The Cellar Gym is proud to have one of the most comprehensive and well-built Muay Thai programs in the United States, as well as one of the best teams of competitors in the Midwest. Please read on for helpful information about the sport of Muay Thai and The Cellar Gym’s Muay Thai program.
History of Muay Thai
The art of Muay Thai originated in Thailand, a Southeast Asian nation known formerly as Siam. Muay Thai’s origins began as a hand-to-hand combat training system for the Thai army. Unlike many other martial arts, Muay Thai incorporates the use of knees and elbows in addition to punches and kicks. Because Muay Thai emphasizes the use of unorthodox strikes using the shins, knees, fists, and elbows, it is often referred to as the Art of Eight Limbs.
Practitioners of the sport are sometimes referred to as “Nak Muay”, which translates simply to “Thai boxer” or “Muay Thai fighter”. Today, Muay Thai is the official national sport of Thailand, and is practiced internationally in premier fighting organizations such as ONE Championship!
Ajarn Chai Sirisute
Ajarn Chai is the founder and president of the World Thai Boxing Association; he is credited with bringing the art of Muay Thai to the United States. A practitioner of Muay Thai since the age of six, Ajarn Chai left his home in Thailand’s capital of Bangkok in 1968 to teach the martial art in America. Several of The Cellar Gym’s Muay Thai black ranks trained and received their promotion directly under Ajarn Chai, including Ben and Katie Locken, Chris and Jen Cichon, and Lucas and Talitha Lundgren. Ajarn Chai regularly hosts seminars and training camps for both beginners and high level Muay Thai practitioners. The Cellar Gym has hosted Ajarn Chai both virtually and in-person for seminars and ceremonies; we hope to continue this tradition in the future as well!
World Thai Boxing Association (WTBA)
Founded and chaired by Ajarn Chai Sirisute, the WTBA is the sanctioning body for Muay Thai in North America. It hosts and regulates Muay Thai tournaments and competitions, as well as creates and distributes the Muay Thai curriculum used by The Cellar Gym and many other gyms across the nation.
Muay Thai Rank System
Traditional Muay Thai does not use or recognize a ranking system. Hemp armbands, called Prajiad, are often worn by traditional Thai fighters for symbolic and superstitious reasons. To emphasize safety and progression in the sport, the WTBA has modernized this tradition and now uses colored arm bands to denote rank and approximate skill level.
Everyone starts with a White rank, eventually advancing to Yellow, Orange, Green, Blue, Purple, Red, Brown, Black, and beyond. Classes are then divided approximately according to rank so that both beginner and advanced students are challenged appropriately according to their skill level while maintaining a safe training environment. To advance in rank, students must participate in regularly scheduled rank tests. These tests are generally conducted at a faster pace, and coaches are focused on evaluating each student’s technique and skill rather than on critiquing or giving instruction.
Attendance is one of many factors that goes into determining one’s eligibility for rank promotion. We cannot retroactively add members for missed check-ins, so it is important that you diligently record your sessions by checking in upon arrival. To see the most improvement in terms of skill and rank progression, we recommend that students consistently train a minimum of two to three times per week.
If you have any questions about The Cellar Gym’s Muay Thai program, please contact us in any way or speak with one of our Muay Thai coaches.