Kru Petchboonchu, or Kru Benz as he’s also known, has 14 titles under his belt, making him the most decorated muay thai world champion in history.
Passionate about teaching the art of the eight limbs, he hopes to one day set up his own muay Thai camp in Bangkok or in his hometown in the northeastern region of Thailand.
While he wants his students to take training seriously, he says he also wants them to enjoy the process and have fun at same time. We sat down with him to find out what else they need to know.
#1 Stay Focused
Treat training as precious me-time. It is the time of the day when you can leave your worries at the door and concentrate on improving yourself, so make the most of it!
#2 Be Coachable
Come to class with an open mind, and be ready to accept whatever is being taught. Learning a martial art is not easy, to say the least, and it is going to take years of practice to become good at it. The journey will be tough, but immensely rewarding at the same time.
#3 Safety Comes First
Stretching and warming up are important – these are the main reasons why you need to be punctual for class. The rest of the class will be intense, and you would be putting yourself at risk of injury if you do not warm up properly.
#4 Fundamentals Are Key
Besides having complete control of your movement – be it punches or kicks – you should also know how to defend yourself before you start sparring. Knowing how to block punches and kicks is just as important as learning how to throw a combination.
#5 Never Forget Sportsmanship
That means treating others the way you want to be treated. Don’t want your partners to go too hard on you? Then learn how to control your own strength when you spar with them.
#6 There’s A Reason For All That Running
Not only will running help you attain baseline cardiovascular fitness, it also helps build strength and endurance in your legs. If time permits, try going for a short run twice or thrice a week before your muay thai class.
#7 Don’t Shadow Box Mindlessly
Rather than viewing it as a warm-up routine before you get to hit the pads and bags, start to see shadow boxing as the time where you can really focus on your movements and sharpen your technique.
It helps to imagine how you see a fight panning out. Think about an opponent is coming to you with a certain attacking sequence, then react accordingly as you shadow box.
#8 Learn How To Hold Pads
This way, you’ll be in a better position to see how other people execute certain techniques.
#9 Breathe Right
One of the reasons why muay thai instructors always emphasise vocalising your exhalations is because this helps your body relax which, in turn, will help you move more efficiently.
#10 Focus on technique, not speed & power
Too many beginners worry about the lack of power in their strikes. However, this is the wrong way to go about thinking about it. Concentrate, first, on getting basic techniques down – such as making the effort to twist your hip when you kick – and the power will eventually follow.