together.
While getting good at Muay Thai (or anything worthwhile) won’t be easy, it’s important to remember to have fun. Don’t get too attached to the outcome of your training. Just enjoy the process and try to submit yourself fully to the role of student. Get training!