Well hello! Welcome to my blog! Allow me to introduce myself: My name is James, and I’m a
Senior Trainer in the UK. Well, for another month and then I’m off to become a Coach in Saudi
Arabia. Which brings me to why I’m on this site: I’ve worked as a Muay Thai coach as well in my
time here; now the UK is nothing if not pretty clued up on the competitive sport scene, Muay Thai
is what you’d call ‘underground’ for right now but it’ll have it’s time!
Now Saudi: or more specifically Jeddah, doesn’t. So I figure I’d give a bit of biography on Muay
Thai and how / why functional training is, to use a word: incredible for improving a persons
conditioning and make amateurs into pro’s in no time at all!
Let’s start with a bit of history: to say Muay Thai is ‘an ancient art’ is both true and false! There are
many myths wrapped around this; these range from Japanese boxing promoters that the Thai’s tried
to introduce and forgot the rules, to two french brothers getting annoyed that they couldn’t hit their
opponent (which if true would’ve inspired Savate), the reality is something else, if not just as
It derives itself from the military style, referred to as ‘Muay Boran’; If you’ve ever heard of a
gentlemen by the name of Tony Jaa: he fights using this style! During the period of time that
Thailand was known as the Kingdom of Siam, this was the discipline taught to their warriors as
they fought with the dynasties of Burma and Cambodia, this would be around the 16
time: See what I mean? Here is the ancient origin. Although, there are theories that travellers from
as far as Macedonia were responsible for some of the moves commonly used to this day! Ancient
Now, THATS Muay Boran! Although, if you were to look up videos of Boran, a lot of weapons
are used, acrobatic movements and… well. Killing, hardly ideal for a competive sport unless the
goal was to make health and safety lose it! This is where it becomes modern: in the 19
King Rama V entered the scene and changed the rules of competition from a ‘2 enter, 1 leaves’
scenario, to a performance and competitive sport (gradually it should be said). This is in 1910, the
very first time it is titled is not until 1913; when it’s added to school curriculum across the country!
And here is where it formally becomes the sport that we see today! In 1923, Lumpinee stadium is
built! And with it, a year or two later, the official rules of Muay Thai are formed and the first fights
christen the ring.
Now it’s all well and good me telling you the history, but two things come up: one = I’m not a
historian, I’m a coach, and secondly: YOU’RE A COACH! You and I need to actually know what
this involves and why it’s so cool! So here it is!
This art is known as ‘the science of 8 limbs’ for a reason: It incorporates Punches, Kicks, Knees
and Elbow strikes, with divisions of professionalism that vary slightly, but are similar to Boxing in
the western world: C class for amateur (White Collar in Boxing), B class (for Olympic
Commission and SemiPro) and A class (Pro), and the class of fight determines what you can /
can’t do and what armour you have! Here’s a bit of a breakdown.
CClass: No elbow strikes, no armour except Crotch and Mouth Guard
BClass: All Strikes allowed, Body, head and shin guards allowed with Crotch and Mouth guard
AClass: All strikes allowed, no armour except Crotch and Mouth Guard
Now, a question: Is functional training going to be ideal for Muay Thai practitioners, or ‘Nak
Muay’ (Indiginous) or ‘Nak Muay Farang’ (Farang meaning ‘Foreigner’)?
Well what would you give a boxer? Or a Mixed Martial Artist? That’s right, you’d give them
functional skills exercises! While I don’t suggest you start climbing mountains balboa style,
functional training is massively important! And I’ll tell you why:
Functional training allows the fighter to get a great idea of their strengths and weaknesses during
the sessions; the energy and training systems called upon during a fight (ATPPcr / anaerobic)
would be hit hard during functionally adapted sessions: they are also exceptiona for providing a
new session every single day and increasing variety.
The last point with regards to functional training is the psychology of it all: and what I mean by
this is the motivation to continue doing these exercises, understanding the ‘why’ they’re doing
them, and the fighting and attacking mindset. And really, the amount of grappling, throwing and
complex lifting require just as much attention, aggression and skill as a fight would.
I hope you found this blog good for getting an undestanding for Muay Thai and just how much
functional skills training can help fighting!