Club profile: Muay Thai

Charlotte Brown

muay tai

Muay Thai is the most popular form of a fighting sport that is practised across South-East Asia under different guises such as Lethwei in Burma and Pradal serey in Cambodia. While originally rooted in martial arts and having strong links with Buddhism, Muay Thai has become incredibly popular around the world practised as a combat sport. It bears a closer resemblance to full-contact combat sports such as boxing or kickboxing than Taekwondo and is often employed by MMA (mixed martial arts) practitioners in their stand-up techniques.

The sport utilizes stand-up striking along with various clinching (stand-up wrestling) techniques. It is known as “the art of eight limbs” because it is characterised by the combined use of fists, elbows, knees, shins and feet. The wide range of techniques utilised make it unparalleled in the world of stand-up fighting. Professionals in the sport will still travel to Thailand for the highest level of training and coaching from champion fighters or nak muay. Despite the change in scenery and the glamour of DJs and ring card girls that occur in big fight shows the world over, the sport continues to  maintain its traditional teachings of respect to your teacher and to your opponent; badly thrown blows are apologised for and fighters will wai (bow) to their opponents team.

Glasgow University Muay Thai currently run classes twice a week: Tuesdays 7.45pm to 9.15pm and Thursdays 9pm to 10pm. Tuesday classes are technique classes, whilst Thursday’s class is a sparring class which consists of using the techniques taught in Tuesday classes in a fight setting.  Our coaches include personal trainers and British champions that are part of The Griphouse Gym. The Griphouse is home to some of the best fight teams and coaching staff the UK has to offer with world champions and fighters in the UFC.

Most people train for the conditioning and all around fitness training that the sport requires. We understand that for most the idea of fighting and competing is a scary thought, the majority of members train just for the excellent workout it provides; for some a Tuesday class can feel like a combination of a Boxercise class and Super Circuits, but tougher and more rewarding. In order to really put power into a punch or kick in Muay Thai you have to use your whole body and training is done in short intense burst of energy. It won’t feel like you are working as hard as you are. Many of our members say that hitting the pads in class is an incredible way to beat stress, and best of all – the pad won’t hit back!

Although it might not be the most well-known club on campus, Muay Thai is one of the biggest clubs in the University and we have members from first year to post-grad from nearly every faculty. We are always working to make the club better for everyone involved; from getting extra classes and seminars, to organising trips to watch fights. The club also has a varied and active social side, with ceilidhs, pub crawls, club nights and trips to Thai restaurants as well as post-training food and drinks every Tuesday at Faktory on Byres Road. Where most clubs have regular fixtures, Muay Thai have interclubs; these are ‘fight nights’ that take place every month that are hosted by each club. This year Glasgow will be hosting two events: in January and March. Interclubs are the highlight of the year for the club as it allows members a chance to test their skill set against members from other clubs across Glasgow, Scotland and the North of England, meanwhile the rest of the club grabs a pint and enjoy the show.


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