The ‘Ironfist’ Style of Muay Thai

Article by: Finn Coleman



Muay Thai, originating in Thailand centuries ago, has a lengthy history, but only relatively recently was the martial art recognised worldwide as one of the most effective stand-up striking arts there is.


As Muay Thai continued to grow in popularity, different styles began to develop in the Western world, where fighters would take the techniques they had learned in Thailand, and implement them into a more kickboxing-based ruleset. At Ironfist Muay Thai Brisbane, our head Muay Thai coaches Daniel Bell and Masato Fujimori draw on their extensive experience in the Australian Muay Thai scene, as well as incorporating authentic Muay Thai from Thailand, where Masato trained at Por Pramuk alongside Muay Thai legend Buakaw.


Dan and his father Alan Bell have been instrumental in the Australian Muay Thai scene, having raised numerous State, National and World Championship athletes under the Ironfist name. Since starting out in 2001, Ironfist Muay Thai has emphasised simple and effective technique, a tight defence, and heavy punches and kicks.


In Ironfist’s Muay Thai classes, our expert coaches explain the reasoning behind every movement during pad work, drilling and sparring, so that our martial artists are able to find maximum power and stability in every shot in a live situation, whether that be in competition, or in a self-defence scenario. Rather than ‘going through the motions’, Muay Thai at Ironfist is all about knowing when, why, and from what position to attack or defend.


Pad Work 


Pad work is a staple in combat sports, allowing athletes to develop their technique, fitness and power. Pad work is implemented into our classes for a variety of purposes, from technique to fitness. All of our experienced coaches ensure that the combinations being demonstrated during classes are realistic to a fight.


When hitting pads, it is easy to ‘switch off’ in between combinations. At Ironfist, Dan stresses the importance of visualising your defence at all times, always controlling your range and being ready to block incoming attacks. This way, pad work becomes not just a great fitness exercise, but something that carries well over into the rest of your training.




From beginners through to our advanced classes, our Muay Thai program uses drilling to hone in technique in a more realistic scenario than hitting the pads. While pad work allows us to hit as hard as possible, partner-on-partner drills mean that both sides can react to what their partner is doing in a live situation, which can sometimes be forgotten about during pad work. Drilling can range from set combinations, to something more like sparring, but with controlled parameters, such as having one side attacking, and the other defending. This way, a particular technique or movement can be practised in a more controlled environment, without getting overwhelmed. Ironfist uses drills to sharpen our understanding of timing, accuracy and body mechanics in both our offence and defence. 




Ironfist has dedicated sparring sessions throughout the week, and some of our classes will finish with light sparring. Sparring is where all the techniques learnt during class are put into action in a controlled environment overseen by our coaches. On the first Saturday of each month, Ironfist has our beginner’s sparring which encourages those who might be a bit nervous to jump into some sparring with other beginners, keeping contact very light. Those with a bit more experience are free to jump into our Saturday morning sparring sessions each week, and our intermediate to advanced students have dedicated sparring sessions also.


Dan emphasises the importance of having no ego during sparring. The level of contact should only be increased if your sparring partner is comfortable with it. The purpose of sparring at Ironfist is to develop a tight guard from which to experiment with different combinations, techniques and movements.


Through pad work, drilling and sparring, Muay Thai at Ironfist ensures that all of our students have a solid understanding of defence and offence – when to strike, and when to move. The textbook ‘Ironfist’ style of Muay Thai is best demonstrated by the gym’s own champions Michael “Tomahawk” Thompson, Corey “The Nightmare” Nicholson, and Muay Thai turned MMA fighter Ben “The Blade” Johnston who has worked closely with UFC champion Israel Adesanya, with a picture-perfect guard, hard kicks and sharp hands.




The Ironfist Gym Brisbane runs Muay Thai, BJJ, Boxing and MMA classes all throughout the week, overseen by our expert coaches.


Any questions? Ask away! We are happy to help.


Thinking about bringing a friend in to try out with you? If you have a friend interested in giving any of our classes a go, after they sign up at Ironfist, both of you will get a week’s free training!


Get in touch.


Address: 2/4 Devlan St, Mansfield QLD 4122

Phone: (+07) 0431 685 085

Check out our timetable for more details.




Start your martial arts journey and experience the welcoming Ironfist atmosphere with our no-risk free trial, letting you attend 2 days of boxing, muay thai and BJJ classes.