Zaqzouq Brothers elevate Muay Thai globally, inspiring inclusivity

Zaqzouq Brothers elevate Muay Thai globally, inspiring inclusivity
(Photos: Freedom World Championship)
Saifaldeen and Izzaldeen Zaqzouq, the dynamic duo of Jordanian brothers, have recently left an indelible mark on the global stage at the Freedom 10 World Championship in Indiana, U.S. The event witnessed Saifaldeen's triumphant victory in the tournament, earning him the prestigious Muay Thai Golden Belt in the fiercely contested 57kg category. Meanwhile, Izzaldeen demonstrated his own exceptional skills by prevailing in the 81kg category. With each accolade added to their repertoire, the Zaqzouq brothers continue to underscore their undeniable prowess in the world of martial arts.اضافة اعلان

Returning veterans to the global stage
Returning as veterans to the international platform, Izzaldeen shared in an interview with Jordan News that “the tournament has been full of challenge and excitement,” emphasizing the sense of pride they feel in their performance. Saifaldeen, in retrospection, shared his experience, stating to Jordan News, “I have been among the firsts several times on the international level.”

Clinched to the sport
Initiating their journey into martial arts at a young age, both brothers were kindled by the passion their father, Khalid Zaqzouq, instilled in them. Izzaldeen noted the initial obligation he felt to practice the sport, differentiating from his brother's early embracement. He pursued his education in sports education at the University of Jordan.

"I felt obliged to start practicing the sport initially, unlike my brother Saifaldeen, who embraced the sport from a very young age." Izzaldeen pursued his education in sports education at the University of Jordan.

Izzaldeen's journey in Muay Thai commenced in 2010, marked by numerous victories and international acclaim. He has since evolved into a private coach, assuming diverse roles in the sports and fitness sector. Meanwhile, Saifaldeen Zaqzouq boasts an impressive track record with multiple global championships in Muay Thai and K-1, alongside national and international triumphs.

The ‘Art of 8 Limbs’
According to the Yokkao website, Muay Thai, also known as "Thai Boxing," is Thailand's national sport. Originating from military applications during the Sukhothai Kingdom in the 13th century, it's characterized by its "Art of 8 Limbs," utilizing punches, elbows, knees, and kicks. This sets it apart from other stand-up combat sports like boxing and karate.

Beyond Thailand’s borders, Muay Thai comes to Jordan and Palestine
Today, Muay Thai transcends geographical confines, expanding its practice beyond Thailand. Izzaldeen noted that the "Zaqzouq team has established their first center, 'Al Hizam Al Aswad' or 'Black Belt,' in the Rusayfah district of Al Zarqa’a." This center, under the Zaqzouq Team's ownership, is one among approximately 16 centers across Jordan, with another in Jenin, Palestine, all overseen by the Zaqzouq Team. Enrollment boasts around 750 players and trainees, yet female participation remains limited to about 30 due to prevailing perceptions.

Some of these players have included members of the Royal Family, such as their Royal Highnesses Princess Iman bint Abdullah II and Princess Salma bint Abdullah II.

As Muay Thai experiences a surge in participation since its elevation as a popular sport, Izzaldeen shared that more people are joining in.

Taking on the underrepresented
Nonetheless, the Zaqzouq Team seeks to foster greater inclusivity, particularly for females. Izaldeen is committed to address the issue of low attendance from female athletes, he said “to address this issue, involve more girls in the sport, and encourage them to be part of the team, the Zaqzouq Team conducts a two-and-a-half-hour session each Friday only for girls to train them on Muay Thai with the supervision of a female teacher.”

Iman Allawzi, one of their students, told Jordan News “there are less girls involved in this kind of sport because it includes physical contact and beating,” however, highlighting that Muay Thai can be for everyone, she shared “there are people who see Muay Thai as a violent sport, but I play it for fitness purposes. Rather, I play educational fighting under the supervision of a coach to ensure not getting hurt.”

She highlighted that Muay Thai transcends being a mere sport – it is a lifestyle characterized by a continuous stage of self-improvement, she said “I encourage all people, girls in particular, to practice Muay Thai, since it helps them to discover their inner self, their physical, and mental potentials, and their physical weakness as well.”

What is on the horizon?
Looking ahead, Izaldeen conveyed that there are currently 19 senior players and 25 junior players are prepared to represent Jordan internationally. Their aspiration extends to broadening this representation, allowing more individuals to join the national team for external tournaments. Initiatives include bringing together clubs from diverse regions – Libya, Egypt, and Jordan – to compete, with more countries expected to join.

Both brothers concur that Muay Thai not only bolsters self-confidence and leadership skills but also positively influences mental well-being, focus, and concentration.

Despite an uncertain future, one certainty prevails: the unwavering presence of the Zaqzouq Team in the realm of Muay Thai in both the Kingdom and the broader region. Proudly representing their disciplines across borders. 

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