Watching Bruce Lee and Van Damme movies while sitting on your couch is one thing, but to play the role in real life is something else.
A two-time Muay Thai world title holder, Rav Sidhu is preparing to compete in the upcoming World Cup in March.
Muay Thai or Thai Boxing is Thailand’s martial art and a cherished cultural heritage that has seen a resurgence in recent times.
Developed hundreds of years ago as a form of close-combat, it uses various parts of the body as weapons.
The hands are used like a sword, the shins and forearms as armour against blows, the elbow like a mace or hammer, the legs and knees like axe and staff.
It is no wonder that it is sometimes referred to as “The Art of Eight Limbs”.
Rav’s love for this ancient Thai sport started at the very young age of 14 in 1992.
26 years of training and 32 fights in Thailand later, Rav is not planning to slow down in any manner.
So far, he has claimed a Lightweight World title in Bangkok, the Super Fight title and in October last year, the Lightweight Super League belt.
To add to his list of achievements, he has also been made the Australian representative of World Muay Thai Council.
This puts him in charge of preparing an Australian team for the World Cup in Bangkok every year.
Having received his initial training here in Adelaide, Rav travels at least twice a year to Thailand to learn from trainers there as well.
One of the major highlights of his career was a victory at the old Lumpinee stadium which has now been demolished.
“I was happy to be given the opportunity to fight at Lumpinee as it is the most famous Muay Thai fight arena in the world,” Rav told Indian Link.
“I was approached by one of the Lumpinee stadium promoters who saw me fight at a previous event, and he said he liked the way I fought, especially my aggressive walk-up.
I fought a very tough Thai opponent, Sorachart.
He had a similar fighting style to mine. The first two rounds were fairly even, with both of us giving and taking some shots. The third round, the pace picked up and it was non-stop action; he got some strong knees to my body as he had longer reach than me. I just had to keep the right distance and work kicks to his body.”
“In the fourth round, my trainer told me to change strategy and start to clinch. It was in the clinch I managed to cut him with an elbow just above his eye. The fight was put on hold as the doctor had a look at the cut. At this time I was hoping they would stop the fight as I was getting gassed due to the intensity of that round. Doctor said it was ok and the fight continued.
I started to chase the cut and try and make it bigger and towards the end of the fourth round I managed to then knock him out with another elbow. I was thrilled to have won in the old Lumpinee stadium.”
Training for the fights comes with a strict diet and exercise regime for Rav.
He usually likes to prepare six weeks before a fight with a high protein diet, clean eating and cutting down on carbohydrate intake.
For exercise he does a lot cardio from running to doing a lot of pad work. Back in Thailand he trains twice a day for two and half hours per session.
Muay Thai fighters usually have a nick name and Rav has been nicknamed ‘Soul Train’ by one of his trainers.
This in turn saves him from five rounds of battering and come out with fewer injuries.
“I like to use all my weapons for fighting – kick, elbow, knees and punching. My favourite though is the left head kick with which I have knocked out a few opponents.”
A full time Muay Thai trainer now, Rav and his team at the club have helped train a few world champions and are currently training a few upcomers.