- $59 for 10 mixed-martial-arts or fitness classes ($165 value)
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Muay Thai: The Art of Eight Limbs
Fast-paced and difficult to master, muay thai is one of Thailand’s proudest traditions. Read on for a basic overview of this centuries-old martial art.
Early on, young muay thai fighters are taught a simple mantra: “Kick loses to punch; punch loses to knee; knee loses to elbow; elbow loses to kick.” Though it may sound straightforward, in practice, muay thai challenges fighters to strategize on the fly as they shift through stances in hopes of catching their opponent off-guard. Whereas boxing focuses on two points of contact—the hands—and other martial arts incorporate four—the hands and feet—muay thai involves the elbows and knees for a dynamic style of combat known as “The Art of Eight Limbs.” As a result, fighters must train their entire bodies in order to both attack and defend against any of eight different attack points.
According to the World Muaythai Council, the sport’s largest sanctioning body, the roots of modern muay thai and its connection to Thai culture can be traced back centuries. King Naresuan practiced muay thai in the late 1500s, and he had every soldier train in the art. Prachao Sua, the Tiger King, loved the sport so much that he would enter village contests incognito and defeat local champions. The passion for muay thai in the monarchy and military disseminated throughout the country, and students young and old from all walks of life picked up the sport. Today, it remains one of the most beloved pastimes in Thailand, with thousands of fans packing stadiums in Bangkok and across the country to watch high-profile matches.
The MMA University
Having experienced professional fights firsthand, the instructors at The MMA University know what it takes to get a body ready for the ring: hard work and a focused approach. But they also know how to make their training philosophy fun and approachable for newcomers and young students. Kids’ classes include Brazilian jiu jitsu, which welcomes martial arts first-timers with grappling-only sessions that channel superabundant youthful energy while helping shyer kids discover their athletic passion. The kids’ MMA program begins to safely introduce striking techniques through the fundamentals of wrestling, boxing, and kickboxing in addition to jiu jitsu.
The gym is lined with heavy bags, jump ropes, and body balls, but it’s the spacious floor mat that takes center stage in most classes, emphasizing the importance of engaging actual sparring partners. Men and women who aren’t necessarily training for the ring can jump into Combat Cardio, an intense and widely varied workout that incorporates all of the above equipment, along with resistance bands, kettle bells, and medicine balls.