***EARTHCANDY is in New York City this week and spotlighting some of the FOOD, FASHION & FLYNESS that the Big Apple has to offer.***
Today was sort of a lazy day. It began with me laying around my best friend’s house surfing the web and listening to the sounds of Brooklyn beneath my window between dozes. Suddenly, around 3pm, my friend barges into my room and says, “Yo, I gotta go to the Wat and train.”
“The what?”, I asked
Seeing that this conversation was quickly becoming reminiscent of the dialogue scene between Morris Day and Jerome in the movie “Purple Rain” I nipped it in the bud by asking, “What’s that?”
“I’ll show you better than I can tell you. Let’s go.”
I followed him and ended up in Manhattan at a Muay Thai gym called THE WAT.
“OOOOOHHHHHHH! W-A-T!” I foolishly exclaimed *smh*
I soon learned that Muay Thai is essentially Thai boxing or fighting (muay -pronounced moo-EE- meaning ‘fighting’ in Thai). The art originated over 1000 years ago, and has evolved from military origins into the vastly popular international sport that it is today. Professional bouts are 5-three minute rounds, and take place in a standard boxing ring. Thai boxers fight barefoot and without headgear. Boxing gloves are the only padding worn. Bouts can be won by knock out, technical knockout, or by points. The rules allow the use of boxing, kicking elbowing and kneeing to all parts of the body. This makes Thai Boxing incredibly effective and practical as a self defense art.
The Wat (wat meaning ‘temple’ in Thai) is NYC’s premiere Muay Thai training facility, owned and operated by Muay Thai’s “golden child” Kru Phil Nurse (kru means ‘teacher’ in Thai).
While my friend was getting dressed for training, I wandered around the facility taking in the serene, Thai-inspired decor. I watched a few other students (men AND women) train by skipping rope and shadowboxing, to grappling, kneeing, and performing two-person isometric strength building techniques. The Wat’s training philosophy focuses on a natural and non-mechanical way to develop a balanced body and lifestyle. Some of students train daily to compete, some to learn self-defense techniques and others just do it to attain killer abs and sleekly toned muscles. This was clearly something more energetic and challenging than a monotonous gym workout…
Being intrigued, I considered taking an introductory class. The goal being to experience the intensity of the workout I had witnessed for the past hour. Sadly there weren’t any beginners’ sessions offered for the duration of the day. (*s/n- I’m secretly glad about that, since I didn’t feel like spending the duration of my NYC trip limping the streets with sore muscles :-/)
Check out some live and direct techniques in this video. (The music you’ll hear is what is played during fights and is a VERY important part of the Muay Thai tradition).
If you’re in NY and are looking for an alternative to the traditional gym, consider Muay Thai. And be sure to check out The Wat. I’ll be heading back to ATL with thoughts of finding a training space in mind. Since my inner body is on point with the healthy foods I eat, my outer body needs some physical activities so I can truly be a “powerhouse”! ‘WAT’ch out now!