Cultural martial art of Thaland; Muay Thai. This is also well known as Thai boxing. Several of hundreds years back, Muay thai was originated and was developed as a close combat using entire body as a weapon. This is a combat sport of Thailand which includes stand-up striking along with various clinching techniques. It was believed that it was developed as tribes migrated south from the steppes of China through Vietnam, Laos, Burma, and Cambodia centuries back. Siamese, one of the then major tribe fought fiercely in order to survive while moving south. They discovered other smaller tribes, in today’s world is known as northern and central Thailand and as far south as Malaysia. The fighting technique began to ground its root deep by intense training and technique, military tactics, hand to hand combat.
Muay Thai’s origin is still under a debatable question among modern scholars. It is said, in 14th century, must of historical evidences of muay thai was lost when Ayudhaya was sacked by Burmese. At that time Ayudhaya was the capital city of Siam (Thailand). As they looted temples and depositors of knowledge held in the capital, historical evidences got lost.
This is a physical and mental discipline, where muay thai uses body as a weapon where hands become sward and dagger. the shins and forearms were hardened during training which is used as an armor against heavy blows. The elbow felt opponent’s strike like a heavy mace or hammer; the legs and knees have to act like the axe and staff which makes the body to operate as one unit.
On the legend of king Naruesan, Muay Thai’s history recounts on. In 1560, in one of the wars against Burmese, King Naruesan was captured. He was offered a chance at freedom if he could defeat some of the best Burmese warriors where he defeated all the Burmese warriors the King placed before him and was granted his freedom and returned home a hero and a legend of Muay Thai.
The history of Muay Thai can be traced to the middle of the 18th century. In the year 1767, the famous fighter Nai Khanomtom was captured during the battles between the Burmese of the Konbaung Dynasty and Siam. The Burmese knew about his skills in hand-to-hand combat and so gave him an opportunity to fight for his freedom.
According to Thai folks at the time of the fall of the ancient Siamese capital of Ayudhaya Kingdom in 1767, the invading Burmese troops rounded up thousands of Siamese and took them to Burma as prisoners. Among them there were a large number of Thai boxers who were later taken to the city of Ava. He was Nai Khanomtom. In 1774, in the Burmese city of Rangoon, the Burmese King Hsinbyushin (known in Thai as “King Mangra”) decided to organize a seven-day, seven-night religious festival in honor of Buddha’s relics. The festivities included many forms of entertainment, which includes costume plays called likay, comedies and farces, and sword-fighting matches. Eventually there grew an interest in King Hsinbyushin and so he wanted to see how Muay Boran would compare to the Lethwei (Burmese Boxing). Nai Khanomtom was then selected to fight against the Burmese champion where he performed a traditional Wai Kru pre-fight dance before the fight in order to pay his respects to his teachers and ancestors, and also to the spectators. This amazed the Burmese people and they thought it was black magic. When the fight began, Nai Khanomtom used hard punches, kicks, elbows, and knees against his opponent until he collapsed.
The Burmese referee said the Burmese champion was too distracted by the dance declaring the knockout as invalid. Then the king asked if he would fight against nine other Burmese champions in order to prove himself. Agreeing to this, he fought them all with no rest periods in between and became the ultimate champion of the ring. A great kickboxing teacher from Rakhine was his last opponent. Nai Khanomtom defeated him by his kicks and no one later dared to challenge him.
Watching this, King Mangra got impressed. He then passed a remark quoted as, “Every part of the Siamese is blessed with venom”. Even with his bare hands, he can fell nine or ten opponents. But his Lord was incompetent and lost the country to the enemy. If he had been any good, there was no way the City of Ayudhaya would ever have fallen.”
After winning the match, he was freed by his captors and allowed to return to Siam as a winning hero. Later his fighting style became to be known as Siamese-Style boxing, known as Muay Thai lately. This was soon to be recognized as a national sport and later in the twentieth century it got widespread internationally, when practitioners defeated notable practitioners of other martial arts. He was called as the father of Muay Thai. This professional league is governed by The Professional Boxing Association of Thailand (P.A.T). It was sanctioned by The Sport Authority of Thailand (S.A.T.), and World Muay Thai Federation (WMF) overseas. Muay Thai day is celebrated on March 16 in his honor. One who practices muay Thai is known as a nak muay. Those from westerns who practices Muay Thai are often called as Nak Muay Farang, meaning “foreign boxer.”
“MUAY THAI” has been practiced by Thais for over 2000 years. Its traditions have been passed down from one generation to the next with most ancient Self Defense.