Uncle Thai

Thai Srikrotriam, known to his friends as Uncle Thai, is a Muay Thai teacher working in South London.
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Q: Why did you decide to come to the UK and teach Muay Thai?

I came here without any plan at the beginning and I met a friend who knew my background in Thai boxing. I was lucky that the opportunity and my skill set were matched. I started teaching Thai boxing for a small group in a gym around North London in 2014. It’s almost 10 years now, not only teaching Thai boxing classes for 3 gyms around South London but also coaching new generations for the competitions in London as well.

Q: Could you please give us a short introduction to Muay Thai and why it means so much to you?

Muay Thai is the well-known "Art of Eight Limbs" that originated in Thailand. Thai culture is strongly rooted in the ancient martial art of Muay Thai. It employs eight striking points including punches, kicks, knees, and elbows. In Thailand, Muay Thai is a way of life, not just a sport. The striking methods of Thai fighters are renowned for their variety. You will see the use of elbows and gripping in Muay Thai, which are essential elements of the technique. Fighters may control their opponents and set up lethal strikes with the help of clinch work. It's a very cool thing about teaching and coaching Muay Thai and hearing how it changed their lives and what it meant to them. For some people Muay Thai is a sport for them to be fitter and healthier which has already made me happy but for some people, Muay Thai can change their perspective in life, disciplines and focus on practicing, mindset, and mentality. These are really important in these days when everything moves so fast and everyone wants to succeed in the end but not many people enjoy the process anymore. To be able to win in the fight requires more than boxing: a strong mentality, IQ, learning about your strengths and weaknesses, discipline in practices and eating and how to control your moods, feelings, and emotions during the highs and lows. Basically it is everything in your daily life.

Q: What role can a boxing club play in your local community in South London?

All the members here are a family to us. Everyone called me “uncle” which means that we’re not only teaching and learning Muay Thai but we are a Muay Thai family. We care about each other. We practice together, create a relationship through sport, and have a good time together. Especially for all the mixed Thai kids in the UK, joining Muay Thai classes with me is not about the sport but learning about your motherland and Thai culture which is very important for the mixed kids growing up in the big city with many distractions and the new modern world where many of them spending so much time on the iPad and social media.

Q: What is your plan to grow the community through Thai boxing and culture exchanges between Thailand and the UK?

Now I rent a gym and I have my own classes so it is more flexible and more controllable. I have a chance to coach young people who want to get into boxing fights. The more I can coach them and bring them to the fights, the more I can grow the community. Starting from small fights and bringing to the bigger stages although it is only in the UK but hopefully we could see more and more in the future.

Q: What does Thailand today mean to you?

Thailand is my home but I have been here for almost 10 years and my family is here as well. It has both pros and cons but working as a Muay Thai boxer has allowed me to meet not only Thai people but also people around the world who love Thailand, love our culture, and this can help me enjoy London life.

For more, you can visit Uncle Thai's IG here.