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This is a full video of a private I took with Arjan Surat, Head Coach of the Thai National Team, and owner of the esteemed (but lesser known to the west) Dejrat Gym in Bangkok. I did a short review of the gym when I interviewed female fighter Kaitlin Young, and it was then that I met Arjan Surat for the first time: an absolutely extraordinary teacher and life-force of Muay Thai. The man is Old School-Old School, telling me that he’s been holding pads longer than I’ve been alive (he’s 63), ridiculing modern day Muay Boran as “fantasy” (himself a former student of a Muay Chaiya Master), laughing about the reverse elbow craze of farang fighters “not for Thai people,” complaining about the way contemporary Thai fighters take the 1st rounds off – his fighters don’t! – and teaching a patient but in-your-face, own-the-centerline Muay Thai, built from the ground up with serious emphasis on balance. Did you get all that?
The video below contains that session, along with 3 rounds of padwork with him 10 days later, after I had worked on the things he showed me very seriously. This is a window into pure Muay Thai, the Muay of the 1970s and 1980s. And I cannot tell you how much he reminded me of my original teacher, Master K, who is a time capsule unto himself. I struggled a bit in trying to adapt to the balance he was attempting to get out of me and the new arm position he wanted from me in kicks – these things just take time and repetition – but I’ve incorporated everything he showed me, both technically but also philosophically, into my fight training and fight approach. I love the kind of balanced aggression he demands, a perfect compliment to the clinch fighting style I want to achieve. And his emphasis on balance is something that brings out unmistakable grace in the art of Muay Thai – powerful, practical, and upright.
Arjan Surat is patient, but insistent. He asks for very simple things and therefore it’s not a stretch for him to expect you to be very consistent with those things – because they’re simple – but he also gives you the reason behind everything he wants. It all builds toward an ethic of Muay Thai and a value that is visible in the movements of a fighter: economy of movement, power, no fear, and unwavering balance. His emphasis in on an aspect of Muay that is very pure and, in many ways, timeless. He doesn’t ask for archaic movements or techniques that aren’t practical in modern ring Muay Thai; instead, he is reaching into the ethic of a warrior and the immovable, imposing masculine frame. And he demands it of women, equally. Because it’s Muay Thai.
These long form videos are done in the spirit of my early work with Master K, filming lengthy sessions of training without breaks or edits, which involve the inclusion of all the mistakes and attempts at correction, because I feel that this is where learning really occurs: watching the difference between the mistake and the ideal, and the effort to get from one to the other. This video is also an example of the work I’ve been doing for Nak Muay Nation members, full length sessions with some of the greatest fight minds in Thailand. I give this session here as a bonus to my readers. You can read all my Nak Muay Nation feature posts here – with about 10 minutes of video, and video breakdown an analysis from some of the greats. For full hours like this one, join Nak Muay Nation.
Arjan Surat Private with Audio Commentary
above, the full 1 hour with commentary
Arjan Surat without Commentary
the same video as above, but without commentary if you prefer
This video below is how I drilled balance on the caught kick at my home gym at Petchrungruang in the intervening 10 days between our sessions together, I wrote about the drill here in this Sylvie’s Tips.
Some Stills from Our Session
This is just the kind of content I hope to keep bringing forward, made possible by the monthly support by my readers through Patreon, even $1 pledges make a difference and build momentum. And big thank you also to 8limbs.us official sponsors Nak Muay Nation and Onyx MMA.
Walk Through Dejrat Gym
Above, video walking through Dejrat Gym
Map of Dejrat Gym
Below is a Google Map of where Dejrat gym is. The location is actually at the very end of the cul-de-sac that the marker falls on. You can contact Dejrat gym through their Facebook Page.
If you’d like to support my continued blogging and video sharing of female Muay Thai by pledging $1 per month visit my Patreon page – you can also subscribe for free to my blog – I average about 4 blog posts a week from Thailand.
Join and Study my Muay Thai Library of Legends