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In this section you will find a selection of essays written by Arjarn De Cesaris and by several international members of IMBA. The topics relate to IMBA’s way of understanding Muay Boran: the Spirit, the Science and the Art of Siam’s martial discipline perceived with the eyes of modern practitioners.

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Learning original Muay Thai: the power of team work. Chapter 4.The cobra and the pit-bull: a comparison of Muay Thai styles. By Marco De Cesaris During the days spent at Pinsinchai Boxing Gym between 1986 an 1995 I met and trained with some of the best fighters of the so-called Golden Era of Muay Thai. […]

Learning original Muay Thai: the power of team work. Chapter 3. The lessons of two experts of Thai Grappling By Marco De Cesaris The classic dichotomy between grapplers (fighters who use wrestling as their primary combat tool) and strikers (those who use blows to defeat their opponents) has been in use in Muay Thai since […]

Learning original Muay Thai: the power of team work. Chapter 2 the Art of counterattack of Boglek Pinsinchai. By Marco De Cesaris Rajamnern Muay Thai Stadium, Bangkok. The fighter in the blue corner charges like a raging bull: he knows he is behind on points because he has been floored several times by the fighter […]

Learning original Muay Thai: the power of team work. Chapter 1: Pinsinchai boxing camp. By Marco De Cesaris From the end of the ’80 to the second half of the ’90 I had the privilege to train in one of the foremost Muay Thai camps in Thailand, the renowned Pinsinchai Gym. Headed by Police General […]

All-in-one training method for martial arts? By Dani Warnicki While it is difficult to train simultaneously all the various qualities a martial artist needs, there is an undervalued training method that may get closer to an all-in-one solution than the rest. This training method improves your skills, agility, condition and several other qualities that I […]

IMBA Lert Rit’s 3 fatal attacks Siamese Kings’ safety in Ayuddhaya Era was guaranteed by selected groups of soldiers with a sound Muay background. Those strong combatants were commonly called Thanai Luak or Elite Servants and were specifically trained by senior soldiers belonging to the Royal Guard. Their role in defending the King and the […]

The elbow: Muay Thai’s bladed weapon (part 1) The elbow strike is perhaps the most feared weapon by all martial arts and combat sports professionals. Many consider it too dangerous a technique to be used in ring fighting: in fact, most martial artists believe elbow strikes should only be studied for self defense situations, not […]

Paksa Waeg Rang: the ancient combat strategy of breaking into the opponent’s centreline Paksa, ปักษา Waeg, แหวก Rang, รัง means “the bird peeps through or breaks into the nest”. The key word here is Waeg, แหวก that means to break into or to part. When you break into the opponent’s defense or guard, you open […]

Traditional Muay Thai fighting stances: the Art’s bedrock Jot Muay or fighting stance is the foundation of all Muay Thai maneuvers; from a good solid stance comes a strong foundation to develop high level combat skills. Nowadays, with the development of the sport of Thai boxing, the many variations of Muay fighting posture that were […]

Salab Fan Pla: footwork, counter technique, life style Muay Thai is the Art of fighting with the main body weapons. Hands, feet, legs, knees, elbows and head are used to skilfully attack and defend in hundreds of effective ways. Muay Thai’s attacking system is renowned worldwide: a thai boxer’s kicks, knee and elbow strikes are […]

The deep meaning of Combat Muay Boran Form “A Form is a book that is read with the body” Kenwa Mabuni (1889-1952) The thai word rai ram, ร่ายรำ means to dance. In Siamese armed or unarmed martial arts this same word has a broader meaning: in fact, it refers to a sequence of prearranged offensive […]

Chern Muay: the hidden treasure of Muay Boran (part 2) Chern, เชิง artifice; finesse; maneuver. Master Sintusan’s textbook classifies Chern Muay techniques according to the main body weapon used to attack or counterattack. Therefore, he identifies the following four groups: • Chern Mahd, the techniques of punches • Chern Thao, the techniques of kicks • […]

Is Muay Lert Rit a Martial Art for women? In recent years Muay Lert Rit went from total oblivion to being one of the fastest growing fighting arts. Based on ancient Siamese military strategies and close combat techniques, Lert Rit is now ranked among the world’s “deadliest martial arts” by many bloggers and martial artists. […]

Vintage Muay Thai Vintage: denoting something from the past of high quality, especially something representing the best of its kind. Vintage is a word that can have several meanings. Its primary definition is “of old, recognized and enduring interest, importance or quality.” It is usually associated with the quality of aging, enduring or improving over […]

When elephants clash The description of elephants’ relaxed power appears in many a tale of the Siamese tradition like a symbol of functional strength. In Thailand, elephants have been employed for many decades for both civilian and military purposes. A typical example of the latter category are the famed war elephants (yuttha hatthi, ยุทธหัตถี). In […]

The ancient wisdom of Ta Yukapti Muay, the ancestral Siamese martial art is based on the application of mathematical and geometrical principles to the art of combat. The main component of a good posture is the position of the fighter’s feet on the ground. This fundamental element represent an efficient application of mathematical and geometrical […]

Phasom Muay: the secret weapon of Combat Muay Boran Combat Muay Boran is a modern-traditional style of Siamese fighting that combines ancient thai traditions with modern scientific methods. The final goal is to teach men and women of all physical and psychological conditions to fight, on the ring or in the street. The training systems […]

Style makes fighters: the 5 types of Thai Boxer Muay Thai at its highest level may be compared to a chess game: both contestants make use of their bodies and minds to out-smart each other. Body and mind must work as one if a fighter’s full potential is to be developed. Every Nak Muay (Muay […]

Muay Thai: is it just a striking art? Muay Thai is the Siamese art of unarmed fighting. The only “weapons” that are always available are our body parts, in particular: our hands, legs, knees elbows and head. Siamese Muay has made the use of those natural weapons a true science: a Muay Thai stylist is […]

The elusive Art of counter fighting: Kon Muay Kae style (part 2) Kon, กล trick; scheme; stratagem. Kae,แก้ to correct; to counteract; to solve a problem. As we have seen (The elusive Art of counter fighting part 1), the core of Kon Kae style of fighting is learning to cope with any kind of attack […]

The destructive heel-of- the-hand blow. The palm is traditionally considered by many martial arts’ exponents as the ideal body weapon, more flexible and at the same time more resistant than the closed fist. Muay Boran Nine Body weapons are fists, legs, knees, elbows and head. However, in this case the word “fist” has a broader […]

The forgotten science of the vertical punch Exponents of ancient fighting arts such as Pankration and Pugilatum, European medieval combat arts’ experts, Chinese martial artists (image 1) and Siamese warriors (image 2), they all knew the efficiency of the straight vertical punch for hand to hand fighting. Also 18th century bare knuckle boxers and fighters […]

Discoverimba Web App: the essential guide to Muay Boran’s basics One of my students’ frequently asked question is where to find a list of all Muay Boran basics’ thai names with a clear illustration of each movement, possibly in electronic format. Until a few months ago this was not available but now, thanks to the […]

Muay Boran Basics: the true path to mastery All Martial Arts’ skills are based on specific groups of maneuvers and fighting principles: these fundamental elements are usually called “the basics”. Muay is a complete fighting system: it is regarded by some as a purely striking art but all experts know that the Siamese weapon-less style […]

Solving the riddles of Muay Boran Many times my students ask me why they have to learn so many names in a distant and complex language like Thai. Indeed for those who begin to learn Muay Boran one of the characteristics of this Art which apparently represents an obstacle to overcome is the language barrier. […]

IMBA Muay Pram: how to defend the neck Clinch. (Chap Ko) The neck Clinch is an extremely powerful hold, that puts a fighter in a dominant position from where he can execute a lot of very dangerous attacks. Since it is always possible that your opponent manages to establish a neck Clinch on you, it […]

Muay Boran IMBA training system. Develop powerful punches with the elastic band. Becoming a power puncher is a matter of proper training: knowing how to prepare the body of fighters through a series of well-balanced exercises is the duty of a Khru (teacher) worth of his name. One of the boxing-specific training tools that most […]

Muay Pram: catching, holding and breaking the elbow. Attacking the elbow is the primary strategy employed by experienced Muay Pram grapplers to “break the wing of the swan”: in other words to put the enemy in a condition of extreme weakness due to pain and physical and psychological stress. The instantaneous result of a damaged […]

Ancient Muay from Lopburi (part 1) Lopburi is the capital city of Lopburi Province located in central Thailand. It is about 150 kilometres northeast of Bangkok and it is one of the oldest cities in Thailand. The legend of the city’s origins can be found in a small monument, located in the northern district, commonly […]

Iron post training for bareknuckle punching The most peculiar tool used by Muay Boran IMBA practitioners to condition to the highest level the hands (knuckles, edge of hand, palm), forearms (radial and especially ulnar bone), shins, knees and feet (forefoot and heel) is the iron post. Made of a metal core covered by a thin […]

The prearranged sparring system (i.e. the realistic execution of pre-arranged attacks and free or predetermined defenses and single or multiple counters) is traditionally used in Martial Arts in order to rehearse potentially dangerous techniques and strategies without risking the practitioners’ safety. Knowing in advance one’s partner’s moves allows providing adequate defenses while maintaining a high […]

Military Boxing: from Tiger Step to Killing Shift. Good combative footwork is the ability to move the body smoothly and efficiently so that balance is never upset. It involves the possibility to attack or defend at all times. The true essence of Muay is the art of moving at the right time so as to […]

The elusive Art of counter fighting: Kon Muay Kae style (part 1) Kon, กล trick; scheme; stratagem. Kae, แก้ to correct; to counteract; to solve a problem. Muay Thai teachers of the past used to divide the skills of fighting in different styles: the most advanced skills were classified as Kon Kae, the tricks used […]

The classic triad of power: push ups, squats, neck bridge (part 1) Generations of fighters employed 3 basic exercises on a regular basis to develop functional strenght in the entire body. These 3 classic exercises are: push ups, leg squats and neck bridging. In my opinion these are the best bodyweight exercises a Muay Boran […]

Chern Muay: the hidden treasure of Muay Boran (part 1) Chern, เชิง artifice; finesse; maneuver. According to ancient Siamese traditions Chern Muay techniques represented an optimal system of learning and rationally using the body’s natural weapons to attack and defend. According to the ancestral Muay Boran’s teaching methods, once the basic systems of using the […]

In IMBA our guiding principle is to learn to teach others – but what does it mean? The annual IMBA Summer Gathering really sums up the point of that. During the week we train together with our colleagues, teachers and friends from all over the world. We practice and openly share all our knowledge with […]

Every student who starts studying at IMBA finds the same obstacles when it comes to technical training; why so many names in Thai language, why different techniques looking alike but with different approaches, how to find a balance between the technical and physical training, and the biggest question is, why to train a real life […]

When one thinks about how the term Muay Boran has become well known in the world but at the same time misunderstood, one has to stop for a minute and see the whole picture when being a practitioner passionate for the fighting systems of ancient Siam. I have been a practitioner for about 14 years, […]

International Academy – What Does It Mean? IMBA has taken me to Italy and Switzerland and I have made friends all over the world from Colombia to Australia. This spring our country representative even travels to Mexico for a training camp with another member from our gym. But what does being international mean in our […]

As a martial artist of 20 plus years when I embark on learning something new whether it be another art form or skill I need a basic structure to guide me through the learning phase before I have the confidence to embark on the true learning curve of any form of discipline. That’s just me. […]

When you want to start a Martial Practice, you have a lot of options that can be covered by the School you choose; For example you can practice to get in shape, maybe you want to be in a competitive environment, start looking if you have the skills to be a professional fighter, or maybe […]

Learning martial arts wasn’t always my dream – actually it has never been. I ended up starting Muay Boran by accident, and I never really thought it would be something for me. But on the contrary, I found a hobby and a passion that I’ve practiced for almost two years now. Even though I’m still […]

Martial Arts have spread through the ages as a subject of men, whether for cultural or religious reasons, or for the most common reason: to believe that a woman can never defeat a man in combat. Although martial arts emerged so that weaker men could defeat stronger men using both technique and force, the word […]

Week 29 Still a couple of working days left before taking off to enjoy the beautiful Italian landscape. I started training Muay Boran in January 2015 after which I have been totally hooked by the art. The first year I already had the possibility to join this awesome – I had heard – training trip […]

Beyond translating the concept, would you know how to define the term “freezing effect”? Would you know what gross motor skills are? Or what the term Killer Instinct means? From the exception of some few adepts, probably, the most of you do not have the idea of it. Well, then you should know these previous […]

Through the years, I have been able to understand that everything requires a validation and that in turn gives credibility to what one does, says or shows and everything goes hand to hand, nothing can be made without a why and a how. Since I can remember, at a very young age I have had […]

Let me present you the IMBA Curriculum more than just a working plan for someone who wants to start a Martial Arts training. Let’s think about the term “experience” and let me develop a little bit more. When you belong to a federation, everything is about politics and how much you can take from it; […]

In this I.M.B.A. academic year (2016-2017), I had the pleasure of attending seminars, as well as at the training course, of Combat Muay Boran, of Master De Cesaris. 77 techniques, exclusively offensive (chern muay) have been collected in a single form. More precisely there are 20 techniques of fists, 16 of kicks, 12 of knees, […]

When the Idea of the IMBA World Day was born, the objective was to unite all IMBA branches around the world into a celebration in which for one day we make different activities to promote what we love; The Combat Muay Boran training, the system organized and structured by the Grand Master Marco de Cesaris. […]

Rome, cette ville pleine d’histoire où de nombreux touristes viennent flâner et découvrir un lieu si sympathique qu’il est difficile d’en partir. C’est également un lieu que je fréquente chaque année depuis 10 ans maintenant, afin de me recueillir, de m’imprégner de la chaleur du soleil, des gens et de l’hospitalité de l’IMBA, International Muay […]