It's become a really popular form of Martial Arts training in recent years, as it's been thrust into the spotlight as part of the UFC. Many UFC fighters are heavily trained in Muay Thai because it is so effective as a close-combat system, which is beneficial when you're enclosed in a small octagon.
A history of Muay Thai
Muay Thai was invented many, many years ago in ancient Thailand, where still to this day it is recognised as the national sport.
It is known as “The Art of Eight Limbs” as it uses eight points of contact on the body, the hands, feet, knees and elbows.
It was invented for the purpose of teaching soldiers how to engage in hand-to-hand combat. From that point on, it became fixed as part of Siamese culture and that initial training has evolved into what we know as modern day Muay Thai.
Not only soldiers, but many other men also began to practice the method for a variety of reasons. It is great for self defence, exercise and discipline. Even monks in Buddhist temples would practice it and pass down their knowledge through the generations.
It was also practiced by royalty. Early Siamese culture believed that good leaders need be brave warriors and learning to fight would prepare them.
Since those early years, the style has greatly evolved, especially in more recent years, particularly during the 20th Century. It's gathered international recognition and as armed forces from across the world began spending more time training together, Europeans and Americans were exposed to the style.
In the mid 20th century, the first formal rules of Muay Thai were introduced, as were gloves and that has continued to evolve until recently it was provisionally accepted as an Olympic sport. Now that it has been accepted, it can bid to become an official Olympic sport in 2019. As a martial art with more than 130 national federations worldwide, it is likely that it will soon be on the bill.
What characterises the Muay Thai Style?
Muay Thai turns the arms and legs into weapons. Powerful and effective weapons. Fighters are trained to strike with deadly accuracy using their hands, knees, feet and elbows. Unlike other martial arts it does not train in floor grappling or submission, it is purely focused on striking.
It is a great way to improve fitness and is a suitable martial art for anyone to learn. Whilst competitive Muay Thai is pretty brutal viewing, sparring is optional at clubs meaning the only combat you partake in is with a pad. Most Martial Arts clubs are more focused on promoting the fitness and social aspects of the sport.
Muay Thai also teaches attributes such as discipline, honour, respect and integrity.
How to find a local Muay Thai class
If you're looking to give Muay Thai a go, then there are lots of classes in the UK for you to choose from. Many of them are run by Martial Arts clubs listed on Martial Arts Near You.
To book a class for yourself, family or friends, simply download the 'NearYou' iPhone App and enter your location to see what Martial Arts classes are available in your area. Alternatively, head to the website homepage and enter your postcode.
Once you've found a suitable class, you can book it using any major credit or debit card, or you can contact the instructor to find out more.