Muay Thai in Modern MMA: Rob Reid Interview

A discussion often had among fans of not just mixed martial arts, but any combat sport is a seemingly age-old one: what form of striking is the best? Is it karate? Is it boxing? Is it muay thai? Through our conversation with The Godfather, we were suggested to speak with the owner of Muay Thai Whitby. So, with that tip of advice in our caps, we packed up our station wagon and took a trip on over to the Four Corners of downtown Whitby to meet with Kru Rob Reid.

To get to know Kru Reid, we decided to start things off by asking what first brought him to the art of Muay Thai. His answer instantly made us conjure up thoughts of The Zlatan, Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Reid grew up playing high-level soccer until age-18, also known as the professioanl-sports-dream-crushing-age. Like so many others who grew up with lofty sporting expectations, when that competitive aspect of life is removed, something feels off.

For Reid, it didn’t hurt that he’d gotten involved with the wrong crowd and needed a new outlet. It didn’t hurt that he’d always had a passion for the art of face-punching, stating:

I like the striking. I’ve always been a big fan of martial arts. Bruce Lee movies, the old Karate Kid movies. I wanted that competitive edge again, I just did it for conditioning and I ended up competing, and really enjoying the competitive side of it.

As for whether or not there are any crossover skills between a sport like soccer and a martial art like Muay Thai, Reid was a firm believer, telling us “yes there is, it helped [my] transition [to Muay Thai].

The fundamentals of kicking a soccer ball hard is actually how Reid teaches the swing kick to his students. What it is, he told us, is that “the Muay Thai swing kick is just that punting motion, and then turning the hips, getting the pivot and getting the arms involved.

The role of Muay Thai in mixed martial arts seemed obvious to Reid, “I feel like you’ve got to have the standup, so why not learn the 8-limbs of Muay Thai?” And he’s right, why limit your abilities when all of the tools are available and ready to use. Fighters who lean too heavily on one aspect of striking normally have a very difficult time finding success in the long term, unless of course they are incredibly elite at another skill.

Traditional Muay Thai in modern MMA according to Reid, is to serve as a handy tool in an overall arsenal as he suggests that the fighter, “should always be changing levels, work your Thai stance into your game, pick your strikes and then get back into the low base.” For reference on what Reid is talking about in terms of blending aspects of Muay Thai into MMA, two fighters who sprung to mind for Reid were Frankie Edgar and Michael Bisping.

Fully aware that time is his biggest enemy, Reid still feels he has one more competitive run in him. His ultimate goal being to compete in Lion Fight, Friday Night Fights or his dream, GLORY. For the time being, he’s focusing on his business and being a coach, and growing his number of students, some of whom competed at Fall Brawl 2 in Peterborough, Ontario as well as the Nationals for Muay Thai Canada.

Stay tuned for a full profile on Muay Thai Whitby in the coming weeks.

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