Muay Thai still going strong

In 1999, Dublin’s ‘Origins Muay Thai’ club opened its doors for the first time. It was the first gym offering training in the combat sport Muay Thai to be opened in Dublin.

Origins Muay Thai

“I boxed as an amateur from nine years old, started kickboxing at 15 and found Muay Thai at the age of 19,” the club’s founder and head coach Paul Kelly told The Liberty.

“I then started training Muay Thai under Master Toddy in Manchester, back in the early 1980s and fought on the Muay Thai circuit in the intervening years, before opening the gym in 1999.”

New members join the Origins Muay Thai team every year. The numbers that attend the gym in Arbour Hill, near Stoneybatter, each week have always been consistent. “It has always been busy, some will train for fitness and some to compete in the ring. There is always a steady influx of new blood each year.”

With over 21 years’ experience in coaching the sport, Kelly’s knowledge of the sport is extremely strong. 

“The rules are similar to boxing. There are five three-minute rounds, finishing in a three-person judged points decision or by way of early stoppage ie. knockout or technical knockout. 

“Professional fights are fought in eight-ounce gloves, for fighters under 70kg, or 10-ounce gloves over 70kg. Amateur bouts are usually fought in 16-ounce, for the less experienced fighters.”

The sport is labelled by many as being quite similar to MMA, but this is not the case. “It differs to MMA as there is no ground wrestling allowed, hence why it is termed a stand-up striking art,” Kelly said.

With many different fighters coming through the gym each year, the Muay Thai club have produced many successful competitors on a worldwide stage, winning both European and world championships. 

“Some of our most notable fighters are Stephen Meleady, Uvais Bisayez and Ferial Ameeroedien who have won European and world titles. All have spent time living in Thailand fighting on the professional fight circuit there.

“Ferial Ameeroedien, one of our top female fighters, has appeared in a reality-TV fight series in Thailand called Fight Girls.”. The club has been able to transform newcomers to the sport into professional fighters.

The dedication that the Origins of Muay Thai competitors put in to training cannot be ignored. 

“A competitive fighter in training camp would train six times a week. People just training for the fitness/self-defence aspect may train only two or three times a week. I always advise people to train a minimum of twice weekly to get real benefit. Consistency is the best way to learn,” said the head coach.

To be a successful coach in any sport at any level, certain key attributes are needed to make the process work. “The most important aspect is to try to give the correct tools and advise your student so they can reach their full potential in what they wish to achieve.

“You must recognise for what reason each student takes up the art of Muay Thai. It is a tough contact sport, so training is tailored to whether they are there for fitness/self-defence or they want to compete and become a fighter and pursue a career in the ring.”

Many younger newcomers enter the gym each year. “We allow all newcomers a free trial class before they sign up so they can see if Muay Thai is for them, as it may not suit everyone. If they enjoy it, then just jump in and join up and train as much as you like. So just come down, train and learn and leave the egos outside the door.”

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