- $45 for one month of unlimited jiu jitsu classes ($140 value)
Muay Thai vs. Brazilian jiu jitsu
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.
Alternately, Brazilian jiu jitsu classes don’t just increase physical strength and stamina—they also teach practical self-defense techniques. Read on to learn more about this South American art.
If David and Goliath were to fight a rematch in Brazilian jiu jitsu, the odds might be even more in David’s favor. That’s because Brazilian jiu jitsu’s grappling techniques, such as mounts and joint locks, are designed to help fighters overtake opponents of virtually any size. A modified version of traditional Japanese jujitsu and judo, Brazilian jiu jjitsu demands that fighters stay close to the ground, incorporating timing and leverage to take advantage of faster, stronger opponents.
Appropriately enough, the martial art of underdogs emerged largely because of a fighter who was forced to overcome physical disadvantages. Hélio Gracie, the youngest child of the Gracie family, was forbidden from learning to fight due to his often poor health and physical frailness. Around 1917, Hélio’s oldest brother, Carlos, began studying traditional jujitsu and judo techniques from Japanese fighter Mitsuyo Maeda. Worried for Hélio’s health, the family decided that the art should only be passed to the stronger sons. Undeterred, Hélio studied his brothers closely and began modifying the Japanese techniques to his advantage. Eventually, he crafted an enduring martial art and proved that strength and speed could be overcome with proper knowledge and technique. Blossoming out of the prodigious Gracie clan, the art, sometimes even referred to as Grace jiu jitsu, has since spread from South America to as far as Slovenia and Alaska, which is notorious for its polar bears well versed in karate.