The Making of the Greatest Online Muay Thai Course

By Joel Williams | Muay Thai

Mar 26

We set out to create the world’s best fully online Muay Thai course. This course authentically represents the art and students can earn accredited certification. The GMAU Muay Thai program recently launched this month. Continue reading to learn more about this exciting, one-of-a-kind program with a behind the scenes look at how the program was created and about the instructor!

Instructor Nick Vasallo and a Student Sparring

What is Muay Thai?

Known as the “Art of 8 Limbs”, because the practitioner uses his two fists, elbows, knees and leg kicks, the modern sport Muay Thai has old roots in the fighting systems of Thailand. The ancestor art of Muay Thai is Muay Boran/Krabi-Krabong, unarmed and weapons-based fighting methods from that region of the world. Similar to Karate in its evolution from a traditional self-defense/fighting art to sport we can use their similarities to set the stage for understanding the roots of this martial art.

A comparison of Muay Boran (the ancestor of Muay Thai) to Karate as a historical reference

Muay Thai History & Culture

It is thought that Muay Thai, as we know the sport today, evolved from fighting techniques, methods and strategies from China, Japan, Okinawa, etc. Soldiers would have been trained in hand-to-hand combat and the use of weapons for war. As these soldiers returned home to their villages they would be involved in fighting matches. Each village or local area had its own champion. Over time, a war art became a fighting sport with rules. Similar arts arose in other Southeast Asian countries: Muay Lao (Laos), Burmese, Pradal Serey (Cambodia), Lethwei (Burma), Yaw-Yan (Philippines), and Tomoi (Malaysia). One interesting note is that the sport of Lethwei is called the “Arts of 9 Limbs” because it is legal for the fighter to also headbutt during a match. Today, Muay Thai competition is a world-wide sport and Mixed Martial Arts fighters usually cross-train in Muay Thai in addition to boxing, wrestling and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to round out their skillset.

” Muay Thai is a form of close-combat using your entire body as a weapon. The hands become the sword or the dagger; the shins and forearms are trained to be like armor so you can defend yourself against heavy blows and the elbow is used like a mace or hammer; the legs and knees are like an axe. The body operates as one unit. The practitioner constantly searches for an opening for punches, elbows, knees or kicks and grapples to throw an opponent to the ground. “

In Thailand, Muay Thai fights are preceded by a Wai Khru (in which fighters visit each corner of the ring, claiming it as their own) and a Ram Muay, a traditional dance with the purpose of displaying respect to the fighter’s opponent and their camp, as well as appreciation for their own teachers, families and personal religion.

A Wai Kru & Ram Muay Performed by Muay Thai Athlete
Muay Thai Terms & Definitions

Fighters wear a Mongkon (traditional head bands) and a Prajiad (arm band traditionally made from material belonging to a loved one and close family member) around their biceps, both of which are believed to bring good luck. Sak Yant Temple tattoos are created by Buddhist Monks and Brahman Masters and are common among Thai Boxers for their spiritual significance.

Sak Yant tattoo Adobe Stock by Korn V

Instructor Nick Vasallo

Nick Vasallo In His Garage Studio

The Global Martial Arts University (GMAU) the leader in online martial arts instruction and ranking just released an amazing Muay Thai program (in partnership with Zebra Athletics). The lead instructor, Nick Vasallo, has trained in multiple martial arts, giving him a well-rounded perspective. Most importantly, he has trained under, or with, Muay Thai and MMA champions and with high-level Muay Thai and kickboxing athletes. He holds a Doctor of Musical Arts, with an emphasis in music composition, and is an American composer, sound designer, vocalist, songwriter, and instrumentalist. Dr. Vasallo is a experienced educator and director of music industry studies at Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill, CA. His intellectual creativity, coupled university-level educational experience have allowed him to produced an amazing new GMAU program and platform for martial arts instruction and student coaching. This program focuses on Muay Thai fundamentals and is highly organized. Nick is an effective communicator and his clear, concise instruction and athletic ability make him an important new member of the GMAU instructor team.

Muay Thai Program Seal

The GMAU Online Muay Thai Program

There are many things that make this program the World’s Best Online Muay Thai Course. First, it leverages the existing, and time-tested, GMAU electronic platform, infrastructure, and evidence-based electronic instructional pedagogy methods. Second, each student obtains access to a complete library of lessons and classes, and are required to complete assignments and progress checks at each level of training. When the student is ready s/he will film a test (following a pre-defined format) to the instructor. The assignments allow for interaction with other students via a built in discussion board in the GMAU online system. Progress checks and video-based assignments submitted to the instructor allow for feedback along the way before testing to move on to the next level of training. The instructor is available to the student anytime during their enrollment and provide individual feedback and coaching to students when they submit video assignments, progress checks or tests. Upon successful demonstration of each phase of training, the student receives accredited level ranking or certification.

An Overview of the GMAU Muay Thai Program

Behind the Scenes Creating the Course

And now you are going to get an inside look into how this amazing program came about…

Michael Hodge: GMAU Director and Head Instructor

GMAU Director & Head Instructor, Sensei Michael Hodge

Nick Vasallo: GMAU Muay Thai Instructor

GMAU Muay Thai Instructor Nick Vasallo

Kyle Speltz: GMAU Video Editor

GMAU Video Editor, Kyle Speltz

Garage Studio Transformation

Instructor Nick Vassallo Putting up the Walls of His Garage Studio
Instructor Nick Vassallo Installing the Floor of His Garage Studio

GMAU is proud to be in partnership with Zebra Athletics

About the Author

Husband. Father. University Professor. GMAU Certified Krav Maga Instructor.

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[…] This guide is for complete beginners and for those who seek additional information regarding the art of Muay Thai. The reader will be introduced to the style’s history, its training strategies, and practical descriptions and visual representations of a wide range of Muay Thai techniques. I also provide an overview of the innovative GMAU Online Muay Thai program. You will note references to our Muay Thai program throughout this post. If you’d like more information about how this program came about and what it took to get it online, check out this blog post. […]

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