Skye Muay Thai Club to hold open day in Portree

The Skye Muay Thai Club instructors Ali Simpson and Arriayn Leighton pictured with Scott Hendy of the Black Diamond Gym in Edinburgh – Photo courtesy of Ali Simpson.

The Skye Muay Thai Club is holding an open day this Saturday (12th January) to celebrate the lease of its new gym premises at the Camanachd gym in Portree.

Run by local man Ali Simpson, Skye Muay Thai is a non-profit community club focusing on Muay Thai and self-defence, but also has plans to offer low-cost, 24-hour access to community gym facilities seven days a week once National Lottery funding has been secured.

The club will be running a mixed adult class, a women-only class, and a class for children aged five and over, and all profits received will be reinvested into the equipment and facilities.

Saturday’s open day will be free of charge to attend and will run from 11 am to 5 pm. Everyone is welcome to come along, whether they want to take part or simply have a chat with the instructors to find out more about the club.

Ali has trained in Muay Thai since 1992 and started at the world-famous Wicker Camp in Sheffield. After visiting Thailand in 1994 to train there for the first time, he has gone on to train in several gyms across the country which is known as the birthplace of the sport. He is a registered instructor with the United Kingdom Muay Thai Federation.

The women-only classes will be taught by Arriayn Leighton who was ranked number four in Scotland last year for Muay Thai. Arriayn has trained with Ali for the last six years and has also trained across Scotland and England.

Speaking to the Free Press this week, Ali, who has run the club for several years, said it was good to finally have permanent premises for the club.

He said: “We’ve been running classes on and off for about seven years – but we’ve never had our own premises, so it’s been difficult to sustain. Also, I work shifts at Portree Hospital and Broadford Hospital as an Advanced Nurse Practitioner so it’s difficult to commit to regular class times. But now, along with myself, we have Arriayn to teach some Muay Thai classes and Damon Driver to teach self-defence classes – Damon has trained extensively with the British Combat Association.

Originally a battlefield martial art dating back thousands of years, Muay Thai is known as ‘the Art of Eight Limbs’ and is the national sport of Thailand.

“We train in traditional Thai-style”, Ali added. “Classes consist of a 15-minute warm-up, stretching, technique teaching, and around five three-minute rounds of pad work. We also offer private sessions, either one-to-one or for small groups of up to four people by arrangement. The club is open to anyone from aged five and upwards.”

Ali also told the Free Press that the National Lottery funding would enable them to equip the gym with a boxing ring and to set-up one of the other rooms as a community gym facility with weights and exercise equipment.

For more information, you can visit the Skye Muay Thai Facebook page.

Article by Adam Gordon