"What does the development of
fighting techniques and calloused knuckles have to do with a way of
- "If we talk about Chakuriki, everything."
It was January
1972 that Thom Harinck founded the world's most famous Muay Thai and
Kickboxing Gym, Chakuriki. Chakuriki
is a Japanese word which means as much as "the power derived from".
Originally Harinck, who trained Mas Oyama's Kyokushinkai karate for a
short while, meant the Chakuriki-style to be a
mixture of traditional karate, boxing, wrestling, judo and jiu jitsu,
coupled with rigid meditation sessions. Another part of the style was
handling the traditional kobudo weapons such as bo, manriki gusari,
nunchaku and the sai.
The emblem of Chakuriki shows a Thaiboxer and a
Bullterrier with a twig between its fangs as a sign of peace. The
Bullterrier was chosen because of its courage,
intelligence, power, agility and speed. All of these are
characteristic for a Chakuriki fighter.
Typical for the style became training with weights and extreme tough
outdoor training during which they drew the attention of everyone due
to the (for that time) very informal red karate-gi.
The founding of Chakuriki was the beginning of a new
era in the Martial Arts, because all the above coupled with the no-nonsense
discipline that Harinck demanded from his fighters soon started to
Again and again fighters
from other disciplines all over Europe were beaten soundly by the
Chakuriki stable and gradually they obtained a
fearsome reputation. These results made Harinck's fame spread
all over the world and eventually reached the cradle of Muay Thai,
the Lumpini Stadium in Bangkok. The Thais did not hesitate and
challenged Chakuriki by inviting them to Bangkok
to take the ultimate test and fight them man-to-man on traditional
Muay Thai rules.
Of course the Dutch accepted. They had heard vaguely about Muay
Thai, but had no idea what they should expect. They were strong and
had beaten almost every famous fighter in Europe and America, so
what could they have to fear?
How rude was their awakening! With five they went and with five they
lost. The longest fight lasted three rounds. But donít expect Harinck
to be disillusioned. On the contrary. One could say he underwent a process of "Spiritual
He is a sportsman so he accepted defeat and instead of going home and
licking his wounds, it was there and then that he decided that he could
learn a lot from his victors. He went back many times to train and the
results were evident. Next to Thailand there are no stronger fighters
in the World than the Dutch. The mutual respect between the Thai and
Harinck resulted in the founding of the World Muay Thai Association in
January 1984. Mr. Montri Mongkolsawad, then the manager of the
Rajadamnern Stadium became the Honorary president for life and Thom
Harinck was nominated as President.
In more than 25 years, Chakuriki has come a long way. From
a small but much disputed school in down-town Amsterdam they grew
to become the World's most famous Muay Thai and Kickboxing Gym with
even their own clothing line which sells very well.
At the moment Harinck is one of the biggest promoters in the World but
as always he is still available for seminars.
Thom Harinck (front) with (from left to
Gilbert Ballantine, Branco Cikatic and Peter Aerts