One of the most well-known martial arts is Muay Thai, which is a style of close combat employing the entire body as a weapon. Since written materials were destroyed as a result of the countless battles that affected the Thai nation over the ages, the history of Muay Thai is unfortunately still a contentious topic among modern researchers.
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.
The eight places of contact used during a fight are referred to as the “Eight Limbs” in the name Muay Thai. Even though there are various competing accounts of the origins of Muay Thai, they all concur that it was the most effective method of self-defense used by Thai warriors throughout the country’s lengthy history, keeping them safe. Chupasart, an ancient battle treatise, claims that combat involved the full engagement of the body, mind, and spirit in addition to the use of weapons.
When King Prachao Sua was in power (1697–1709 A.D.), Muay Thai initially began to be considered a “sport.” who had a deep enthusiasm for the martial art and frequently competed covertly in hamlet competitions, winning most of the time. Due to the ongoing fear of conflict, he also mandated that the army train Muay Thai every day, even in times of calm. As a result, the army promoted Muay Thai, making it an essential skill for soldiers and a critical technique for the entire Thai military. As a result, it was also the era of the first battle camps.
When Burmese attacked and burned the historic Thai capital of Ayuddhaya in 1774, Nai Khanom Dtom, who was then imprisoned in Burma, is credited with popularizing Muay Thai.
Due to these significant historical occurrences, Muay Thai has become ingrained in daily life as a fundamental component of childhood. This has led to the establishment of additional training facilities and tournaments across the nation. For a variety of reasons, including self-defense, discipline, training, and balance, it was favored by all social strata, from the lowly and common to the lofty and regal.
As World War II came to a conclusion, Muay Thai was introduced to the international sport community having been formalized with rules and regulations by the 1930s. Due to the constant growth of training facilities like gyms and camps, Muay Thai is now an Olympic sport and is continuing to gain popularity.
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.
The Wai Kru, a Muay Thai tradition in which pupils express love and thanks to their teachers, parents, and ancestors, is performed by Petchboonchu FA Group from the Evolve Fight Team, the most decorated Muay Thai World Champion in history.
Muay Boran, a general term used to refer to the Thai martial arts, was Muay Thai’s original name before athletic regulation systems were adopted in the 1930s. Both the weapons style (Krabi Krabong) and the empty-hands style (Muay Boran) of Thai martial arts are included. Simply wrapping rope around their hands provided some level of protection for fighters. You can understand why stronger regulations were put in place as it became more well-liked on a national and international level.
The “science of 9 limbs” was the original name for muay boran. The eight limbs attacks we are familiar with today are made up of both legs, knees, elbows, and fists, although at first head butts were also permitted. Numerous examples of tactics that may be slightly illegal in modern Muay Thai may be found in any book on Muay Boran. Before, headbutts in the air and even floor-based grappling from Brazilian Jiu Jitsu were permitted.
Muay Thai Becomes a Sport
Muay Thai would advance and begin to take on the status of a national sport. There were no regulations in place when Muay Thai competitions first started. There would be no weight divisions and no time restrictions on battles, which would go on indefinitely until a clear victor could be seen. This led to numerous altercations lasting for hours! To protect their arms, fighters would weave rope strands around their hands and forearms.
Local champions would compete against one another to determine who was the best. Fighting was the subject of bets, which brought in money. Fighters would also engage in conflict resolution on behalf of the upper class. For them, a fighter’s defeat would be a major source of shame.
As Muay Thai continued to advance, regulations and rules were established. The time it would take for a coconut to descend to the bottom of a barrel filled with water would be used to calculate how long the rounds would be! There was no limit on how many rounds might be played before a winner was declared.
Modern Muay Thai
As previously mentioned, there are currently numerous international governing bodies for Muay Thai. The discipline has actually spread throughout the world. The sport expanded in popularity due to the addition of the ring and gloves because people started to view it as more than just a cruel sport. As a result of its development, Muay Thai is today regarded as one of the most potent striking martial arts in the world.
The International Federation of Muay Thai Amateur (IFMA), which today includes about 130 nations, was founded in 1993. In particular, this organization has been closely collaborating with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and adhering to its code of conduct.
Muay Thai can now submit an application to become an official Olympic sport, thus this has finally paid off! Hopefully, the martial arts will be featured in the Olympics soon!
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.
Various attacking technique and variations
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.
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.
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.
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.
Benefits of Muay Thai
Muay Thai has its origins in the 13th century and was initially created for hand-to-hand combat in warfare. It changed over time to become the modern martial art and combat sport that we know today. Muay Thai is still a full-contact sport, but more and more people are taking it up for a number of reasons as times change. While many still engage in ring competition, a growing number of people train Muay Thai for health and leisure. Muay Thai is now practiced by people of various ages throughout the world.
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 consists of both attacking and defense techniques. 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.
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.
Strengthens The Body
Muay Thai training is tough. 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.
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.
Training in Muay Thai pushes one’s 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. A person who has strong mental fortitude can succeed in the face of difficulty and uncertainty.
The winner will be determined using the scoring method if there is no knockout. In Muay Thai, the fighter who can land more shots efficiently and do more harm is favored. If the strikes do not cause harm, the more aggressive do not always win by a larger margin. Quality matters more than quantity, which is why casual spectators frequently misjudge a fight’s outcome.
Each round’s winner receives 10 points, while his opponent receives 9, 8, or 7 points depending on how well the fighters performed in the round. For instance, if a round has a clear winner, they will receive 10 points, while the loser will receive 9 points. However, if the loser received an 8-count once, he will receive 8 points instead. Both boxers receive 10 points in a round that is evenly balanced. A combatant can get up to 50 points if they win all five rounds.