Before anyone learns Muay Thai it might be a good idea to have a general understanding of this fighting art and of the Thai culture.
Wherever one may wander in the Orient among the many schools of fighting arts one will not find a deadlier group of combatants than the Kick boxers of Thailand.
Many great master's in the martial arts accept that the Thai Boxer is lethal, because he is a professional and lives just to fight.
The Tiger King
Because the Siamese people were combative by nature, the common folk picked up the military unarmed fighting methods and developed them into a sport, But they still retained all the lethal blows. Further skills were developed during the reign of king Pra Chao Sua, who was known as the Tiger King. Every village staged its prize fights, with young and old, rich and poor all taking part.
The King himself was a high skilled boxer and was reputed to have trained with his soldiers six hours a day. He would often leave his palace disguised as a wandering peasant and enter boxing events, Always defeating the local champions.
The King would spend hours alone in his palace perfecting certain techniques, and then try them out in local contests. So skilled were some of his boxing strategies that even today they are still used and known as the Tiger King Style.
battles and adventures to eager listening children by the village story tellers. Perhaps the most famous of all the Siamese fighters was Nai Khanom Tom
He was a brilliant athlete and a strong courageous man, holding the title of the best fighter in all Siam.
During the many wars that Siam had with her neighbor Burma, Nai Khanom Tom was captured by Burmese soldiers. They had heard of his great fighting ability so they decided to pit him against 12 of Burma's top bando fighters (Bando is a martial art of Burma and similar to Thai Boxing), and if he could defeat all 12, Nai Khanom Tom would be allowed to go free.
So the next day in a stadium packed with thousands of people, Nai Khanom Tom prepared to fight bare handed against the cream of Burma's top fighters One by one they came at him, all out to hurt him and become heroes themselves for defeating the greatest martial artist in Siam.
As each fighter pitted his skills against the great Nai Khanom Tom, he was instantly injured and unable to Continue, being dispatched with lighting elbow strikes and murderous knee blows.
As the day word on, the great Siamese champion had defeated all of his opponents. The spectators, who had been cheering fort their own men, suddenly began to cheer for this magnificent fighter from Siam. They were full of admiration for the prisoner who had fought and defeated several men without rest or being wounded himself. The King of Burma had no alternative but to let him go free.
Muay Thai / Muay Boran
Rules and Regulations
With No Rules or Regulations In 1930, Muay Thai underwent a transformation.
A number of rules and regulations were introduced including the wearing of boxing gloves and groin guards.
Certain weight divisions were stipulated. Until that time, virtually anything was allowed in the ring.
One favorite Device used by the boxers was hemp rope bound around the fist to act as a form of glove. Then dipped in glue and rolled in finely ground glass.
The Growth of the Art Today With the spread of contact sports among martial Artists throughout the world, Muay Thai has burgeoned all over the world. In Japan, Europe, and North America, Muay Thai has reached epic proportions in recent years.
Followers of many other martial art disciplines will on most occasions refuse to fight a Thai Boxer because they regard him or her as a complete fighting machine.
The Old Ways
The old Kingdom of Siam, as Thailand was once known, has from ancient times always seen trouble from its neighbors. Occupying the Southeast Asia peninsula, it has Burma on the west, Laos on the north and east, Cambodia to the southeast, and the Gulf of Siam and Malaysia on the south.
Yet amazingly this "Land of the Free" has resisted all attempts to conquer it. One can only put this down to the fierce fighting spirit of the people.
Muay Thai techniques were part of the military training system, which was greatly influenced by Chinese fighting methods in the beginning.
It later underwent a marked change and developed independently, losing many of the Chinese boxing methods along the way.
It is somewhat of a mystery how and why this happened, and for that matter why many of Muay Thai's special fighting techniques are not seen anywhere else outside of Thailand.