The sport of thai kickboxing is an ancient one that has been used for hundreds of years. Today, it is one of the most rapidly growing martial arts in the world, thanks to it’s extremely effective methods both is fighting and general fitness training
History of Thai Kickboxing
As Thailand was constantly being invaded by neighboring countries, Thai soldiers needed a system of fighting and defense that was simple, but brutally effective. The result was a fighting style that utilizes the fists, knees, feet, elbows, and at the time the head, with devastating results. The martial art is one of the oldest fighting systems in the world and has remained one of the most effective in defeating an attacker to this day.
The main difference between kickboxing and Thai kickboxing, or Muay Thai, is that Muay Thai uses elbow strikes. Elbows are not allowed in regular kickboxing as they can cause devastating damage to the opponent, and are regularly the number one reason for knock outs in Thai kickboxing fights. The elbows are known as the ‘knives of fighting’, reflecting the type of wounds a well placed elbow strike can deliver.
As well as elbows, powerful kicks and knee strikes make thai kickboxing one of the most exhausting fighting sports around, and an exceptional level of fitness is required by anyone training to fight. In ancient times, the head was also used to head-butt opponents, and the groin area was an acceptable target. The fights were also carried out without the use of gloves. Only in later years was rope wound around the hands and forearms of fighters to offer a modicum of protection. As the sport migrated into modern times, more rules were implemented for the safety of the fighters, removing the head as a weapon and adding extra padding in the form of boxing gloves.
Thai Kickboxing for Fitness
Even if fighting is not the goal, the training regime that the fighters go through to reach the required level of fitness for the 5 x 3 minute rounds is a great way to get fit and improve flexibility and co-ordination. As the entire body is used in the sport, the training sessions are intense and exhausting, even for the fittest of athletes. The ultimate in fitness training has to be taking part in a Thai kickboxing training camp in Thailand itself.
Muay thai camps are all over Thailand and they can offer training sessions with regional and national Thai champions in a truly authentic setting. The warm, humid climate in Thailand is also more beneficial as the muscles become warmer and more supple, improving flexibility and in turn, technique, perhaps faster than if training in a cooler, drier climate.
There are also different styles of thai kickboxing. Some focus more on defensive moves and blocking, while others favor attack more. There is also a form of ancient muay thai that uses weapons such as wooden poles, knives, sticks and swords.
No matter what form or style thai kickboxing takes, it can be adapted for fitness or fighting very easily.