The Wat has closed its gym on Reade

The Wat — the Muay Thai gym that was on the lower level on Reade at Broadway — has decided to close its physical space permanently. (Thanks to S. for the tip.) The discipline, which is sometimes called Thai boxing, is the combat sport of Thailand and uses stand-up striking along with various clinching techniques and the combined use of fists, elbows, knees and shins.

The Wat (which means “temple” in Thai) was run by Phil Nurse, an undefeated European Light Welterweight Champion from the UK. He opened his first gym in the city in 1995, and the studio here at least a decade ago. His classes continue online and outdoors, and post-pandemic he may look again for a new space. (I will also note that The Wat was one of the few Black owned businesses in the neighborhood.)

“We are saying goodbye to the indoor space at 291 Broadway, and will be looking for a new indoor home when the pandemic is fully behind us,” Nurse wrote in his email to clients. “The physical location is simply that — an indoor structure- — that has served us, but does not define the WAT, our KruPhilosophy nor limit our ability to bring the love and discipline of Muay Thai to you. We know that the WAT is not just a gym, but where our extended family – you – have congregated and been part of the bedrock community of lower Manhattan for decades.”