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Thai Boxing in Scotland: A Brief History

Thai boxing, also known as Muay Thai, is a centuries-old martial art that originated in Thailand. In recent years, it has gained popularity all over the world, including in Scotland. Master Sken is one of Thailand’s most famous Muay Thai trainers and has been at the forefront of Muay Thai for over five decades. Let’s take a closer look at the history of the sport in Scotland and the life, legacy and influence this legendary figure has had within Scotland.


The origins of Thai Boxing can be traced back to the 16th century when it was developed as a form of self-defense by the Siamese army. Muay Thai became increasingly popular in Thailand over the next few hundred years and eventually became a national sport. In the 19th century, Thai Boxing matches were held between different villages as a way of settling disputes. These matches were often brutal and sometimes even deadly. In the early 20th century, some Thai Boxing techniques were codified and rules were introduced to make it a more structured sport.


Thai Boxing began to gain popularity outside of Thailand in the 1970s, thanks in part to martial arts movies such as “Enter the Dragon” which featured Bruce Lee. In recent years, its popularity has exploded, with Muay Thai gyms now found in almost every major city across the globe.

Thai Boxing In Scotland

Scotland has a long and proud history of boxing, with the first recorded boxing match taking place in Edinburgh in 1681. It wasn’t until the 1990s that Thai Boxing started to gain a foothold in Scotland.

The first recorded Thai Boxing match in Scotland took place in Edinburgh in 1992. Since then, the sport has grown in popularity and there and now several Scottish Thai Boxing clubs. The sport is particularly popular amongst young people, who see it as an exciting way to keep fit. There are many Scottish Thai Boxers such as Chris Shaw, Spencer Brown, Andrew Miller, Amy Pirnie, Keith Mclachlan, George Mann and Nico Carrillo who have found success at international competitions, including the World Thai Boxing Championships.

Today, there are around 20 Thai Boxing gyms across Scotland catering to all levels of experience – from beginners to professional fighters. The sport continues to grow in popularity with more and more people eager to learn this exciting and empowering discipline.

Master Sken

Master Sken is one of Thailand’s most famous Muay Thai trainers and has been at the forefront of Muay Thai for over five decades. Let’s take a closer look at the life and legacy of this legendary figure. 

Master Sken was born in 1955 in Numpo. Ampur Tron Thongsaenkun, Uttaradit Province in the North of Thailand. He began his martial arts journey at the age of 8, after the tragic death of his father, from there he started training with Ajarn Visaed. 

Master Sken quickly rose through the ranks becoming known as a prize fighter and becoming one of Ajarn Visaed’s most trusted students. In 1973 Master Sken moved to Bangko and finished his education at Sattahib. Here Master Sken passed his exams to gain entrance to Srinakarinwiroj University of Physical Education. He developed his knowledge even further of Muay Thai; exploring its origins, refereeing, coaching and judging. 

In 1976 his student life came to an end and Master Sken had to make the tough decision of whether to follow his dreams of either traveling and exploring the world or turning professional with Muay Thai. After a personal incident arose Master Sken decided to make the choice of exploring the world but decided to spread the love and knowledge of Muay Thai wherever he traveled.

In 1977 Master Sken, settled in the UK, but unfortunately, in 1979 he was forced to leave due to visa issues and decided to move to Holland. There in Holland, he started teaching at Samurai Gym. During his time in Holland, a student of Master Skens named Sandy Holt taught a handful of students in Manchester, UK and was successful in obtaining a visa for Master Sken to return to the UK.

Upon his return, Master Sken and his team formed a new Muay Thai association, the British Thai Boxing Association (BTBC). Unfortunately due to personal issues and internal politics this quickly came to an end and Master Sken formed Sitnarong International Muay Thai Association (SIMTA). This association went from strength to strength and under the influence of Master Sken, John Craig formed Scotland’s first Muay Thai school.

Awards and Titles Of Master Sken

In 2009, Master Sken deservedly was awarded the title of “Grandmaster” by the Kru Muay Thai Association founded by Grandmaster Chinawut Sirisompun. Grandmaster Sken was also awarded The Gold Nai Khanomdton trophy for his promotion and influence of Muay Thai internationally.

With the many influences Muay Thai has had in Scotland over the years, it has become increasingly popular over the past five decades and there are now dozens of schools teaching this exhilarating sport.  Here at Musclebound we stock Muay Thai Gloves, Shinguards, Focus Pads, Belly Pads, Low Kick Shield, Kick Pads, Bandages, Knee Pads, Groin Protection, Muay Thai Clothing and more. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the Musclebound team today, or pop in and see us we are located at 14 New St, Paisley, PA1 1XY, Scotland.

“True strength lies in gentleness and mastery of the world begins with mastery of self” – Grandmaster Sken.

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