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Ginepri gets Muay Thai taste : On September 29, 2006
If the wai caught the attention of foreign players in the Thailand Open in Bangkok three years ago, it's the traditional martial art of Muay Thai that has become the trend in this year's edition.
American Robby Ginepri was the latest to be bitten by the indigenous fight bug as he took tips from 19-time world champion Sura Saenkham, professionally known as "Khaosai Galaxy" yesterday, a day after British new hope Andy Murray had a lesson with Olympic gold medallist Somluck Khamsing.
Khaosai was a bit tardy with his instructions but for the American it was well worth the wait as he sent the Thai living legend on to the floor with his knee.
Ginepri was also captivated by the wai kru performance by two other instructors. He was also given tips on the five soft spots of the body to attack opponents.
"I've seen the fighting before on television. It's amazing what these guys can do. They have to be in good shape to do that,'' said the American, who took a break from his favourite hip-hop music to learn about Thai culture.
Once ranked as high as No 15 in the world, Ginepri said he had a passion for Thai kick-boxing because his friends fight in real matches back home in the USA. He also enjoys some fights on TV whenever he has time to watch.
"I know Muay Thai. I've hit the bag a few times. My trainer and me put on the gloves and do some sparring. It's fun,'' added the American, who proved that he could have a good future in the martial art if he makes a career switch and pursues it seriously.
Ginepri, a multitalented athlete who plays soccer, basketball and baseball along with tennis, showed that he's a very fast learner, easily repeating the moves he was taught. He never looked awkward when he was elbowed, kneed and kicked. The colourful American said the tricks he learned would benefit his body in the long run and boost his strength before a match.
"It's a good way to get my arms going and helps the blood flow. It also helps my swing,'' added Ginepri, who said he might have tried Muay Thai seriously if he was younger. The Marietta, Georgia-based player was presented with a pair of Muay Thai boxing shorts, and it seems sure that he'll put them on when he feels like a bout of kneeing and kicking.
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