The legend of Muay Thai Chaiya began when an ex-solder, later called “Tan Poh Ma” (meaning ‘He who arrived’), turned his back on his career, to find peace under the guidance of the Buddha’s teachings. Although he left all secular routines behind, his boxing skill was brought along his pilgrimage from Bangkok to the south that ended at Chaiya District in Suratthani province, where Muay Thai Chaiya originated.
“Tan Poh Ma” taught Chaiya’s ruler (or “Pu Kham”) and locals who were interested in how to fight his way. Muay Thai Chaiya was therefore passed down to other generations. However it was limited to a group of people who loved the art of battle as it requires a passion and endeavor. After reaching a peak, Muay Thai Chaiya had to face a downturn for many decades – almost disappearing – until “Ong-Bak” (a Thai action film depicting an ancient style of Muay Thai directed by Prachya Pinkaew that had pushed Muay Thai and a leading man Tony Jaa into a worldwide hit), plus a few other films launched later that reminded viewers of its existence and raise cultural consciousness and awareness of this kind of martial art.
The Muay Chaiya technique is different from modern ring Muay Thai: no open guards gestures, no footwork, but a guard that hides the fighter’s face and a slow stalk called “Yang Sam Khum” which is a basic manner for any movements either kicking or punching used in the battle.
Muai Thai Chaiya blends art and science together. Knowledge and skills from Krabikrabong (a kind of sport and martial art), Ruesi-Dudton-Stretching-Exercise, Thai traditional massage, Pranayama or Breathing Exercise, and meditation can all advance Muay Chaiya practice.
Chanupol Yodsamai or Sho, a Muay Thai Chaiya trainer at Sukko Cultural Spa & Wellness in Phuket, told us “the only way to preserve it is to carry it down through generations.” He said that there are not many places you can learn and practice Chaiya style boxing. Most masters are in Bangkok, where he just left for Phuket, to aim to preserve Muai Thai Chaiya by teaching people here at Sukko. Classes are available from 10.00am – 7.30pm everyday except Friday.
For further information about training courses, please contact 076-263222 or log on to www.sukkospa.com