Muay Boran-Old Style

Muay Boran-Old Style

Muay Boran literally means ancient boxing or boxing old-style. It is a traditional form of Muay Thai still taught in Thailand.

As Muay Thai boxing became standardized and internationalized, absorbing many elements of Western boxing some looked back fondly to the days of fewer rules and Muay Kaad Chuek (bound-fist fighting). And so, Muay Boran is essentially an effort to preserve the boxing techniques from Muay Thais history before the introduction of formalised rules and gloves in the 1930s. Muay Boran is the predecessor to modern day Muay Thai boxing.

Muay Kaad Chuek – No gloves boxing

During the Ayuthaya era came the introduction of Muay Kaad Chuek. That is the use of unrefined hemp wrappings to protect the fingers and wrists. A length of around 20 metres was enough to bind one hand. The use of Muay Kaad Chuek quickly spread, as a bound fist is tougher, stronger and better protected against injury than an unbound one. It is said that before a contest fighters immersed their fists in water. This would cause the binding to harden when it dried, making it capable of producing serious injury. Some people go further and claim that fighters dipped their hands in glue and ground glass.

Such a contest would certainly have made a gory sight! To this day an annual Muay Kaad Chuek contest with Laos is held in Nong Khai near the NE border with Laos, on the Thai side of the Mekong River. A Muay Kaad Chuek contest with Burma is staged in the Mae Sot, western Thailand, during the Sonkran (Thai New Year) festivities (April 12-14). Boxers fight until knockout. If both competitors remain standing at the end of the bout a match is declared a draw.

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Eight Limb Arts

Eight Limb Arts

Known as the art of the eight limbs, for its incorporation of many parts of the body, including the elbows and knees, muay Thai has the reputation of being more brutal and less restricted than many of its rival martial arts.

My interest is in testing my limits, Mr Connell says. It’s tough physically and mentally – you have to wear some pain. But thats part of the mental conditioning.

Whats really driving him since coming to Thailand, however, is a perception that the pastime is an in to Thai culture. From his Thai-language education days at Chiang Mai University, required as orientation for his role at the embassy, he has found a connection with Buddhist principles. Mr Connell stops short of saying hes a fully fledged Buddhist using muay Thai as a form of expression, but he admits the religious and spiritual nature of the sport, through its various rites and rituals, instils a deep admiration.

The intermeshing makes it interesting, he said.

He smiles when asked about his own version of the wai khru, the pre-fight dance, performed as a symbolic homage to a fighters ancestors and mentor. Given that he doesnt engage in professional bouts, he doesnt have one. I still pay respects to Stephen, he points out.

For Mr Connell, work and muay Thai mutually coexist. Its an activity that continues to help him relate more closely with his colleagues and immerse himself in his surroundings.

I love my job, its interesting work and great people to work with it [muay Thai] gives a very good understanding of the underpinnings of Thai culture, he explains.

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The Battlefield

The Battlefield

Historically, the purpose of Muay Thai was to help a warrior survive a battle. Its style is efficient in that it maximizes the damage the bodys natural weapons can impact on an opponent. Muay Boran emphasizes combinations of powerful elbow and knee techniques thrown at full force and speed, the idea being to completely overcome ones adversary as quickly as possible.

Learning Muay Boran
Muay Boran is highly ritualised and the training is a long and involved process. Muay Boran students practice and perfect techniques before being allowed to progress to the next level.

At the heart of Muay Boran is the Yang Sam Khun (three strides walk) which is the basis of all footwork.
Pairings are done in the traditional style, not by weight, and all parts of the body, including the groin, are potential targets. Some Muay Boran techniques are not effective in the modern arena, as Muay Thai practitioners have found new ways to protect themselves.

Many other ancient techniques are now forbidden in Muay Thai for safety reasons.
Even in Thailand it is difficult to find schools that teach Muay Boran. Most camps and gyms prefer to focus on modern Muay Thai, which is more easily exploitable as a form of income. Some schools outside of Thailand who claim to offer Muay Boran instruction simply teach Muay Thai and sell it under the name of Muay Boran.

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Organic fight tension

Organic fight tension

Mr Connell adds that as an unintended benefit, people even respect his kwam pen Thai, or Thainess, because of it. Sometimes he turns up for trade or policy meetings clearly brandishing the after-effects of physical punishment.

There have been a few times. Ive tried to cover as best I could, he says. Family and work commitments mean he doesnt participate as often as he once did, for one thing because of the age factor. Many boxers are battered through short-lived careers in muay Thai and the fighters are usually much younger.

Once you develop to a certain mental level you are there, but its extremely taxing fitness wise, and its a lot harder to recover now, he admits. Still, you can regularly catch him training and running through the back sois off Sukhumvit road.

Its for the discipline and its like a drug, he says enthusiastically. If hes not in the ring, he enjoys watching a live contest on a Friday night at Lumpini stadium, with his wife and sometimes his coach or friends from the gym. When I can get a babysitter, he adds, referring to his two daughters, aged four years and 18 months, who he plans to take along when they are older.

Mr Connell referred to the music, a blend of drums and cymbals which elevates in pace to match the tension of the fight, as organic. On special nights, such as the Queens birthday on August 12 or National Muay Thai Day on March 17, he mixes the best of both worlds, while holding his job in high esteem. Hell enjoy the fight as always, yet often as a representative of the embassy, dressed in a suit instead of a boxing kit.

Out of respect for the post, he says.

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Acceleration as fitness dictates

Acceleration as fitness dictates

Acceleration Fitness Center is pleased to announce the grand opening of their new Gulf Breeze, FL, location. The centers goal is to bring the community a fitness center like no other. From the professional staff to the centers state of the art equipment, Acceleration Fitness Center is ready to help members achieve their fitness goals.

Crossfit Personal Trainer certified, Acceleration Fitness Center is a health club where guests of all levels are welcome. By offering a wide selection of classes, the center provides a way for even the least experienced members to get a fulfilling workout. The center offers a variety of spin, Yoga, and Zumba classes, all taught by experienced professional trainers.

Acceleration Fitness Center also offers high-level training for top tier professional and collegiate athletes looking to stay sharp. Members regularly take advantage of the facilitys full range of state of the art equipment. The center features free weights, exercise machines, weight lifting machines, and more.

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Travel Marts Plus

Travel Marts Plus

Thailand Travel Mart Plus (TTM+) 2012 trade fair will run from June 6-8 at Impact Exhibition Centre Halls 5 and 6 in Muang Thong Thani.

This year the theme is Customize Your Experience, according to TAT governor Suraphon Svetasreni.

The customization packages will be based on four segments; golf, ecotourism, weddings and honeymoons, and health and wellness. There will also be panel discussions and topics include A Changing World: The Challenges for the Tourism Business and Customize Your Experience in Thailand.

We are looking forward to welcoming more than 80 buyers from Europe, over 40 buyers from the US and Canada, and about 35 buyers from Australia and New Zealand, Suraphon said, adding new buyers from emerging markets including Eastern Europe, the Middle East and South America are also expected to meet local operators. The TAT expects that the three-day event will lure more than 1,000 participants.

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