Box Your Way Into Good Health With Muay Thai
There are a lot of ways to stay fit and Muay Thai is right up there on the fitness chart at Pico Athletic Club.
What is Muay Thai?
Muay Thai is a form of martial arts practiced in large parts of the world, including Thailand and other Southeast Asian countries. Traditional Muay Thai practiced today varies significantly from the ancient art muay boran and uses kicks and punches in a ring with gloves similar to those used in Western boxing. In Muay Thai the student uses his hands, elbows and knees. The entire body is the weapon.
Muay Thai is referred to as “The Art of the Eight Limbs“, as the hands, shins, elbows, and knees are all used extensively in this art. A practitioner of Muay Thai (“nak muay“) thus has the ability to execute strikes using eight “points of contact,” as opposed to “two points” (fists) in Western boxing and “four points” (fists, feet) used in the primarily sport-oriented forms of martial arts.
We got to see a bit of Muay Thai at Pico Athletic Club (aka PAC) with Owner and Personal Trainer Roland Richards. It’s 2pm in the afternoon and Roland’s client Dimitiri, new to Muay Thai was anxious to get in the ring and show us his moves. Roland, a professional ex-fighter explained why Muay Thai is a favorite with many of his clients. After the session we had a chance to chat with Roland about Muay Thai and his gym.
RG-Why do so many of your clients like to learn Muay Thai?
Roland- With Muay Thai you’re not just using your hands but then you add kicks and your elbows, for many clients this is much more exciting than just straight boxing and great for self-defense. In fact your entire body becomes the ultimate weapon.
RG-What are some of the skills a beginner needs to have to be effective in Muay Thai?
Roland- They must have stamina, good eye, hand and feet co-ordination and of course be committed to putting the time in?
RG-What do you recommend Muay Thai or Boxing for your clients?
Roland- Well, we teach both but there are clients who want straight boxing. However for many clients once I explain the difference between the two, a lot opt for Muay Thai.
RG- Do you teach men and women differently?
Roland- Not at all, but I find that some women adapt to Muay Thai a bit better than men. Even if they may not be physically stronger than men they tend to grasp the multi-tasking element of Muay Thai a lot faster.
RG-What advice would you give to trainers who teach Muay Thai?
Roland- I would say know the science behind the exercise, for example the trainer needs to explain why the right stance is important to get the best results when you use your feet; and for sure know the technical parts of the exercise. Another important factor is to observe the concentration of the client, if it’s not there then it is the job of a trainer to give them the skill set to fix the problem.
RG-Do you offer a training program for trainers?
Roland-Yes, I love helping trainers add more to their current regimen. Many trainers come to me to update their technique and it’s really important in the our field to stay connected on every level. If a trainer thinks he/she knows it all then to me that means he/she still has a lot to learn.
Pico Athletic Club has a simple training philosophy; Not All Bodies Are Created Equal So Create The Body You Want For Life. And that is exactly how Roland approaches each client, they call him the ‘Body Whisperer.’ “He just seems to understand my body on a cellular level,” said Joslyn one of his long term clients who came to him a year ago at size 20 and now is down to a size 8.
Each trainer goes through a rigorous process with Roland before they are allowed to work with any clients. His exercise programs are designed to build core strength and to work the body from the inside out. Roland’s plyomteric* program is unique because he redesigns each exercise based on the client’s medical history, endurance levels and the clients desired goal.
Pico Athletic club is organic in its look and feel, there are no high tech fancy machines but lots of hands on equipment from bosu balls, resistance straps, medicine balls just to mention a few. If you are willing to work hard and not be afraid of trainers who will push you to your maximum level of performance then Pico Athletic Club might be the gym for you.
To learn more about Roland and Pico Athletic Club visit www.picoathleticclub.com
*PLYOMETRICS-This training focuses on learning to move from a muscle extension to a contraction in a rapid or “explosive” manner. Plyometrics are primarily used by athletes especially to improve performance.