Muay Thai in Phuket

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Phuket, an island province in the Kingdom of Thailand wherein 33 islands lies in an area of 570 square kilometers making it the largest island in the country. Phuket generates huge tourist arrivals every year, and its not surprising at all with its  gorgeous beaches, marvelous landscape, world-class resorts, villas and hotels and being on the list of the favored vacation and retirement place world wide. Furthermore, Thailand is also the home of the most famous Muay Thai fighters and trainers.


Training in Phuket Gym -- Muay Thai training camp Phuket


A Brief History

Muay Thai is a combat martial art from ancient Thailand stretching back to the era of wars with the Burmese in the 15th century. It is characterized by the combined use of the eight weapons namely the fists, elbows, knees, shins and feet.

During the 16th century, Muay Thai started to gain popularity in Thailand. As time passed, Muay Thai being a combat martial art used for winning wars has changed considerably – changes that were initiated to make the sport safer, reducing the incidence of serious injury and death. This physical and mental discipline is associated with good physical training and mental preparation – all important in making a very efficient full-contact fight.

During the 20th century, Muay Thai gained international recognition as a combat sport after several Muay Thai fighters won consecutive victories over opponents from other martial arts.

Today, the professional league is governed by the World Muay Thai Council while the International Federation of Muay Thai Amateur governs the amateur Muay Thai sport.   


International and Amateur Muay Thai Council -- Muay Thai camp Phuket


Muay Thai Fights in Phuket Gyms and Stadiums

Muay Thai offered in Phuket has an unprecedented presence as evidenced by the numerous Muay Thai Gyms and training camps that are located all over the island / province. Countless visitors in Phuket who only wants a pristine holiday now includes in their itinerary the chance to see a real Muay Thai fight up close and in person via Muay Thai boxing shows. Some foreign tourists even spend months of in-house training in renowned Muay Thai gym in Phuket.

In addition, foreign visitors who are getting enthusiastic over the sport grabs every opportunity to visit Muay Thai training camps in Phuket and see how intense the training is. Plus, the statistics of foreign nationals enrolling and staying at training camps in Phuket is increasing.

Muay Thai gyms and training camps coordinate and organize Muay Thai fights at prominent Phuket locations or commercial stadiums. In Patong, for instance, open pick-up trucks drive around announcing the details of the fights while promoters hand out flyers around crowded places like Patong Beach. What makes these fights interesting is the fact that it sometimes features foreign Muay Thai fighters who trained in Phuket training camps. The audience becomes a mixture of local and foreign Muay Thai lovers. To see other Muay Thai stadiums outside Phuket, you can click here.

At the very least, watching a local Muay Thai fight will provide an interesting experience for anybody visiting Phuket. It gives you the chance to appreciate the artful and creative sport.

For foreign tourists in the Patong Beach area, nightly displays of Muay Thai Boxing are witnessed by cheering crowds in specially built stadiums on Soi Sai Namyen. 


Wai Khru and Phuket Patong Stadium -- Muay Thai training camp


Muay Thai Traditions and Ceremonies

Foreign tourists watching a Muay Thai fight in Phuket may be amazed at the traditions and ceremonies that envelop the fight. A special pre-fight dance known as the “ram muay” is performed as the fighters enter the ring, wearing a headband given by their trainer – said to be a talisman earned after several years of dedication to the craft. “Wai Khru” is how the dance is started – each boxer on his knees and bowing three times – symbolizing respect to his teacher. Only after the dance is completed will the fight begin.

Different Muay Thai Defense

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Muay Thai is a combat sport that originated in Thailand. It has its own unique techniques, which make use of the body as the weapons, more specifically the fists, elbow, knee and feet. Collectively, these weapons are called Na-wa-arud. Learning the basics of Muay Thai will get the fighter know about the many techniques using all the body parts to fight off the opponent.

For the advanced fighters, the different defensive techniques are used against the attack, which are classified into six types namely, blocking, redirection, avoidance, evasion, disruption and anticipation. 


Different Muay Thai Blocks -- Muay Thai Gym Thailand



An effective blocking technique in Muay Thai is called the 45 degree block which is used in stopping elbows, hay maker punches and even high kicks. When you step in with 45 degree block, you end up in knee or elbow striking range. This is a great entry technique to counter off a strike. 


This is done using the defender’s soft parries to change the direction of a strike such as a downwards tap to a jab so that the strike misses the target. 


This is done by moving a body part out of the way or range of a strike so the defender remains in range and position for a counter-strike. For example, the defender moves their front leg backwards to avoid the attacker’s low kick, then immediately counters with a roundhouse kick. Another example is the defender can lay their head back from the attacker’s high roundhouse kick and then counter-attack with a side kick. 


This is done by moving the body out of the way or range of a strike so the defender has to move close again to position a counter-attack. An example would be a defender jumping laterally or back from attacker’s kicks. 


This technique is used to pre-empt an attack. An example with a defender using disruptive techniques like foot-thrust, jab or low roundhouse kick, generally called a “leg kick as the attacker attempts to close distance.


This technique is used by the defender catching a strike. An example would be catching a roundhouse kick to the body or counter-attacking it before it lands – meaning that the defender’s low kick to the supporting leg below as the attacker initiates a high roundhouse kick. 

The Wall

The concept of wall of defense is used defensively in Muay Thai in which shoulders, arms and legs are used to hinder the attacker from successfully executing techniques. A critical element in Muay Thai is blocking and it compounds the level of conditioning a successful practitioner must possess. The upper portion of a raised shin is used to block low and mid body roundhouse kicks while high body strikes are blocked with the forearm/glove, elbow/shin. Mid section roundhouse kicks can also be caught or trapped, allowing for a sweep or counter attack to the remaining leg of the opponent. An ordinary boxing guard and techniques similar to basic boxing technique are used to block punches.  Blocking a punch is done by using the hand on the same side as the oncoming punch. A motion described as “combing your hair”, raising the elbow forward and effectively shielding the head with the forearm, bicep and shoulder are used to block thrusting hooks.


Block and Evade Muay Thai Defense -- Muay Thai Training Thailand


Muay Thai being a combative sport asks a fighter to learn good defense system. Learning how to make good defense is part of being a successful and best fighter. Making tactical attacks is not just the ingredient to win a fight; good defense is part of it. Muay Thai training camps in Thailand molds a fighter in developing instinct, defensive blocks, aggressive attacks and killer counter attacks.

To hone a good fighter, Muay Thai gyms in Phuket, Thailand make sure that every single lesson that a Muay Thai fighter wannabe needs to know to become a real Muay Thai fighter is taught in every training session. The intensive workout Muay Thai camp Phuket provides entices any sport enthusiast to try the sport and train from where the sport originated.

Knee Techniques in Muay Thai

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The Art of Eight Limbs – this is how Muay Thai is often referred to. This Thai combat sport makes use of the hands, elbows, knees and shins as fighting weapons against opponents. In many Muay Thai gym Thailand is known for, Muay Thai trainees are taught the many fighting techniques using these eight weapons, honing the ability to master execution of eight strikes using eight points of contact which is very different from the Western’s two-point techniques using only the fists. It is not surprising then that a lot of Muay Thai enthusiasts intentionally go to a Muay Thai Camp in Thailand for it is known for producing the best Muay Thai fighters and to have their training as well.

One of the fighting techniques taught in training camps or gyms is the knee technique. It is called Tee – Khao or Knee-kick. These techniques involve the intensive use of the knees to effectively fight off opponents. The knee kick is done by raising the knee to attack and this can be difficult to do especially for beginners. This technique requires maintaining proper balance when attacking. Professional Muay Thai trainers patiently teach the fighters how to knee-kick, which requires a fighter to be at close quarter with the opponent. Alternatively, knee-kicks are also used to attack an opponent at long range, which is called a flying knee kick. Many times, in order to use knee kick, the fighter has to grab the opponent’s neck to “lock and attack”. The fighter should be prepared though to the opponent’s elbow-strike attack. It is important that concentration and defense are not lost when using knee-kick techniques.

Different Knee Techniques -- Muay Thai Gym Thailand

There are five knee-kick techniques:

  • Khao Trong or Straight Knee-kick. A straight knee kick is done by simply grabbing the opponent’s neck with two hands, raising the knee straightly to attack the target. The difficulty will be in grabbing the opponent’s neck especially if he is an experienced boxer as well. This is another skill that can be learned from in-depth training with the professionals. The aim for straight knee-kick is to target the body, specifically the stomach. Muay Thai rules prohibits knee-kicking the opponent’s groin.
  • Khao Chiang or Diagonal Knee-kick. Diagonal knee-kick is done in similar way to straight knee kick by grabbing the opponent’s neck with two hands. In this technique, knee is raised to attack in different direction, that is, diagonally. A diagonal knee kick will target the thigh, rib and side of the body. Straight knee-kicks cannot reach these target points.
  • Khao Tad or Horizontal Knee-kick. This knee-kick is slightly different from the straight and diagonal knee kicks. The horizontal knee kick requires grabbing the opponent’s neck with just one hand to keep the other hand on guard. The knee is swung horizontally, moving parallel to the ground to attack the target. The hip is twisted when making the attack in the same direction of knee kick. This technique will increase the power of the kick. The free hand should guard your chin.
  • Khao Tob or Knee-slap. This is one of the weapons most used in Muay Thai competition. The knee slap targets the trunk and ribs by grabbing the opponent’s neck with two hands, raising the knee using the inner part of the knee joint to slap on the target.
  • Khao Yieb or Step-up Knee-kick. This technique requires more skill and timing. This knee-kick is done by using the lead leg to step on the opponent’s thigh and raising your body up to thrust the knee of the other leg to attack the target. The main targets are the facial area and chin. This could be the most powerful knee-kick technique, but because it is difficult to learn, not too many boxers use this technique.

Knee Technique in Muay Thai -- Muay Thai Training Thailand

Knee techniques are quite a difficult technique to learn because controlling the knees while maintaining balance is more challenging than throwing punches or kicks. That is the reason behind hard training in Muay Thai, it helps a fighter build coordination, control and balance in combining the techniques. It takes time and focus to finally see and feel that you already have a well-coordinated body parts to be used in attacking an opponent while having good defense.

Since the knee is one of the strongest and most solid bone structure we have in our body, developing its use for a detrimental attack will most likely knock your opponent down. Developing more strength and solid power in using your knee could be of great advantage.

Elbow Techniques in Muay Thai

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Muay Thai as a form of combat sport has its own unique techniques. Muay Thai boxing techniques are the way to effectively use nine weapons which are the head, fists, elbows, knees and feet. Collectively, they are called Na-wa arwud. However, in today’s Muay Thai rules, head is no longer included as a weapon and not allowed in the Muay Thai fights. Muay Thai training Phuket fighters has removed the use of head in Muay Thai techniques.

Muay Thai techniques, as taught in a typical Muay Thai camp in Thailand, fighters trained are divided into two groups: Mae Mai or “major” or “master” techniques and Luk Mai or “minor” or “complementary” techniques. All Muay Thai techniques use the entire body movement, rotating the hip partially or fully with every punch, kick and block. This is what sets Muay Thai training apart from other forms of martial art.

Elbow Techniques of Muay Thai -- Muay Thai Camp Thailand

While it may be possible to win a fight using just one technique, a Muay Thai boxer who masters the use of each of his eight weapons will definitely be able to face and outdo his opponent.

One of the eight lethal weapons learned in training is the Elbow technique. Muay Thai elbow techniques taught demonstrate how a fighter can properly use his elbows to beat the opponent. There are Muay Thai elbow techniques mechanism and nine types of elbow strikes in Muay Thai boxing, namely:

      • Sok Ti (Striking Elbow or Elbow Slash)
      • Sok Tad or Sok Tat (Perpendicular or Horizontal Elbow)
      • Sok Ngat (Uppercut Elbow)
      • Sok Phung (Forward Elbow Thrust)
      • Sok Klap (Spinning Elbow)
      • Sok Sap (Elbow Chop)
      • Sok Ku or Sok Klap Khu (Double Elbows or Double Elbow Chop)
      • Sok Wiang Klap (Reverse Horizontal Elbow)
      • Kradot Sok (Mid-Air Elbow Strike)

In Muay Thai, the elbow is used in seven ways – horizontally, diagonal upwards, diagonal downwards, uppercut, downward, backward spinning and flying. It is also used from the sides as a finishing move or to cut the opponents’ eyebrow so that he bleeds. Bleeding blocks the vision and also affects the fighter’s performance. The diagonal elbows are less powerful but they are faster than the other forms.

There is also a distinct difference between a single elbow and a follow-up elbow. The single elbow is an elbow move, which is independent from any other move. A follow-up elbow, on the other hand, is the second strike from the same arm, being a hook or straight punch first with an elbow follow-up. Such elbows, and most other elbow strikes, are used when the distance between fighters is too small and there is too little space to throw a hook at the opponent’s head. Elbows can also be utilized to great effect as blocks or defenses against, for example, spring knees, side body knees, body kicks or punches.

Different Elbow Techniques in Muay Thai -- Muay Thai Gym Phuket

The sport covers a lot of techniques in which a fighter is taught how to defend or attack another fighter with so much power and speed. Speed and accuracy in every attack is important to knock down an opponent while speed and proper mindset in anticipating attacks is critical to avoid being knocked down and to have good defense.

The elbow technique is just one of the lethal techniques in Muay Thai in combination with different power punches and kicks. Proper training, diet and tactical thinking also plays a big part in succeeding in the combat sports that is present in most Muay Thai training camp in Phuket and all over Thailand.

Muay Thai Punches

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When training in a Muay Thai Camp in Thailand, Muay Thai would-be fighters are taught different techniques important to this combat sport from Thailand. One of such techniques is the Muay Thai punch. Muay Thai training in Thailand promotes and had seen numerous local Thai and foreign fighters develop into strong and successful Muay Thai world champions. It just proves the kind of Muay Thai Training Phuket gyms offer – one that ensures a trainee a successful career in kickboxing.

Muay Thai Punch -- Muay Thai Phuket

A basic of Muay Thai techniques is the Muay Thai punches. At a time when men did not have any weapon to fight wild animals and even human beings as well, they made use of every part of their body as a defensive weapon needed for survival. Punch is the easiest defensive and offensive weapon to control compared to the other parts of the body. 

What to Hit with Muay Thai Punch

In Muay Thai gym Phuket trainers emphasize the proper Muay Thai Punch techniques in order to accurately hit the target. The fighter should use the knuckles as this is the most effective way to hit the target. The usual target of a Muay Thai fighter is the area of the upper body towards the face. But regardless of where the punch hit the target, it is important to remember to immediately pull back the fist away from the opponent in order to prevent exposing the fighter to counter-punching of the opponent. The punch thrown should unnerve the opponent.

There are five categories of Muay Thai punches, which are learned in any Muay Thai a gym Thailand is plentiful. These are:

The Jab

This is used to find the range by irritating the opponent. Accurate and skillful jabbing will cause the opponent to feel anxious. This punch requires a lot of practice on the punching bag. This type of punch could be used in defense, attack or retreat.

Different Muay Thai Punches -- Muay Thai Gym Thailand

The Straight Punch

Muay Thai trainers ensure that each fighter is taught to use straight punch mainly to attack the opponent’s facial area such as chin, nose, or mouth. The knuckles are used to increase the effectiveness of this punch along with twisting the opponent’s shoulders. Straight punch is always use after the jab.

The Hook

This punch is used mainly to attack side facial area such as the temple, nose, or ear. The elbow is bent a bit and the back of the knuckle is used to attack. To increase the effectiveness of the hook, a fighter may combine the hook with twisting the opponent’s shoulders.

The Swing

This type of punch is generally thrown at a further distance than the distance covered by the hook. Targeted by swings are areas around the jaw line or the ribs. When there is a gap on the opponent’s body or face, a swing can be thrown. As the punch hits the target, make sure that the knuckles take the brunt of the impact. 

The Uppercut

Muay Thai fighters use the uppercut punches to target to attack the opponent’s chin and stomach. To do the uppercut, knees and elbows are bent slightly before a punch is made vertically to attack the opponent. When the opponent is very close to the Muay Thai fighter or when they are in a stooping position, the uppercut will be more effective. Alternatively, it is also possible to attack by knee kick instead of uppercut.

Muay Thai punches if combined with different style of kicks could badly hurt an opponent especially if it’s done with so much power. Everyday intensive Muay Thai training enhances a fighter’s skill and senses in mastering the art of the sport, which could make any fighter one of the best.