Muay Thai, also known as Thai Boxing or The Art of the Eight Limbs, is a martial art founded in ancient tradition (first called Muay Boran) and a multi-faceted workout. The national sport of Thailand receives much attention for its use of elbows and knees, as well as kicks and punches.
The sport involves intense spurts of cardio/aerobic workout, usually practiced in several 3 to 6 minute rounds; strength training in its technique; and core building through kicking and form.
Further information and expert training can be garnered at various gyms in the San Francisco Area (to name a few):
Fairtex Muay Thai
World Muay Thai
Pacific Ring Sports
Thanks Teresa! Yes, I agree that many think of the sport as barbaric. My brother is an ex-fighter on the UFC and showed on The Ultimate Fighter. I know from his experience that the sport is taxing, but not so brutal as many may think. The main struggle for fighters is avoiding injuries during training, but I guess that comes with just about any sport! Both in Muay Thai and in Mixed Martial Arts (which is what UFC displays), the key element to safety is a good referee. All of the fights I have seen, both in Thailand and the States, have depended on good or bad judgements made by the ref.
This sport deserves more attention than it gets. It is increasing in popularity with the UFC and spinoff TV series The Ultimate Fighter but it is still not respected by some. They think it is brutal and barbaric. Getting the word out there, as you are, about Muay Thai as the art form and powerful ancient tradition is a great start!