Muay Thai in America has more traction than a hummer. It’s soar to national popularity has been nothing short of amazing. Along with Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu it is one of the two most sought after and widely practiced forms of martial arts in the country today. Its practitioners appear regularly in NHB (no holds barred) matches like the world famous UFC and typically perform better than other stand up fighters. Elements of its unique striking and close range combat techniques have been incorporated into the teachings of many schools of MMA thus further immortalizing and elevating the Thai’s “Art of 8 Limbs”.
Muay Thai is called the Art of 8 Limbs because of its most uniquely distinctive feature. Many styles of boxing, kickboxing, and grappling exist around the world, but most limit the range of their strikes to those delivered with a hand or foot. The difference is that Thai boxing also makes artful use of the knees and elbows. Two hands, two elbows, two feet, two knees: an art of 8 limbs.
This use of the knees and elbows gives Muay Thai a few distinctive advantages in close range striking. By employing whole body movements, striking from the ground up by using muscles in the legs, hips and abdomen to propel one of the knees or elbows into an opponent allows a fighter to deliver far more forceful blows at a far closer range than is possible with a fist or foot which require some distance to reach full efficacy. It also allows for excellent double strikes with a single motion by striking first with the fist and following behind it with the elbow in the same thrust.
The practice of Muay Thai for sport or self defense is obviously a rewarding endeavor, thus the multitude of enthusiasts, but how does one go about finding a good school to study where they can learn it without traveling to Thailand?
There are many highly qualified instructors and institutes of MMA and Muay Thai like Peak Performance in Keller, Texas, all over the country these days, but there are a few things you should look for to make sure the one you choose is the real deal. One of the easiest is to look at the instructor’s rankings, qualifications, tournament victories and so on. Like anything else, the more verifiable credentials the better.
Word of mouth is also a priceless way to investigate a school. Look for reviews, achievements of students past and present, and try just talking to people who have studied or are currently studying there to get some idea of the quality of instruction.
And one thing that is always a good sign, or even a down-right guarantee, that you will be getting some of the best possible instruction is when an instructor or school offers a period of time wherein you can attend the classes and study free of charge in order to decide if Muay Thai training is right for you, that way, if the instructions bad or the training too difficult, you aren’t out a thing. And would a school or instructor who was not confident in the quality of their training offer to give anything away for free? Probably not.