If you have every seen a game of Muay Thai (Thai boxing) at a local stadium somewhere in Thailand or even on the web or TV, you know how brutally destructive it can be!
When I visited Thailand recently, I realised that an increasing number of travellers to Bangkok aren’t content with merely watching the sport. Many like me want to get our hands dirty and experience Muay Thai.
And I did. At the Rajadamnern Singha Muay Thai Academy (RSM academy) in Bangkok and what if it was only for a day!
RSM academy is in the Thong Lor area close to the popular Sumkhumvit in Bangkok.
This academy is located on the 3rd floor of a shopping center called ‘SeenSpace’.
It is a large training area (approx 3500 sq ft) with many instructors around.
So, what was it like when I entered?
The whole area was abuzz with some who looked like freshers (but with a bit more experience than I had), then were the intermediate and in the ring I saw a few who seemed to be training for a while. Let’s call them pros!!
It all began with warm up-like most sports and fitness activities. And the warm up was intense. Was it the Bangkok humidity or a mix of intense cardio and mobility work, I don’t know! But I was sweating.
Now, it was time to gear up.
The gear included first wrapping my fingers with a hand wrap.
I was told that hand wraps ensure that your knuckles and wrists are protected when you punch.
The coach who could only speak a little bit English, gestured me that I should not wear gloves without first wrapping hands.
It is believed that punch after punch can really take a toll on your hands.
While putting the hand wraps on, I immediately realised that your wraps should be tight enough to stay put. And you should not wrap them so tight that they cut off circulation. It is important that you should be able to move your fingers and thumb comfortably.
And then, I put on the gloves.
How it all started?
After learning basic footwork, punches and elbow attacks, I was invited to enter the ring.
After learning the basic footwork, the first kick that I learnt was Tae Chiang. It can be done by swinging the leg diagonally upwards to attack against the target.
Tae Chiang was followed by Tae Tad. Tae Tad is in fact the most commonly used kick in Muay Thai also because many think it is easy ( well, I don’t).
The correct movement for Tae Tad is that the defender must bend his legs a little and swing the kick to the area around the knee-joint or the back of the knee joint.
And post learning a couple of kicks and practising those kicks it was time to learn a few punches.
The straight punch feels like a power punch. In Muay Thai it’s frequently used as knock out punch.
Muay Thai’s secret weapon
Then finally, I learnt the secret weapon of Muay Thai-elbow strike.
Elbow strike is in fact a very unique weapon that makes Muay Thai different from most other martial arts. During events and matches, elbow strike has the potential to give very severe injury to the opponent as it is used to attack when opponent is at a closer distance. An elbow strike typically strikes the joints and areas around the neck and the face.
After learning a few kicks, punches, strikes and defence techniques, it was time to apply all that I learnt in a a two-minute fight with the coach.
Anyone visiting Thailand must at least take up one session of Muay Thai. It is fun, heart-pumping and also a great calorie burner.
Here is a bit on the fee structure.
If you wish to take a single session it will cost you 550 Baht. And if you are staying a bit longer in Bangkok then you can book 10 sessions which you can in fact use for 3 months at 4,950 Baht.
There is also a Weekly and Monthly Unlimited package through which you can go as many times as you want. Weekly (Unlimited) will set you back by 1,900 Baht and 1 Month (Unlimited) is at 5,400. But then you get to visit as many times as you wish.
The exact address of the place I went to learn was:
Rajadamnern Singha Muay Thai Academy, Seenspace 13 (3rd floor), 251/1 Soi Thonglor 13, Sukhumvit 55, Klongton Nua, Wattana, Bangkok, Thailand, 10110.
And this is how you can contact them +66 2 185 2384 But, apart from Thonglor there are other centres you can visit too. Details of which shall be available on their website. http://rsm-academy.com/