WHAT IS MUAY THAI or THAI BOXING
Muay Thai or Thai boxing is the cultural martial art of Thailand. The origin of Muay Thai
dates back several hundred years, and was, essentially, developed as a form of close-combat that used the entire body as a weapon. However, it must be added that the history of Muay Thai, and its' direct origin is a question of debate among modern scholars.
Much of the history of Muay Thai was lost when the Burmese sacked Ayudhaya, the capital city of Siam (Thailand) in the 14th century. The Burmese looted the temples and depositories of knowledge held in the capital, and most written history was lost in this
period. What volumes were saved are preserved and protected as national treasures for Thai culture and heritage.
What is known is that Muay Thai uses the body to mimic the weapons of war. The hands
become the sword and dagger; the shins and forearms were hardened in training to act as armor against blows, and the elbow to fell opponents like a heavy mace or hammer; the legs and knees became the axe and staff. The body operated as one unit. The knees
and elbows constantly searching and testing for an opening while grappling and trying to spin an enemy to the ground for the kill.
The origin of Muay Thai, as a fighting style, is thought to have developed for centuries as tribes migrated south from the steppes of China through Vietnam, Laos, Burma, and Cambodia. The major tribes of that period, one of which was
the (Tai) Siamese, fought fiercely to survive as they moved south and encountered other smaller tribes in what is now northern and central Thailand, and as far south as Malaysia. Through training, loss of life, military tactics, and hand-to-hand combat, technique
and tactics were honed to a razors edge, and the rudimentary elements of a "fighting-style" began to take root.
Older soldiers and fathers taught their students and sons the offensive and defensive
tactics and techniques, proper posture and position, and skills to enhance awareness. Those students and sons went on to teach their children, and the roots and permanent structure of an "effective fighting-style" began to strengthen. Proper technique and
power strikes were a vital element in war that requires hand-to-hand skills. Each strike and movement is meant to deliever a debilitating and crushing blow, and enable the fighter to move on to the next opponent quickly without leaving himself exposed to an
The Thai were on constant guard against attack from neighboring countries, including Burma and Cambodia. Enemies for centuries, the Burmese and Thai fought several wars wreaking destruction
on both countries. Muay Thai was primarily a part of the Thai culture during this period and was a mandatory training as part of the Thai military of that time. The military continued to train soldiers for centuries in the art of Muay Thai: defining, and refining
the skills, tactics, and techniques with the wars against the Burmese, Cambodians, and other invaders.
Young Thai men returning from a tour of duty with the military soon engaged in matches for sport
and fun in villages and towns. Each province, town, and village would support a local fighter who showed some promise and skill. Older warriors, survivors of many battles and engagements of the enemy, became Muay Thai instructors and teachers [ Kroo Muay].
The love of the sport, and a need for the defense of the kingdom made Muay Thai a part of the Thai culture for the next 500 years as generation after generation passed the skills on to the next.