A typical tourist might think Pad Thai, Thai Massage, and Muay Thai. There are many gyms all over Thailand, and thousands of athletes from all over the world come to Thailand to train with these master teachers. This form of martial artists is the national sport and it celebrated and watched by millions all over the country. Young boys train locally from a young age and compete in matches at a local level, and to a corporate sponsored nationally televised one. Compared to American Boxing, Muay Thai is what we might know as Kickboxing. Unlike MMA (Mixed Martial Arts), Muay Thai has been around for over a century and is quite spiritual by origin. It originated from a Thai tribes traveling throughout Southeast Asia to reach what is now known northern Thailand. They would combat small warring tribes along the way, and with no weapons, fighters had to use the entire body as a weapon. All Muay Thai moves were created to mimic weapons.
Challenge: For the past three years, I trained in American Boxing in a group class setting at San Diego Boxing club. I thought this would have prepared me for this day but no. Despite the western name, Fitz Boxing Gym is totally Thai run. The ratio of student to trainer is never larger than 3 to 1, so they are really able to work with me and specifics strengths and weaknesses. Kru Bert is the owner of gym, and former national champion. He made it clear that I have a very heavy stance. This form of martial arts requires light feet. Kicking was fairly knew for my body, and the action needs full body strength to make it happen with ease. There is a lot of effort with each move. I’m not getting the speed I want, and I’m losing my breathe after each round. Thankfully I did not throw up, but I now know this training requires mental and physical preparation.
Victory: Despite combating my body’s weight, I do have power in each hit. My punches are not weak by any means, so I do see my San Diego investment paying off in power. I enjoy hearing the intense sound of my body hitting the pads, and ringing throughout the gym!
Challenge: The first 45 minutes of class is dedicated to form. We 15 minutes, we stretch, then jump rope, and finally sprint. After that, we do a series of intense calisthenics, sit-ups, and push-ups for another 15 minutes. Our trainers then wrap our hands individually and we work on form for 15 minutes, before we begin our three, three-minute rounds. I am a very good student and follow form very quickly. When it comes to the intensity of the rounds with the trainer, I tend to lose form. The form creates the greatest impact, while keeping my body safe from injury.
Victory: I am getting very fast at punching. After the first day, I knew I had to learn Thai body parts, directions, numbers, and basic physical feelings QUICKLY. Once I did that, my trainers and were able to communicate. I am used to his voice, and demands so my reaction reflex is getting very fast. My stamina is much higher, and the other students complement at how strong I am. This gives me motivation to push myself harder.
Challenge: I train 4 to 5 days a week. The gym has become my second home. I am able to communicate with them more, no that I have learned more Thai and they are genuinely invested in making me a better athlete. They are now teaching me combinations, and it is I have to think fast. Just when I think I’m comfortable, they push me to the next level. When they give me a combination, there is a small beat for my brain to send the message to my body. I need to work on having this Muay Thai language as a second language in my body.
Victory: Side-kicks are a breeze. My core is the stronger than ever, and I am much lighter on my feet. Watching real fights is really helpful. Just like going to the theater and analyzing the performance, I am doing the same for Muay Thai. What was a challenge is now my victory. Now I need to work on my front kicks. Because I am stronger, I get a little nervous about hurting my trainers!
VISIT FITZ BOXING GYM TODAY!
Located at The Phyll, 2nd Floor, off the Onnut BTS stop
Sukhumvit 54, Sukhumvit Road