UnderGround Forums
 

Kickboxing UnderGround >> PhD in Muay Thai


6/7/08 6:50 AM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
OctaviousBP
Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 1/1/01
Posts: 1079
 
From today's Post:

School of hard knocks

Thailand's traditional martial art has been around for centuries, but now young people can enroll in university and study the history, techniques, ethics and other aspects of a sport which may even make it to the Olympic Games in the not too distant future, writes Achara Ashayagachat in Ratchaburi

Thai boxing, or Muay Thai as it is known locally, has been widely accepted around the world and is included in such sporting competitions as the SEA Games and Asian Games.

It has also recently been recognised by the International Olympic Committee, which brings the traditional martial art a step closer to being included in future Olympic Games.

However, amid the popularity of Muay Thai as a martial art and a fad among westerners, thanks to movies such as Ong Bak, there is still a lack of professional and academic standards.

In terms of professional standards, there are some international organisations holding tournaments worldwide, but fledgling efforts to standardise the professional quality are still going on. However, in terms of academic standards, an effort has already started at Chombung Rajabhat University.

Assoc Prof Chanchai Yomdit, the dean of the Muay Thai Study College at the university, has launched a doctorate in the philosophy of Muay Thai, the world's first academic institute to do so.

"Why not? It originated in our country. Why don't we try to establish a centre of wisdom and encourage research and development on our heritage for the next generation," said Mr Chanchai.

The doctoral degree comes five years after the centre offered a master's degree in Muay Thai studies.


Students and former boxers at Chombung Rajabhat University display Pra Ram, or `Trotting the Forest', a Muay Thai tactic. A student shows how to tie the hands and arms with strips of cloth before practising Muay Thai.

Chombung Rajabhat University, formerly a teachers college, has already produced several boxers who were studying there. They included Chalerm Singh Nua Mek, who was a star of Channel 7's boxing programme, and Mr Chanchai, who once boxed as both an amateur and professional when he was a student.

"My colleagues and I love the sport and we think this kind of athletic wisdom is a cultural asset for our country. We need to preserve and develop it. When they [the students] like Muay Thai, we should provide a stage for them to do it properly under our guidance. It's better than letting them get addicted to computer games," he said.

The master's degree was first offered in order to hone the skills and shape the physical and philosophical minds of physical education teachers, who taught Muay Thai.

Two outstanding master's theses, coincidentally under the same adviser, Amnat Poosrisuk, will be presented to Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn during her visit to the university on Thursday.

One was authored by Chao Wathayotha from the Ban Phai secondary school in Khon Kaen on Muay Thai Korat, and another was by Chattuchai Champahom from the Phan Thong secondary school in Chon Buri on Muay Chai Ya.

Mr Chao and Mr Chattuchai were part of the first batch of 27 students who graduated last year. Seven have yet to complete their theses. The 25-member second batch of master's degree students should be finished in the next few years.

The latest attempt to open up bachelor's degrees, said Mr Chanchai, is targeted at giving boxers, both former and present champions, an academic environment which also focuses on ethics, Thai heritage and basic English.

The university also provides a public service for prisons in Ratchaburi, Phetchaburi, Nakhon Pathom and Kanchanaburi.

Chanchai Yomdit, the founder of the Muay Thai Study College, talks about his dream of producing boxers, teachers and researchers for Thailand. — Photos by THITI WANNAMONTHA

"There are increasingly former famous boxers who end up in jail for such crimes as drug trafficking and murder. We need to help save them from falling into those vices. Their skills need to be used in a decent way," he said.

For doctorates, the first 15 students are hoping to form a network of research and accumulate the scattered wisdom and tactics of Muay Thai into a scientific methodology so that a winning strategy can be developed and expanded quantitatively and qualitatively, the college dean said.

Siraphop Ratanasuban, one of the students studying for the doctorate, said Muay Thai in Thailand has yet to gain the same recognition as in the West.

"It will take a long time correcting and building a new image for it as a martial art so middle-class people can send their children to learn this art for, say, self-defence. We therefore need people qualified professionally and academically on Muay Thai. That's why I am here," said Mr Siraphop, who studied finance and marketing in the United States and is also the only son of famous boxing promoter Songchai Ratanasuban.

Veera Gatchapakirin, manager of the Muay Thai Conservation Centre under the supervision of the Tourism and Sports Ministry, said there was always politics in the business, but little effort to fill the gap of Muay Thai wisdom.

"My job is to sponsor educational institutions that help preserve it in various forms with an annual budget of 5.5 million baht. Chombung Rajabhat University is the 17th centre we are supporting and I take the opportunity to get a doctorate there," said Mr Veera.

Sawang Vitayapitaks, an adviser to the programme, said Thailand needed to change the thinking and image of Muay Thai.

"We have to instill love and respect of Muay Thai. First they must know the benefit of studying it for their health, for their personality and for friendship. Muay Thai teaches us to be a decent and humble person with strength in mind.

"We do not have to be a boxer in order to learn Muay Thai," said Mr Sawang, who is also a referee at Ratchadamnoen boxing stadium.

Source: http://www.bangkokpost.com/News/07Jun2008_news83.php
6/7/08 7:46 AM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
Khun Kao
1010 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 1/1/01
Posts: 12339
Vincent? I'd really love to hear your insight on this...
6/8/08 12:08 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
JohnnyKnees
6 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 1/7/07
Posts: 904
Looks like good news. I think Muay Thai should be understood and respected by all social classes in Thailand. It is part of their culture and history. They are also looking to ban gambling at the stadiums to appeal to the higher classes.

I wish I had the time and prerequisits to take that class. I never understood why most Thai's frown upon Thai boxing. It's a major staple here in Thailand.
6/8/08 9:55 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
WizzleTeatsv2
Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 12/22/07
Posts: 1002
Sounds very cool.


"They are also looking to ban gambling at the stadiums to appeal to the higher classes."

Gambling supports the sport. And let's be honest, gambling (of all sorts) is sort of a national pastime in a lot of Asian countries.
6/8/08 10:37 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
JohnnyKnees
6 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 1/7/07
Posts: 905
Yes, gambling supports the sport but the King wants Muay Thai to appeal to a wider audience than just the lower classes who do the most gambling on Muay Thai. The higher classes look down on Muay Thai here in Thailand, some because of the gambling aspect. You rarely see any wealthy Thai's at the fights if they don't have anything to do with the promotion or sport. They only sell ringside tickets to the foreigners so that when the fights are shown on tv, the Thai's(including upper classes) will see the foreigners(who have money) instead of the lower class Thais. The promoters try to make it look like it's an important event.

If the gambling is toned down and the image is cleaned up a bit then the people who are a little more fortunate here will be drawn to the sport. Then they will probably raise ticket prices to compensate for the loss in gambling.

Walk around places like Siam shopping district(where the money is) and mention Muay Thai. You won't get the same response as you do around the areas of the gyms. It's unfortunate because the sport is a part of their history. There is so much to learn about the culture here, I may be incorrect on some things so feel free to correct me but this is what I've learned so far from speaking with people involved with Muay Thai here in Bangkok.
6/8/08 11:02 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
OctaviousBP
Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 1/1/01
Posts: 1082
I am curious to see how "academic" the program is. The two Masters theses seem pretty generic. The doctorate seems pretty ambiguous as well.

I'm sure there are a lot of promoters and foreigners who would love to have "Dr. of Muay Thai" on their business cards. Do Samart and Diesel Noi get honourary diplomas?
6/9/08 9:43 AM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
pisand
Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 8/28/03
Posts: 2358

 Dr. Sanchai (Sor Kingstar, Sor Khamsing) has his honorary degree. LOL, His Camp is Dr. Sanchai Khaay Muay.

 

Very interesting, and makes me wish this was an option 7 years ago. I wonder if they offer the master's for farang?

6/9/08 9:09 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
Scott Elliott
Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Edited: 06/10/08 8:32 AM
Member Since: 1/1/01
Posts: 3744
This is actually getting more common in Asia. Korea offers a doctorate in TKD and I think that Japan offers a couple as well. It'll help to bring more overall respect to the art in some circles.
6/10/08 10:14 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
WizzleTeatsv2
Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 12/22/07
Posts: 1027
JohnnyKnees - Yes, gambling supports the sport but the King wants Muay Thai to appeal to a wider audience than just the lower classes who do the most gambling on Muay Thai. The higher classes look down on Muay Thai here in Thailand, some because of the gambling aspect. You rarely see any wealthy Thai's at the fights if they don't have anything to do with the promotion or sport. They only sell ringside tickets to the foreigners so that when the fights are shown on tv, the Thai's(including upper classes) will see the foreigners(who have money) instead of the lower class Thais. The promoters try to make it look like it's an important event.


If the gambling is toned down and the image is cleaned up a bit then the people who are a little more fortunate here will be drawn to the sport. Then they will probably raise ticket prices to compensate for the loss in gambling.


Walk around places like Siam shopping district(where the money is) and mention Muay Thai. You won't get the same response as you do around the areas of the gyms. It's unfortunate because the sport is a part of their history. There is so much to learn about the culture here, I may be incorrect on some things so feel free to correct me but this is what I've learned so far from speaking with people involved with Muay Thai here in Bangkok.



I'm well aware of the bias against MT among upper class Thais. I have had some Thai businesspeople try to tell me that they didn't know what it was, lol.

In my opinion raising ticket prices and banning gambling will do no good whatsoever. If people can't gamble at the fights, they will still gamble ON the fights--just not at the stadium. Raising the prices will put going to fights out of the reach of many Thais. So basically, all those two ideas will do is dramatically cut down on the number of people who go to Lumpini and Ratchadamnern.

I think Muay Thai is suffering the same problems as boxing. Most upper-class folks here in the States certainly don't want to be associated with boxing and many of them think it's barbaric and should be banned.

I suspect the bias against Muay Thai among the upper classes in Thailand also goes much deeper than simply an aversion to gambling--there is definately an element of classism and possibly racism as well. Those won't be overcome easily.

Fight sports have always been the sports of the working class and poor. Look at the backgrounds of most pro boxers in the U.S. Almost all of them are black or hispanic, and most grew up without the advantages of good schools, safe neighborhoods, etc.

The same is true in Thailand. MT simply isn't a sport of the wealthy. It probably never will be, unless the Thai government steps in and spends millions of dollars on a P.R. campaign, along with pumping loads of cash into the sport itself.

And let's face it--Lumpini, the center of the sport, is pretty rough. It reminds me of the old Boston Garden. I love it and it's got lots of charm, but watching geckos run across the corrugated tin roof while waiting for fights to start probably doesn't work for most upper class Thai people.
6/10/08 11:52 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
JohnnyKnees
6 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 1/7/07
Posts: 907
Great Point^^^
6/11/08 1:00 AM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
Vincent Giordano
1 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 1/1/01
Posts: 159
Its an interesting thing but we'll see where it goes. I dont hold much hope for the final products and what impact they will have. I read alot of the developing material and met with many of the people working on various projects. They should have done this a long time ago when alot of the older masters through oral tradition were still alive but nobody cared. The current popularity of muay has skyrocketed so they are taking advantage of it on all ends.

There are alot of intelligent thais though involved in martial arts teaching and writing in Thailand. For example, Former Police General Prasan Wongyai has a Ph.d. and has researched, taught and written on the subject. Somporn Songchai also has a Ph.d and he wrote an extensive manuscript on Phrya Pichai Dabhak of which he is now the head. (just a note Prasans and Somporns ph.d's are not in muay thai, etc). There are other thais as well teaching on the college level who wrote on the topics and teach as well. I met another Krabi Krabong master who teaches a phys ed course for young children in grade school who wrote a 300 page manuscript on the history and development of the thai martial arts. American Peter Vail Thomas also wrote his Ph.d on muay thai and Apisake's thesis was for his masters degree. This is alot of good work already done that shouldnt be discounted. I have volumes on the stuff in various languages as well. Good work has been done by foreigners as well as thais.

So the Thais with this matter are little behind what is already there and developed but we'll see what comes out of it. They also need to look a bit broader in a cross cultural way to get answers to some of the questions that need to be answered and do some real research into topics that have been long held to mostly conjecture.

Reply Post

You must log in to post a reply. Click here to login.