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Mexico land of warriors – Part 1

By Marco De Cesaris

Mexico is a land of warriors. Mexican boxers are famous worldwide for their strenght, skill and bravery. Chavez, Cuevas, Sanchez, Zarate are names that bring to memory harsh battles fought in the rings of Mexico and abroad. I am the greatest fan of Mexican boxers so, when I was invited 16 years ago to show Muay Boran in that warrior land I was excited. My host was a renowned pro fighter named Gustavo Perez Hernandez. That first Muay Boran seminar in Mexico City was a big success and Gustavo and myself started a fruitful cooperation that still goes on. In fact Gustavo Perez is a loyal student of mine and the official IMBA representative in Mexico. Since that first event, he invited me to teach Muay Boran IMBA in his country several times and in various occasions he came to train with me in Italy. Our friendship is strong and the results in terms of development of our Academy in Mexico are excellent. For all of these reasons, when we decided to promote a series of events in Mexico after a long stop due to the pandemic, I was sure the outcome would have been exciting. And so it was. This time we travelled around Mexico to visit some of the IMBA branches already operating in the country and to open new schools, creating connections with other groups and associations, sharing our knowledge with students and instructors coming from different martial backgrounds. I brought a team of instructors from Italy and in Mexico City we joined forces with IMBA delegations coming from Colombia, USA and Switzerland. During my visit I had the chance to meet a lot of extraordinary people: motivated, passionate, skilled, respectful individual that really boosted my will to share knowledge and skill, without restrictions.
Let me describe some of the events that took place during this fantastic Mexican tour 2023 that took place exactly 30 years after the foundation of IMBA (1993-2023).

30-years-IMBA-logo - IMBA Mexico

General scheme of the events:
1. Metepec Estado de Mexico (Capital Toluca) 2.635 m de altitud
Muay Lert Rit seminar
2. Tulum Estado de Quintana Roo, Yucatán Peninsula (Capital Chetumal)
Combat Muay Boran and IMBA Muay Pram seminars
3. CDMX: the megalopolis Capital city of México.
a) Asociación Mexico Thailandia: Combat Muay Boran seminar for professional Muay Thai boxers.
b) Lotus Hanuman Fight School: Combat Muay Boran and IMBA Muay Pram seminar for MMA, Muay Thai, Kick Boxing, K1 sportsmen.
c) Hotel Riazor
1) Muay Boran IMBA Instructor course (Muay Boran regional styles concepts and Muay Boran IMBA forms)
2) Pan American congress IMBA instructors, delegates and representatives from Latin America, Europe and USA.
3) Open Combat Muay Boran and IMBA Lert Rit seminar. Basic Muay Yak style combat principles.

1. The Asociación Mexico Thailandia

Poster Mexico Ago 20 Mexico Tailandia Association  - IMBA Mexico

One of the highlights of the IMBA tour 2023 was the Combat Muay Boran Seminar reserved to the members of the Asociación Mexico Thailandia in Mexico City, the megalopolis Capital of the country.
Most participants were practitioners of professional Muay Thai. They were interested in going back to the martial roots of their combat sport and in adding more technical tools to their fighting repertoire. The Asociación is directed by two Muay Thai teachers, Juan Carlos Reyes and Alberto Sanchez, both very active in promoting thai boxing events in the State of Mexico. Their close relationship with Gustavo Perez brought to the idea of joining forces with IMBA Mexico for this special event that for the first time introduced their thai boxers to Combat Muay Boran.

Mexico-Tailandia 1 - IMBA Mexico
The menu of the day was represented by the following subjects:
a. The basic use of the 9 body weapons
b. The 2 fundamental offensive strategies
c. The 4 basic defensive principles
d. Muay Thai and Muay Boran grappling techniques.

Mexico-Tailandia 2  - IMBA Mexico
The latter was the core subject of the event: all participants showed great interest in the way ancient Muay approached close range fighting. In particular Muay Boran throws and joint locks were highly appreciated by all thai boxers attending the seminar.
After this successful event, IMBA Mexico (Muay Boran) and the Asociación Mexico Thailandia (Muay Thai) decided to join forces, creating the biggest Thai Martial Arts pole in the country.

Mexico-Tailandia 3 - IMBA Mexico

Mexico-Tailandia 4 - IMBA Mexico Mexico-Tailandia 5 - IMBA Mexico

2. The IMBA branch in Metepec

Metepec is a small city of the Estado de Mexico (Capital Toluca) located in the mountains surrounded by woods at 2.635 m of altitude.

Metepec 1 - IMBA Mexico
An IMBA branch is active there thanks to the efforts of a young lady Ana Maria Medina who is a Muay Boran teacher, entrepreneur and owner of two gyms, one in Metepec and the other in Tonatico. She has been instructed by Gustavo Perez for some time and during the pandemic she didn’t stop but kept on learning on-line from her teacher. She is assisted by another lady, Guadalupe Gómez who is also an experienced Muay Boran IMBA practitioner. The project of staging a seminar at her school took quite some time to be arranged but finally all the pieces of the puzzle have fallen into place and the event came to life.

Metepec 2 - IMBA Mexico
The chosen theme was IMBA Muay Lert Rit, the so called Military Style of Muay Boran that is enjoying great success with all the Academy’s members worldwide. The class was extremely heterogeneous, nevertheless all participants really enjoyed the no-nonsense approach of IMBA’s close combat system. In fact, the main characteristic of Muay Lert Rit is that it can be learned in a relatively short amount of time by all kind of student (male, female, young, mature) and applied under all conditions and circumstances. Half of the participants were women and the self defence applications of this Martial Art were extremely interesting, in their own words.

Metepec 3 - IMBA Mexico

3. The event in Tulum

Tulum is part of the Estado de Quintana Roo, in the Yucatán Peninsula. The Capital city is Chetumal. The area between Tulum and Cancun is the Riviera Maya an exclusive resort district famous worldwide. Cesar Barrera owns a well-equipped school (Tulum Fight Club) near the central area of Tulum where he trains several Thai Boxers active in the local and state-wide ring fighting circuit. He is a Muay Thai student of Khru Gustavo Perez with a solid Boxing and Kick Boxing background. Some of the members come from other areas due to the fame of Cesar’s club known as a tough gym: the heterogeneous group includes Argentinians, Venezuelans, British, Italians and Mexicans.

Tulum 1 - IMBA Mexico
The scheduled theme for the various seminars held at Cesar’s gym (3 in total) was Combat Muay Boran’s applications to prize fighting. The first day was actually devoted to introducing Muay Boran’s key principles to the audience. After the first day it became clear that Thai Grappling (Muay Pram) was raising the interest of all participants, some of whom are also MMA practitioners. Since day 2, IMBA Muay Pram became the main subject of the classes according to the participants’ requests.

Tulum 2 - IMBA MexicoTulum 3 - IMBA MexicoTulum 4 - IMBA MexicoTulum 5 - IMBA Mexico
The following Muay Pram basics were covered in detail.
1. Catching, holding and kneeing
2. Unbalancing and throwing
3. Offensive entry techniques to establish the clinch
4. Defensive entry techniques to establish the clinch
5. How to counter the basic neck clinch
6. How to train close range strikes’ power on the Thai Pads.

Tulum 6 - IMBA Mexico
Tulum 7 - IMBA Mexico Tulum 8 - IMBA Mexico

After the 3 days of Muay Boran seminars, the IMBA Tulum branch has been officially opened, under the direction of Cesar Barrera.

Tulum 9 - IMBA Mexico

For more information about IMBA Mexico:
Khru Yai Gustavo Perez Hernandez

For more information about Muay Boran IMBA:
• Europe: Dani Warnicki (IMBA Finland)
• South America: Juan Carlos Duran (IMBA Colombia)
• Oceania: Maria Quaglia (IMBA Australia)
• General Secretary: Marica Vallone (IMBA Italia)
Video clip by Juan Carlos Duran (IMBA Colombia)