By Art Ortega | Staff Writer
Dr. Hosung So’s Pro Prep Martial Arts class had the privilege of receiving training from two of the greatest Muay Thai fighters in the world when Grand Master Amnart Saichalard and Grand Master Yeong-Man Kim visited CSUSB for a few weeks.
Muay Thai, a very popular form of martial arts, started to gain recognition during the twentieth century when Thai fighters emerged victorious over other representatives of martial arts.
Unlike traditional western style boxing, Muay Thai uses eight points of contact: the fists, elbows, knees and feet. This is why it is referred to as, “The Art of Eight Limbs.”
“Muay Thai involves a lot of solid movements, incorporating all of the human body,” explained Grand Master Saichalard.
Besides solid movements there are also, “Foot jabs [that] are predominantly used to keep the attacker at a distance. Punches, elbow slashes and knee strikes are used during close combat,” said Saichalard.
He first started practicing Muay Thai when he was 10-years-old.
“I wanted to be able to defend and protect myself. Ever since I was a boy, I’ve never stopped training for thirty-nine years,” said Saichalard.
The Grand Masters’ instruction provided different perspectives for the students.
Saichalard demonstrated how to perform various move one being a crushing elbow strike to student Dennis Seng’s head.
After they practiced different poses Hosung and Saichalard presented the class with certificates of training in the art of Muay Thai.
“It was very culturally enriching to have the Grand Masters instruct the class. I have definitely developed a strong appreciation for both the sport and the Grand masters,” said student Dennis Seng.
“They really want the best for the students. I am very grateful that Grand Master Saichalard spent his free time in the mornings with me for extra training sessions.”
Saichalard is part of the ministry of education and also teaches his own group of students at Chulalongkorn University in Thailand.
The Masters proved to be inspiring leaders and teachers to the audiences.
“They connected with all the students,” said student Amanda Ridder, “they provided us with a unique and inspiring aura. It was empowering.”
Every strike and pose practiced in Muy Thai honors the legendary Thai fighter Nai Khanomtom, where his great accomplishment is celebrated every March 17 as National Muay Boran Day.
“’Nai’ means ‘Mr,’” said Master Saichalard. “Nai Knanomtom is the father of Muay Thai.”
Muay Thai can be practiced by anyone. It is great to learn for self-defense, and it is a great sport for teaching discipline and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.