Muay Thai (" thaiboxing ") is the Thai name for a form of martial art practiced
in several southeast Asian countries including Cambodia (where it is Pradal
Serey), Myanmar, Vietnam (where it is known as Vo Tu Do), and Malaysia (where
it is known as tomoi). The different types of fighting in mainland South East
Asia is analogous to the different types of Kung Fu in China and Silat in the
South East Asian islands or Malay World. It is the national sport of Thailand,
and is also known as thaiboxing or Art of the Eight Limbs.
Traditional Muay Thai has a long history in Thailand as a martial art used
by the military. The military style of Muay Thai is called Lerdrit, while today's
"Sport Muay Thai" slightly varies from the original art and uses kicks and punches
in a ring and with gloves similar to those used in western boxing. Muay Thai
is referred to as "The Science of Eight Limbs", as the hands, shins, elbows,
and knees are all used extensively in this art. A master practitioner of Muay
Thai thus has the ability to execute strikes using eight "points of contact,"
as opposed to "two points" (fists) in boxing and "four points" (fists, feet)
used in the primarily sport-oriented forms of martial arts. Muay Thai is an
especially versatile, brutal, straightforward martial art.
Before even entering the ring, some fighters do some rituals. Some might
kneel before the ring, some might pray with their coach or by themself, some
does a procedure of movements (like touching the ring ropes 3 times) before
going over the top of the top rope.
Thaiboxers always climb above the top rope, because in Thai society your
head is considered to be very important. The feet, however, are considered dirty
and therefore it's important to always have your head above your feet while
entering the ring. While in the ring, the fighter might go to the center and
bow to each side. After this, the Wai Kru or (wai khru ram muay) starts.
This ritual is both for religious reasons and stretching. It also gives the
fighter some lone time before the fight to collect his thoughts and concentrate
on the task ahead. Some use this ritual to attempt to scare their opponents,
commonly by stomping around the opponent. The Wai Kru usually starts with the
fighter walking around the ring, counter-clockwise. This could be described
as "sealing the ring", showing that it's just yourself and the fighter now.
During the Wai Kru there are a lot of different kinds of movement and steps
that a fighter can perform before the match. Some motions imitate, for example,
a swallow, a hunter, a soldier or an executioner. After this dance, the fighter
walk over to his coach who removes the Mongkon and the Pong Malai. Then the
match can start after some rules from the judge and a glove shake.
The basic rules
A 'Muay Thai' match formally have no more than 5 rounds, each round take
3 minutes to last, with a two-minute rest period in between. No additional rounds
Boxers must regularly wear gloves, each weighing not less than 6 ounces (172
gramm). The gloves must not be squeezed, kneaded or crushed to change its original
shape. Rules on contestants' boxing costumes:
Contestants must wear only trunks (red or blue according to their corners)
appropriately fit their bodies.
Contestants must wear standard supporters or sturdy athletic cups to protect
their groin,Gum shield may be used.
Wear no shirts nor shoes, but ankle cap is permitted. A sacred cord known
as Mongkol can be worn around the head only during the pre-fight ritual of paying
homage to ancestral teachers of Muay Thai, to be removed before the start of
Metal or other equipments that will be harmful to the opponent is prohibited.
The basic offensive techniques in Muay Thai use fists, elbows, shins, feet,
and knees to strike the opponent. To bind the opponent for both offensive and
defensive purposes, small amounts of stand-up grappling are used: the clinch.
Muay Thai is often a fighting art of attrition, where opponents exchange blows
with one another. This is certainly the case with traditional stylists in Thailand,
but is a less popular form of fighting in the contemporary world fighting circuit.
With the success of Muay Thai in mixed martial arts fighting, it has become
the de facto martial art of choice for competitive stand-up fighters. As a result,
it has evolved in order and incorporated much more powerful hand striking techniques
used in westen style boxing, and the Thai style of exchanging blow for blow
is no longer favorable.
When Muay Thai fighters compete against fighters of other styles (and if
the rules permit it), they almost invariably emphasize elbow (sok) and knee
(kao) techniques to gain a distinct advantage in fighting. Almost all techniques
in Muay Thai use the entire body movement, rotating the hip with each kick,
punch, and block. The rotation of the hips in Muay Thai techniques, and intensive
focus on "core muscles" (such as abdominal muscles and surrounding muscles)
is very distinctive and is what sets Muay Thai apart from other styles of martial