6 June 2024

More than 300 Muay Thai enthusiasts from 21 countries have applied to learn the martial art at the official launch of the “Amazing Muay Thai Master Class in UK 2024”, held at a hotel in Reading in southern England on Saturday.

The launch was presided over by Thai ambassador to the UK, Thanee Thongphakdi, and Pimol Srivikorn, head of Thailand’s sports soft power subcommittee. The class is intended to promote Thai martial arts and culture.

Pimol said that he was very touched by the number of people, from 6-year-olds to adults, who queued up to join the class, to be taught by well-known Muay Thai professional boxers, namely Suppachai Muensang, aka “Super Bond”, Nilda Meekhun and Nong Oh.

The trainers

He said that similar classes will be held in other countries to promote not just Muay Thai, but also Thai culture and Thai food as elements of Thailand’s soft power, adding that he will propose that the government extend visas, up to one year, for foreigners who are interested in learning Muay Thai in Thailand.

Pimol also said that the sports soft power subcommittee will try to improve the standard of the Muay Thai boxing camps, by granting certificates to those which meet the standards set by the subcommittee, adding that, so far, three boxing camps have received such certificates.

Suppachai, meanwhile, said that he was thrilled by the enthusiasm of the people who applied to learn Muay Thai and promised that he would do his best to teach them by drawing on his full knowledge and experience.

He complained, however, that while foreigners appreciate Muay Thai, quite a few Thai people look down on the profession and its boxers, as he urged both the public and private sectors to support the martial art.

Nilda Meekhun said that, in the future, he expects, more foreign fighters will be fighting Thai boxers, adding that Thai boxers themselves must improve and train on a regular basis to face challenges from foreign Muay Thai boxers.