I am a Muay Thai fanatic with a CV that includes 4 professional world titles and a PhD in Neuroscience (the study of the brain). I was introduced to Muay Thai in my early twenties—around the same time as the undertaking of my doctorate. By no means athletic in my youth, I was motivated to try out my first Muay Thai session after resolving to lose weight. That first class exhilarated me in a way I had never previously experienced from exercise—from then onwards I was hooked.
After a few years training in the UK at Kings Cobra Camp and, later, Dean White’s Gym, my passion for Muay Thai took me to Thailand in 2006, where I trained at gyms such as Muay Thai Plaza 2004 in Bangkok, Chay Yai Gym in Chiang Mai, and—for the past 7 years—Eminent Air Boxing Gym, Bangkok. During my boxing career I had 41 professional and 8 amateur fights and competed in countries such as Thailand, UK, China, Australia, Switzerland, Belgium and Czech Republic. I fought on several televised shows, including events at Sanam Luang on the birthdays of the King and Queen of Thailand, and won S-1 (126lb), WMA (57kg), and two WPMF (126lb) titles.
Despite no longer competing, I remain based in Thailand, and remain an avid follower of all things Muay Thai-related. Please read my posts for musings on events and experiences in the world of Muay Thai, ‘like’ and comment.
http://www.awakeningfighters.com/athletes/melissa-ray/ (incomplete record)
(Thanks to Huong Tran for the photo of Lumpini. Thanks also to Katrina Ray for casting her discerning eye over my initial writing efforts.)
Melissa, you are an inspiration to all female Muay Thai fighters and women who train in the sport!! If anyone loves Muay Thai, then they should be following your career and of course this blog!! Love the idea, can’t wait to read all about it.
Ah you’re too kind Yoko, thanks!
Great, delighted to see this Melissa – you’ve learned so much over there, looking forward to reading it all!
Melissa I am so pleased to have found your blog! I very much look forward to reading your posts. It is a hope that women of Muay Thai can become more present on the web, sharing their views and experiences. Like you once were, I was recently inspired to come to Thailand to train and fight full time – in Chiang Mai now – and am writing about it as much as I can.
Thanks for your comment Sylvie. I liked your page some time ago so have been reading your posts – you have been quite prolific in your writing! It’s nice to hear from a fellow female Muay Thai blogger. Hopefully there will be more female representation in the future.
Awesome blog Melissa! It’s great reading about muaythai from a female’s pov, esp one of your calibre! I hope you recover from your injury soon – so that you can get back out there & show the boys!
Aw thanks Charissa! I keep en eye on your blog too. Beautiful shots. Great to hear from you!
That is a lot of fight winning gold! I love you perspective: it’s smart and the voice of experience!
It might not be gold but I feel it’s quite bling! Thanks 🙂
Wow! What an inspiring blog! Good to have an intellectual thai boxer to look up to 🙂
Big ups from a thai boxing girl with a masters degree 🙂
I came across your blog looking how to start my own. I’ve recently taken up Muay Thai after deciding to move on from Karate after 15 years, at first i found the change in technique very difficult to ajust to but 4 months on i’m starting to settle in and totally addicted 🙂
I’m looking to attend a Muay Thai Camp in Thailand around March next year in Koh Samui as i have family who currently live out there so that is something i’m really looking forward too.
I hope you recover from your injury soon unfortunatley i do know how it feels but the best of luck from all here at Worksop Muay Thai and myself x
Hi Emma, great to hear from you. A change in discipline after 15 years must be difficult but good to hear you have taken to Muay Thai so well 🙂
My knee is much improved. Just recently started kick sparring again, which was a big step as I had fears of reinjury for such a long time.
I’m sure you will enjoy Samui and training in Thailand. Good luck with your training (and fighting?!). Please send me the link to your blog when you have it up and running – I’d be really interested in reading.
It’s good to hear that someone who started as an academic wanted to extend her talents to a combat sport. It’s good because it dispels the thuggish image that often goes with sports like boxing. The resurgence of interest in combat sports has brought quite a lot of intellectual types in to the ring or cage. The most notable example is surely Rosi Sexton, with a degree in maths from Cambridge and a PhD.
My own history is almost the opposite of yours, I started boxing when I was 11, and got interested in science much later. I really loved the boxing and got extra lessons so i could fight more often. I think they have more in common than many people think. The common factor is a sort of mental self-discipline combined with competitiveness. It takes self-discipline to get into the ring and to keep coming back however badly you get hurt, and it takes self-discipline to do science. I think my experience in the ring made me a better scientist.
Muay thai and MMA are even harder than boxing in some ways -elbows and shins have no padding at all, and MMA gloves haven’t got much padding. It’s inspiring that so many people now want to do them, though in defence of boxing, i think that in a toe-to-toe boxing match you have to give and take a lot more punches than in muay thai or MMA, often 100 or so even in 3 rounders. If I were starting now I’m sure I’d want to try muay thai and MMA. What’s a bit of blood between friends!
Personally I can’t get my head around MMA! I know there is an awful lot of technique involved in the ground work but I don’t find MMA nearly as interesting to watch as Muay Thai or boxing. Maybe just lack of understanding on my part…
When we train Muay Thai we practise full sparring (i.e., with kicks) and boxing sparring and I actually find the boxing sparring much more demanding than the full sparring. It’s true you give and take a lot more shots when you are only throwing punches and these shots target a smaller area (also with 20oz gloves and head guards with more intention).
Just found your blog and wanted to comment on your criticism of MMA “I cant get my head around MMA”. Unfortunately for all Muay Thai and K1 fanatics (myself included) MMA has definitely won out as the superior fighting art. It even has a high gloss monthly magazine called “Fighters Only”
The early UFC tournaments 1,2,3,4 etc. established Brazilian Jui-Jitsu as the superior fighting art because Royce Gracie won these yournaments. Then in 2000 the Fertita brothers, who were casino owners bought out the bankrupt UFC and with Dana White as manager put out so much promotion, and so much energy and money that now the UFC brand name is as mainstream as NFL football or NBA basketball. There were also rules instated to tone down the violence of MMA such as having rounds and disallowing soccer kicks to the head of a downed opponent, The TUF reality series shown on TV helped get MMA out to people that knew nothing about cage fighting.,
The tragedy:the show could have just as well been made with MuayThai fighters or Kickboxers. Simultaneously as MMA and the UFC have made their ascent, the K1 organization went bankrupt and the shows in Japan and elsewhere which used to have tens of thousands of live viewers and millions on TV have disappeared.:Now we have the new and still small Glory Fight Series(water downed Muay Thai) and some small promotions such as Lions Muay Thai, but no real money and lttle exposure! There has also not been a successful promotion from Thailand that has the drive and economic clout to make Muay Thai a worldwide affair. the sport is too parochial and local!
MuayThai is part of MMA but it is not considered to be the most important part. Muay Thai and kickboxing are just considered to be “stand up affairs” and including Western boxing are considered “striking”·, Only half of the equation..The other half is “grappling”, which includes wrestling and Jui-Jitsu,Judo or Sambo.
When I started training Muay Thai in 1985 in Germany we thought Muay Thai would be the next “big thing”, but it never happened! At that time especially Holland had all these great fighters some who made careers in K1 later. But that generation is gone, and all young fighters today are doing MMA now because that is where the money and exposure is..
Personally, I dont like “rolling” on the ground with a smelly guy trying to choke me out!
Long live the striking arts!
May Muay Thai get the recognition it deserves!
Awesome Melissa! Blessed to know you. Keep inspiring. Cabbages and c______ is on the cards soon!
Hope so! Will be great to catch up.
Hello. outstanding blog.
Thank you Crazy Guy 🙂
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