I just came across this Muay Thai video on YouTube. Here are some of the best knockouts from 2012 – apparently. I was impressed anyway.
I found out the hard way that trying to learn Muay Thai from a book is not always such a swell idea. Before I began attending lessons at Sitsonpeenong a couple of years ago I invested my money in a couple of books and tried to follow the instructions on how to perform the techniques. Of course the outcome was that I picked up bad habits that I’m still trying to unlearn. I don’t believe that it is possible to learn any martial arts this way, but I have gained a great deal of knowledge from the material. Here are the best Muay Thai books that I have come across so far:
Muay Thai: A Living Legacy
I bought Muay Thai: A Living Legacy Vol 1., 2nd Ed.by Lesley D. Junlakan from Asia Books in Bangkok. I notice that it is significantly cheaper to buy here in Thailand. I love this book. It is the sort of thing that you would want to keep on your coffee table. It is packed full of superb photos and information, and it covers everything. It is the nearest thing that I’ve seen to an encyclopaedia of Muay Thai. If I was only allowed to keep one of my Muay Thai books then this would be the one.
A Fighter’s Heart
A Fighter’s Heart: One Man’s Journey Through the World of Fighting by Sam Sheridan is an excellent memoir that follows his journey as a martial artist. There are only a few chapters devoted to his time learning Muay Thai in Thailand, but he provides a colourful description. I sort of wish that he had written a book purely devoted to Muay Thai, but I wasn’t disappointed with the rest of the book. I also read The Fighter’s Mind: Inside the Mental Gameby the same author and that contains plenty of interesting information.
Fighting Strategies of Muay Thai: Secrets of Thailand’s Boxing Camps
Fighting Strategies Of Muay Thai: Secrets of Thailand’s Boxing Campsby Mark Van Schuyver and Pedro Solana Villalobos was the first book that I bought. I have the kindle version. I did learn a great deal from this manual even though much of the material is aimed at the more advanced student. The authors provided plenty of information about what to expect when you begin training Muay Thai. The thing that I found most useful was the chapters on fight strategy and the type of fighters that I would be likely to be up against. I still have not managed to get anywhere near ready to enter a fight, but these chapters helped me understand what is involved in sparring.
Muay Thai Sport
I bought the Thai and English version of Muay Thai Sportby Somboon Tapina. It contains plenty of solid information about Muay Thai technique along with other useful information. It comes with clear photographs demonstrating how each technique should be performed – although as I said above it is probably not a good idea to depend too completely on any book for learning these moves.
The Fighter’s Body: An Owner’s Manual: Your Guide to Diet, Nutrition, Exercise and Excellence in the Martial Arts
The Fighter’s Body: An Owner’s Manual: Your Guide to Diet, Nutrition, Exercise and Excellence in the Martial Artsby Loren W. Christensen and Wim Demeere is not aimed specifically at Muay Thai Fighters, but it has a great deal of useful information. One of the main problems I had with my attempt to train for a fight was getting my weight down. The owner of Sitsongpeenong advised that I see a nutrition expert here in Bangkok, and that helped a great deal. I also gained a deeper level of understanding by reading this book.
Muay Thai Fighter
I know that I’m being a bit cheeky here by including my own book Muay Thai Fighterin this best books list but it is my blog. This is a humorous account of what happens when a middle aged coward tried to take on Muay Thai in Thailand. If you find Mr Bean amusing then you might like this as well.
This is nowhere near a comprehensive list, but that’s the limits of my reading journey so far in this martial art. If you guys have any more suggestions for good Muay Thai books send me a review, and I will add it on here.
My current battle to control my body weight shares uncomfortable similarities to my two decades of alcohol addiction. I’m not massively obese or anything, but my middle age spread does make self conscious. I think it is even more noticeable in Thailand because I can’t cover up with layers of clothing. My growing tummy is there for all to see, and it makes me feel bad. I also have a history of heart disease in my family so allowing myself to turn into a fatty is reckless.
When I was training full time at Muay Thai last year I managed to get my weight right down. I felt great and my energy levels seemed to sky rocket. I let things slip though and now it feels harder than ever to lose the weight. I’ve tried fasting two days a week and juicing but neither of these seems to be a permanent solution to my weight problems. I need to get back to some type of intensive training, but I feel caught in a rut. I’ve lots of excuses for not making time for Muay Thai, but I need to do something or else accept the limitations of being overweight. I’m not convinced that my weight can not be controlled with diet or exercise alone – it needs to be the two of these together.
I’ve written a number of posts recently on my other websites paulgarrigan.com about my battle with the flab:
Ten weeks of 5:2 Intermittent Fasting
Second Week of 5:2 Fasting Diet
Week Three of the 5:2 Intermittent Fasting Diet
Changes to My 5:2 Intermittent Fasting Plan
Intermittent Fasting as a Spiritual Exercise
5:2 Fasting Diet Update Week 6
Hardest Day Yet with 5:2 Intermittent Fasting
Off the Rails with the 5:2 Fasting Diet
Maverick House have just released the e-Book version of my new book ‘Muay Thai Fighter” on Amazon. The paperback is to be released within the next few weeks. This is the story of what happened to me when I tried to take on the toughest martial art in the world. It didn’t end as I expected, but it was one hell of a journey. I’m really looking forward to getting some feedback on this book so don’t be shy.
I feel a bit envious of my son Timmy. He is coming up to his fifth birthday and he has already been practicing martial arts for over a year. This is because his school here in Bangkok offers Tae Kwon Do classes in Kindergarten. He didn’t seem that interested at first but this activity has taken on a whole new meaning for him since he developed an obsession with Ben 10. If he continues practicing as he grows up he could probably do really well at it. I’m not going to be a pushy parent about it though – if he continues to want to do it I’ll be delighted.
Introducing My Son to Muay Thai
Some people have suggested that it would be good to introduce Timmy to Muay Thai soon. My wife hates the idea because she has been brought up with the belief that this activity is reserved for young people looking for a way out of poverty. She doesn’t get the idea that people might want to learn Muay Thai for fun. From her point of view something like Tae Kwon Do is far more acceptable because it is foreign and exotic. I’ve suggested that my son might take up Muay Boran, and she is more amenable to this. I will wait until after his birthday in August and maybe we can both attend Master Suphan’s class together. I trained martial arts with my dad so it is a bit of a tradition – I felt closest to my father when we were doing this activity together.
I think learning a martial art is great for kids. It teaches them discipline and helps them build self confidence. I would be worried if he later decided that he wanted to begin fighting Muay Thai. If he is old enough and he really wants to do though I’ll try to support him – my wife will be a different story though.
I had expected my book Muay Thai Fighter to be published by now, but there is still no release date (at least not one that I’m aware of). It’s a bit frustrating because I’m anxious to hear what other people make of my story. It is not a traditional martial arts tale, and I don’t come out the end of the book looking like some type of warrior. Instead it is humorous story of what happens when a 40 year old ex-drunk gets in over his head. I hope that despite the lack of a Rocky ending people are going to enjoy this book. I won’t know this though until it gets released.
I feel honoured that a publisher is willing to take a chance on my writing, but I sometimes envy self-published writers. Nowadays almost anyone is able to not only write a book, but they are able to take charge of every aspect of the process. Of course there is a great deal of work involved in self publishing, and there tends to be far less quality control. The nice thing about working with a publisher is they take over once the manuscript is complete and they ensure that the finished product is well presented. The drawback of all this is that once the book is written I don’t have that much control. The publisher has their own priorities, and I have to just go along with them.
Hopefully I will be given a release date for the book soon. I will keep you updated both here and the Muay Thai Fighter Facebook Page.