mastering muay thai kickboxingEver heard of Muay Thai?

It’s an art/sport similar to kickboxing, only it originated in Thailand and it’s their national sport.

Muay Thai is a martial art used quite heavily for standup striking these days in MMA and therefore has reached a high level of popularity for fights and martial arts enthusiasts.

Muay Thai is very dear to me. I personally have been studying and training in Muay Thai since 2005 and have been teaching it for over 10 years, so when I was sent the book “Mastering Muay Thai Kick-Boxing” by Joe E. Harvey, I was pretty keen to see what this book had to offer.  So I grabbed it and thought I’d give you my thoughts on it.

What to expect from the book itself?

I won’t blow smoke up your you, uh, armpit, but you can’t learn a martial art from a book or even online – but it can enhance your training.  You need experienced trainers around you but in reading this book, I found it to be about the closest thing I could find to a resource which could teach the art without an instructor (still, I recommend finding a Muay Thai club).

So I opened the book up, started reading and found the usual foreword and a history of the art. I was pleased to see the history condensed though, as a lot of books can drag the history of a martial art out like it’s some kind of ancient oriental legend passed down from the great masters, but this book cuts to chase and gets right into the nitty gritty!

“The Art of Eight Limbs”

They call Muay Thai “Art of Eight Limbs” or the “Science of Eight Limbs” as there are several striking points of contact, all addressed in this book.  You have 2 fists, 2 elbows, 2 feet and 2 knees – all of which can strike and cripple an opponent. This book breaks these 8 areas up, adds in the extra element of the Thai clinch/grapple and explores them in great detail.

It’s a simple Martial Arts style that once explored has it’s own crazy level of complexities within the finer details – this book delivers that information in an easy fashion.

It starts by covering your base stance for best balance and easy delivery of each strike before exploring each weapon and its various striking points: high, low, angles, power and even the range they can be thrown from. Photographs and simple but effective diagrams throughout this whole book illustrate Muay Thai very effectively, whilst covering the positioning of hands, body and even footwork for maximum power and efficiency.

It’s the base system but beyond just “the moves”

Overall this book does things slightly differently to how I’ve been taught, but the details are quite minor and not a concern to me personally.

This book categorizes and organizes the base system and strikes of Muay Thai really well, giving instruction from head to two on how to deliver each attack and even defense. The defenses themselves range from simple blocks and parries to well-timed counter attacks perfect for fighters at any level.

Even the exploration fighting range is put down in a highly efficient way.  Again, with diagrams and a table of strikes showing whats best used in certain scenarios, this book unwraps the art nicely. It simplifies the complexities of art quite well. It also finished with some drills and covers the basic equipment used for Muay Thai Training.

Would I recommend the book?

As mentioned earlier, you should find a Muay Thai class to learn, but this book is a fantastic supplement to that training.  It covers all of the fundamental bases, delivering detail and complexity in a simple, visual ways that can easy be found at any time.

It’s not an A to Z novel style book, it’s a resource to turn to and dig further to better understand the art.

If it helps, I have some thoughts based on your level of proficiency:

  • Beginner – An excellent you should soak up to accelerate your understanding and improve your training. All of the fundamentals are there.
  • Intermediate – This book is good enough to help you refine your shortcomings and get to that next level of solid technique.
  • Advanced – There’s not a hell of information here you don’t know, but still a decent staple nonetheless and use for comparison when critiquing a technique.

So yeah, I recommend this book. But how enthusiastically I recommend it is based on your skill and knowledge level. Overall it’s a top book and I’m glad I have it on my shelf.

If you’re keen to check it out, grab a copy on Amazon.  Otherwise, thanks for taking the time to read my review!

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