Muay Thai
 
 
About the program

Muay Thai is a combat martial art from Thailand that uses stand-up striking along with various clinching techniques. This physical and mental discipline which includes combat on foot is known as "the art of eight weapons" because it is characterized by the combined use of fists, elbows, knees, shins and feet, being associated with a good physical preparation that makes a full-contact fight very efficient. Muay Thai became popular in the sixteenth century, but became widespread internationally only in the twentieth century, when many Thai fighters won several victories over representatives of other martial arts. The sport of muay Thai is solely governed by the International Federation of Muaythai Amateur and a professional league is governed by the World Muay Thai Council.

Like most competitive full contact fighting sports, muay Thai has a heavy focus on body conditioning. Muay Thai is specifically designed to promote the level of fitness and toughness required for ring competition. Training regimens include many staples of combat sport conditioning such as running, shadowboxing, rope jumping, body weight resistance exercises, medicine ball exercises, abdominal exercises, and in some cases weight training. Thai boxers rely heavily on kicks utilizing the shin bone. As such, practitioners of muay Thai will repeatedly hit hard objects with their shins, conditioning it, hardening the bone through a process called cortical remodeling. Muay Thai exponents typically apply Namman Muay liberally before and after their intense training sessions.

Training that is specific to a Thai fighter includes training with coaches on Thai pads, focus mitts, heavy bag, and sparring. The daily training includes many rounds (3-5 minute periods broken up by a short rest, often 1–2 minutes) of these various methods of practice. Thai pad training is a cornerstone of muay Thai conditioning which involves practicing punches, kicks, knees, and elbow strikes with a trainer wearing thick pads which cover the forearms and hands. These special pads (often referred to as thai pads) are used to absorb the impact of the fighter’s strikes and allow the fighter to react to the attacks of the pad holder in a live situation. The trainer will often also wear a belly pad around the abdominal area so that the fighter can attack with straight kicks or knees to the body at anytime during the round.

Focus mitts are specific to training a fighter’s hand speed, punch combinations, timing, punching power, defense, and counter-punching and may also be used to practice elbow strikes. Heavy bag training is a conditioning and power exercise that reinforces the techniques practiced on the pads. Sparring is a means to test technique, skills, range, strategy, and timing against a partner. Sparring is often a light to medium contact exercise because competitive fighters on a full schedule are not advised to risk injury by sparring hard. Specific tactics and strategies can be trained with sparring including in close fighting, clinching and kneeing only, cutting off the ring, or using reach and distance to keep an aggressive fighter away.

Due to the rigorous training regimen (some Thai boxers fight almost every other week) professional boxers in Thailand have relatively short careers in the ring. Many retire from competition to begin instructing the next generation of Thai fighters. Most professional Thai boxers come from the lower economic backgrounds, and the fight money (after the other parties get their cut) is sought as means of support for the fighters and their families. Very few higher economic strata Thais join the professional muay Thai ranks; they usually either do not practice the sport or practice it only as amateur muay Thai boxers.

 
Instructor
  
Mark DeLuca
Mark DeLuca

Mark began his Muay Thai career in 2001 at the US Muay Thai Academy under Kru Sitha Phongphibool. In 2004 he began training with Stephen Strotmeyer and Matee Dragon Leg Jedeepitak who gave him the fight nickname of Diamond Heart, or Jaipetch in Thai and started his amateur career. He became certified under the USMTA as a Muay Thai Instructor by 2005 and by the next year was the USKBA Amateur US Champion. In 2007 he turned professional and by 2008 was the TBA-SA Superlightweight Muay Thai World Champion. 2009 brought Mark back to Thailand to train with Jitti Gym in Bangkok and was fortunate to fight and win in legendary Lumpinee stadium. His opponents throughout the years have included Kevin Ross, Raul Llopis, Justin Greskiewicz 2x, Omar Ahmed 2x, Josh Palmer, and Chike Lindsay-Ajudua. Mark has trained both amateur and professional fighters and has worked their corners in various events across the world. As an instructor, his knowledge and experience are invaluable for anyone wanting to learn the art of Muay Thai.  Mark is also certified by the MMACA as a Conditioning Coach.