Home Beauty & Wellness Muay The Force Be With You

Muay The Force Be With You

by Webmaster Masala

Masala gets in conversation with two people who discovered the ‘Art of Eight Limbs.’

By Temur Yusuf

In today’s hectic world, we often forget to look after ourselves. Job responsibilities, family obligations and countless other activities keep us occupied beyond what we consider ideal. But it’s important to remember to look after yourself, and what better way to do this than to indulge in a physical activity that is both challenging and fun.

The art of Muay Thai has been gaining steam, at home and across the globe, not only as a professional sport but also as an activity that allows regular folks – especially beginners – to achieve levels of fitness and inner peace previously thought unimaginable. Get candid with Kabir Sachdev and Rebecca Faye Albuquerque who take us through their respective Muay Thai journeys.

 Rebecca Faye Albuquerque,  24 years old.  Project Administrator – Regional Project Management Office (Web Development) at aCommerce

What inspired you to do Muay Thai?

Kabir: I first started Muay Thai in August last year, to diversify my daily exercise and increase my cardiovascular conditioning. But with regular training, it developed from being a routine exercise to a passion of mine. Muay Thai requires a lot of kicking and footwork, which strengthens the musculature of the lower body. Due to other activities that I partake in, I found there to be a fair amount of stress on my knees, hamstrings and calves. Therefore, I slowly transitioned from doing Muay Thai to regular boxing.

Rebecca: Having completed a black belt in Taekwondo, I’ve always had an interest in the martial arts. My curiosity grew while I was in university, when some friends (who have trained professionally) and I would go to the gym on campus. There was a room with mats, punching bags and boxing gloves – so instead of the generic cardio workout, we’d go and throw some punches and kicks. Within the next three years, there was a small outburst of Muay Thai gyms near university, and that’s when I took the opportunity to officially start training in March 2016.

Why Muay Thai? Why not something else?

Kabir: I always enjoy a challenge, and to master Muay Thai one must possess a large number of athletic qualities, as well as discipline and focus. Having been born and brought up in Thailand, I wanted to embrace the national sport and immerse myself with the culture.

Rebecca: Having understood various forms of martial arts, I wanted my activity of choice to be challenging yet therapeutic at the same time. Muay Thai’s complexity drew me towards it, as one doesn’t just need to possess the physical attributes to practice it, but also requires them to up their game mentally. My focus and endurance were tried, tested and strengthened on a whole new level.

Where do you do Muay Thai? How many times a week or month do you train?

Kabir: I started with group sessions at Cheeks Thai Boxing Club in Ekamai Soi 10 twice a week. After completing my group course, I started private classes at Thai Taniguchi Sports Life in Thonglor Soi 18 twice a week as well. They both only offer Muay Thai as an option.

Rebecca: I initially started training at The Fight Club, near Assumption University Suvarnabhumi Campus. I would attempt to train at least two to three times a week. When I moved back to my parents’ place in Sukhumvit after graduating, I wasn’t too familiar with the Muay Thai gyms over here. This is when I signed up for GuavaPass, to get an idea of the options available. From the handful of gyms trained at, I’ve got to say my favourite is also Cheeks.

What, in your opinion, is the heart of Muay Thai? Compared to other martial arts, what are its strengths and disadvantages?

Kabir: Muay Thai is a striking art that utilises attacks with the fists, elbows, knees and feet. Strikes can be thrown from long, mid or close range. There is also an element of grappling in Muay Thai referred to as the clinch. Clinch manoeuvres are used to set up knee and elbow strikes, and to throw your opponent to the ground, which is a very different grappling technique used in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Comparing one martial art to another is like comparing apples to oranges. However, if I had to mention a disadvantage, it would have to be that it lacks takedowns and ground techniques as compared to other martial arts.

Rebecca: As a woman, I believe we should all be adept in some kind of self-defence technique, and to me Muay Thai excels at being just that. As it involves a striking style using only body parts as weapons, its self-defence technique is easy to grasp and apt for any age group. Not only does it make one feel safe, it also boosts your confidence, instils discipline and most importantly keeps you fit. The only downside is its lack of takedowns and ground training.

Do you find the sport to be a form of stress relief?

Kabir: I personally believe stress relief is one of the most important benefits. To be able to have an outlet for your stress is fantastic. It detaches you from the daily grind, and personally, has made me a happier and more carefree individual.

Rebecca: Personally, more than one can imagine. No matter how long or hard a day I’ve had, after going to Muay Thai, I’ve always felt a state of accomplishment, happiness and rejuvenation.

Any dos and don’ts to keep in mind?

Kabir: The most important thing is to find a good trainer who is fit for you and understands your physical abilities, so that they can aid you in maximizing your training. Once you’ve found the correct trainer, follow their guidance and everything will fall into place. Pay great attention to detail, focus and never give up.

Rebecca: Do: Always, always, always stretch – you don’t want to pull a muscle. Also, take your time to warm up. Don’t: Don’t give up too easily. Everything takes time, patience, practice and perseverance. Your body will keep adapting to and processing these changes.

How do you make time for Muay Thai along with your day job?

Kabir: At my previous job, my work hours were fixed, so it was easier to commit to training at a certain time. Now that I have started my own company, my schedule is less flexible. However, I always try to get in a good boxing workout at least twice a week. I also have a punching bag at home which I practice on every day or other day.

Rebecca: After work, you have around six hours to do anything — socialising, watching series, eating/drinking, reading — this is up to you, but it’s those hours where only you have the choice to do whatever you wish. It’s your time for personal growth and development. Therefore, one to two hours of training in Muay Thai only benefits me, my wellbeing and my health.

Do you do any other exercises to keep yourself fit for Muay Thai?

Kabir: I try to keep myself physically active almost every day either by running outdoors, weightlifting, swimming or playing sports such as football or tennis. Strength and physical conditioning are key elements to enhancing Muay Thai workouts, as it helps improve my overall strength, power and endurance.

Rebecca: Not necessarily. Since I don’t train in Muay Thai every day, the days between my sessions, I try to hit the gym as much as I can, squeeze in a run (on incline) with a mixture of some CrossFit and weights.

What can individuals who are interested in learning Muay Thai do to prepare themselves physically and mentally?

Kabir: It is important to adapt the workout to your level of fitness when you’re starting out. There is no shame in taking a break, or modifying a drill to make it fit for you. There will also always be a risk of injury, so I highly recommend consulting with a healthcare professional before beginning any type of physical endeavour. Muay Thai is an explosive and highly intensive sport and anyone that is up for a challenge will surely enjoy it. No one will get it right the first time, however, time, practice and consistency are key. Over time, your body will develop the strength, stamina and the right form which will only lead to better results.

Rebecca: Physically: go through the standard two to three fighting rounds in your training session – your stamina is important (I’ve seen a girl faint before). Mentally: Determination and focus. Your body will be learning a new form and posture. I struggled with this myself. My form was aligned with what I learned in Taekwondo, and from the first training session itself, my trainers knew I had more previous experience than a beginner. Adapting to this new form and inheriting the right movements required a lot of focus and determination to perfect the art and beauty of Muay Thai. I’m  still in the process of adapting.

Why do you think Muay Thai hasn’t gained popularity yet amongst the Indian community as an exercise or way of life? Would you recommend them to try it?

Kabir: I feel that Indians in our community prefer to take part in activities and sports that require groups of people, instead of doing things individually. We are social by nature and in Muay Thai you only get to interact with your trainer. It has also not gained as much media attention as other sports, so there is a lack of exposure to our community. Muay Thai can benefit just about anyone, and I encourage anyone that is interested in learning the art, to try it.

Rebecca: In my opinion, I don’t believe it has anything to do with the Indian culture or community we’re part of. The interest has to come from within, and if there’s one thing I’ve realised from training with a diverse crowd, it’s that Muay Thai isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Let me put it this way: I have two left feet when it comes to dancing. I really don’t have the moves, but isn’t that a popular thing amongst the Indian community? Try Muay Thai and if it’s not your thing, at least you know you tried.

Kabir Sachdev, 25 years old. Director/Founder of Ennoble Resources Intertrade Co., Ltd.

What inspired you to do Muay Thai?

Kabir: I first started Muay Thai in August last year, to diversify my daily exercise and increase my cardiovascular conditioning. But with regular training, it developed from being a routine exercise to a passion of mine. Muay Thai requires a lot of kicking and footwork, which strengthens the musculature of the lower body. Due to other activities that I partake in, I found there to be a fair amount of stress on my knees, hamstrings and calves. Therefore, I slowly transitioned from doing Muay Thai to regular boxing.

Rebecca: Having completed a black belt in Taekwondo, I’ve always had an interest in the martial arts. My curiosity grew while I was in university, when some friends (who have trained professionally) and I would go to the gym on campus. There was a room with mats, punching bags and boxing gloves – so instead of the generic cardio workout, we’d go and throw some punches and kicks. Within the next three years, there was a small outburst of Muay Thai gyms near university, and that’s when I took the opportunity to officially start training in March 2016.

Why Muay Thai? Why not something else?

Kabir: I always enjoy a challenge, and to master Muay Thai one must possess a large number of athletic qualities, as well as discipline and focus. Having been born and brought up in Thailand, I wanted to embrace the national sport and immerse myself with the culture.

Rebecca: Having understood various forms of martial arts, I wanted my activity of choice to be challenging yet therapeutic at the same time. Muay Thai’s complexity drew me towards it, as one doesn’t just need to possess the physical attributes to practice it, but also requires them to up their game mentally. My focus and endurance were tried, tested and strengthened on a whole new level.

Where do you do Muay Thai? How many times a week or month do you train?

Kabir: I started with group sessions at Cheeks Thai Boxing Club in Ekamai Soi 10 twice a week. After completing my group course, I started private classes at Thai Taniguchi Sports Life in Thonglor Soi 18 twice a week as well. They both only offer Muay Thai as an option.

Rebecca: I initially started training at The Fight Club, near Assumption University Suvarnabhumi Campus. I would attempt to train at least two to three times a week. When I moved back to my parents’ place in Sukhumvit after graduating, I wasn’t too familiar with the Muay Thai gyms over here. This is when I signed up for GuavaPass, to get an idea of the options available. From the handful of gyms trained at, I’ve got to say my favourite is also Cheeks.

What, in your opinion, is the heart of Muay Thai? Compared to other martial arts, what are its strengths and disadvantages?

Kabir: Muay Thai is a striking art that utilises attacks with the fists, elbows, knees and feet. Strikes can be thrown from long, mid or close range. There is also an element of grappling in Muay Thai referred to as the clinch. Clinch manoeuvres are used to set up knee and elbow strikes, and to throw your opponent to the ground, which is a very different grappling technique used in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Comparing one martial art to another is like comparing apples to oranges. However, if I had to mention a disadvantage, it would have to be that it lacks takedowns and ground techniques as compared to other martial arts.

Rebecca: As a woman, I believe we should all be adept in some kind of self-defence technique, and to me Muay Thai excels at being just that. As it involves a striking style using only body parts as weapons, its self-defence technique is easy to grasp and apt for any age group. Not only does it make one feel safe, it also boosts your confidence, instils discipline and most importantly keeps you fit. The only downside is its lack of takedowns and ground training.

Do you find the sport to be a form of stress relief?

Kabir: I personally believe stress relief is one of the most important benefits. To be able to have an outlet for your stress is fantastic. It detaches you from the daily grind, and personally, has made me a happier and more carefree individual.

Rebecca: Personally, more than one can imagine. No matter how long or hard a day I’ve had, after going to Muay Thai, I’ve always felt a state of accomplishment, happiness and rejuvenation.

Any dos and don’ts to keep in mind?

Kabir: The most important thing is to find a good trainer who is fit for you and understands your physical abilities, so that they can aid you in maximizing your training. Once you’ve found the correct trainer, follow their guidance and everything will fall into place. Pay great attention to detail, focus and never give up.

Rebecca: Do: Always, always, always stretch – you don’t want to pull a muscle. Also, take your time to warm up. Don’t: Don’t give up too easily. Everything takes time, patience, practice and perseverance. Your body will keep adapting to and processing these changes.

How do you make time for Muay Thai along with your day job?

Kabir: At my previous job, my work hours were fixed, so it was easier to commit to training at a certain time. Now that I have started my own company, my schedule is less flexible. However, I always try to get in a good boxing workout at least twice a week. I also have a punching bag at home which I practice on every day or other day.

Rebecca: After work, you have around six hours to do anything — socialising, watching series, eating/drinking, reading — this is up to you, but it’s those hours where only you have the choice to do whatever you wish. It’s your time for personal growth and development. Therefore, one to two hours of training in Muay Thai only benefits me, my wellbeing and my health.

Do you do any other exercises to keep yourself fit for Muay Thai?

Kabir: I try to keep myself physically active almost every day either by running outdoors, weightlifting, swimming or playing sports such as football or tennis. Strength and physical conditioning are key elements to enhancing Muay Thai workouts, as it helps improve my overall strength, power and endurance.

Rebecca: Not necessarily. Since I don’t train in Muay Thai every day, the days between my sessions, I try to hit the gym as much as I can, squeeze in a run (on incline) with a mixture of some CrossFit and weights.

What can individuals who are interested in learning Muay Thai do to prepare themselves physically and mentally?

Kabir: It is important to adapt the workout to your level of fitness when you’re starting out. There is no shame in taking a break, or modifying a drill to make it fit for you. There will also always be a risk of injury, so I highly recommend consulting with a healthcare professional before beginning any type of physical endeavour. Muay Thai is an explosive and highly intensive sport and anyone that is up for a challenge will surely enjoy it. No one will get it right the first time, however, time, practice and consistency are key. Over time, your body will develop the strength, stamina and the right form which will only lead to better results.

Rebecca: Physically: go through the standard two to three fighting rounds in your training session – your stamina is important (I’ve seen a girl faint before). Mentally: Determination and focus. Your body will be learning a new form and posture. I struggled with this myself. My form was aligned with what I learned in Taekwondo, and from the first training session itself, my trainers knew I had more previous experience than a beginner. Adapting to this new form and inheriting the right movements required a lot of focus and determination to perfect the art and beauty of Muay Thai. I’m  still in the process of adapting.

Why do you think Muay Thai hasn’t gained popularity yet amongst the Indian community as an exercise or way of life? Would you recommend them to try it?

Kabir: I feel that Indians in our community prefer to take part in activities and sports that require groups of people, instead of doing things individually. We are social by nature and in Muay Thai you only get to interact with your trainer. It has also not gained as much media attention as other sports, so there is a lack of exposure to our community. Muay Thai can benefit just about anyone, and I encourage anyone that is interested in learning the art, to try it.

Rebecca: In my opinion, I don’t believe it has anything to do with the Indian culture or community we’re part of. The interest has to come from within, and if there’s one thing I’ve realised from training with a diverse crowd, it’s that Muay Thai isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Let me put it this way: I have two left feet when it comes to dancing. I really don’t have the moves, but isn’t that a popular thing amongst the Indian community? Try Muay Thai and if it’s not your thing, at least you know you tried.

Want to try your hand at Muay Thai? Choose between the following gyms:

Cheeks Thai Boxing Gym

Ekkamai Soi 10

Tel: 087 296 9287

www.cheeksthaiboxing.com

 

Thai Taniguchi Sports Life

Thonglor Soi 18

Tel: 087 803 1317

www.fb.com/taniguchisports

 

The Fight Club Muay Thai Gym

Bangna-Garden Soi 6

Tel: 089 699 8958

www.fb.com/thefightclubtfc

Related Articles