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
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.
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
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
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.
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.”