Blood, sweat, and tears often come to mind when thinking about Muay Thai. While many perceive it as brutal sport, Muay Thai is actually an art form that encourages respect and humility, which are strong principles within Thai culture.
But down to the root regarding people’s fascination with this sport is the combative skill it teaches. Instead of using just hands and feet, Muay Thai teaches you to use elbows, knees, the head, and basically any available body part to defend yourself. Muay Thai is the preferred stand up technique in mixed martial arts bouts. It’s no surprise why many Thais champion it as the country’s national sport, but what you may be surprised is that Muay Thai also attracts many foreigners.
For example, Chris Romulo, a Filipino American, studied Muay Thai after he was jumped as a young teen in New York. He studied Tae Kwon Do at that time but felt it wasn’t as effective as it could have been. He met his Muay Thai coach who taught him about this unique art form. From then on, he lived his life to educate people about Muay Thai, from the art of the Wai Kru Muay Thai Ceremony to its defensive moves. Chris credits Muay Thai as giving him strength during adversary.
In 2009, Chris moved to Rockaway Beach to start a Muay Thai gym. Hurricane Sandy came in 2012 and wiped everything out but he didn’t quit. Since then, he has built a bigger and better gym and named it CROM Physical Culture. The gym has grown so much; they now offer a program called SHRED by CROM. It is a program with the goal of targeting other Muay Thai gyms across the country to build a bigger and better database to bring in a fighter-conditioning program. Chris takes the conditioning aspect of Muay Thai and combines it with cross-fit in order to create an effective workout that is challenging, but not too intimidating for those interested in the sport.
For those of you who can’t make it out to CROM Physical Culture, Chris and a few of his students will be putting on a Muay Thai Exhibition at Experience Thailand 2015 in New York City’s Union Square Park North Side (East 17th St. & Union Square East) on Sunday, September 13th.
The Muay Thai Exhibition will educate New Yorkers about the cultural aspect of Muay Thai as well as some basic techniques in a simulated fight. There will be four separate demonstrations at the Muay Thai area throughout the day.
If you can’t wait for exhibition, check out this brief Q&A that we had with Chris below.
Q: For Experience Thailand, what can guests expect?
A: People can expect demonstrations from students performing the Wai Kru. The students will also showcase their interpretation of what of a traditional Muay Thai fight looks like, as there will be a friendly display to show the techniques in action. This will be a mixture of younger and adult students to demonstrate that Muay Thai is for all. Plus, I’ll be refereeing.
Q: What aspects of Muay Thai do you like the most?
A: The culture of the sport is what really drives me. I really like the culture – fighting aspect is good – but I believe in what the Thai culture brings to the Muay Thai. It’s the humbleness, respect, and it’s almost like there are real warriors because it’s about the training and art of it, and not so much the competitive nature of it.
Q: What about Thai culture do you like outside of this sport?
A: I love the food and spices! But the overall respect is what I really like about Thai culture.
Q: What are your thoughts on events similar to Experience Thailand?
A: It’s great to see a culture so rich and so strong in America. For Muay Thai, it’s well respected in the world and to have all the other aspects of Thailand represented, it’s great. It provides more depth to people to get exposed to different parts of the world without having to travel.
If you miss the Muay Thai exhibitions, Experience Thailand will also offer several different types of cuisine from various NYC Thai restaurants for you to sample, a cooking competition with the prize of a free trip to Thailand, a Thai fashion show, Thai crafts for purchase, and much more!
Visit the Facebook event page for more details and to RSVP: https://www.facebook.com/events/1499193977039845/