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An MMA Thailand Adventure

By Sean Mahon

Posted: 8th March 2013 14:50

If you have ever flicked through the sports channels and seen two athletic beasts fighting it out in a cage and been wanting to find out more than take a look at this guide and see why Mixed Martial Arts is on the up and look why Thailand is THE best place to go to experience authentic martial arts.

MMA in Thailand

With the rise of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) – Mixed Martial Arts is the fastest growing sport in the World – it has even overtaken boxing as the most watched full-contact sport. Its modern roots can be traced back to the early 20th century when the Gracie family of fighters from Brazil founded the anything goes style of Brazilian jiu-jitsu. It is a combat sport that allows a wide variety of fighting techniques and skills from several different martial arts to be utilised in order to defeat an opponent. Arguably the toughest sport in the world – MMA fighters have a variety of training backgrounds that helped them become proficient in different forms of grappling and striking and today they display these abilities to millions across the world.

The real seeds of the popularity of MMA however can be attributed to Bruce Lee – so much so that the president of the UFC has described him as the “Father of modern MMA” due to Lee’s adaptability and his ability to use different fighting styles. Lee once said "The best fighter is someone who can adapt to any style. He kicks too good for a boxer, throws too good for a karate man, and punches too good for a judo man." MMA perfectly embraces this philosophy and is part of the reason why it is popular today.

Muay Thai

Muay Thai or Thai Boxing as it is commonly referred is an ancient martial art of fighting without the use of any weapon; it has also seen a sharp growth in popularity. Originating in Thailand over 2000 years ago, the martial art has many fascinating ritual traditions such as a special dance known as “Raam Muay” or “Wai Kru” which sees the two fighters dance around the ring before a fight in order to honour and pay respect to the boxer’s trainer, religion, family and the “fighting spirits”.

Characterised as the “Art of Eight Limbs” (as fighters use two shins, knees, elbows and fists) it is an explosive martial art to watch and take part in. Thai Boxing is a true art which needs to be practiced and requires immense dedication, with fighter’s bodies being conditioned in preparation for combat, for example many practitioners of muay Thai will repeatedly hit hard objects on their shins – conditioning it and hardening the bone. These fighters are tough!

Krabi Krabong

Krabi Krabong is a weapon based martial art from Thailand, which sees fighters wield weapons such as the “krabi” – curved sword and “krabong” – staff. The ancient art was developed when the sword was the principle weapon during the turbulent history of Siam (the ancient name for Thailand). Early in the 20th century, the old system this type of fighting was codified and given the name Krabi Krabong. Using a variety of weapons and also open hand techniques to beat down an opponent, this martial art has even featured in movies – namely James Bond “The Man with The Golden Gun”.

Based on a series of universal principles for movement, Krabi Krabong’s deceptively basic fundamental motions can be learned swiftly and adapted for combat use with virtually any weapon. It is even alleged that every single royal bodyguard of the King of Thailand are all highly trained experts in Krabi Krabong!

Where to see events

As the national sport of Thailand, seeing a Muay Thai bout with an energised Thai crowd is a thrilling experience. The furious punches, bruising elbow strikes, lethal kicks and delicate feints are even more mesmerising when seen in the flesh. Witness the traditional rituals that take place before a bout and hear the loud cheers of onlookers and the strains of high pitched Javanese clarinets, drums and finger cymbals that accompany the fights from beginning to end.

If you are in Patong, there are nightly displays of Thai boxing in specially built stadiums on Soi Sai Namyen – enjoy the beach by the day and the heady spectacle of a muay Thai match at night and see for yourself the battle and all the rituals that come with it, if you fancy a flutter take part in some of the frenzied betting that occurs around the stadium too. In Bangkok the Rajadamnern stadium has fights which take place every Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday which see some of the best Thai Boxers that the country has to offer doing battle.

The Lumpinee Boxing stadium is another great venue in Bangkok that hosts some of the best muay Thai boxers that there is. Opened 10 years after the Rajadamnern stadium, the Lumpinee is actually run by the Royal Thai Army and the title of “Muay Thai Champion Lumpinee” is one of the most prestigious in the whole of Thailand.

Classes in Thailand

There is no better country to go and develop your martial arts skills than Thailand and if you really want to embrace Thai culture and are feeling inspired to get in shape then why not take up some classes in Thailand? Did you know you could burn nearly 1000 calories in one training session? And if you fancy yourself as a bit of a tough nut and already have some practice in the martial arts then put yourself through the test of a boxing camp in Thailand.

Head to Phuket and hit the Tiger Muay Thai and MMA training camp, it is the number one training facility in the whole of Thailand. With eight Muay Thai rings, MMA Cage, complete indoor weight lifting facility with professional bodybuilders and nutritionist and with nearly 30 trainers in Muay Thai and MMA! This is the place to train.

The Bangkok Fight Club offers training in Muay Thai, MMA while also offering training in all manner of other martial arts. They offer regular group training every day, while also offering personalised private instruction. You will also have the privilege of being trained in Thai Boxing by a trainer who is an Olympic gold medallist!

If you want to focus on your MMA then the Phuket Top Team is great, offering world class training and facilities with the added luxury of a tropical island setting. Phuket Top Team is firstly an MMA training camp with constantly evolving and modernising training techniques to make sure they create the best MMA athletes possible – they also cater to all abilities!

Round Up

So get yourself to Thailand for an unforgettable trip where you will leave a boy and most definitely come back a man! 

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