What is Muay Chaiya?

Muay Chaiya is one of the  last surviving old styles of Muay Thai that is still effective today. Focusing on a strong defense, it is an explosive style of fighting which contradicts many of the norms associated with other martial arts. 

The fundamental movements of the system, incorporate the weight of the body rather than strength to create power, making the style accessible to people of all walks of life, age, sex and body type.


On the surface, the style is by nature, playful and cheeky. To some, this maybe a surprise, because of how rigid the system can seem (a misconception) and how brutal it can be in its execution. And that, describes it perfectly. The confidence that the solid defence invokes results in a relaxed, light-hearted practitioner who can transition to becoming unforgiving and brutal when challenged. 

With two fighters of equal ability, the one that maintains a relaxed, composed mindset will usually come out on top. With this in mind, the cheeky/playful side of the style is used to frustrate and bait the opponent to create openings and opportunities to allow entry into otherwise difficult defenses.

A classic example of this can be seen in some versions of the Ram Muay of Muay Chaiya, where the Chaiya fighter approaches the opponent in their corner to antagonise them. This is all play, to try and ‘ruffle the feathers’ of the opponent, and put them off their game, giving the Chaiya fighter an advantage at the opening of the fight.


The intent is the practical and brutal side of the style, and is what makes the style so dangerous, and also so intimidating to face.
It can be encapsulated by: “When attacked make sure that the opponent hurts more than you”.

This may seem obvious when stated, but consider the amount of styles of martial art that have passive defenses, that only focus on safely avoiding damage, or the main intent of the incoming attack. If your intent is to passively defend, how long can that be maintained under attack?

Muay Chaiya has a different take, where in every instance that an opponent attacks, your active defense is trying to make sure that the opponent’s weapon is damaged, more so than yourself. The main example of this is in the ‘Turian’ of the style. Blocking as much as possible with the point of the elbow or knees. Any attack thrown and blocked in this manner will damage the opponent, more than the defender.

The principle can be simplified: “Block by matching their soft with your hard”.

Learning online

Many people have asked, “How can a martial art be learnt online?”
Bearing in mind the traditional hands on and personal nature of teaching Martial Arts, this a good and valid question.

Whilst not a perfect solution (not as good as learning in the presence of a teacher!), modern methods of online teaching and assessment overcome many of the obstacles previously associated with distance learning. With online video and social sites now the norm, students are far more comfortable communicating online.

The syllabus is delivered via written instruction, images, and recorded lessons that can be viewed as many times as needed. Progression is at your own pace. Courses also include instructive live video streaming.

Muay Chaiya is for

Self defense

Feeling the need for protection?
Focusing on a simple, strong, effective defence, the study of Muay Chaiya will give you the ability and the confidence to be effective in real situations.


Are you keen to get physical?
Supplement your training, or aim for the ring. The best way to practice is to get your gloves on and have some fun. Improve your abilities, whatever your goals.

Language and Culture

Are you looking for something more? Taught in a traditional manner, studying Muay Chaiya is more than just learning to kick and punch. Deeper enrichment about Thai language and the Muay Chaiya customs is integral to the courses. You can use the Chaiya philosophy of defense in everyday life.


Not interested in fighting?
Muay Chaiya is an excellent way to keep your body fit and strong. A challenging set of exercises that use the core movements of the system will get and keep you in great shape. Expect to improve balance and coordination as well as strength and stamina.

About Kru Nathan

Way back, during his first trip to Thailand in 2002, Nathan Brown fell in love with the style of Muay Chaiya after a friend took him to Baan Chang Thai in Bangkok and introduced him to Kru Lek. Nathan was instantly intrigued by the style, which used all the important concepts from his previous martial arts background but with the addition of new ideas that he hadn’t seen anywhere else. Nathan stayed, found work and trained at Baan Chang Thai in (most of!) his free time.

Learning to speak the Thai language became an essential part of studying Muay Chaiya, helping to gain a deeper insight into the style which goes beyond just learning individual techniques and movements. Reading followed speaking, since all the written notes and teachings on Muay Chaiya are in Thai script. Continued study over the years, of both the style and the language, opened the door to teaching at Baan Chang Thai with the blessing of Kru Lek. At the time this was something of a novelty, a ‘farang’ (Westerner), teaching Muay Chaiya to Thais! Baan Chang Thai, meaning ‘Home of Thai Artisans’ literally became Nathan’s home.

Years on, Nathan has had the opportunity to teach the style to both Thais and westerners in Thailand and Europe through seminars as well as regular classes. He has used Muay Chaiya in the ring and the street, and is the premier Western authority on the style. In 2010 he launched LearnMuayChaiya.com, an online school, to help teach the invaluable knowledge learned about Muay Chaiya to the many students who were unable to travel to Thailand.

Many people have already benefited from learning online, the lucky ones advancing their learning with Kru Lek in Bangkok.

Kru Nathan would now like to make the martial art of Muay Chaiya available to students around the world. As a direct descendant of Kru Lek’s teaching lineage, he has a desire to ensure a dedication to the purity of the history and technique of this culturally rich form.

Whether for fitness, self-defense or competition, in the end, all I want is to share my knowledge of Muay Chaiya with willing students who wish to learn,

Kru Nathan Brown

Nathan’s extremely skilled expertise in the traditional Thai boxing (Muay Thai Chaiya) has certified him to become a trusted Teacher, endorsed by one of the leading Masters of this Art in Thailand – where he helped teach the students of Ajarn Lek’s Muay Thai Camp for nearly a decade.

Having seen his seminars provided for Private Security Personnel, selected Thai Military brigades, as well as people visiting Thailand for learning premium Muay Thai, I can only say that he understands the culture of ancient warfare and the appropriate ethics involved and will be able to teach this ancient Art whilst still keeping the integrity and honours intact. Not to mention that his fluency in Thai has been a great benefit in teaching to locals who to their surprise still remain in awe after their sessions.

Michael Schmidt, Thailand

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