Thailand’s national sport is Muay Thai, sometimes known as “Thai Boxing.” It is a martial art that has roots in military application that date back to the Sukhothai Kingdom’s era in the 13th century.
Punches, elbows, knees, and kicks are just a few of the 8 points of contact used in Muay Thai, often known as the “Art of 8 Limbs.” This sets it apart from other stand-up fighting sports like karate and boxing (2 points – fists) (4 points – fists and feet).
Muay Thai is now practiced and competes in all over the world, not just in Thailand.
The warriors of King Naresuan were known to practice muay Thai as a form of martial arts during times of peace as early as the 16th century. In his renowned work and the Ayutthaya Kingdom Burmese-Siamese War, Simon de la Loubère, a French ambassador dispatched by King Louis XIV to the Kingdom of Siam in 1687, watched and wrote about a muay Thai display (1765–1767) Earlier, muay boran and consequently muay Thai were referred to by more informal terms such toi muay or just muay. Muay became a sport in which contestants battled in front of viewers who came to watch for amusement in addition to being a useful fighting method for use in actual combat. Over time, these muay competitions became an essential component of regional festivals and celebrations, particularly those staged at temples. The bare-fisted combatants eventually began to wrap lengths of hemp rope around their wrists and forearms. This particular match was referred to as a muay khat chueak ().
A golden era for muay and for Thailand as a whole began in 1868 with the accession of King Chulalongkorn (Rama V) to the throne. Rama V’s personal involvement in muay led to significant advancements in the sport during his reign. Muay served as a form of physical exercise, self-defense, assaulting, recreation, and personal protection while the nation was at peace.
The modern era
King Chulalongkorn formalized muay boran (“ancient boxing”) in 1909–1910 by giving three muen to winners in his son’s funeral contests (in 1909). Regional fashion includes Lopburi, Korat, and Chaiya.
British boxing was added to the Suan Kulap College curriculum in 1913. The term “muay Thai” was first used to describe something.
1919: Muay Thai and British boxing were taught together as a sport in the Suan Kulap College’s curriculum. Also available was judo.
Suan Kulap College hosts the first permanent ring in Siam in 1921. used in both British and Muay Thai boxing.
Suan Sanuk Stadium, 1923. First three-rope ring in the international style, next to Lumpinee Park, with red and blue padded corners. British boxing and muay thai.
It was King Rama VII’s (reigned 1925–1935) initiative that led to the codification of muay norms. At Suan Kulap, the first boxing ring in Thailand was constructed in 1921. Rounds were now timed by kick, and referees were introduced. Modern gloves and robust groin guards were first worn by boxers at the Lumpinee Boxing Stadium during sparring sessions and contests against international opponents. The hands became a toughened, lethal striking tool as a result of traditional rope-binding (khat chueak). The usage of rope knots around the knuckles made the blows more abrasive and harmful for the adversary while safeguarding the fighter’s hands. After a fatality in the ring, it was determined that fighters should wear gloves and cotton coverlets over the feet and ankles. However, this rope-binding was still utilized in battles between Thais. Around this time, the phrase “muay Thai” also started to be used frequently, replacing the earlier term “muay boran,” which is now primarily used as an exhibition art form.
In the 1980s and 1990s, popularity for muay thai peaked. Top boxers could fetch purses of up to 200,000 baht, and stadiums with legal gambling attracted large crowds and generated significant advertising money. A superstar fighter’s pay in 2016 was approximately 100,000 baht each fight, although it can go up to 540,000 baht for a match.
The International Federation of Muaythai Amateur, also known as IFMA, was established in 1993. It was recognized by the Olympic Council of Asia and has 128 members from all over the world. It is now the governing body of amateur muay Thai.
The World Muaythai Council was founded by the Thai government and authorized by the Sports Authority of Thailand in 1995. It is the oldest and largest professional muay Thai sanctioning organization.
The World Muay Thai Federation, which was established in Bangkok in 1995 after the merger of two pre-existing organizations, is the body in charge of overseeing world muay Thai. It had more than 70 members as of August 2012. The World Muay Thai Congress is where its president is chosen.
Muay Thai joined IFMA and SportAccord in 2006. SportAccord stipulated that no sport could contain a nation’s name in its name. In order to comply with Olympic regulations, the name of the sport was changed from “muay Thai” to “muaythai” in an amendment to the IFMA constitution.
The International World Games Association (IWGA) accepted muay Thai in 2014, and it was featured in the official schedule of the 2017 World Games in Wroclaw, Poland.
The International University Sports Federation (FISU) officially recognized muay Thai in January 2015, and the first University World Muaythai Cup took place in Bangkok from March 16 to 23, 2015.
There will be more than 3,800 Thai boxing gyms worldwide in 2020.
What is Muay Thai or Thai Boxing?
Muay Thai is basically Thai boxing because the word “muay” means “boxing” in Thai. Early in the 20th century, Muay Thai as a modern combat sport was first formally established, borrowing features from Muay Boran, the old Thai martial arts. The sport was influenced by British boxing, which established the boxing ring and formalized its rules. Fighters also stopped using “Kard Chuek,” the practice of wrapping their hands in ropes, and started using boxing gloves during this time.
Muay Thai is a stand-up striking sport in which two fighters face off in the ring and engage in punches, knees, elbows, and kicks. Throws, sweeps, and clinching are also permitted. A significant distinction between Muay Thai and many other stand-up combat sports, in addition to the 8-point contact, is the focus placed on traditional aspects, such as the Wai Kru Ram Muay pre-fight dance routine, the mongkon headdress, and the Sarama music that underpins each fight.
Muay Thai Techniques
The three main categories of Muay Thai methods are assault, defense, and counter. Muay Thai takes consistent practice, drilling the techniques until they become ingrained in muscle memory.
Learning the fundamental stance and movement is the first step in muay thai training. The torso is kept upright, the chin is tucked in, the hands are in guard posture to protect the head, and the feet are maintained at about shoulder width apart. Right-handers keep their right feet about 45 degrees to the outside and their left foot somewhat to the front. Southpaws that are left-handed perform it backwards with their right foot in front. The fighter can maintain balance while in this position, ready to strike or defend as necessary.
Attacking moves include punches, knee, elbow, and push kicks as well as clinches. Blocks, lean backs, deflections, leg catches, and dodges are examples of defensive maneuvers. These methods combine and blend to create combinations (combos) that can be employed for an assault or a defense. The jab-cross-low kick is a popularly taught and practiced combo. There are numerous variations for each offensive strategy.
In Muay Thai, punches are the most often employed weapons. The straight lead punch (jab), straight rear punch (cross), uppercut, hook, overhead punch, and spinning back fist are among the primary punching techniques. From the bottom up, punching force is quickly produced by shifting weight, rotating the hips, and shoulders.
Since the elbow is one of the strongest body components, it makes an efficient weapon in Muay Thai. An elbow can be thrown in a variety of ways, including sideways to the head, from the top down, backwards to the chin, flying elbow from the top down, and spinning back elbow. When done correctly, elbow blows can stop a fight by knocking out the opponent or causing extensive cuts that require medical attention.
The Muay Thai kick, which is performed with the shins, is a deadly weapon. In order to generate force, the kick is delivered from the outside, with the arm swinging backward and the hip rotating inside. Kicks can be delivered to the body, arms, back, head, or legs of the opponent (a low kick or leg kick).
Muay Thai kicks can be thrown in a variety of forms aside from the basic roundhouse side kick, including jumping kicks, spinning back kicks, axe kicks (top down with the heel impacting on the opponent’s head), and the acrobatic cartwheel kick made famous by Muay Thai legend Saenchai.
Muay Thai fighters frequently use their knees as close-range weapons during clinching. They are frequently thrown to the torso, particularly the ribcage, as well as the thighs and the head. Jumping knee strikes can be extremely damaging if they connect. Like other Muay Thai weapons, knees can end fights by knockout when utilized skillfully.
To exert extra effort, the rear leg throws the knees. They can be clinched and thrown either straight or diagonally to keep the opponent close enough to strike. Jumping is another way to deliver them to the enemy’s head.
Both defensive and offensive strategies can be used with the push kick, or “teep” in Muay Thai. If executed with strength and accuracy, it can be utilized as a strike. It can also be employed as a technique to hold opponents at bay and prevent an advance.
The front push kick, which can be thrown to the lead leg, the solar plexus, or even the face as a display of dominance, is one way to use the teep. Teeps can also be launched as a jumping front kick for added force or as a side kick with the back leg.
In Muay Thai, clinching is a grappling move that is frequently combined with knee and elbow strikes. Clinching is a close-quarters fighting technique that takes years to perfect. Takedowns and other forms of ground combat are both permitted and practiced during clinching. Clinching can help fighters outscore their opponents and win battles when done well.
Benefits of Muay Thai:
It all comes down to burning those additional calories, and Muay Thai training is incredibly efficient at doing so. Every Muay Thai session lasts between one and two hours and includes a warm-up, shadow boxing, drilling techniques, heavy bag practice, padwork, and strength training exercises towards the end. It’s a terrific and enjoyable approach to lose weight because a 2-hour session can burn 1000 calories.
Muay Thai includes both offensive and defensive moves. Muay Thai was created as a combat art that has its roots in military conflict in order to hurt the enemy while shielding the practitioner from damage. Its arsenal of weapons, including the push kick, knee strike, and elbow strike, can be employed to neutralize an assault. Everyone should learn it because it is a fantastic self-defense skill, but especially children and women.
Training Muay Thai pushes physical and mental boundaries and requires perseverance, which helps to develop mental toughness. Therefore, Muay Thai enhances both the body and the mind. When things are difficult, the difficult pushes through. One can succeed in the face of uncertainty and by having a strong mind.
Muay Thai training helps one become slimmer and in better physical condition. And the more confident a person appears, the better they feel about themselves. In addition, if someone puts in the effort to train Muay Thai frequently, they will improve, and observing this improvement over time directly contributes to the development of self-confidence.
A group of molecules called endorphins are released by the nerve system and brain. Endorphin release is known to increase feelings of comfort and wellbeing, which can aid with stress management. Endorphin rush is the term for this feeling that follows a workout, which is nearly a given with every Muay Thai training session.
Strengthens The Body
Training for Muay Thai is difficult. Each session lasts between one and two hours and includes many rounds of heavy bag work, pad work, shadow boxing, strength training, and conditioning drills. Even a warm-up run of three to five kilometers is a part of the standard preparation for fighters. Today’s aching body will be tomorrow’s strong body. It goes without saying that frequent Muay Thai training will increase general fitness and build muscle.
Widens Social Circle
Every Muay Thai gym always exudes a strong sense of camaraderie. Everyone is working toward self-improvement as part of their shared passion in studying Muay Thai; sweat and blood are poured during training; and this is how the strongest friendships are created. Friendships that succeed together tend to last.
Muay Thai is the cure for all fitness fanatics who are sick of lifting the same old weights or running on the treadmill. Modern Muay Thai training incorporates a number of workouts that make training interesting and effective at the same time, in addition to mastering various techniques and combos. There is more motivation and incentive to train when the activity is engaging. Muay Thai is a great exercise that is enjoyable and gratifying, whether it is for fitness or enjoyment.
Lowers Blood Pressure
Globally, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death. High blood pressure, or hypertension, is one of the most prevalent cardiac diseases and can result in life-threatening complications including a stroke and heart failure. Making positive modifications and performing regular cardiovascular exercises on a daily basis is the first step in lowering the chance of acquiring cardiac illnesses. Regular training in Muay Thai, a cardio-intensive sport, helps lower blood pressure and strengthen the heart. Being healthy is a lifestyle, not a fad or a trend, and Muay Thai may assist in achieving it.
Easy to learn
Muay Thai is direct and to the point, in contrast to many martial arts that emphasize katas (or forms). The actions are not intended to be performed for entertainment, and there is no intricate or complex choreography. Muay Thai is a form of stand-up striking that was created to harm the opposition as effectively as possible. Although they are efficient, they are also simple enough to learn. There’s no need to memorize elaborate, fancy motions. Simple as 1-2-3.
The rules and regulations of IFMA state that Muay Thai is a martial art that employs all of the body’s limbs, allowing for strikes with the fists, legs, knees, and elbows.
Typically, a blow must connect without being blocked or guarded against by the opponent in order to count toward the point total. Additionally, strikes that connect with the opponent’s glove, forearm, foot, or shin do not count. Groin strikes are prohibited and are considered fouls if they are determined to be intentional.
If both Muay Thai competitors have the same score at the end of the round, the fighter with the most potent strike is declared the winner.