Traditional Muay Thai has no gimmicks, no hybrid systems and is certainly not described by selecting parts of its system and rejecting others. Muay Thai is the Movement of the Thai people and the fundamentals of Traditional Muay Thai can be broken down into 4 dimensions of training
1) Solid footwork. Punching, kicking, elbowing and kneeing your opponent is great from a strikers perspective. If you think of it like a fighter pilot, weapons are nothing if they are not aimed and guided to the target correctly. Your footwork is the glue that ties your weapons together and makes them relevant. Understanding what they are is just as important to a traditional Muay Thai student, (Nak Muay), as learning when and why to use them. In fact, this is how a Nak Muay separates what some coaches call a combination that was randomly slapped together from what a teacher passes down from generation to generation. Proving how important footwork should be to you is simple. Stand on one leg and punch as hard as you can, then stand with both feet connected and compare the control and power that you can generate. Drilling your footwork in each situation should be of the utmost importance to every Nak Muay. (Student of Muay Thai)
2) The movement of the Thai people is divided into three main parts.
- a. Mae Mai – Mother of all movements and the foundation of striking and defending.
- b. Look Mai – Built on the foundation of Mae Mai, Look Mai is a “younger” set of techniques that that are not only more difficult, but demand more of your footwork and should push your opponent to the breaking point.
- c. Look Lin – loosely translated, this means to play or to use strategy to your advantage. Some of this is passed down from generation to generation and some of this is the experience that is personally gathered from your instructor.
Think of these like three huge books each containing multiple chapters. The movements that a student executes is specific for the situation and choosing the correct offence or defence for the situation is what makes Muay Thai so challenging. The famous Ajahn Suchart YodkerePauprai is famous for saying that there are 3 types of people in relation to Muay Thai. Those who know of Muay Thai; those who do Muay Thai; those that understand Muay Thai. We will be sharing more on these 3 pillars that define the movements of Muay Thai in future episodes!
3) Training the body using your bodyweight allows you to concentrate on using the entire body as one unit instead of isolating each body part in a restricted movement. A car is an awesome machine but the most powerful of engines will not make a car the fastest car in a race. What if the steering wheel is missing, what happens if the transmission is in the wrong gear or the tires unable to transfer the power to the ground. All of these things and more work together as a unit and similar to this, training your body as a complete unit is integral to carving your body into a weapon.
4)Muay Thai is the movement of the Thai people and is not simply considered a recreational activity; it is part of their culture. Though you may decide to do Muay Thai for recreational purposes, respecting its rich heritage and protecting it by keeping it as pure as possible makes you an ambassador to the sport and part of the worldwide community.
We look forward to bringing you the very best of Muay Thai training habits from a neutral perspective, analyzing fights, highlighting talented Nak Muays (Students of Muay Thai) and of course sharing the beautiful yet destructive Muay Thai in the purest form possible. Stay tuned for more!