Often referred to as the "Art of Eight Limbs", Muay Thai has maintained a highly respected presence in Thailand since the middle of the 16th century. Today, it exists as the National Sport of Thailand and is practiced both professionally and as a form of recreation across the country on a widespread basis.
While initially Muay Thai was mostly confined to Asia, over the last several decades its popularity has spread to other regions of the world. Today, fighters from every nook and cranny of the globe pour into Thailand each year for the primary purpose of studying Muay Thai at one of the country's many professional Muay Thai Training Camps.
For other travelers, the allure of Muay Thai stems more from an experiential or cultural learning perspective. For those who want to experience the sport without having to make a long-term commitment to a Training Camp, it's also possible to schedule single Muay Thai lessons with an Instructor on a one-time or short-term basis.
For instance, at the newly opened Lub d Hostel in Phuket, single or group Muay Thai lessons can be scheduled with a professional Tiger Muay Thai instructor on the premises. This makes it possible to experience Muay Thai in a casual, non-intimidating environment, while still getting instruction from a professional in a state-of-the-art facility. It's the perfect setting to see whether Muay Thai may be something that you'd like to pursue on a more regular basis or maybe just from time to time in an effort to burn off some of the Chang and Pad Thai.
For those who may have heard of Muay Thai, but still aren't sure what it is, whether it's for you, or where you can sign-up for lessons, this article is for you!
What is Muay Thai?
Muay Thai is a close-combat sport that aims to use the entire body as a weapon. It's commonly known as the 'Art of Eight Limbs' because eight limbs are used to strike (both sets of hands, elbows, feet and knees).
Studying Muay Thai is both a mental and physical discipline, with fighters learning how to use all eight limbs to fight as effectively and efficiently as possible. Although it can be used as a method of self-defense or practiced as a professional sport in a boxing arena, it's also a great way of working out and staying fit. While professional Muay Thai fighting involves squaring off against an opponent, the sport starts at the individual level and can be rigorously practiced without ever having to step in the ring and go up against a competitor.
How Physically Fit Do I Have to Be to Participate?
Muay Thai does not require a certain level of physical fitness to participate. Part of its beauty stems from the fact that it begins at the individual level and you can therefore push yourself as far and as hard as you would like to. Two individuals on opposite sides of the physical spectrum could participate in a group Muay Thai lesson and both would still have an equally challenging workout. It's all about pushing yourself as far as you can and improving on your own personal technique and stamina.
Like most sports, the more you practice, the better you'll get.
I'm a First-Timer. What Will My First Lesson Be Like?
If it's your first time trying Muay Thai, you have nothing to be afraid of! Your first lesson will likely focus on learning to get your stance and balance right, and you'll then move on to executing specific Muay Thai techniques such as punches, jabs, hooks and kicks. The instructor will progress with you at your own pace, so as soon as you master one basic technique, you'll move on to the next and eventually start working on simple combination moves.
While the lesson sounds quite straight forward, you'll be surprised by how quickly you'll work up a sweat!
Where Can I Sign-Up for Lessons?
There are hundreds of Muay Thai Training Camps around Thailand and if you're looking to join a training facility on a long-term basis, it's important that you do your research and find a facility that suits you as an individual in terms of cost, location, quality and culture.
If you're visiting Phuket and would like to sign-up for lessons without the pressure or cost of formally joining a Muay Thai Training Camp, or would simply like to try Muay Thai to see if it's a sport or hobby you would like to pursue, there's no reason to look further than Tiger Muay Thai at the Lub d Hostel in Patong.
The hostel is equipped with its own professional-grade Muay Thai boxing ring (see photos in the gallery) and they work with a professional instructor who can provide lessons to guests and non-guests alike. Lessons cater to all levels of expertise from extreme beginner to professional fighters. Many expats living in Phuket book lessons here on a regular basis so that they can continue to hone their skills while still working full-time during the week.
Lessons at Lub d Patong can be booked on an individual or group basis. Individual lessons are currently $23 per session and group lessons are currently $12 per person per session.
To book a Muay Thai lesson at Lub d Patong, visit them directly or head to their website for more information.
Travel Tip shared by Jenna Becker for Travel Dudes.
This article was written in collaboration with Lub d Hostel. Travel Dudes maintains full editorial control of the content published on this site.