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An Overview of Muay Thai Kickboxing

written by: Carmen Tomas • edited by: Angela Atkinson • updated: 6/28/2011

Thailand's Muay Thai kickboxing's popularity has grown over the years, not just in Asian countries but all over the world. This very intense sport is well-loved by spectators but has now evolved as a fitness workout exercise for many as well. Read on to learn more about Muay Thai.

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    Muay Thai kickboxing originated from Thailand and is the most popular sport in that country. The sport extensively uses the hands, feet, elbows and knees-which is why it is also referred to as the “Science of Eight Limbs.”

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    The History

    Muay Thai’s history goes back to the ancient era when Thai soldiers' bodies were used as weapons in battles. According to the manual that was written during that time called the “Chupasart," total commitment of the body, mind and soul is crucial in mastering the skills of Muay Thai.

    One of the most famous stories in recorded history of the use of Muay Thai was in the year 1774, when the legendary Nai Khanom Dtom supposedly defeated ten of the best Burma boxers in a contest after being held captive as a prisoner.

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    Evolution of Muay Thai

    Today, Muay Thai is a recognized sport all over the globe. It has evolved from being a weapon in a battle to being a contact sport. It is also being learned by many people these days as a way to keep fit. Since all limbs are used for Muay Thai, it is a very effective cardio exercise workout and plenty of people are enjoying the benefits with regards to getting in shape, toning and burning calories fast.

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    Classes & Fitness

    If you are interested in joining a class for fitness reasons, here is a run down of a typical class format:

    • Intense warm-ups. This may include but not limited to jumping ropes, body weight exercises and shadow boxing.
    • Drilling and pad work with a partner to develop speed and timing of kicks and punches.
    • More conditioning exercises, bag work and eventually cool down work outs.
    • Sparring with a partner is usually reserved for individuals in the advanced levels.
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    Also known as cardio-kickboxing, Muay Thai has become a craze in many gym and fitness clubs. Eighty percent of gyms offer such cardio workouts. Muay Thai's popularity is likely related to the fact that the workout is fun and lively, but at the same time helps you burn more calories fast and effectively.

    You can burn an average of 350 to 450 calories per hour when doing cardio kickboxing for your workout exercise, the same as if you were brisk walking or light jogging for an hour--but more benefits come with cardio kickboxing. Taking up cardio kickboxing will improve your flexibility and coordination, heighten your reflexes and also improve your body’s strength.

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    A Word of Caution

    Although this is a very effective workout exercise, it carries a high risk of injury. According to the PubMed Central, cardio kickboxing injuries have the same risk percentage as karate and Taekwondo. Risk of injuries decrease with more training. Always check with your doctor before starting this or any new fitness program to ensure that it's safe for you to do so.