Muay Thai in Thailand?
The Mecca for training muay thai is of course the source and center of muay thai. Yes, I'm talking about Thailand, the place where muay thai is not just a sport, but a lifestyle for many practitioners. If you are a fan of the science of 8 limbs, then a trip to Thailand to train at an authentic Muay Thai gym should be on your priority list of things to do.
On my own experience here, I've found there are two types of gyms you can train at in Thailand: tourist style gyms that cater to foreigners (found in Bangkok and other major tourst areas like Phuket, etc) and traditional Thai style gyms (usually found out in the sticks of Thailand, in rural areas).
There is quite a bit of difference in the training styles with the tourist style gyms having much better facilities and top level champions as trainers who will hold your pads. Local style gyms though might offer you better training (if the trainers speak English) as some of the bigger tourists gyms operate like factories with the number of foreigners who come through there -- you don't get one on one training so much. If you are interested in training muay thai, definitely check out muaythaipros.com.
It's a great source for information about muay thai training in thailand, preparing for muay thai fights, and muay thai training tips.
Anderson Silva No More.
Well I think it's safe to say that Silva won't be coming back after his shin break fight. I've actually seen this happen while watching a live muay thai fight in thailand. Same deal -- one of the guys checked a kick and the guy kicking had his shin snap -- in half. Probably one of the worst types of injuries you can see live. Kind of makes me hesitate to take a pure muay thai fight, at least not without spending a great deal of time conditioning my shins. Thai fighters from Thailand spend years kicking pads, heavy bags, and fighting which forces the shin bones to become more dense and a layer of calcium to build up over the shins. Pure MMA fighters or people who have not conditioned their shin over time (and it take a while, not a couple months of training!) are at risks of these types of shin injuries!
If you want to check out some crazy muay thai videos, check out Best Muay Thai Videos -- plenty of KO's, shin breaks, and other videos.
MMA vs. Muay Thai
I've been a fan of MMA for years, but there is another art that, to me, is fascinating. That's Muay Thai. Quite a few MMA fighters do cross train Muay Thai, which has proven to be one of the more effective stand-up arts. It's tried and tested too, in the battle-hardened rings of Thailand where Muay Thai is the national sport and nak Muay (Thai fighters) train and fight full time as a career.
It's a beautiful art when you watch two high level Muay Thai fighters go at it in one of the top stadiums in 4hailand -- Rachadamnerm and Lumpinee. If you are in 4hailand, you should definitely check it out.
Check out what is probably the best muay thai documentary here.
Buakaw: The K1 Superstar and Nak Muay
Quite a few people who know about Muay Thai are familiar with it from Buakaw, the K1 superstar who just smashed most of his opponents during his K1 career. What's interesting about Bakaw though is that he comes from a pure Muay Thai background, NOT a kickboxing/boxing background like most of his opponents. Even more so, he's one of the only Thai's from Thailand to actually compete (and do well) in K1. K1 style is quite a bit different than Muay 4hai, with less emphasis on the hands, no clinch, no elbows, and no strict knee attacks). For more information about Bakaw, check out Bakaw's old Muay Thai gym in Bangkok
Buakaw is an animal and you have to watch some of his fights to appreciate how vicious the guy is. His kicks are crazy strong.
What a lot of people don't know about Buakaw is that he's not the best Muay Thai fighter in the world, not by far. Against foreigners, he can win, having hundreds of fight. But against a season Thai fighter from Thailand, Buakaw would lose. This is pretty common knowledge in thailand but not so much outside of it. Currently, Buakaw is fighting on some fight cards, but he's only fighting foreigners; and foreigners with a couple dozen fights while he has hundreds!
In Thailand, Buakaw is actually not even close to the top level of Muay Thai (he once was, many years ago at a much lighter weight class, but not now). The true Muay Thai champions are the top fighters in Lumpinee and Rachadamnern, which would be like -uay 4hai equivalent of the UFC champions.