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Discoverimba Web App: the essential guide to Muay Boran’s basics

One of my students’ frequently asked question is where to find a list of all Muay Boran basics’ thai names with a clear illustration of each movement, possibly in electronic format. Until a few months ago this was not available but now, thanks to the efforts of one of IMBA’s youngest national representatives, all enthusiasts are provided with such a product.
One and a half year ago, at the end of a European meeting in Rome, we had a very interesting group discussion with some IMBA national reps. The issue was how to allow our students to find in a single place all the information about Muay Boran basics that, in the years, I had put in my books and videos. IMBA Finland’s Dani Warnicki accepted the challenge and in less than a year he came up with a brand new Web App: it was decided to name it Discoverimba.
In fact, the on-line library is a perfect way for a new comer to find out what our Academy is all about. And what better way than looking inside our basic Syllabus to understand IMBA’s point of view in regard to traditional Muay? Actually in this application, starting from the analysis of the basics, all crucial elements of a given technique are thoroughly dissected and presented in a clear and exhaustive way.
Most important, the web app is user-friendly. The basic skills of Muay Boran are divided into different groups (skill areas) based on their subject. Every group is of skills is clearly illustrated and for each element the “what”, “why”, “how” is described in detail.


The fundamental learning concept is that the more skills areas you master, the more you will become a complete martial artist. The skill areas are as follows:
1. Nine body weapons. Muay Thai Boran is the Art of the Nine Body weapons: hands, feet, knees, elbows and head are used like real weapons to attack and defend is many highly effective ways. Step one in learning Muay is to know, understand and train the use of the main body weapons.
2. Footwork. Step two is learning how to move efficiently in order to dodge or attack. Basic footwork knowledge is a prerequisite to start using our body weapons against an opponent.
3. The art of attack. Traditionally, to become expert Muay stylists, all students must learn how to combine various attacking techniques to make their offence more efficient. This is a basic requirement for a real understanding of Muay’s philosophy of fighting.
4. The art of defence. A highly developed system of defensive techniques: this is what Muay’s art of defence is all about. Many no nonsense maneuvers have been developed over the centuries by Thai masters. Good for both ring fighting and hand-to-hand combat.
5. The art of counterattack. This is the pinnacle of Siamese art of fighting. Hundreds of defense and counter situations are possible in a real fight: the techniques presented in this group are the classic 30 fundamental strategies of Muay, the so called Mae Mai and Look Mai Muay Thai. A must-have skill for all practitioners.
6. Throwing, pressing, grabbing, breaking. Muay is often considered a striking art, only. In reality Muay Boran is rich in close range grappling techniques. This section presents some examples of this “art inside the art” named Muay Pram (thai grappling).
7. Impact training (Thai Pads). Learning the techniques without a solid methodology for training the physical and technical attributes of a fighter, is simply a waste of times. Impact training on the thai pads is the most typical way to develop real power in each strike.
8. Heavy Bag Training. The other impact training tool that every Muay Thai boxer needs to use on a regular basis to develop hard bones, strong muscles and heavy blows is the bag. In this section some hints are offered for diversified training drills on the bag (punches, kicks, knees, elbows and combinations).
9. Prearranged sparring. The final step in acquiring fighting skill and preparing to apply those skills in a real fight is sparring. The traditional way to spar is called Len Chern (play with the techniques). In this section some suggestions for pre-arranged sparring are illustrated.


Students’ stuff? No way. All clever instructors know that the key to a martial art’s mastery is represented by its basics (see previous article). Without strong roots, the tree does not grow and eventually withers: likewise, without profound knowledge of the basics, the practitioner does not evolve and in the long term regresses.
But then there will be no need for teachers if all students can simply check the App and rehearse the techniques by themselves? Absolutely not. Mere intellectual knowledge of a martial technique has nothing to do with true learning. The student-instructor interaction has been for centuries the only way to get serious tuition in any martial art. Muay Boran is no exception. A modern tool like this App is a very valuable aid for those who are already involved in this fighting system and want to clear any doubt: on the other hand, those who want to approach the Thai art of fighting for the first time will find in this digital tool a clear idea of what they will encounter along the path of learning under the guidance of a true Master (Khru Muay).
At last, Muay Boran IMBA students and teachers alike can find all the notions they need about their Art’s basics in a single place: therefore, waste no time and discover Imba.