Muay Thai : The Martial Art of Thailand
Muay Thai is a sport and also the art of self-defence in Thailand wich is the heritage of Thai ancestors in the ancient day until the present day.
Muay Thai is a Thai martial art that employs several parts of the human body as natural weapons such as fists, kicks, push kicks, knees and elbows. Muay Thai is able to be fought both in close range and long range. Muay Thai has long been accepted as the art and science of fighting, it presents the beauty, the wonder, the power, the excellence and the most dangerous way of fighting – performance neatly and fascinatingly intertwined. It has been highly regarded as the Nation’s glory and uniqueness which is internationally respected and honoured. Muay Thai is the “Art of Eight Arms” (Two hands, two elbows, two knees and two feet).
Muay Thai has been in existence for as long as the Thai Nation, Thai ancestors trained their younger generations the skill of Muay Thai for self-defence and to protect the Nation against enemy invaders. It is because in the ancient battles weapons were employed: Short swords, long swords, spears, etc. If Thai soldiers were able to combine fighting with Muay Thai skills such as push kicks, kicks, knees and elbows with their weapons, they would have a great advantage over their enemy opponents and especially in close combat.
Muay Thai is essential for the stability of the Thai nation and for the throne of the King of Thailand. In the old days Thai boxers were trained to become devoted, honest and faithful to the nation, the religion and to the King. Thai boxers at that time were installed by the King to become personal guards, palace guards, palace police and trainers for the Kings relatives and high – ranking governors.
In the ancient day most Thai Kings and warriors must have been trained in close combat and Muay Thai, as it is one of the most dangerous forms of fighting. In Thai history there are examples of some Kings that have trained in Muay Thai and have excelled in it.
Muay Thai is the identity, the art and the culture of Thailand and was developed from self – defence and protection against the enemy to become the sport of Muay Thai. There were competitions in Thai festivals such as the New year Festival, the Songkran Festival, the Loi kratong Festival, etc. There are also general competitions and special competitions for The King
In Muay Thai legends there is told the story of Nai (Mr.) Khanom Tom who was a Thai boxer in the Ayutthaya era (former Thai capital). He was captured by the Myanmar army and he was then matched with Myanmar boxers in a competition to be viewed by The King of Myanmar on the 17th March 1770. Nai Khanom Tom won his first bout and then continued until he had defeated ten opponents. The King of Myanmar complimented Nai Khanom Tom for his ability and gave him many rewards, Nai Khanom Tom was named the “Father of Muay Thai”
In original Muay Thai competition the boxers used cotton – wrapped fists and wrists instead of gloves and a cotton pillow for a protective cup (To protect the genital organs) instead of a metal or plastic cup, competitions took place on the ground and a rope was used instead of a ring. In the present day there are rules for competitions regarding the ring, the state, gloves, sacred head-bands, hand bandages, gum shields, protective coups, shorts, etc. Muay Thai has now spread to other countries around the world and is practiced as a martial art, an amateur or professional sport and for fitness.
Professor Somboon Tapina