Sam-A Gaiyanghadao is one of the most decorated Muay Thai practitioners of the modern era. The 37-year-old also currently holds two titles in ONE championship and previously held two different Lumpinee belts and three separate Thailand titles.
The Thai southpaw is a ‘fimeu’, a technical fighter who is able to work opponents out and use their weapons against them. This style of fighting requires a high level of skill and technique and the few men that manage to master it are revered on the stadium scene.
The level of experience and expertise involved in forging a career as a successful ‘fimeu’ is vast and Sam-A has been competing and winning for the best part of three decades. Having fought twice in 2020 he has managed to stay active during the pandemic and the veteran also recently launched an online library of training videos with Evolve University.
“I’ve been training and competing in Muay Thai for 29 years now and I am happy to be able to share my knowledge. I want to be able to pass on all I’ve learnt even after I’ve stopped fighting. When I first started Muay Thai, I thought it was important to keep everything to myself but now my mindset has changed, I think it’s great for both beginners and advanced students to learn from my style of fighting. If you want to learn from me, I will show you everything in this course.”
Speed not strength
Sam-A is known for his devastating left kick. Being able to kick with that level of power and precision requires years of training, slamming the shin into the bag or pad hundreds of times per day.
But while there are trainers all over the world who can understand and teach Muay Thai techniques there are few resources for English speakers looking to learn the secrets of the trade. Sam-A wants to share the lessons he has learned and also some of the mistakes he has made,
“Now I’m able to move fast, kick fast and punch fast but when I was young, I didn’t think speed was important. I had a match when I was about 15 years old and I lost the match because I wasn’t fast enough,” he said.
It was a valuable lesson for the teenager who found a way to work on his speed and went on to win the rematch,
“I thought I had trained hard enough and well, so why did I lose? From there, I learnt and knew I needed to work on speed and needed to be steps ahead of my opponent. By the next rematch with the same opponent, I won so I knew what I was doing was right.”
Strengths and weaknesses
Sam-A will celebrate his 38th birthday later this year. Having only lost one fight in the last six years he is still enjoying success at the top level and holds the ONE Championship strawweight kickboxing and Muay Thai titles.
His speed is still key but Sam-A also feels an awareness of his own strengths and weaknesses and a willingness to work on the latter has been key to his continuing success,
“You cannot just have strength in Muay Thai, you have to be fast. Even if you can deliver hard strikes or kicks, it won’t be enough if your opponent can block it. It’s a combination of speed, power and being sharp. It has worked well for my fighting style and body and I believe other people will also benefit from my teachings. You have to be sharp and be able to know what your weaknesses are and work on them,” he added.
It is this depth of knowledge that he wants to share with students through Evolve University,
“I want to be able to show what true authentic Muay Thai from Thailand is. I’m really going deep and personal here. I’m breaking it down to the finest of details and I’m very pleased with how it has worked out,” he said.
While there are some outstanding coaches outside of Thailand there is no substitute for the knowledge and experience that comes from competing over 300 times during the course of three decades. Being able to identify the best style for a particular fighter to score points and ultimately win fights is something that not every trainer will be able to do.
If you are not sure whether you are a fimeu (technician), muay khao (knee fighter), muay plum (clinch fighter) or any of the other styles that the top fighters are utilizing effectively Sam-A might be able to help you,
“Regardless of whether you’re a beginner or more advanced student, I believe everyone has something to learn from this master course. It could help some students identify weaknesses in their respective games and explore styles that work for them. I break down everything and hold nothing back in this course.”
Future opponents might like to take a look but Sam-A doesn’t sound too worried about that. He’s happy to share his knowledge with the world and is hoping to be back inside the ONE Championship circle soon,
“I’m ready to defend the belt anytime. I’ve competed with most already at my weight class and I’ve been fighting for such a long time now so I’m not too worried about who I fight next.”