As the world opens up, Anantara introduces you to some of the people you’ll meet on your travels, this time we introduce you to a 26-year-old Natthanisha Suparat – a famous Muay Thai champion known to her many fans as Kru Saifha, now based at Anantara Chiang Mai Resort in northern Thailand.
Famous Muay Thai champion known to her many fans as Kru Saifha, Natthanicha Suparat, 26, started practicing Thai kickboxing at the age of nine, winning major international titles while still a teenager . A self-described “love at first sight” when in the boxing ring, as a martial arts instructor, she channels her fighting spirit to give her students confidence in their abilities.
Muay Thai, also known as Thai boxing, is a combat sport that uses standing striking as well as various clinch techniques. In Thailand, “the art of eight limbs” is characterized by a unique mystique, while for casual practitioners it is primarily an excellent full body workout and stress release technique to stay mentally and physically fit.
Natthanicha, who trains locals and foreigners alike in her home province of Phayao in northern Thailand, welcomes everyone, whatever their reason for wanting to learn how to kick, punch and nudges. In fact, she hopes that as more and more women take up the sport for its health benefits, they will discover the beauty of Muay Thai and fall in love with all that the discipline represents, just like her. did it when she was a child.
Become the nak muay
For Natthanicha, it all started with a family trip to her uncle’s boxing camp. While the adults went about their business, the bored 9-year-old killed time watching the fighters trade punches in the gym. Imitating them, Natthanicha tried to kick a heavy punching bag beside her. It was great. After convincing her father to let her stay at the camp, Natthanicha spent the next month training and training with her uncles and elders.
She didn’t have to wait long for her break. Just a month after Natthanicha received her first pair of boxing shoes, she was matched with a much more experienced male boxer at a carnival when one of the scheduled fighters failed to show up. For Natthanicha, the match started with a bloody nose but ended with a sweet taste of victory. Over the next three months, she continued to train before and after school and won every game she played.
The brave youngster soon caught the attention of the Provincial Women’s Boxing Authority who encouraged the black rider to compete in the Northern Women’s Boxing Championship. Their bet paid off – Natthanicha won the competition and quickly rose to the top of the sports leaderboard. At 15, already a member of the Women’s Boxing Association of Thailand, she represented her country at the World Muay Thai Federation (WPMF) competition, returning home world champion.
One of the reasons Natthanicha accepted the Anantara Chiang Mai residency is her ambition for the sport to be embraced by more women. Anyone can practice Muay Thai, regardless of fitness level, says Natthanicha, adding that women actually have an advantage over men in terms of agility and speed. And using your fists, elbows, knees, and shins gives you a fantastic full-body workout as well as valuable self-defense skills.
As one of Anantara’s Gurus – a company-wide network of experts with unique skills and knowledge – she now teaches Muay Thai to hotel guests. There are a number of programs, ranging from the Muay Thai Fight Fit class which focuses on boxing techniques to strengthen your entire body, to the Muay Thai self-defense class which promises to burn 740 calories in one 60 minute session. The resort also offers a daily kickboxing group dance class – a non-contact aerobics routine with Kru Saifha incorporating kickboxing moves and upbeat music.
Yet arguably the most unique Muay Thai experience at Anantara Chiang Mai is the Wai Khru Ram Muay ceremony, where guests are invited to participate in a dance ritual that fighters perform before the fight begins. Over the rhythmic soundtrack of Sarama, a genre of traditional Thai music that accompanies all Muay Thai fights, the ritual and its hypnotic sounds are woven into the very fabric of Thai culture.
While not everyone who practices Muay Thai ends up training competitively, having Natthanicha in your corner for just one session will give a major boost to your confidence, while adding an extra layer to your vacation.