Most people will say Friday or Saturday nights are their favourite night of the week, but not for me – it's Tuesday nights (yes, Tuesday) at Gymbox Stratford. It's when I get to put on the gloves, kick off my trainers, and step into the ring and practice what is known as the "art of eight limbs".
Muay Thai is a pretty intense, and is a sweat-drenched work out. It tests every single part of your body movement; rotating the hip with each kick, elbow and block.
It's perfect for people who love combat sport, but equally great if you have no experience and want to just try it out (just remember to BYO gloves!). The class is always busy and has a great buzz and vibe about it. There are always new faces but you'll definitely see the same people returning because they're committed to wanting to improve each week.
The class starts off with a warm-up, usually consisting of burpees, kicks, blocks and planks. You then you partner up, get your gloves on, and get started with practicing some of the demonstrated combos.
Carlton of Team Tieu is the instructor. He's great at going through the combinations, really making sure you're doing it right, and then getting you to repeat it until you get it spot on.
We then move onto my favourite bit – pads. One person in the pair will hold the pads, and the other keeps the gloves on (and don't be fooled holding the pads first isn't a break – they're heavy!). In your pairs, you start building up your combos, adding in powerful kicks, elbows and knees, then move onto a freestyle round and have fun with everything you've learnt in the class.
The thing I enjoy the most – apart from seeing myself improve week after week – is having the ability to just de-stress. After a busy day, being able to step into the ring and just get it all out is great for me. I tend to find the more stressful the day, the more powerful the kick, so I guess it works in my favour.
You'll probably leave the class with a couple of bruises, but don't let it put you of – it's all part of the learning process. I've noticed good improvement to power in my legs, and the flexibility in my hips, which all helps with other parts of my training.
My only criticism of the class, I wish it were longer!
Go on, be brave and give it a go! All info right here.