Muay Thai is an ancient martial art from Thailand which is over 2000 years old. Some of you may have heard about it, seen it on TV or the internet; the powerful punches, devastating elbow strikes, lethal kicks, skilful inside clinch grappling and artful movement feints. But nothing compares with actually seeing these fights live executed to loud cheers and traditional Thai music. Welcome to the exciting world of Master Sken's Muay Thai.
On November the 25th 2007 Master Sken invited ten FFMA members to his Muay Thai World Championship tournament at The Reebok De Vere Whites Bolton. Our table was behind the officials giving us a fantastic view of all nine fights. After paying £75 per ticket I could sense that some of our students were concerned that it may not live up to expectations. However within minutes of the first fight they realized it was going to be a brilliant event with a great atmosphere that lasted all day long.
World title fights are traditionally fierce and well publicized contests by Master Sken. A match is decided by a knockout or points. Three judges decide who carries the round and the one who wins the most rounds is the victor. All nine fights were of a high international standard providing the spectators with a variety of Muay Thai techniques and combinations. Many UFC and other MMA fighters are now learning Muay Thai due to its effectiveness and ability to integrate the techniques in Mixed Martial Arts tournaments. Muay Thai is one the hardest ring sports in the world.
For those teaching and practicing the martial arts these live fights are the real learning ground. You can see first hand what works in terms of; footwork and balance; distance and timing; combinations and the importance of correct breathing when under pressure. The simplest combinations often have the greatest impact; lead left jab followed by the right roundhouse kick; lead leg jab kick followed by a right cross; parrying the jab and right cross and countering with right mid section roundhouse kick; lead left jab moving inside with right or left hooking elbow.
The list of effective Muay Thai striking combinations is endless (far too many for this short article to review). What is also evident at live fights is how different fighters make use of various techniques due their own unique body shape and body mechanics. For example; the lead leg jab kick serves a taller fighter well in keeping his opponent away by using the kick to stop them moving in closer; the shorter fighter can also use the same technique to inhibit the taller fighter from continually using their jab. You could also see the importance of the lead jab in setting up many attacks. Good fighters typically throw 10 jabs for every right cross.
All of the fights were good especially Liam Harrison versus world Champion, Numpon PK Sterio. Liam gave a spirited display of skill and power punching that knocked out Numpon PK Sterio. Andy Howson floored Jao-Tapee Kiat Korwit to his knees with a punch to the liver that left him spitting blood and breathless for minutes. Watching live fights as close up as we were reinforces some old fighting philosophies that we should never forget. Andy's liver punch is a reminder that if you work the body the head will die; Liam's head punches bring to attention the importance of a good defence/guard as the head is anaesthesia and body is pain. Two fights were stopped due to cuts to the head from elbow strikes.
There were also Martial Arts demonstrations by World Kata Champion Chloe Bruce, whose energy, focus and flexibly is superhuman; and an impressive display of the Thai sword fighting skill, Krabi Krabong (which requires concentration and focus at all times or you lose a limb). Every one seemed to be having fun and even Master Sken did a demonstration illustrating his flawless martial arts skills (even when wearing in his best dinner suit). His students (a group called The Worldwide Active Team) gave a demonstration of Muay Thai pad and combat drills.
Muay Thai training is a total mind and body conditioning system that develops real self protection skills and incorporates strength, flexibility and cardiovascular capacity. Whether your goal is to develop the confidence to defend yourself or get in shape, Muay Thai training will do it for you. Ironically it is not about violence, it is a journey of self discovery that through the physical will give you greater spirituality and make you more humble (a kinder human being).
This was a fantastic event and I would recommend Master Sken's shows to anyone, go there with an open mind and you will really enjoy yourself because that's what it's all about. Also bear in mind that often Master Sken often gives all the proceeds of these shows to charities. I feel privileged to be his friend.
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