Published On: March 18, 2018 08:47 AM NPT By: Kiran Lama

Master of Muay Thai

Master of Muay Thai

When you hear about martial art which is also taken as combat sports such as karate, wrestling, boxing, judo, mix martial art (MMA) and others, most of you may take these activities as violent, risky and uncivilized.

In such sports activities, two individuals fight against each other in a quite violent way and that sometimes create a bad impression. Nevertheless, such a judgment may be superficial. Those who have good knowledge about the sports take it more than just fighting between two or more individuals. They describe it as skill of self defense, a practice to maintain discipline and mental development. 

Nikesh Tamang, 24, an athlete of Muay Thai or Thai Boxing, takes martial arts as a skill of self-defense that instills discipline and mental power in a person rather than a risky and barbaric activity. “Most of the people in Nepal have wrong perceptions as they take martial art only as risky game where players get injured,” he said. “But it is more than that. It is good for health as it makes an individual physically and mentally stronger.”

Journey of Karate to Thai Boxing
Since his childhood, Tamang was fascinated to martial art while he used to see other people playing karate, with keen interest. His maternal uncle is also a karate player, who encouraged him to play karate. However, he had to wait until he got into class four where he learnt karate in his school where he continuously practiced until Grade seven. But all of sudden he aspired to be Thai boxer as he watched action movie ‘Ong-Bak: Muay Thai Warrior’ (2003). “I was totally inspired by the fight action of the lead actor Tony Jaa where he showcased his various techniques of Muay Thai,” said Tamang. However, the journey of Thai boxing was not so easy because at that time there was no institution and instructor of it. 

Indeed, his karate instructor Nawaraj Bhandari flew to Thailand to learn Muay Thai in 2007. After returning from Thailand, Bhandari introduced Muay Thai in Nepal. After that Tamang learnt Thai Boxing from him. However, they don’t have proper kit of Muay Thai so they used to wear a trouser of Karate’s kits and T-shirt which was gifted by his instructor Bhandari. Similarly, they had to wait long for official recognition from National Sport Council. 

In his debut international fight held in Bangkok, Thailand, he bagged gold in 1st World Martial Arts Games in 51 kg weight category of Thai boxing. He sealed victory in final by defeating Indian boxer. In addition, he achieved 1st position in Thai Boxing Championship 2015 in 40-43 kg weight category which was hosted by Nepal Thai Boxing Association. Likewise, he won Bronze in 2nd International Thai Martial Arts Games & Festivals 2017, held in Bangkok, Thailand and many more. 

Source of inspiration
For Tamang, his instructor Nawaraj Bhandari is biggest source of inspiration to establish himself in the career because he learnt everything about the sports from him. “Nawaraj Bhandari sir had sacrificed many things for martial arts who introduced a Thai boxing in Nepal. He is the guardian for us who financially and emotionally supports us,” said Tamang. Apart from Bhandari, he believed that actor Tony Jaa is big role model for him. Moreover, according to him, his family is equally supportive to pursue his dream. “My family has fully supported me in my journey of martial arts,” he added 

Tips for beginners
He believed in the slogan “Sport for health, sport for nation”. He prefers promoting martial arts as physical fitness like other fitness practices. He said that martial arts help people stay healthy physically as well as mentally. A player can not only represent the country abroad but also create a good image of the country in international forums and that the fact always motivated him to pursue the sports. Moreover, he suggested new comer to work hard with dedication and patience. “It’s a long process so one should always maintain a zeal for the sports with a talent to become a good fighter,” he shared.

Future plan
Tamang aspires to fight in Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) where he went recently to Bangladesh and participated Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) for experiencing MMA and record for further UFC fight.

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