Ong-Bak is the sacred Buddha of a poor village, and right after the head of Ong-Bak was stolen, the population was plunged into misery. The Buddha was the focal point of an anniversary vigil to request for rain to fall on the drought-stricken area. The villagers selected Young Tin (played by Tony Jaa) to travel to Bangkok, rescue the relic and bring it back to the village in time for their ceremony. Young Tin apparently has an affinity with the Buddha statue, back when he was left on the temple steps as a baby and from then on he was raised by monks who taught him Muay Thai. He was forbidden by them to use it in combat. But retrieving the Buddha could force him to confront the thugs of the underworld using Muay Thai.
For the Muay Thai enthusiasts and practitioners, watching this movie means seeing the dazzling martial arts moves of Tony Jaa with his lightning reflexes and breathtaking gymnastic moves which are both entertaining and genuinely impressive. Press releases for the movie claims “no safety nets, no computer graphics, and no strings” in all the stunts performed by the lead star Tony Jaa.
Everything common to a movie of this genre is found in this film – predictable script, effective (not especially artistic) direction, adequate but not fantastically impressive movie-making. But it’s a Tony Jaa film so the audience will be expecting a lot of stunts and fight scenes.
And for this particular film, the art of Muay Thai takes center stage especially in the fight scenes. Young Tin (Tony Jaa) fights in the street. He fights in the ring. He goes underwater and gets his legs on fire. He fights using Muay Thai – with his hands, fists and with a little help from the knives.
The movie showcases Tony Jaa’s spectacular ability as an electrifying performer. The movie is obviously designed to show off what Tony Jaa does best – fight scenes. Those who are familiar with the principles and practice of Muay Thai, would easily recognize the strikes and all the moves that are layers and layers of Muay Thai.
And that is one thing this movie was able to fulfill –epitomizing the art of Muay Thai, in its best form and purpose. Those who are not into Muay Thai may have a change of heart after watching this movie. The gracefulness that Tony Jaa displayed using this martial art is just incredible.
Most people who are interested in martial arts find it helpful watching movies that feature celebrities who are known to be advocates of the specific martial arts they are interested in. How many Bruce Lee, Jet Li, or Jackie Chan movies have become blockbuster movies in the past? The incredible success of most of those movies may be attributed to the huge martial arts following who are keen to learn new techniques featured in the movies.
Some of the best martial Arts movies in recent years are as follows:
Undisputed II: Last Man Standing
This 2006 movie is the sequel to the 2002 action film, Undisputed. The 2006 film features Mixed Martial Arts. In the film, George ‘Iceman’ Chambers is framed for possession of cocaine and sent to prison, where he discovers a series of illegal full-contact MMA matches arranged by prison officials for personal profits and at the expense of the fighting inmates. The illegal MMA fight is used as a bargaining chip to get Chambers to fight Yuri, the ruling MMA inmate fighter. In exchange, Chambers will get an expedited appeal and early release. The film showcases various fighting MMA techniques as displayed by both Chambers and Yuri.
This 2008 Hong Kong movie is a semi-biographical martial arts film based on the life of Yip Man – a grandmaster of the martial art Wing Chun and master of Bruce Lee. The film features Wing Chun as events in the life of Ip which took place in the city of Foshan during the Sino-Japanese War. Set in the 1930s, the film featured desperate circumstances that forced Ip to use his martial arts skills against the oppressors – the Japanese military soldiers. In the end, the Japanese General Miura, who initially wanted Ip to teach the Japanese soldiers martial arts but Ip refused, was challenged by Ip to a fight which the general accepted not knowing that it would lead to his defeat. The general’s deputy shot Ip while the crowd is cheering his win. The film revealed that Ip survives and escapes to Hong Kong where he establishes his Wing Chun school.
This is a 2004 French action film that features “parkour” – also called the “art of displacement” and best described as street gymnastics or the closely related free running art popularized by Jackie Chan in the 80s. The film was set in the ghettos of Paris in 2010 where an undercover cop and ex-thug try to infiltrate a gang in order to defuse a neutron bomb which was planted by the Defense Secretary of France, Mr. Kruger, to blow up B13 in his desire to get rid of the community. B13 or Banlieue 13 is a poor Paris ghetto suburb where authorities built containment wall in order to isolate the uncontrollable B13 community. The bomb did not detonate and Mr. Kruger’s plan was exposed which led to the tearing down of the containment wall and bringing back to B13 the schools and police force.
Ong Bak 3
This 2010 Thai martial arts film is a follow-up sequel to Ong Bak 2 which features Tony Jaa as Tien, a Muay Thai fighter. The film features Muay Thai and centered around the life of Tien who is captured and almost killed in many circumstances in the film. Tien is rescued and taken back to the Kan Kohne village where he embarks on a rehabilitation regimen with the help of Master Bua. Soon enough Tien is made to face his arch enemy in an epic fight where he won.
The entire country is ecstatic about the fantastic news that the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) has included Muay Thai in the Asian Beach Games which Phuket, Thailand is set to host in 2014. This news came after Thailand officials inked a deal with the Olympic Council of Asia on November 13, 2012. Phuket Governor Tri Augkaradecha, Olympic Committee of Thailand President Yuthasak Sasiprapha, and Tourism and Sports Minister Chumpol Silpa-archa were all present in the signing ceremonies with OCA President Sheikh Ahmed Al-Fahad Al-Sabah. Thailand is good to go for the 4th Asian Beach Games in 2014.
This will mark the second games event under the OCA that Muay Thai has been included. The first was during the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games. The Asian Beach Games happen every two years. The first event was hosted by Bali, Indonesia in 2008, where Thailand came in second behind Indonesia in terms of gold medals won.
Phuket Governor Tri said that the prestigious sports event is expected to generate as much as one billion Baht in income for the province as it gives the country the opportunity to show off to the world its ability to host world-class international sporting events such as the Asian Beach Games. Thailand has allocated a provisional budget for the games at 500 million Baht which will be reviewed by a supervisory committee, if there is a need for the figure to be reduced or increased.
Along with tourism, Muay Thai will receive an unprecedented promotional mileage with its inclusion in the events. Thailand could build on a successful hosting of the Asian Beach Games in 2014 to attract even bigger and more prestigious sports events to the country in the future. Thailand would readily step in, if any country in the region is not ready to host similar events.
Phuket is already one of Thailand’s most popular tourist destinations. With the coming Asian Beach Games 2014 where most of the events will take place in Patong and Karon, the country can expect an even higher tourist arrival as the event date draws near.
For Muay Thai pioneers, this could be a big opportunity to promote the national sports even as it already enjoys significant popularity in foreign soils. The inclusion of Muay Thai, not as a demonstration game but as one of the events in the games is indeed a great feat for the country.
The Asian Beach Games 2014 will feature 15 to 20 events including some or all of the following:
- water skiing
- swim marathon
- boat racing
- pencak silat
- muay thai
- extreme sports
The watchwords of the 2014 Asian Beach Games will be warmth, happiness, friendship and mutual respect, according to OCT President Gen. Yuthasak.
Thailand’s Muay Thai has gained popularity across the globe. This is evident in the many foreign nationals who have taken deep interest in this traditional Thai combat sport that they intentionally go to Thailand to learn the techniques and train to become good Muay Thai fighters. Truth is there are a few foreign nationals who hold Muay Thai titles like Damien Alamos who is a French national.
Its popularity has grown so great that a new TV show called Warriors of the Mongkon has been created for Australian television in 2012, where episodes features and follows Australia’s elite Muay Thai athletes into battle throughout Australia and Thailand. The show highlights the hard and rigid training each fighter has to endure as they push their bodies and minds to become the great Muay Thai warriors.
TV viewers are given an exhaustive introduction on how Muay Thai came to be and how many Thai youth had devoted their lives in becoming good Muay Thai fighters so they can help their families who mostly came from the poor sector. The TV show explained how Muay Thai training has become a privilege and a way of life for most youngsters in Thailand whose only desire is to become good fighters and earn money from their fights.
The show featured famous Thai fighters like Pen Ake, the 22 year old fighter of Singpatong Sitnumnoi and young boys aged 7 and up who have made Singpatong Sitnumnoi Muay Thai camp their home as they train and prepare for their fights in the future. Muay Thai fighters carry the spirit of the Siam soldiers who fought with all their might to defend their country. Hence, it is not at all surprising that the young and modern day warriors step into the ring, willing to give their all even if meant not stepping back out as they honor the heart and soul of Muay Thai.
Warriors of Mongkon then bring to light how Australians are so drawn to Muay Thai. Several Muay Thai gyms in Queensland, the Muay Thai capital of Australia and where one of the great Muay Thai fighters, John Wayne Parr – holder of 9 world titles and the ambassador to the sport is helping other young Australian fighters find their place in the Muay Thai arena. There are pretty young Muay Thai fighters who practically gave up everything so they can be good at Muay Thai.
The TV show also featured fighters who got out of their dark past and out or being caught up with some real bad guys and given a second shot at life with a lot of help from Muay Thai. It’s incredibly amazing how bad boys like Charlie who managed to step out of his troubled youth days and got helped when he started coming in to the Muay Thai gym in Australia.
It also presents the human and emotional side of Muay Thai fighters who had to endure not just the physical pains but more on the emotional burden of losing in a fight. That at the end of the fight, no matter how prepared you think you are, you will just have to be more ready with the outcome of the fight, especially the pains of losing despite the rigid training, mental preparation, self-discipline and a lot of self-sacrifices.
Warriors of the Mongkon presents all the facets of Muay Thai and how this combat sport has affected and touched the lives of many.
We did not get the “Gym of the Year” or “Trainer of the Year” awards during the Birthday Celebration of Lumpinee Stadium, but we still have a lot to celebrate. The Lumpinee Stadium boss congratulated Num by giving him a trophy and recognizing Num’s work for raising many young fighters and having a great year. Most of all, our own Singpatong Sitnumnoi Muay Thai Fighters won on the following date and venue:
- December 7, 2012: Pen-ake retaining the 126 pound Lumpinee Title and winning ‘fight of the night’ at Lumpinee Krekkai fight night
- December 8, 2012: Rafi Singpatong and Porsai Lukkiat Gym both fought for the first time in Lumpinee. Both fighters did awesome. Rafi won via knock out and Porsai on points.
- December 9, 2012: Young Parnpetch won via knockout in Round 3 in Bangla Stadium.
This weekend, the boss of Lumpinee Stadium came to our gym to let us know that we are one of the three finalists for “Gym of the Year” and P Mart is one of three finalists for “Trainer of the Year”. The boss of the stadium came to see our Singpatong Sitnumnoi Gym in Phuket, and present us with a gift and give a speech to the young Muay Thai fighters.
Our very own Muay Thai Champion Damien Alamos interviewed on a French TV show. The 2 other fighters Penake Sitnumnoi, Pentai Singpatong and their ultimate trainer Numnoi Muang-Hatyai are also featured on the show.
WATCH THE FULL VIDEO HERE
Damien Alamos interviewed on a French TV show called machainesport.fr.