THERE was an enormous day in the calendar of a local Thai Boxing academy recently - when a Thai monk broke his heavy schedule to bless the gym.

Master Peter Stewart, Chief Instructor of Eagles Mauy Thai, based in the Barry Island Social Club on Redbrink Crescent, was busy training his students when Ajarn Sawat, Head Monk for Wales, visited.

Master Stewart has shown respect for the deeply spiritual Thai culture during more than 35 years of teaching Muay Thai in Wales, and this was rewarded in the blessing of the gym and its fighters.

Eagles Muay Thai, renowned for its standard of excellence, has become regarded as the 'Home of Champions', with many title winners trained by Master Stewart over his many years of teaching - the latest being a kickboxing Black Belt Masters WOMAA World Title.

Master Stewart brought the training to a halt as Ajarn Sawat entered the gym, with all fighters present adopting the traditional Thai stance of respect, with praying hands and bowed head, Ajarn Sawat then addressed the students before chanting prayers and a special blessing of protection for the gym and its fighters.

Reflecting on the visit after Ajarn Sawat had left to carry on with his tour of the area, Master Stewart said that the Eagles Gym had entertained many distinguished visitors over the years, including a Thai Prime Minister and parties of Thai Government Ministers as well as British and other foreign dignitaries - but he had been overwhelmed by the honour afforded the gym by Ajarn Sawat, and it had been a memorable day in the history of the Eagles Gym.

Anyone interested in becoming part of the team can contact Master Stewart on 07973 384275 for Thai Boxing, or Dave Tolcher-James on 07737 835237 for Kickboxing.