“He who is not courageous enough to take risks will achieve nothing in life”
⏤ Muhammad Ali.
Above is ResilienceMT founder Chris Gauntlett competing at Federation Square as part of the 2009 Melbourne Thai Festival.
Boxing and Muay Thai training in South Melbourne at Resilience MT uses the best of both traditional and modern day training methods to improve physical fitness and provide skills for self defence.
Western boxing has a very long history, stretching back thousands of years. It’s earliest recorded depictions are in a Sumerian relief from Iraq from the third millennium BCE. The earliest known recorded time of boxing being practised as a sport is in ancient Greece. There, It was first introduced as a sport at the 23rd Olympiad in 688 BCE.
Since those ancient times, boxing has evolved tremendously both regarding technique, rules, and training methodology. In Western Europe boxing developed as a military art of unarmed combat, and incorporated wrestling, throwing, headbutting and eye gouging techniques. In the West, boxing first began to emerge as a documented sport in the 1700s. The first historically documented rules were introduced by Jack Broughton in 1743 with the purpose of preventing the unnecessary deaths of competing fighters. These early rules included: no hitting a downed fighter, no hitting or grabbing below the waist, and a 30-second count for a downed fighter, after which time if he couldn’t continue, then the fight was forfeit.
In 1867 John Chambers introduced the Marquess of Queensberry rules which included: three-minute rounds, a ten-second count for a downed opponent, the banning of wrestling, and the introduction of gloves. Boxing continued to develop, but remained a largely outlawed endeavour through much of England and The United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In 1892 ‘Gentleman Jim’ Corbett defeated John L. Sullivan to become the first world heavyweight champion.
Today boxing is a multi-billion dollar industry, and one of the most financially lucrative professional world sports. The techniques, training methods, and rules have evolved significantly from its early beginnings. However, it remains an incredibly effective system of self-defence, and its transition to a global competition sport has developed a method strength, fitness, and conditioning training that is one of the most well rounded and complete.
Muay Thai is the indigenous martial art of Thailand, and it is often referred to as the ‘art’ or ‘science of eight limbs’ because it utilises eight points of contact employing punching, elbow, knee, and kicking strikes. Muay Thai’s origins are over two thousand years old, and it evolved and developed as the battlefield fighting art of the Siamese (Thai) people. The unarmed system of the art developed using the body to imitate the weapons of war. The hands were used as swords and daggers, the shins and forearms hardened to function like armour, the elbows to be deployed like maces or hammers, and the legs and knees to be used like staves and axes.
Much of Muay Thai’s ancient origins are shrouded in folklore and legend. This is in part due to the loss of many written historical records during the Burmese sacking of Ayutthaya, the Siam (Thailand) capital in the 14th century. The modern sporting version of Muay Thai differs considerably from its battlefield origins. Older versions of the art include Muay Boran, Muay Chaiya, Krabi Krabong and Mae Mai Muay Thai. These arts employ significantly different hand to hand techniques and also incorporate training in a variety of weapon systems.
Modern Muay Thai traces its history back to the famous boxing contests held between Burma and Siam in the mid 18th century. Previous to this time, Muay Thai was a sport of growing popularity in Siam and was often included as part of the entertainment at public festivals and at temple ceremonies. Bare-knuckle contests evolved into matches with hemp bound fists, which became known as Khat Chueak. These matches gained particular prominence under the reign of King Naresuan in 1560 CE. In 1920 boxing rings replaced courtyards as the primary location for holding contests. Boxing gloves gradually replaced hemp rope bound fists.
However, it wasn’t until the end of World War Two that Muay Thai received the greatest exposure to the West. Thai soldiers fighting in the WW2 giving demonstrations of the art drew much interest from soldiers from western countries. The end of World War Two saw many of the formal rules that are used in Muay Thai today introduced; headbutts were removed, five-round fight durations added with breaks and time limits also introduced. During this time, Western Boxing also had a profound influence on the hand techniques of Muay Thai. In the years ahead, weight classes and a points scoring system would also be introduced.
Today Muay Thai is practised in countries all over the world. It retains many of the techniques from its battlefield origins. Modern Muay Thai employs kicks, punches, elbows, knees, grappling and throws. It is a fantastic art to train for both fitness and self-defence, and is one of the most technically comprehensive systems of combat sports.
A strong emphasis is placed on creating a solid foundation of correct technique and proper body mechanics. Traditional offensive and defensive techniques are taught and explained thoroughly within the context of strategy and ring craft.
Training incorporates pad-work, shadow boxing, focus mitt drills, skipping, heavy bag work, speed ball and floor to ceiling ball drills.
Boxing and Muay Thai specific strength and conditioning training is also included, and is tailored to suit individual requirements.
Sparring is not a requirement for participation in general training and is available on request to members interested in exploring the combative aspects of the art.
Boxing and Muay Thai training sessions cater to all levels of fitness and experience. Benefits include:
Boxing and Muay Thai training is currently offered in personal training sessions, by appointment, for individuals or small groups (of up to 4 people).
For specific fitness requirements and needs, contact Chris Gauntlett to find out more.
All content © Chris Gauntlett, Resilience Massage and Training, South Melbourne, 2017.