Muay Thai classes at FaMA - Fitness and Martial Arts are commonly a rowdy affair. But as of late, the ‘noise' level has been taken up a couple of notches and it’s no thanks to the enthusiasm and energy of our guest instructor (currently FaMA's Muay Thai Director) Kru Yo Lamnammoon Sor Sumalee! At 46 years young, and 16 years since his retirement from the professional fight scene, Kru Yo puts his heart and soul into every Muay Thai class, desiring for each student to get the most out of their workout and learning. It’s no wonder classes have been packed to the brim!
Kru Yo brings with him an eye-opening legacy that combines both massive wins as a fighter, and wins from the fighters that he trains. Born and raised in the serene city of Ubon Ratchathani in the Isaan province of Thailand, he is a 4x Lumpini champion in three different weight classes, as well as a World Professional Kickboxing League champion. He has also coached all over the world including countries such as Australia and the United Kingdom, and is responsible for coaching the top foreign Muay Thai fighters in Thailand: Sean Kearney, Jordan Coe, and Kurt Staiti.
From 13-30: Rise of the Vampire
Like many native Muay Thai fighters, Kru Yo grew up embracing the martial art as a dominant part of his life, especially since his father and older brother were both fighters themselves. His first ever Muay Thai fight, at age 13, was held one month after he began intensive training; here, he won the fight by knock-out with a knee finish.
Over the years, Kru Yo’s knee attacks are just one of his few signature moves, even earning him a nickname with the media: Vampire Knees. (If you want to know why the name ‘vampire’, just ask him in person!)
He eventually retired at the age of 30 and embarked on a teaching career. In 2015, he opened Lamnamoon Muay Thai gym.
From Ubon Ratchathani to the Rest of the World
Kru Yo continues to run the gym today with the help of three other instructors, and even offers youth the option of staying in the gym to pursue a fight career. However, education is of top priority to him, and he ensures that these youth fulfil their school attendance before they can continue their training for the rest of the day.
When he is not teaching in his gym, Kru Yo offers seminars all around the world to people of all walks of life. He counts it a success to be able to see those under his wings improve and succeed.
FaMA Head Instructor, Zoro Moreira, with Kru Yo in 2013.
But having built so many professional fighters up, does he ever find it challenging to train students who simply view Muay Thai as a means of fitness?
“It was a test of patience to me at first,” Kru Yo confessed, “When you are a fighter, you are expected to train hard, up to twice a day. I push fighters hard, and admittedly, the focus on technique is not always the priority.
“With recreational students, I understand that they come in with a different fitness levels and goals. They might only attend classes three times a week, one hour each time. In such scenarios, I take the pace down a notch, make sure that the technique is refined, and that the students have fun.”
Clearly, that test of patience has paid off. Kru Yo draws the crowd effortlessly today, thanks to his outgoing and fun personality, as well as attention to technique detail and the ability to offer a great workout. Time passes quickly in Kru Yo’s classes, because there is not a moment where you’re having a good time while pushing yourself! Now, who said exercise was always boring?
5 quick questions with Kru Yo!
Dog or cat person?
I have 4 dogs in my gym back at home!
Favourite food in Singapore?
Chicken rice and Bak Kut Teh!
Favourite country in the world?
I like Australia - I really like Gold Coast, because it’s not too hot or too cold, and very relaxed.
How do you relax - with people or alone?
I like to spend time with people. Also, I like relaxing by the river.
If I did not venture into Muay Thai I would have pursued…
FaMA - Fitness and Martial Arts Established in 2016, FaMA is a world-class martial arts training facility located in the heart of the Central Business District in Singapore. Walking distance from the Clarke Quay MRT station, FaMA’s main goal is to help people improve their lives through martial arts regardless of age or athletic capability. Each program is led by experts in their respective fields. Whether it is weight loss, a fun workout, camaraderie, competition training, or just to break a sweat, FaMA has something for everyone.
Muay Thai, or The Art of Eight Limbs, is a martial art developed in Thailand thousands of years ago to help the Kingdom protect itself against invaders. Using the human body as a weapon, Muay Thai practitioners are well-versed in punching, elbowing, kicking, kneeing, and clinching with their opponents. What was once only used for self-defence and protection of the Kingdom, Muay Thai has grown to become one of the most popular sports not only in Thailand but in the world. Muay Thai is known to provide a complete total-body workout that will help build lean muscle, core strength, and help with weight loss. At FaMA, Muay Thai classes are taught daily by Tanaphong Khunhankaew, or better known as Kru Ping, and Kru Jerel Louie.