Muay Thai originates from Thailand and is known as “the art of 8 limbs/weapons” by using fists, elbows, knees and feet. At one time it was 9 weapons when the use of the head butt was allowed.
It is believed it was developed from older martial arts, such as Muay Boran and Krabi krabong which allowed warriors to protect themselves when unarmed, although it’s complete history has been lost due to wars that Thailand was involved in.
It was later picked up by ordinary people to defend their land and became a popular sport encouraged by various Thai kings and is used in many traditional celebrations. It’s popularity has grown considerably since the 19th century and was encouraged as a means of exercise as well as self defence. Today it is an art popular with MMA fighters.
Muay Thai training camps have been around for a long time and were setup for fighters to live together as one family and to be taught by masters of the art, who train them to fight in tournaments against other camps.
In the early 20th century, rules, referees, the use of a boxing ring and boxing gloves were introduced.
A practitioner of Muay Thai is known as a ‘Nak Muay’, while non Thai practitioners are called ‘Nak Muay Farang’, meaning “foreign boxer”
Muay Thai is a stand up contact fighting system with striking and clinches and the fighters conditioning and endurance can play a major part in competitive fights. Sparring is a major part of any Muay Thai training program.
The punches taught are quiet varied and will include western style punches (hooks, jabs, crosses, upper cuts), but will also include spinning back fists, hammer fists, superman punches and corkscrew punches and pretty much any combination/variant of those.
Most schools will also allow the use of elbows, which can be thrown from any angle or even a spinning elbow. They are effective for close attacks/blocks or as a follow up from punches.
There are a wide variety of kicking techniques such as roundhouses, straight/push kicks, spinning kicks, axe kicks, jumping kicks, shin kicks and more.
Knee’s can also be used, both at close quarters or even from a far with a flying knee.
When the fighters are close up, various clinches as well as neck wrestling is permitted and this is often were the use of elbows, knees and uppercuts become effective.
A fighter will also be taught how to parry, avoid and block an opponents attack. As most attacks come hard and fast it is important to have a good defensive game.
Muay Thai is a high energy sport and physical conditioning exercises are needed, both in terms of fitness and the strengthening/hardening of the hands and legs. Familiar boxing exercises are used, as well as a lot of focus pad striking, especially for the feet and shins.
Muay Thai Equipment/Gear Used
Equipment various from school to school and is also different for Thai training camps and western training camps.
Listed are just some of the equipment that may be used:
Dance headband (Mongkhon)
Armbands (Pra Jiad)
Muay Thai shorts
Shin guards (Sparring)
Various exercise/fitness equipment
Celebrity Muay Thai Practitioners
Movies featuring Muay Thai
|Duel of Fists
|Muay Thai – Nai khanom tom
|Born to Fight
|Tom Yum Goong (Warrior King)
|Muay Thai Chaiya
|Muay Thai Giant
|Ong Bak 2
|Ong Bak 3
|The Samurai of Ayothaya
|The Legend of Thai Fighter