Yamasaki Academy teaches traditional Muay Thai as it is done in its home country, Thailand. Coach Mark DeLuca is working with the Independent Board of Muay Thai Officials (IBMTO) to help facilitate the development of Muay Thai in the United States and our program curriculum uses their judging and rules criteria as the basis for what is taught in our classes. We generally will cover techniques specifically for the Muay Thai sport aspect, but we as a striking art Muay Thai lends itself well to self defense and anti-bullying. While sparring is a necessary part of learning Muay Thai, we do not condone the intentional harming or bullying of teammates or competitors. Students must, however, learn and understand how and why a technique is effective. For that reason all students are expected to treat each other with the utmost respect regardless of experience level.
Our Youth Muay Thai program does incorporate sparring into the curriculum for the more advanced students. Any Youth Muay Thai student who is showing control and a strong ability to defend themselves may also be invited to attend the Muay Thai Sparring class on Saturdays.
Youth Muay Thai students sparring
At the Yamasaki Academy of Woodbridge we strongly believe that Self-Defense doesn’t have to be Self-Offense. By training in a Combat Sport like Muay Thai, our students learn how to defend themselves against an opponent of equal or greater skill. Someone of less skill, therefore, doesn't represent a threat. They learn that it's not necessary to strike or hurt someone to stay safe and win in competition. This is very often an important distinction for people seeking self-defense training in that we don’t have to be more violent than our “opponent”.
We feel strongly that by having children compete against other skilled competitors they learn the necessary skills necessary for self defense and handling bullies. These skills are not only the physical aspects, but more importantly the mental fortitude. Their confidence in their abilities is REAL because they have had to put it to the test. This carries with them in real life and allows them to defeat the bully the best way possible: To ignore them. We have seen this time and time again with our kids here at the Academy.
Muay (translation: boxing) Thai is the national sport of Thailand. Known as the Art of 8 Limbs, Muay Thai was developed on the battlefields by the Tai tribe people, later to be the Thai people. Battles were fought to the death with nothing more than their bare hands, elbows, knees and legs. Hands became the sword and dagger, shins and forearms were armor, elbows took the place of the mace or harmer, while the legs and knees became the axe and staff. As the kingdom on Thailand developed and grew, King Naresuan made this style of boxing the nation sport and created entire armies of Muay Thai fighters. It was during this time that fighting in a "ring" became popular and fight centers were developed all over the kingdom.
Eventually Muay Thai became a form of entertainment. The sport had become an integral part of celebrations and festivities across the country. The length of each round was measured by a coconut with a small hole that would float in water. The coconut filling with water and sinking to the bottom of the barrel signified its end, though there was still no limit to the number of rounds per fight. Combatants continued to fight until a clear winner was chosen, or one person was left standing. Fighters, competing for royalty and honor of becoming royal guards, could bring audiences from far and wide. The most famous of these legendary fighters was Nai Khanomtom from the 18th century. Captured by the Burmese, this Thai warrior was forced to fight in front of the Burmese king against his best fighters. He so impressed the Burmese king with this skill he won his freedom by going undefeated and returned to Thailand a hero. The legend of Muay Thai as one of the best hand to hand forms of combat grew.
In 1778, legend has it that two French brothers came to Thailand in search of boxing competition. One of the brothers was a renowned fighter who wanted to fight a Muay Thai fighter for prizes. The King of Thailand constructed a 20' x 20' ring at the Grand Palace at the temple of the emerald Buddha and offered 4000 baht to the challenger. The story goes that the larger French fighter was winning early but quickly tired when, on the verge of losing, his brother jumped in the ring to help. This caused a huge riot between the foreign spectators and the Thai. The two French brothers left in disgrace.
Muay Thai would take the world stage in World War I. Under French colonial control, Thai fighters stationed in France would organize Muay Thai bouts to boost the morale of the servicemen. French boxers would often participate and compete against the Thai fighters. Back in Thailand, the first permanent boxing stadium was built after the war. They still did not have the modern gloves used today, so fighters’ hands were wrapped in cotton and hemp. When soldiers returned from tours of duty, they often engaged in matches for sport and fun. Older soldiers, being survivors of many battles and hand-to-hand confrontations, became “Kroo Muay” – instructors and teachers.
By the second World War foreign military personnel stationed in Thailand were learning and fighting Muay Thai with the locals. Major Muay Thai stadiums were erected in large cities throughout the country. Bangkok’s Lumpini Stadium is now almost considered the “holy ground” to the masses of Muay Thai fighters, local and foreign. An integrated system of weight-classes, absolute rules and championships were introduced and became the sport of Muay Thai as we know it today.
Khaay Muay Sit-Kangmongkorn in Pittsburgh, PA
Head Muay Thai coach Mark "Diamond Heart" DeLuca
is a retired professional Muay Thai fighter from the Khaay Muay Sit-Kangmongkorn
team in Pittsburgh, PA. Khaay Muay Sit-Kangmongkorn' s Muay Thai Kru is Matee "Kangmongkorn" Jedeepitak
. Coach Mark, along with all the fighters and coached from Khaay Muay Sit-Kangmongkorn. has trained and fought in Thailand with Sanchai Sor Kingstar's Camp, Jitti Gym, Sasiprapa, Sor Vorapin and Fairtex Bangplee. Mark DeLuca has fought, and won, in famous Lumpini stadium in Thailand.
Assistant Muay Thai coach Ron King III
began his Muay Thai training at the age of 12 with Bao Khong. He started training with coach Mark DeLuca a couple of years later. By the time Ron was 18 years old he had 19 amateur fights under his belt and continues to fight on the national and international scene.