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Rodrigo Medeiros

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THOM HARINCK

   
 

"What does the development of fighting techniques and calloused knuckles have to do with a way of life?"
 

- "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 show results.
 
  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 rebirth".
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 and fighters
Thom Harinck (front) with (from left to right):
Gilbert Ballantine, Branco Cikatic and Peter Aerts

Read Thom Harinck's Exclusive Interview