What is Thai Boxing, or Muay Thai?
Thailand’s national sport and traditional martial art is muay thai, often known as Thai boxing. It was created as a close-quarters fighting style that makes use of the whole body as a weapon several hundred years ago.
Read More: Muay Thai Classes in Hutto
Modern researchers disagree over the exact roots of muay thai since a large portion of its history was destroyed when the Burmese attacked Ayudhaya, the capital city of Siam in Thailand, in the fourteenth century.
The majority of the recorded history of Muya Thai was destroyed during the Burmese looting of Ayudhaya’s temples and knowledge repositories. The few volumes that survived are today considered national treasures, safeguarded and conserved as records of Thai culture and history.
Origins and History of Muay Thai
Muay Thai is known as “The Art of Eight Limbs” because it imitates military weaponry with the use of eight points of contact on the body. The elbow was trained to fall opponents like a heavy mace or hammer; the legs and knees became the staff and axe; the hands became the sword and dagger; and the shins and forearms, armor against attacks. The body worked as a single entity. While grappling and attempting to twist an opponent to the ground for the kill, the knees and elbows are continuously probing and looking for an opening.
The Thai King is a devoted follower of Muay Thai. Its popularity has increased more than at any previous point in history since it was crowned.
The Sukhothai Period
The first Thai army was founded in the northern city of Sukhothai, with Siam serving as its capital, in the year 1238 (Buddhist years). The history that has been preserved demonstrates that several conflicts between neighboring tribes and kingdoms were the root cause of the necessity to protect the main city. The Siamese army was established to defend the government, the people living in the city, and the villages that surround it. Hand-to-hand fighting techniques, weapon handling, and the use of one’s own body as a weapon were all taught to soldiers. The eventual development of Krabi Krabong and Muay Thai came from their training.
The early Siamese people’s culture was deeply ingrained with the study of “Muay Thai,” or military skills. Amidst the perpetual danger of conflict, training facilities gradually started to proliferate across the realm. These were the original camps for Muay Thai. Young men engaged in the art form for a variety of purposes, including as discipline, self-defense, and physical fitness. Monks even taught at several Buddhist temples, transferring information and history from one generation to the next.
Muay Thai gained popularity among the ordinary people and impoverished, but it also became a necessary meal for kings and the upper class. The two sons of Sukhothai’s first king, Phokhun Sri In Tharatit, were sent to the Samakorn training institution to receive instruction. The general consensus was that valiant leaders were created by skilled soldiers, and this would equip them to manage the country in the future.
The author of the earliest ancient Muay Thai treatise is honored by the name of Phokhun Ram Khamhaeng University. It is situated in Bangkok, just next to Thailand’s Sport Authority.
The Era of Krungsri Ayutthaya
Considering the number of conflicts that Thailand, Burma (Myanmar), and Cambodia were engaged in, it became imperative to build up sizable armies in order to defend and guarantee the continuation of the Thai monarchy. In training facilities around the nation, young men received military instruction in the arts of hand-to-hand fighting, sword, staff, and stick (“Krabi Krabong”). The most well-known of these training facilities, Phudaisawan Center for Swords and Pole Arms, was regarded as the analogue of a college or university degree at the time.
The King Naresuan Era
King Naresuan had a passion for combat competitions and Muay Thai. In the end, he would become a legend in Muay Thai, inspiring the men who had been subdued and driven from their homes by the Burmese troops to become scouts and warriors of the forest who would finally free Thailand from Burmese rule, sometime around 1600.
The Narai Dynasty
In this period, muay thai developed into a national sport and the core customs that would last for the following 400 years were established. The first “ring” was created by putting a rope on the ground in the shape of a square or circle as a defined battle area. The Mongkong (headband) and pa-pra-jiat (armband) were also introduced.
Hemp ropes and threads were used by the warriors to cover their hands and forearms. Sometimes the threads would be bound and the striking surface hardened with a thick, starchy substance. 400 years later, TWINS remains the top producer of Muay Thai equipment in Thailand.
Fighters were not matched according to experience, age, height, or weight in the early professional bouts. The bouts went on indefinitely until a clear winner was established. In order to resolve conflicts, local champions would fight on behalf of affluent merchants or members of the aristocracy, representing their city or town. The boxer and/or businessman would frequently lose face after losing a bout. Back then, wagering on Muay Thai bouts was just as common as it is today in stadiums all throughout the nation.