Looking for a better way to boost your health? Thai Fit is worth trying! Using a daring mix of dance moves and martial arts from Thailand, this contemporary “dancercise” promises a revolutionary method to keep you fit inside out. NOW! Jakarta had the opportunity to chat with founder Khajittam Phattayakul when the group visited the city in mid February.
Please describe your journey to Thai Fit. Why do you devote your life to this practice, and how has it changed you?
I was raised in a stimulating environment [and I was involved in arts and music]. My family owned a dance school, and my grandfather was a musician. They taught me to understand the language of music and dance at the age of 4. Then, I pursued a music degree at university to develop a broad range of understanding the music skills. After finishing my degree, I continued my studies in London majoring in Creative Economy.
It was life-enriching in many ways, as this gave me a whole new level of global and cultural experiences that I could make use to build up my career when I got back home to Thailand. It got me thinking very hard on how to get involved in the family-owned school business and take part in strategy-making while at the same time facing socio-cultural crisis in my local community. The majority seemed to be lacking in knowledge of local wisdom and practices. I am committed to raising awareness on how to make people see the benefits and the beauty of Thai traditional heritage. My objectives are not only to preserve our cultural heritage as it keeps our integrity as a people but also to make something good out of it. So, under the name of a Thai creative arts & cultural project, Assajan Collective, it was with a great confidence that I dedicated my life to promote Thai cultural heritage and sports by combining Thai folk dance and Thai combat practices and named it Thai Fit.
There are distinct features to each practice. How do you mix them?
First of all, we collected health information from professionals and specialists by demonstrating some of the dance moves and combat techniques. Assessments allowed the doctors to check the degree to which the movements met health objectives. Using medical observation and supervision that involved a set of Dos and Don’ts, moves that we could improve on and the lenght of each work out, we created Thai Fit’s classes. Technically, Thai Fit provides three types of class that consists of two levels for each. Thai Myth is flexibility and mobility bodyweight workout, while Thai Folk allows one to understand the most basic and steps in traditional Thai choreography. Thai Martial Arts come with the specific enhancement of the cardiac-muscle.
Are there any qualifications needed to practice Thai Fit? Does anyone need to know some basic dance moves and/or martial arts?
Absolutely not. Thai Fit is meant for everyone who is willing to learn new things and get multiple benefits from the power of arts and sports. It begins with basic knowledge of the dance moves and fighting techniques such as punches and strikes with different variations. Each class usually has between three and six moves depending on the ability of the audience. Slowly participants move forward to the next level of complexity.
How do you encourage people to join Thai Fit?
One thing that makes Thai Fit special and different from other exercises is it offers an opportunity to meet with various people from different backgrounds. Also, it promises a better way to boost flexibility, muscle strength, power and endurance by making use of a unique combination of stimulating Thai dance steps with energising Thai combat systems in a series of distinct styles. It is also meant to create a solid balance inside out. One single class of Thai Fit is around 45-50 minutes. Thai Folk uses a technique from actual Thai dance movements, such as Long Drum Dance or Ram klong-yao which generally focuses on shoulders and hands, while the Thai Martial Arts improves focus and mood. Both offer good balance and boost brain cognition too.
Please describe your relationship to your own body?
For me personally, the main thing is embracing change! It’s like catching every bit of emotion as a felt sense in the body. It does not matter for how long I exercise, as long as I do this. I strongly believe the feeling will change and the energy will eventually change too in a positive way. In the end, I’ll begin to recognise the path I am meant to follow.