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Rúben Avelar competing


Kru Mestre Ruben Avelar Caparica Muay Thai Lisbon Muay Boran

I want to take my students to the TOP10 worldwide. I know I have the potential to create one of the best schools in Europe and the world. More than my titles, I want my legacy to be my contribution to Muay Thai and the new generation of champions.



Portugal and Spain Muay Thai Champion, 61 Kg, AITMA


Kickboxing Portugal Champion, 61Kg, WKU


Bronze Medal at the European Muay Thai Championships, Class A, 57Kg IFMA


Portugal Muay Thai Champion, 57Kg, FPKMT


The method

What is the key difference of your method?


Firstly, almost nobody teaches the Wai Kru and even less Muay Boran in Portugal. I follow the traditional way as much as possible, the Wai Kru, Muay Boran techniques, the nomenclature...


Secondly, I don't give 45-minute workouts. That is just not enough! I am very demanding training resistance and technique. All trainings, including the Kids classes, lasts one hour. Adults take 90-minutes classes. Given that the school is located 300 meters from the beach, I do mixed indoor and outdoor training.

For example, if in a given week I'm working out arms - boxing and elbows - I start with warm-up and plastron training with 3 to 5 response and attack techniques for 30 minutes. Then we practice the techniques for another 30 minutes. Then we practice 15 minutes on the bag. Afterwards, we do the abs and we wrap up with the Wai Kru so that the students leave more relaxed and lower their adrenaline levels.

Finally, I don't stand up and tell people what to do. I do almost the entire training alongside my students!

What is Muay Boran?


It's one of the traditional Muay Thai styles, which is what I practice and teach. The combat position is different, lower, the hands are positioned differently, you need to be able to read the opponent to use his blows against him... We use knees...



Who taught you Muay Boran? 

With my Grand Master, António Duarte, who is President of AITMA in Portugal, the only association recognized by the Thai State. António is Khan 15 - there are 16 Khans - and he is a Master in Thailand and Portugal.

What is your Khan?


Khan 10, red. In Kickboxing, I am the former Dan 1.

What do you think is the most special thing people take away while training with you?

I think it's the passion I feel for Muay Thai, for the martial art itself. Not just for the fight. The fight was what pulled me, but the whole philosophy, the way of being in life, the rituals, the respect... Knowing that you can harm someone but choosing not to do it, controlling yourself, just neutralizing any attacks, and, while in combat, realizing the difference between what is a war for survival and a combat, a game. There are rules, there is respect for the opponent.


Rúben Avelar Iberian Muay Thai Champion

The Filosophy

What is your dream for this School?

I want to lead my students to the world's TOP10. I'm not saying TOP3 because I'm just starting, it would be ambitious of me, but I know I have the potential to create one of the best schools in Europe. More than my titles, I want my legacy to be my contribution to Muay Thai and the new generation of champions.


You teach a martial art, an art born in a context of war, an art not only of defense but one that can kill. As a coach, how do you manage that?


Sometimes we make mistakes. Sometimes we teach people things we shouldn't. It's been a long time since I've taught certain things because there are athletes who have a pure and hard vision of combat and don't have a martial art philosophy per se. I may know that I can kill you with one blow, but I don't. This can be dangerous and I feel responsible for ensuring that the techniques are conveyed as accurately as possible and only to students with the necessary character to manage this knowledge.


I would like to leave with someone the legacy of everything I know. I'm waiting for the right student, with respect for the art, to whom I can pass on all my knowledge. I already have a few that I am keeping an eye on...



When did you start training Muay Thai?

At 16 years old, but just for sports. For real, when I was 25 years old.

Isn't that a bit late to start?


That depends on your commitment and dedication.

How many hours one should train to compete on a professional level?


8 hours. 4 in the morning and 4 in the afternoon.

You became Portugal and Spain Champion without any sponsorship ever. How were you able to train 8 hours per day?

With commitment and dedication. Often I couldn't. I trained according to my work and with the aim of finding a job that I could minimally reconcile with my training. There was a time when I was working in shifts. One week I would workout in the morning and run in the evening, the week after I would workout in the evening and run in the morning. And I was fighting on the weekends.

If I wasn't a better player it was due to a lot of instability in my life. I was raising my son alone, working a full time job and training to compete. This was the real fight. Would I do that all over again? For Muay Thai, yes! It wasn't easy, but yes.


You are still the most recent Muay Thai Iberian Champion. How does this work?


It depends on the federations and their regulations. In some federations, you are champion but in the following year or two years the title will be disputed and you can defend it. Or a promoter might put that title for challenge.

Is it true that you still do 1000 abs a day?


1200, 1300. Yes, I train almost as if I were still competing. I do almost the entire workouts alongside my students. I don't do 200 low kicks or 200 knees anymore, but almost.

How do you manage at 41?

I rest for an hour in the afternoon, I drink red wine and I have a wonderful wife!


What is the biggest difficulty in teaching Muay Thai?


People sometimes lack patience. Muay Thai is a martial art with hands, elbows, legs, knees and you still have the energetic and spiritual part. If you don't let the eight “limbs” – two hands, two legs, two elbows, two knees – flow and frame your body, and dance, play with the opponent, it becomes difficult to play. It's a close contact game where you hit the joints, read the opponent's movement and try to nullify or immobilize but it has a wide variety of techniques. Grabs, handles, you break.

Break what?!


Body members. For example, an elbow strike can break your skull.

Weren't you afraid?


That's the part I like about Muay Thai, that adrenaline. You know that at any moment you can take a high kick to the head with the tibia and die.

Weren't you afraid not only of dying but also of killing someone?


Not of killing because I don't think about killing poeple. I think about playing, about showing what I know.

So there were things you avoided doing?

Yes, there are things I at least didn't do, although I know how to. But I've caught bad athletes too...

How do you deal with bruises?

That's what we handle best. Today's bruises are tomorrow's victories. There are words spoken that are worse than bruises. There comes a point where hitting a bruise doesn't hurt anymore.​​​​​​​​





Muay Thai, a sport for all

I don't have good physical preparation. Can I still do Muay Thai?


Anyone can practice Muay Thai, as long as they have a spirit of sacrifice. Every day you push your body to the limit and you have to be willing to overcome yourself.


There are many people who seek you out for physical preparation training and who are not Muay Thai athletes nor do they want to be, like surfers. Why?

For the physical preparation that Muay Thai brings, for my training method with a focus on muscular resistance and not on hypertrophy and because they see the results in my students.



You have a very special assistant trainer...


I have a Dobermann, Pinky, who accompanies me and my students. When they go running to the beach, they take her.


Pinky comes to the School since she was two months old. Many times we are jumping rope and doing low kicks and she is sleeping but when we go to the beach it becomes funny! She pulls for the guys!


She pulls a motorcycle tire while we sprint and competes with us. Sometimes Pinky wins! She runs over and tackles the guys who join in on her fun.




Pinky Muay Thai Dobermann
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