Often, healthy resolutions for the new year come from a place of restriction – and while cutting out alcohol, eating less sugar and going meat-free are perfect for resetting your body and helping the planet, adding something to your life can also be a great way to embrace a new you. This year, why not resolve to learn the ancient art of Muay Thai? As mentally rewarding as it is physically demanding, Muay Thai is an outstanding method of getting fit. Here’s why practising Muay Thai should be at the top of your list of goals for 2018, and what you need to know to get started.
What is Muay Thai?
Also known as Thai boxing, Muay Thai is a martial art that uses specific fighting techniques such as punching, elbow striking, kicking and foot thrusting. It typically requires intense body conditioning and physical fitness, but there are now gyms around the world that teach people of all skill and fitness levels the intricacies of the sport. You don’t have to be a fighter to enjoy Muay Thai; you simply need the desire to condition your body and put it to the test!
A brief history of Muay Thai
Muay Thai is deeply connected to the history and culture of Thailand, though it has its roots in influences from across the Indochinese region. Scholars believe that it developed over the centuries as tribes moved from China to Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Burma and, of course, Thailand. It was honed as a military fighting technique used on the battlefield and passed down from generation to generation as both a combat tactic and a form of exercise. The sport’s modernisation began in the 20th century, and it has continued to gain international popularity ever since.
Beyond physical fitness: Muay Thai and mindfulness
With sharp movements and refined techniques, it’s clear that Muay Thai is excellent physical exercise – but the mental benefits of practising this sport are what make it such a great new year’s resolution. Learning the techniques of Muay Thai takes discipline and dedication, something you can apply to your career and relationships. The sport also teaches athletes the value of passion and practise: even if you aren’t the best at Muay Thai, improvements will come if you put in the time. Perhaps most importantly, Muay Thai fosters mindfulness in the people who stick with it. In order to properly react to your opponent’s moves, you must be completely focused on the present moment. You can use this outlook anytime you’re feeling overwhelmed or distracted by your thoughts, so you can enjoy the world around you.
Of course, it’s totally acceptable if your favourite part of Muay Thai is fuelling up for an intense match or practise session at your local Thai restaurant in Angel – after all, your body’s performance all depends on what you put into it! At Banana Tree, we think the perfect pre- or post-Muay Thai meal is a plate of our delicious Phad Thai – with rice noodles, your choice of meat or tofu and a divine sprinkling of peanuts, it’s got the balance of carbs, protein and healthy fats you need to energise your workout. The combination of Muay Thai’s physical and mental exercise and Banana Tree’s delicious food is bound to make 2018 your best year yet!