MUAY THAI CHAMP IS KEEN ON THAI BOXING...
Written by Ann Patton Academy Spirit; Photos Dennis Rogers
Chris Thompson can break three baseball bats all at once with one shin. Ouch...! That’s gotta hurt.
The two-time winner of the Colorado State Kick Down Welterweight Muay Thai competition and a Rocky Mountain Bad Boys Welterweight Muay Thai champ doesn’t think so.
“There is pain at the beginning,” he said of Muay Thai training and added, “It’s a great way to get rid of shin splints.” Muay Thai translates as “Thai kick-boxing.” Thompson has seven wins, four losses, no draws and two knock-outs for amateur Muay Thai competition.
Other accomplishments include being champion of the International Kickboxing Association South Central Regional Middle- weight Muay Thai Rules and champion of the Prathet Thai Muay Thai Kickboxing Gym Middle Weight Smoker. He will once again compete in Muay Thai champ keen on kickboxing Colorado state competitions next month. The ring sport is commonly known as the “Science of 8 Limbs” because it works on the body’s mechanics using limbs, shins, elbows, head, fists and feet. Rotation of the hips and use of core muscles sets the sport apart from other styles of martial arts.
In comparison, Western boxing has two points, the fists and other forms of martial arts, four points, the fists and feet Thompson, a chaplain’s assistant at the Community Chapel, loved watching martial arts movies as a youth. He has practiced and competed in the martial arts sport for eight years.
“It’s graceful, beautiful and destructive,” he said and stressed it is great exercise and good for cardio, endurance and muscle tone. “Muay Thai will get you in really good shape,” he said. A large body size creates no advantage for Muay Thai practitioners. In fact, most weigh between 100 (or less) and 175 pounds. Thompson added women are better at Muay Thai because they have better hip movement, and female knees and elbows are more pointed.
Thai children enter the sport as early as age 5. He began in self-defense with Tae-Kwon-Do but tired of it quickly. “I wasn’t getting hit hard enough,” he said. He works out five days a week, but not on the weekends, which he, as a chaplain’s assistant, called “my busy days.”
Muay Thai traces its origins back 2,000 years when Thailand was known as Siam. The Royal Thai military
used it in battles. Every March, Thai kick boxers honor Nai Khnom D'tom, the father of Muay Thai who was the first to use it outside of Thailand. Muay Thai remains that country’s national sport.
An Air Force military liaison with the (USMTA) United States Muay Thai Association and a Muay Thai Kru, or teacher, Thompson has been deployed three times and taught Muay Thai in Kyrgyzstan, Balad and Camp Victory in Bagdad to more than a dozen Army and Air Force members at each assignment. “I just love doing it,” he said. He put other military members through the typical exercises of a basic class warm-ups, technique drills, rounds of pad work and rounds of sparring. The class concludes with body and face conditioning to become
accustomed to taking punches and then stretching. Thompson now teaches Muay Thai for a branch of Bally’s Swim and Fitness in Colorado Springs. Prior to competition, Thai boxers wear ceremonial head and arm bands and perform the traditional three bows for family, teacher and deity, then conclude with taunting, dance-like gestures based on Muay Thai movements around other boxers. The soft-spoken staff sergeant began his
Air Force career with four years in aircrew life support but switched his specialty after learning of the chaplain’s assistant specialty code.
“It’s a calling,” the Nashville, Tenn., native said of his job. “Being able to work in God’s house is an outstanding thing for me.” Thompson added he appreciates opportunities for being there when people are weakest and to comfort and encourage them. The seemingly gentle, caring nature of his job might seem contradictory to the fierceness of Muay Thai. “God says we must be meek. He doesn’t mean we have to be weak,” he explained. Becoming an Arjarn, or master instructor,
requires becoming or training a world champion. The title, plus having his own Muay Thai school is not out of the question for his future. Thompson has taken some hard lumps in his Muay Thai career, with a broken ankle, two fractured ribs, a partial retinal detachment, along with bumps and bruises. Hardly “weak” by any standards, Thompson, and his wife Colanyosa, characteristically have a cat named “Scar.”