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#PickUp: Muay Thai

Training in the same gym as MMA champion Angela Lee taught me that pain is temporary but glory is forever.

Aisyah Lyana


Published: 9 June 2016, 10:13 PM

Superman and Batman are not coming to your rescue in a life or death situation – so why not pick up a skill like Muay Thai to defend yourself? Youth.SG recently tried out a beginner Muay Thai class at Singapore’s most established martial arts gym, Evolve MMA, and it was an intense workout!

 

WE LOVED THE HOUR-LONG, ONE-TO-ONE BEGINNER MUAY THAI CLASS!

I stepped into the Evolve MMA gym at Far East Square and was extremely impressed with the facilities. Everything was ready-for-use: lockers, shoe racks, towels, body wash and even a hairdryer.

As I came out in my striking orange singlet and baggy pants, and the staff asked if I needed to change three times. Seems I was dressed more like a basketballer than a fighter!
WITH MY PETITE FRAME, I LOOKED REALLY PUNY COMPARED TO ALL THE BUFF LORDS AND FITNESS JUNKIES IN THE TRAINING GYM.

I was very privileged to be taught by the authentic Thai world champion, Orono Wor Petchpun, otherwise known as Kru No. Kru No picked up Muay Thai at 15 and was crowned Thailand’s champion three times. He looked intimidating at first, but he was actually really funny and friendly!

HE MUAY THAI TRAINING CULTURE IS ACTUALLY VERY COURTEOUS. WE STARTED AND ENDED CLASS WITH THIS GESTURE.

I thought a private session meant a whole training room to myself, but nope, I was led into the black cage in the middle of the gym, where all the pro members were staring at me trying to land a kick.

I felt small, but I wanted to give my best.

THEY LOCKED ME IN THE CAGE SO I COULDN’T RUN OUT!

When I entered my training cage, Kru No sat down to help me put on a pre-made hand wrap. It was the smallest size available, but it still did not fit me. He thus manually wrapped a cloth hand wrap to protect my tiny hands, knuckles and wrists.

We started off with a quick warm-up before learning the proper fighting stance. My stronger leg should be 45 degrees behind the other leg, with my toes pointing out, and my fists had to be at eyebrow level.
IN AN ACTUAL FIGHT, I WOULD HAVE BEEN PUNCHED IN THE FACE BECAUSE OF MY PERSISTENT MISTAKE OF NOT SHIELDING HIGH ENOUGH.

Next, I learnt the four basic moves of Muay Thai: punching, elbowing, kicking and kneeing. I also learnt guarding and defence moves. The coach thought I was not bad *muahaha* so I was taught the push-kick as well.

KRU NO PLEADED FOR MY PUSH-KICK NOT TO BE ANY LOWER. *CRIES*

As I had Silat experience from young, it was challenging to adapt to Muay Thai’s basic stance. Instead of shielding my face with one fist when punching, I was used to putting my fist next to my chest. Instead of swinging my fist backwards when kicking, I kept moving my fist to a groin guard position.

The two martial arts were similar, but had their own styles, which I found very interesting.
I WAS AWKWARD WITH ELBOWING BECAUSE I HAD NEVER DONE THAT IN SILAT.

Kru No was very affirming each time I gave a good kick. I loved the thrill of hearing a louder impact on the padding for every kick I pulled off.

MY LEFT KICK WAS SIGNIFICANTLY WEAKER THAN MY RIGHT. THE TRICK TO ANY MARTIAL ART IS TO BE EQUALLY STRONG WITH YOUR RIGHT AND LEFT LIMBS!

He was also generous with his words of encouragement, but was firm if I made a mistake such as not shielding my face.

All in all, the Muay Thai class at Evolve MMA was extremely exciting and action-packed.

THIS WAS HOW SHAGGED I FELT AFTER THE INTENSE SESSION. I WAS SO GLAD THAT IT WAS ONLY AN HOUR-LONG CLASS.

Before I left the gym, I decided to take a photo beside the life-sized poster of world champion Angela Lee. As I was doing so however, the real Angela Lee came out from behind the poster.

I ALMOST DIED OF EMBARRASSMENT. BUT IN MY HEAD I WAS LIKE, “OMG, OMG, OMG!!”

Course: Muay Thai beginner course
Where: Far East Square
School: Evolve MMA
Duration: Each class lasts for an hour
Price: 30 minute trial classes are free; consult gym for additional price packages

This is part 4/4 of our #PickUp series. Hope our series has introduced you to cool skills you can learn in Singapore!

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