Kickboxing Clinic – Exclusive to Elite Training Center
We offer our unique kickboxing classes at our Hermosa Beach CA and Redondo Beach CA locations. This class focuses on Muay Thai kickboxing, but also places a strong emphasis on improving the techniques that form the foundation for our Krav Maga and MMA systems. Rooted in the teachings of Muay Thai, our kickboxing builds from the basics of hitting and kicking and expands into sparring, advanced offensive tactics, and defensive strategies.
Muay Thai is known for its extreme conditioning. The classes normally begin with an intense warm up which includes jumping rope, shadow boxing and other bodyweight exercises.
Thai Pad, focus mitt work and drilling with a partner follows to develop coordination with power, timing and speed. The offensive techniques that are drilled include punches, kicks, knees and elbows both outside and inside the clinch. We cover the basics of impact, movement, and body positioning, then delve into more sophisticated combination attacks and defenses. We also spend time perfecting defensive covers, movement, and counters. You will also learn how to hold the various types of pads utilized in most of the classes, and how to be a good partner when working with other students.
This class is perfect for everyone as beginners gain their core technical fighting knowledge while more experienced students can really hone their skill set and learn more advanced techniques.
History of Kickboxing
Muay Thai kickboxing is a martial art that originated with the Thai military. It is sometimes referred to as “the science of eight limbs”, since two arms are used for punching, two feet for kicking, two elbows for striking, and two knees for striking.
The inception of Muay Thai Kickboxing occurred during the Medieval Ages under the reign of King Naeusan around 1560 AD. During one of the many battles between Burma and Siam, the king was captured. The king was renowned for his prowess in hand-to-hand combat so he was given a chance to win his freedom. After he defeated their best fighter, he returned to Siam as a hero and the Siamese-style of boxing, as it was called then, rose to popularity and soon became a national sport.
The sport’s popularity reached its peak around two-hundred years ago under the reign of Prachao Sua (King Tiger), and at this time it was being practiced by all classes of the population. At one point or another every Thai would train in the art including Thai girls could learn enough of the basic principles to use Muay Thai for self-defense if need be.
Various forms of kickboxing have long been practiced throughout Southeast Asia. As with the most countries in the region, Thai culture is highly influenced by ancient civilizations within Southeast Asia. The origins of Muay Thai are unclear. One theory is that it was with the Thai people before the Thai immigration to Southeast Asia from China. Another is that it was adopted from Khmer martial arts. A third theory is that a little bit of both theories occurred. Muay Thai evolved from its ancestor, Muay Boron (“ancient boxing”), an unarmed combat used by Siamese soldiers in conjunction with Krabi Krabong, the weapon-based style.
As well as continuing to function as a practical fighting technique for use in actual warfare, Muay Thai became a sport in which the opponents fought in front of spectators who went for entertainment. These contests gradually became an integral part of local festivals and celebrations, especially those held at temples. It was even used to entertain kings. Eventually, the previously bare-fisted fighters started wearing lengths of rope wrapped around their hands and forearms. This type of match was called Muay Kadar Chuek.
Muay gradually became a possible means of personal advancement as the nobility invited selected fighters to come to live in the Royal palace to teach Muay to the staff of the royal household, soldiers, princes or the king’s personal guards. This “royal Muay” was called Muay Luang.
Some time during the Ayutthaya Period, a platoon of royal guards was established, whose duty was to protect king and the country. They were known as Grom Nak Muay (Muay Fighters’ Regiment). This royal patronage of Muay continued through the reigns of Rama V and VII.
The ascension of King Chulalongkorn (Rama V) to the throne in 1868 ushered in a Golden Age, not only for Muay, but also for the whole country of Thailand. Muay progressed greatly during the reign of Rama V as a direct result of the king’s personal interest in the art. The country was at peace, and Muay functioned as a means of physical exercise, self-defense, recreation, and personal advancement. Masters of the art, such as former fighters or soldiers, began teaching Muay in training camps where students were provided with food and shelter. Trainees were treated as one family, and it was customary for students to adopt the camp’s name as their own surname.
After the occurrence of a death in the ring, King Rama the VII pushed for codified rules for Muay Thai, and they were put into place. These included the rules that the fighters should wear modern gloves and cotton coverlets over the feet and ankles. It was also around this time in the 1920’s that the term “Muay Thai” became commonly used while the older form of the style was referred to as Muay Boran.
Muay Thai’s Influence on Kickboxing
Muay Thai heavily influenced the development of kickboxing, which was later introduced in Japan, Europe and North America. While the terms Kickboxing and Muay Thai are often used as synonyms today, kickboxing was actually developed as an independent martial arts sport in the 1950’s. In this form of kickboxing, opponents are allowed to hit each other with fists and feet, hitting above the hip. Using elbows or knees is forbidden and the use of the shins is seldom allowed.
Muay Thai Techniques
Elite Training Center teaches Muay Thai as a self-defense technique, as aerobic exercise, and as cross training for Mixed Martial Arts and our Krav Maga systems. Basic movements include punches, elbow strikes, a variety of kicks, and knee strikes. Additionally, clinches are used both offensively and defensively. The “wall of defense” uses shoulders, arms and legs to block the attacker’s moves, and is also taught for self-defense. Most Muay Thai techniques use the entire body movement, rotating the hip with each kick, punch and block. That is why these techniques are so very powerful.
Emphasizing the use of plyometrics, calisthenics and kickboxing for an intense interval-training workout, this is the ultimate cardiovascular class! You’ll be using the heavy bags and/or pad training in conjunction with a partner, although no contact is involved. This is a pure cardio workout and you’ll experience a different class every time you come, so you’ll never get bored doing the same old routine. No more running in place on the treadmill!
Muay Thai Origins
There is no clear evidence indicating the exact time in which Thai boxing originated. It can only be assumed that the art existed since the Thai emigrated from the South of China. By the time they managed to settle in the “Gold Promontory,” the Thais had gone through endless battles and had many casualties along the way. This was a time when spears, swords, pikes, bows, and arrows were at the forefront on the battlefield. When it came to hand-to-hand combat, weapons became clumsy and elbows, knees, shins, and fists became more practical. A Martial Art system was developed to be used in these battle and we know it today as Muay Thai.
Military Muay Thai
As time went on, the Thai’s settled down, built a city and gradually expanded to govern themselves in their own country. An army was needed to defend themselves. So the soldiers were all required to practice Muay Thai as a part of their military training. There was also the need for a ‘Kru Muay’ or a teacher of Thai boxing. As the art evolved, ‘boxing tactics’ were being taught and formulated to start forming different patterns, combinations of attacks, and defenses. A soldier’s rank and status in the military would be determined by their ability and talent which would also have a direct effect on their placement in the social class.
Thais originally fought bare-fisted. As time moved on they fought wrapped with rope around their fists before the introduction of boxing gloves. During each round, time was kept by piercing a hole through a floating coconut shell and when the coconut sank, a drum would be beaten to signal the end of the round.
The Wai Kru
Also known as the Ram Muay (boxing dance), this ceremony is performed by each fighter when entering the ring before their fight. It is said that those who watch the fighter’s perform their Wai Kru can sometimes determine who the winner will be. Some Ram Muay are short and brief but others can be long and eloquent. During this ceremony the fighter prays and pays respect to their teachers and family. In the past, the Ram Muay was also to apologize to the king for the brutality of fighting. The Wai Kru is still performed today by many Muay Thai fighters all over the world.
Fighters would wear amulets on their arms for good luck and protection. Originally, they were given to the fighters to inspire confidence in the athlete. Some schools also use color coded Pra Jiads to show rank, similar to belts in other Martial Arts. Many amulets were woven from rope and sometimes strands of hair belonging to the fighters mother or sister for good luck. Traditionally, Pra Jiads were kept in well reverend places, as it was thought that if someone stepped over it, it would be worthless. The armbands known as Pra Jiad are still used by professional Muay Thai fighters today all over the world.
The Mong Kon is a sacred headring worn by Muay Thai fighters. Once the Kru saw that their fighter has enough experience and learned a great deal of knowledge about Muay Thai, the Mong Kon is blessed by the teacher and is given to the fighter. The Mong Kon was never to be close to the ground in any way or else it would lose it’s worth.
Muay Thai, as the world knows it today, is the decedent of an ancient Thai Martial Art for weapons and bare handed fighting know by several names, including Martial Arts. The armies of ancient Siam (now Thailand) taught Martial Arts and its empty-hand pugilistic components to all of its citizen soldiers. Martial Arts techniques were continually advanced, developed, and perfected through the reality of deadly combat. The way of Muay Thai spread through the civilian population, and over time it became a significant part of the culture.
Muay Thai Boran is a generic term for any of the Muay Thai systems that existed in Thailand before the art became regulated by the state in the early part of the 20th century. Muay Thai Boran is the forerunner of modern Muay Thai. Martial Arts’ system of empty-hand fighting is, therefore, an old form of Muay Thai Boran. The version of Muay Thai Boran practiced at the Thailand Arts Institute is literally a component of Martial Arts.
The complete history of the old Muay Thai is unknown because Martial Arts dates back many centuries and evolved through the turmoil of many wars and political changes through the hands of many war masters. Muay Boran emerged at a time when history mostly passed down orally. The few writings that survived provide validation of the oral histories, including the historical account that dates back to at least eight centuries. Martial Arts’ empty hand systems (Muay Boran) employs the natural weapons of the human body in imitation of the ancient ways of war. For example, arms are used like swords, shins are conditioned to strike like a staff, elbows and knees are used like a war axe, the fist operates like the tip of a spear, the foot works like an arrow or pike, and the head hits like a war hammer.
Sparring is a chance for you to take the techniques and combinations you have learned and apply them in a controlled environment with another student so you can learn strategy and combative flow. It can be a great tool to practice and improve upon your skills and allows for you to learn what works best for you in a safe and secure environment.
At Elite, we take a different approach to sparring than most studios. Instead of having a sparring class, we have an Open Mat class where students are allowed to spar or practice other techniques in Kickboxing or from other Martial Arts taught at the academy. In order to spar in the Open Mat class, students are required to be in the Advanced Kickboxing program. Sparring is run by an instructor and is conducted in a very controlled environment with students never being allowed to use 100% of their strength or speed. Also, it is always an optional activity and is never required.
The Thai clinch is an entire art in itself. There is so much to constantly learn in the clinch. Pummeling for position and control, different grips with gloves vs. bare hands, and using leverage to offset your training partner or opponents balance are just a few examples. The throws and trips in the Thai clinch share an abundance of similarities with other styles of clinch such as Greco Roman Wrestling. For example, making use of your hips and knees while using pushes and pulls with your upper body can allow certain techniques to work more efficiently.
The amazing part about the clinch is that it seems never-ending, there is always something to pick up or add to what you already know which allows you to delve deeper, in essence adding more depth to your knowledge base. Even the most minute detail makes the biggest difference in body placement and positioning.
There are so many possibilities for elbows, knees and “dirty boxing” that happen in the clinch. Believe it or not, clinching is something that happens frequently in many styles of fighting. So we encourage practicing your neck pummeling, establishing under-hooks, using pulls and pushes, knee taps and foot trips to take out the balance and posture. The application of combative knees, elbows, and punches is crucial in Thai boxing and is a very important piece to understanding Mixed Martial Arts. The exploration of Muay Thai is never ending, nor should it be.