Muay Thai is the national sport of Thailand and is something this beautiful country prides itself on. For years, the Thai’s dominated the top rankings in all Muay Thai organizations until the Dutch style of kickboxing, which favours footwork and western boxing skills, proved it was as effective a striking system by beating some of the best Thai fighters in their home country.
The clash of 2 dominant striking systems forced both systems to evolve. The Muay Thai community was forced to put more attention into punching offensively and defensively, and other subtleties such as foot work. The Dutch style kickboxers were forced to deal with well- developed traditional Thai weapons, like elbows and clinch work, offensively and defensively. This was an exciting time for the sport.
As the sport evolved, so did the rules. Some organizations stuck with the traditional rules of Muay Thai, while others went to a modified version, which we now know as the K1 style.
As the years went by, MMA started to surface and the new rule set presented interesting challenges for almost every pure striking system. The small gloves and takedowns meant footwork was important. Knees and kicks meant a defensive system based purely on head movement was high risk. Each striking system, from boxing to Muay Thai to karate, had all been the dominant striking systems for some period of time only to see, years later, the same fighters struggle to compete with the new generation of well rounded up and comers. One thing is for certain; not one striking system is perfect and can clearly be called the best. The only thing we know is that those who are unwilling to evolve get left behind.
This leaves us in an uncomfortable position as to what we should label this program. It would be very short sighted to label this program under just one discipline. This is not traditional Muay Thai, Dutch style kick boxing, Western boxing, or karate. It is a comprehensive striking system using all 8 limbs. We don’t prioritize kicks, knees, elbows, or punches; rather, we teach that context and understanding range determines the appropriate weapon. Neither head movement, footwork, or blocking are prioritized as the primary defensive system; rather, understanding the safest line of defense to be used on your opponent is what we focus on.
We will label this program as Muay Thai because of the usage of all 8 limbs (weapons) but it is much more than Muay Thai. The purist might be upset or confused at our usage of the term, but our philosophy here at Para Bellum is that we will not be defined by a label; rather, we will discard the bad while adapting the good.