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  • MUAY: Book Review

    MUAY: Submissions, Breaks & Locks of Muay Thai and Muay Boran
    “Master” Lee
    Current price: $20.79 plus shipping and tax

    There are warnings all over this book. Examples like, Warning: contains deadly moves. Suitable for responsible adults only! A complete collection of submission, break and lock techniques from over 10 styles of Thai Martial Arts including unique and secret moves! Best line of all; “In keeping with the promise to my masters. I will not write down the fatal deadly ways and will keep them secret until someone is ready and asks!!!!(Did he read the opening to Panya Kraitus’ Red Muay Thai book and imagine himself into the text?) Either this mysterious author is delusional or totally out of touch with reality or he is serious and watches too many fantasy movies. But there is no warning how this book was intended for those who are gullible enough to buy into such nonsense. It was especially hard to see any of the “deadly” techniques because they are drawn from what looks like photographs, as if someone traced over each one, rendering them without detail. This leads to a serious problem right away and that’s the design and execution of the book. It’s a mess of ideas just thrown together into a jumble of incoherent themes and horrible line drawings. It’s funny because on the back of the book he states, “Quick and fun to learn with clear pictures and easy instructions”!!!!! Clarity is not the author’s strong point as I will amply demonstrate.

    The idea here is that he keeps mentioning these “mysterious masters”. But no actual names come up at all. As a matter of fact, he goes by the name “Master” Lee, not using the Thai terms of respect Kru or Ajaan but MASTER to make his mark even more remarkable to the Western audience. Even worse, he does not use his own full name as the author, hiding it for unknown reasons. (His name for the record is Lee James Crawford of the UK as per the copyright). Are the use of these horrible drawings to obscure his face as well? I mean I would if I wrote a book like this. At every turn, warning bells are going off as I begin to read.

    The author states that book includes over 10 styles of Thai martial arts, so in making such a bold statement, I would like to see at least a few of the authentic teachers names who taught him even one of these “10 styles” to some level of competence. The book pushes the Muay Thai Institute who gave “Master” Lee his “instructor certificate”. Muay Thai Institute who promotes programs by the Ministry of Education. So he is more like a gym teacher here in the United States.

    Now to begin, the title states he is going to show submissions, breaks and locks of Muay Thai and Muay Boran. I assume Muay Thai is more his specialty with a secondary focus on Muay Boran. But the book is mostly Muay Boran. It seems at every turn there is a clever marketing ploy at work to use every sellable term he could use to sell this book…Muay Thai! Muay Boran! Deadly moves! 10 styles of Thai martial arts! Submissions! Breaks! Locks!

    His idea of Muay or Muay Boran is that the physical education sort of way is the best possible path with all the styles united into one big mess. But without understanding of the basic principles that ground the full systems they become an endless jumble of techniques piled one on top of another. Just physical moves without any progressive engine and structure. Does the author understand that some of these arts are unique and complete like Chaiya, Korat and Lanna and they draw their power and speed from their unique structure and building blocks? In the new world Muay Boran it doesn’t matter. Does the author believe that this type of teaching is superior to the older systems and one should go pay their money for their certificate in places like the Muay Thai Institute instead of the real thing? There are others including several Thai masters doing this and some are better than others but most have the same problems of slamming techniques together without any thought.

    On stance, he uses a generic triangle stance, but neglects the lower half of the body and how to use the legs and the actual triangle. Obviously, trying to bite on Chaiya, but again without the depth or training, he falls victim to poor understanding, which marks most of the generic muay Boran training. He uses the triangle guard then doesn’t use it to deploy any of the techniques in the book. So there is a massive disconnect between putting all of what he shows together.

    The techniques themselves are not high percentage moves but again more of the flashier muay boran movements. There are not many submissions in the book and most will likely be avoided or never used by any competent MMA competitor, fighter or self-defense expert. We must remember the opponent is alive and always dangerous. He is not a puppet for two man forms and to dummy for you like the fancy muay boran demos you see. I would like to see him pull off in real time against a game opponent something like Elephant Fastens a Chain to the Log. He puts some wrist lock and joint locks in but doesn’t describe in detail how to use them. The many holes in his descriptions make you wonder why they are even in there because you need to know the details of how to use these type of techs and when. The term Show Me Don’t Tell me becomes the battle cry here because all the author does is tell you about deadly, about this and that but he can’t show you effectively the how and why along with proper execution. Obviously, the author as well has never been in a life threatening situation because you would understand the need for quick, functioning techs regardless if they were deadly or not.

    The book in the end is really nothing more than a shameless promotional plug for “Master” Lee pushing himself and the Muay Thai Institute. Nothing wrong with that but with “20 years of training” and only this to show for it only displays a horrible mass of confusion and no cohesion or progression. There is no mastery here, displayed or described, and anyone who trained in martial arts for any number of years, no less Muay or Muay Thai, can clearly see that.

    I believe a much better book would have been to stick to the topic throughout. Beginning with what is a submission, what is a lock and what is a break. Showing how they are used in the Muay arsenal then breaking them down in detail so people can learn from them with clear progression and clear photos. It seems the author just tried to use constant filler to make the book more “entertaining”. There was also nothing new or noteworthy shown in the book for those who have trained even for a short time in Muay.

    This type of approach is popular now and we see it coming from the Ministry of Education from the Marco De Cesaris crowd and many others. Destroy the distinction of the original styles, lose the structure and progression, don’t spar and just slap techniques together one after the other in endless sets. Most of the people don’t even bother to investigate, research or train in the original methods despite having the opportunity to throughout Thailand. This in itself tells the story.

    Hopefully, the author will issue his next book on a more focused topic and use his real name. Nothing undermines a genuine effort by hiding behind a term like “master” then not backing it up with mastery that can be seen and understood within the pages of the book.

    I read this book twice then went back to the Amazon site and couldn’t believe some of the people who wrote reviews. They evidently didn’t read the same book as me or they are just his friends propping him up.

    Finally, I sent the book off to George on the forum to read because I don’t want it. It’s not worth the money or even worthy of being on my bookshelf.

    Rating: (on a scale of 1-10, 10 being superior) I give this book really a 0 but since 0 isn’t on the scale I am forced to give it a 1. It still takes time and effort to create any book and I acknowledge that with the 1 rating. Everyone starts out with the best intentions but when it’s done with such shameless promotion (along not putting your full name on the book and proclaiming yourself a “master”, you are setting yourself up for a deep fall if you don’t deliver to master status and the book does not deliver). Excessive claims of deadly secrets ultimately dismantle the author’s credibility to deliver such inside knowledge with detailed understanding and execution. Drawings and layout are juvenile and really badly done.

    Cost: $20 plus postage and tax. I assume this book is privately published and offered through Amazon. Exterior is generic and poorly designed. Interior lacks professionalism and the drawings leave much to be desired. At best, a low cost download for those curious but not worth buying. A must to avoid.
    5.9” x 8.9” Softbound
    6 Chapters 178 pages

  • #2
    Great, insightful review. I have a strange feeling the ice is slowly breaking on this topic because its been coming for a long, long time. The gold standard for revealing all of this is Vincent Giordano. His material is gaining more and more weight as the years go by. He was the first to distinguish and define the different lines in Thai arts.


    • #3
      Thanks Kyuss for this good review, I think it says a lot. I posted a "review" on amazon a few months ago, I was questioning all the big claims "master" Lee was making because it was obvious there were many things wrong there. I then deleted the review as I thought it was not really fair because I hadn't read the book, but I am waiting for a copy and will definitely post my review again. Yes, Marco De Cesaris brought the illusion of muay boran being this and that to the West, but as John said the truth is slowly but surely rising. Then it is up to people to make good use of it ie. to see for themselves with an open and unbiased mind.


      • #4
        Usually with any kind of deceit you find a fair amount of bullying to protect the lie as Tee Sok describes. Just think of the amount of "poison" these guys push on their students who parrot the same nonsense without even thinking or questioning. It's beyond the grape kool-aid phase. This is another great review from Kyuss. I hope though he was kidding that he actually sent me the book!!


        • #5
          Kyuss the lunatic actually did send me the book. I mean I am speechless. It's the writings of a lost soul who drank too much of the kool-aid. The book just jumps all over the place. It's a mess. Probably just like Master Lee's mind!


          • #6
            I just got this in my mailbox, it's beyond ridiculous and childish. I loved the mind tricks trying to get at me,
            it shows the maturity level pretty fairly: Federico
            May I suggest as a friend that you stop making yourself look very s stupid!
            I have been getting a lot of emails from people I don’t know saying a lot of negative things about you. These include

            · Quite frankly he seems like a plum. He even states he has limited knowledge and experience but is writing like he has
            mastered all arts
            · He has no respect for the arts of Thailand. master lee did not create these techniques the people of Thailand did.
            · There is a lot of jealous and malicious people out there this includes Federico.
            · What a fruit cake, why buy book you don’t like.
            · I feel sorry for Federico his mind is closed. He is fuelling his mate called the ego but really I am sure everyone thinks he is
            weirdo who has no friends.
            · Federico clearly can’t read right and it shows! He must about 8 or 12 years of age.

            To be honest with you I am surprised people have spent their time emailing about you. I have told them I am not concerned about your views about me or the book
            I do hope for you that you may be start focusing on yourself rather than me. If Muay is not the path for you that is fine, I just hope you focus on what you choose.

            Regards from Your friend

            Master Lee


            • #7
              So you get the book, read it and do a review on Amazon. com and the guy blasts you with this! and he signs it master lee! Once again as with the Chaiya Kool-Aid we have all the answers right here as to what this guy is about. All this plum and fruit cake shit makes this guy look like a homophobe and a bully. Its the most childish thing I have ever read. Everyone is free to do a review and of course people can agree or disagree hopefully showing some intelligence in their responses. Here we have a supposed, self appointed MASTER acting like a child. Making it sound like he got all these responses, most of whom are probably family members and brainwashed students or from the looks of it his own hand. Quote of the day: master aka Childish Lee did not create these techniques, the people of Thailand did. Yes, but Master aka Childiish Lee doesn't understand them and just jumbles them into a great big mess without knowledge of function and use. No research or respect for the genuine masters of the systems in Thailand which he evidently never found in his "20 years of training??". Its gotten real sorry with this stuff but this Master aka Childish Lee has taken to this to another level all together. Master Lee is the man whose mind is closed shut. It's come time for him to relinquish his title of master and become a student again and most seriously get some help for his homophobia and bullying.
              Last edited by george stando; 12-15-2013, 01:15 AM.


              • #8
                I went to amazon and read the review as well as the remarks from "the person" coming in with the follow up attacks. Now we have demands to have the review "removed" while being taunted with homophobic slander in a bid to bully the person to remove it.
                Its evident now beyond a doubt that all the positive stuff on amazon is all manipulated and any negative review attacked by probably master lee masquerading under various names.
                Tee Sok expressed his concerns and feelings-that was his review of what he felt was important. He is entitled to those opinions without being threatened.
                I took time to do my review, had friends re-read, had a friend and another person who knows this topic inside and out read the book then my review. I spent time on it plus all my years training in thailand and elsewhere. Its MY opinion just like its Tee Soks and its our right to freely express those opinions.
                The martial arts have become so much commerce and all this manipulation that honesty and truth are lost.
                I agree wholeheartedly with George, this guy needs to grow up and hopefully now people will boycott the book and not spend a penny of their money on it.
                This is the work of nothing more than a master manipulator.


                • #9
                  I found it funny and telling, what mastery allows you to make futile attacks and to try to put people down just for expressing
                  their opinion? I mean are we in a democracy or doesn't master's regime allow individual thought and expression?
                  Also master and his disciples have not replied here despite my linking the forum on amazon, which is also telling.
                  Here is the best place for discussions and analysis from which they could actually learn something instead of keeping
                  horse blinders on.


                  • #10
                    Just catching up with all of this. Had to read up on the amazon reviews and all. But its apparent when reading this and going back and seeing whats going on--That this now all makes sense Bullies usually use homophobic slurs and grinding tactics to conceal their own lack of self worth and knowledge. The macho posturing of someone calling themselves Master as an author name to say I am a MASTER then being a bully to force positive reviews and calling names of those who dont agree are just character defects of a person who believes he has this truth no one else has. He is not mature enough to accept criticism that in the end might help him be a better person, better martial artist, better researcher and in the end a better writer.


                    • #11
                      Hopefully everyone has heard the last of this ""master""". Got quite a few emails about this which were enlightening to say the least. All I can say is on every street corner there is a nobody that wants to be somebody, so be careful out there!


                      • #12
                        Hey guys... long time!

                        Came across this and had to laugh. A student of mine in France gave me this book recently - recognised the author straight away, and the croc of BS that's in it.

                        I recall stories (and there's vids of this) of a Mr Lee visiting Baan Chang Thai. He had the habit of bringing fighters to spar with Tae - who didn't have much of a problem with the task. As far as I know, he never actually got the gloves on with Tae himself.

                        In the book, you'll notice there's a diagram of the Muay Chaiya guard - this looked familiar to me - I'm 100% sure it was copied from an early website of mine.

                        Anyway, you guys have done a good job of ripping on this book, so I don't need to say any more.

                        Tee Sok, hope you're well - where are you these days? Hope everything worked out with you.


                        • #13
                          Hi Nathan,

                          interesting and telling, there are even videos of that!
                          Yes muay chaiya is addressed in the book with the guard.

                          I am in Isaan, everything is good. What about you? Still teaching in Phuket?


                          • #14
                            Hi Tee Sok

                            I'm back in the UK right now, starting teaching over here - trying to spread the word

                            Great to here everything is good!


                            • #15
                              I saw they packed this book as a suggestion along with Vincent Giordano's dvd on Krabi krabong on the US Amazon site. Like as a suggestion, i don't know if it was a clever trick or what but that is insulting to vincent work. This book is from outer space. I mean its a suggestion by amazon and there is nothing you can do about it but its really bad to even see the idea being mentioned. But such is the world of commerce. Buyer beware. Two separate people and two separate journeys. One is an absolute master/researcher/teacher, and the other a charlatan masquerading behind a curtain trying to steal your money.