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In a brick-walled underground studio on the corner of Spring and Bowery, a room full of women are going to town on the Bishop. They jab, kick, throw elbows and plunge knees with an exhaled hiss – fierce combinations that make up the repertoire of moves known as Muay Thai.
Hit House is the first New York studio to put a boutique spin on Thailand’s national sport, the martial arts practice born on the battlefields of ancient Siam. Founder Tyler Scott, a long time fighter and instructor, even had a custom bag created – a lightweight foam form with plenty of give, known as the Bishop.
In the last few years, combat sports classes have caught on in a big way – ClassPass alone lists 165 boxing-inspired workouts in the New York metro area. Most of those splice heavy bag work with general conditioning moves like squats, burpees and jumping jacks to save your knuckles. Not so at Hit House, where the squishy Bishop allows for round after round of drills without injury.
“The same way you’d learn anything else – like how to hit a tennis ball, speak Spanish or sing scales – you need that over-and-over-and-over routine,” Scott says. “The bag allows you to do that because it stays in one place for you, doesn’t hurt you, and it has give.”
Proper technique is central to the Hit House method. From the first class you’ll begin learning how to properly throw a punch or give an explosive kick that sends your whole body (painlessly) ricocheting off the Bishop. Scott circles the room giving one on one tutorials to help everybody improve their form. Then it’s just a case of practice makes perfect.
“Obviously our main objective is physical fitness and wellness, but an aspect missing from a lot of gyms that do go for that high-intensity, fast, loud music thing, is you don’t really learn anything”, says Scott. “Here you can really improve. You’re just doing eight rounds of real combinations, taught by real people who come from traditional training. It’s a crash course [in Muay Thai].”
Train at Hit House consistently and who knows, you could be putting your new skills to work at a Bangkok fight camp in the not so distant future.