The Art of Muay Thai

The art of Muay Thai in fighting and in self-defense is differing from International boxing in many ways. In Muay Thai, not only punches can be use but feet, knees and elbows can be use as well. In International boxing, only straight-punch, combination-punch and uppercut are allow. Differently, in Muay Thai all these punch plus spinning back fist, hook and swing can be utilize. The wrist, knuckles and the back of the hand can be use to hit the opponent. In Muay Thai, other parts of the body can also be put to use such as: using the feet for high kick, low kick, straight kick, round kick and foot-thrust; using lead foot, rear foot and heel. Muay Thai fighters usually specialize in the use of feet for kicking and foot-thrusts.

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Another important body part that is use is the knee. The knee-kick can be put to use effectively, for example, flying knee-kick and to grasp on the opponent’s neck and use the knee to hit the target. The last body part that will be mentioned is one of the most dangerous one, which is the elbow that can be use in various ways. For example, the elbow slash which is bringing the elbow diagonally downwards against the target, horizontal elbow which is swinging it parallel to the ground, uppercut elbow which is thrusting the elbow diagonally upwards, forward elbow thrust which is stabbing the elbow forwardly, reverse horizontal elbow which is to moved the elbow horizontally in reverse and many more.

In the ancient time, Muay Thai was more fearful and exciting than the present. In the past, the fighters would bind their fists for extra attacking strength and to protect their fingers and wrists from sprains and other injuries. This fist binding known as Kaad Chuek, was composed of skeins of unrefined hemp thread twisted together into a soft cord of thickness of the little finger. The rough coils of the same thread were inserted under the kaad chuek on the back of the knuckles to form protuberances known as gan hoi. Kaad Chuek provides both offensive advantages and protection against injury.

Muay Thai rules in the past were not very strict and clear like the present. The fighters on both sides must fight very carefully because not only hands, elbows, knees and feet can be used but the head can be used as well. In the present day, it’s a requirement that the fighter must wear at least 6 ounces gloves and dress in muay outfit. The outfit is consist of boxing shorts, groin-protector, amulets and ankle supporters if desire. In the contest, there is one referee on the stage, three referees outside the stage to give score, one timekeeper and one stadium doctor. There are 5 rounds in Muay Thai; each round has three minutes with two minutes intervals. The contest is separated into weight-parity system same as International boxing. The referee on the stage has the powers to intervene according to Muay Thai’s rules. The legal body parts that can be used are hands, feet, elbows and knees which can be use for punching, kicking, foot-thrusting, hitting and etc. on any part of the body.

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Before the actual fight start, the fighters must perform Wai Khru (Paying Respect to Teachers) and the Ritual Dance of Homage. Wai Khru is a tradition in which fighters pay respect to their parents, teachers and things they hold sacred contemplating upon everything with which they have been blessed by prostrating and put hands together in salute 3 times. They also pray for safety and victory. The fighters would perform the ritual according to what he has been taught by his teacher. Every fighter must worn mongkon until the completion of the Wai Khru ritual and then removed before the actual contest. Mongkon is make out of many threads woven together and wrapped with fabric to make a circular shape to be worn on the head. It’s a tradition that mongkon must be worn before the actual fight because it’s a sacred and highly respected item given by his teacher. In Muay Thai, rhythmic music accompanies the Wai Khru rituals as well as the actual contests themselves. The musical instruments use are pee chawaa, glong kaek (Thai drums played by 2 musicians) and ching. When the mongkon is removed, the referee will briefly stated the rules and have the two fighters shake hand for sportsmanship. When the actual fight start, the tempo is quick and becomes more frenetic toward the end of the round. The music increases the atmosphere of the event and helps urge the fighters to feel ferocious. The music that accompanies Muay Thai is not only an art but it’s also a tradition that can’t be lost.

In the present, the contest of muay becomes a professional sport especially in Bangkok where there the contest is held every day and someday more than one contest is held. The rules of professional boxer are determined by the Ministry of Interior. Muay Thai is not only taught in Muay Thai camps but it’s also taught in the Institution of Physical Education. Muay Thai is an art and a sport that represent Thailand. Its popularity has spread across the globe. One of the main attractions for the visitors to Thailand is Muay Thai. Muay is known to be one of the most dangerous self-defense in the world, its technique draws a tremendous interest from the foreigners. Muay Thai fighters have traveled to many countries to show the art of muay.

Other international martial arts such as Judo, Karate, Taekaewndo, Wrestling and Western boxing have tried to compete against Muay Thai and the results have proven that it’s very difficult to beat Muay Thai. This lead to a large number of foreigners wanting to learn Muay Thai which led to the opening up of Muay Thai schools in various countries. Moreover, the teachers in these schools are mostly the popular fighters or teachers from Thailand. The contest between Thai’s fighters against other nationalities is often organized in various countries, for example, England, United States, Canada, Netherlands, Japan and etc. These contests help make Muay Thai more appealing and more interesting to the foreigners. Likewise, the foreigners will now have more chance to learn and understand Muay Thai.