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More Than Just Muay Thai

Updated: Mar 7, 2019

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Unlike most Muay Thai fighters from Thailand who had to fight due to poverty and for a better life, FaMA - Fitness and Martial Arts Head Muay Thai Instructor, Tanaphong Khunhankaew or Kru Ping as he fondly known by his students, picked Muay Thai because it was his true calling in life.

His parents - who had their own business and a government job - were not keen on him learning the Thai national sport and wanted him to focus on his studies. Kru Ping however, fell in love with art of eight limbs from the moment he saw a Muay Thai fight on TV when he was 5 years old.

From that day on, watching Muay Thai bouts on TV was something he did with his uncle every weekend. However, it wasn’t until he was 13 that he started his formal training at a gym in his hometown in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

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Secret Training

Most parents would be happy if their teenager picked martial arts for extra curricular activities. Kru Ping however, had to come up with a ruse to attend Muay Thai practice. “I told my parents I was going to play football after school but I was actually training Muay Thai. This went on for several months,” he said.

Kru Ping’s secret training came to light when his parents decided to check on him. Although they did not approve his love for Muay Thai, they understood that this was what he really wanted to do but told him not to neglect his studies.

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Kru Ping trained hard and started fighting but it wasn’t until he went to further his studies in university that he really upped his game.

“In university, I had many good training partners. I was training with national champions, title contenders and stadium champions. There was also a boxing champion at that time,” he said. Ping would accompany them for fights overseas and in other parts of Thailand when he was not preparing for a fight himself.

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Kru Ping playing games with FaMA's Muay Thai Little Tigers at the beginning of class.

A Well Rounded Martial Artist

Unlike some traditional martial arts instructors, Kru Ping believes in learning from every discipline. He absorbs what he can and applies it to Muay Thai to make it better.

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“If you look at Greco-Roman Wrestling, there’s a lot of clinching and upper body takedowns. You can use what you learn from that in Muay Thai as well,” said Ping, who is now a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) under Professor Zoro Moreira.

With his openness to training, coupled with his Masters Degree in Sports Science, Kru Ping wants to help make Muay Thai better for everyone.

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“Muay Thai can be used for weight loss and fitness, mixed martial arts, K1 style kickboxing, and a tool for employment for those who want to become trainers, referees, promoters, etc. You can’t train everyone the same way. Different people have different goals and we need to cater to their needs,” explained Ping.

“There is also a disconnect between two groups of people who want to make Muay Thai better. Those in academia and those who fight sometimes can’t see eye to eye. I believe I can help bridge this gap for the growth of Muay Thai because I’ve fought professionally and I have studied Sports Science.”

After accumulating over 130 Muay Thai fights, Kru Ping is not ready to hang up his gloves just yet but all his energy is focused on making his students at FaMA better. He also stays competition ready by competing in BJJ in Singapore and sparring with his more seasoned students.

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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

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 Coach Jerel Louie.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, or BJJ as it is commonly known around the world, is a self-defence martial art that enables a smaller, weaker person to protect themselves against a much larger attacker using leverage and pressure. Formed from Kodokan Judo in Japan, Jiu Jitsu found its way to Brazil in the 1910s through Mitsuyo Maeda, a Japanese judoka and no-holds-barred prize fighter. During his time in Brazil, Maeda accepted a young Carlos Gracie as his student. Carlos would later pass on his knowledge to his brothers, most notably Helio Gracie - the father of modern Brazilian Jiujitsu. The Gracie family would go on to spread BJJ through The Gracie Challenge and eventually the creation of Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). Today, BJJ has grown to be more than just an effective unarmed fighting system. It helps young children deal with bullies and adults live a healthy lifestyle. BJJ classes are offered daily at FaMA under the tutelage of Black Belts Zoro Moreira and Robyn Goudy.

FaMA Fit

An all-in-one fitness class suitable for everyone, FaMA Fit incorporates moves from Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai, Boxing and Kickboxing together with functional training to help develop flexibility, mobility, strength, balance, and stamina. For beginners who are just starting out, the FaMA Fit Fundamentals class is an entry-level program that will work the entire body. FaMA Fit and FaMA Fit Fundamentals classes are run by professional athlete Coach Kirstie Gannaway.


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