Different fighting styles exist in Thailand and on the world stage, and all can be exciting to watch. However, many muay Thai fans would argue that the technician (AKA muay femeu or muay classic) is the most pleasing on the eye, and possesses the most skill out of all fighter types. So what traits do great technicians possess?
A technician is a master of all weapons. He is slick, stylish, adaptable, and can win a fight in many different ways, depending on the intentions and style of his opponent.
His movement is well-balanced and graceful in execution. He possesses a great muay Thai brain and razor-sharp vision which keeps him one step ahead of his opponent.
Above all else, he has a supreme confidence in everything he does in the ring.
7 Great Muay Thai Technicians
Nicknamed “The Ring Genius”, Namkabuan is one of the all-time great technicians who reminded fans time and time again that he was worthy of the label.
Namkabuan had an unorthodox style for a technician and his opponents often struggled to see where his weapons were loading up from.
There are a couple of things that I consider quite unique to Namkabuan;
Firstly, he trained at the Nongkeepayuyuth camp in his home town of Nong Ki (Buriram) from childhood right up until the day he retired. It’s rare thing when a fighter remains at the same camp for their entire career in Thailand.
Secondly, he held onto his 130lbs Lumpinee title for 6 years straight. He defended this title against the best fighters in Thailand including Pairot Wor Wolapon and Neuthoranee Tongraja.
Namkabuan wasn’t a KO artist, but this knockout of Matee Jadeepitak is quite special.
Boonlai Sor Thanikul
It’s extremely common for Boonlai Sor Thanikul to be mentioned among the best fighters ever whenever I spark up a conversation with another fanatic.
Boonlai was a technician with great hands. He beat the best of the best during his time at the top which saw him win Lumpinee titles in two different weight classes (115lbs and 122lbs) and amassed close to 400 fights.
Some of the most well-known nak muay to be on the losing end of a bout with Boonlai include Chatchai Paiseetong, Karuhat Sor Supawan, Wangchannoi Sor Palangchai, Charoensap Kiatbanching, Langsuan Panyuthapum, Oley Kiatoneway, Jongsanan Fairtex, Superlek Sorn Esarn, Namkabuan Nongkeepayuyuth, Lamnamoon Sor Sumalee and Chamuekpet Hapalang.
Certainly one of the greatest technicians of all time. Study this fight against Karuhat for a great kicking war between two elite technicians.
Saenchai PK Saenchai Gym
Yep, you knew he was included in the list. Saenchai is not only one of the greatest technicians of all time, but one of the greatest fighters ever. End of.
He is known the world-over for his colourful personality, playful style and for pulling off crazy stunts in the ring that don’t even seem possible. He manages to do this against opponents that outweigh him by several kilos…
Saenchai continually challenges himself in this way, and in 2009 he even fought two top Thais in one fight.
His style is fairly difficult to analyse; he is very random and can do almost anything at any time.
Saenchai won Lumpinee titles in the 115lbs, 118lbs, 130lbs and 135lbs category, and won the Fighter of the Year Award twice in 1999 and 2008.
Karuhat Sor Supawan
Next up is probably my favourite fighter in the list – Karuhat Sor Supawan.
Karuhat was a truly mesmerising fighter who often took up a position on the back foot and invited his opponents to attack him in order to move and counter.
He fought from a crouched stance and moved his guard very smoothly and gracefully.
Karuhat was a technician who specialised in elbows. I highlighted his legendary uppercut elbows in this video.
Also, watch his epic battles with the next fighter in the list…
Hippy Singmanee is a former 2x Lumpinee champion from the city of Thung Song in Nahkon Si Tammarat province. He began training the sport of muay Thai in his back yard with his three brothers and was coached by his father before relocating to Bangkok 5 years later (aged 15).
Like Saenchai, Hippy often fought opponents above his optimal weight in order to challenge himself. He was that good.
He was a very quick fighter with lightening kicks and rapid movement around the ring, often leading his opponents on a wild goose chase while he chipped away at their defenses.
Hippy’s battles with Karuhat were legendary; Hippy won two, one bout ended in a draw and Karuhat took the other. This fight was particularly special.
Another well-known fighter that everybody reading this post should know is Samart Payakaroon – a WBC champ, 4x Lumpinee champ, and 3x Fighter of the Year Award winner.
So yeah, apart from being a movie star and pop star, he wasn’t a bad fighter either, being considered by many Thais to be the greatest nak muay Thailand has ever produced.
Samart had the ability to take other top fighters apart and make it look effortless. The range he created with his inverted teeps was immaculate, and made landing his devastating punches ever the more easier.
He is also very well known for his lightening quick reactions and head movement, including this clip from one of his boxing bouts. Incredible.
Considering what a star Samart was, there aren’t that many stadium fights of him online – especially his earlier fights when he was in his prime. Hopefully somebody out there has some video tapes collecting dust in their attic and decides to upload them one day.
Chatchai Paiseetong was an exceptional talent. Nicknamed “Samart 2”, he trained at the Sityodtong camp and was touted as the next Samart Payakaroon.
He rose through the ranks at Lumpinee stadium incredibly quickly and TKO’d the reigning champ Charoensap Kiatbanchong to win Thailand’s most important stadium belt on his first attempt.
His left switch kick is certainly one of the best I’ve seen in any fighter. The height he could achieve with this technique while still remaining balanced was phenomenal.
Chatchai was a dominant figure in Thailand during the early nineties but keeping his weight down became a struggle, and fighting at 130lbs didn’t suit him as he was regularly at a height disadvantage.
Chatchai sadly died in 2002 when he collapsed after a fight.