The History of Muay Thai Documentary
What is Muay Thai?
Muay Thai is a form of martial art that originates from Thailand. It is deeply embedded in Thai culture and is the country’s national sport. It is a hand-to-hand form of combat, making use of the entire body as a weapon. Muay Thai is also known as the martial art of “Eight Limbs.” It utilizes eight points of contact in the body. The traditions of this sport have been passed down from generation to generation.
source: wikimedia.orgThe history of Muay Thai was lost when Ayutthaya Click To Tweet
Origins of Muay Thai
Muay Thai dates back several hundred years. Its direct origin is still a point of contention among scholars. The history of Muay Thai was lost when Ayutthaya, then the capital city of Siam (Thailand’s old name), was ransacked by the Burmese in the 14th century. As a result, most of written history was lost. However, it is largely believed that the Muay Thai fighting style had its beginnings from major tribes located in northern and central Thailand, as they fought fiercely with other tribes and kingdoms.
During the Ayutthaya Era (1445-1767), Thailand had always been on guard against attacks from neighboring countries such as Burma and Cambodia. All young men had to prepare themselves against these attacks by training as soldiers. All soldiers had mandatory Muay Thai training. Thus, learning this martial art has become ingrained in the Siamese culture. When soldiers returned home to their villages after a tour of duty, they will participate in friendly Muay Thai matches. Soon, each town and village had Muay Thai training schools. Older, battle-worn warriors have become the instructors (Kroo Muay).
source: wikimedia.orgKing Naresuan the Great, the Warrior King of Thailand, is closely associated with Muay Thai fighting techniques Click To Tweet
The Legend of King Naresuan the Great
King Naresuan the Great, the Warrior King of Thailand, is closely associated with Muay Thai fighting techniques. A monarch of Ayutthaya from 1590 until 1605, King Naresuan was allegedly captured by the Burmese during one battle and was given a chance at freedom on one condition. He has to defeat the best warriors of Burma. Using Muay Thai fighting techniques, he defeated all the Burmese warriors and was granted freedom. Upon his return to Thailand, he was hugely celebrated as a hero, and his legend has lived on throughout the centuries. King Naresuan would call for other young men to train with him. He was greatly interested in developing Muay Thai fighting techniques. This led to a great rise in the popularity of the sport, and it became known as the sport of kings.The Sport of Kings Click To Tweet
The Sport of Kings
The Thai monarchy has always played a vital part in the development of Muay Thai. Referred to as “The Sport of Kings”, there are many stories of monarchs who supported the sport and thus made it a cultural staple.
Pho Khun Sri In Tharatit, the first king of Sukhothai, sent his two sons to learn Muay Thai at the Samakorn Training Center. It was part of the royal curriculum and was a requirement to prepare for the throne.
During the reigning King of Narai (1604-1690), Muay Thai became a professional sport and all the fundamental traditions which started around this time would remain the same for 400 years. With the full support of the monarch, many boxing training schools were set up. Boxing rings were built, with ropes tied around a square area to indicate where the fighting will take place. Boxers wrapped their hands with threads and hemp ropes dipped in thick tar, a technique called Kad-Chuck. Fighters also wore a cotton yarn headband called Mongkon, which sometimes contain pieces of bones from their ancestors to increase their fortune. They also wore an amulet armband called pa-pra-jiat, which is believed to protect them from injuries in the ring. There were no guidelines and rules between fighters during this time. They were not matched by weight class and there were no time limits.
King Prachao Sua, the “Tiger King” (1697-1709) loved Muay Thai so much that he competed in small villages disguised as a commoner. His two sons, Prince Porn and Prince Petch, also trained with him.
During the Ratanokosin Period (1782-1868), Muay Thai had become an essential part of every Thai festival. It eventually became necessary to create rules and regulations. King Rama II (1809-1824) is credited for changing the name of the sport from Ram Mad Ram Muay to Muay Thai.
The World is introduced to Muay Thai
Muay Thai was introduced to the Europeans during the Great War as the Thai army was stationed in France. The army commander General Dhepasadin would organize friendly bouts to boost the morale of the servicemen. When he returned to Thailand after the war, General Dhepasadin built a boxing stadium called Lak Muang, where the ring ropes were noticeably thicker and tighter. It was also during this time that boxing gloves were introduced to Thailand through a visiting Philippine boxer.
During the Second World War, when Thailand was under Japanese occupation, boxing bouts were organized to keep the public entertained. During the post-war years, Western-like rules were adopted by the sport, such as following weight divisions. It was also during this time that stadiums were built in major Thai cities such as Bangkok and Chiang Mai.
source: wikimedia.orgMuay Thai was developed as a kind of close-combat that uses the whole body as a weapon. Click To Tweet
Techniques Used In Muay Thai
Muay Thai was developed as a kind of close-combat that uses the whole body as a weapon. Muay Thai makes full use of both defensive and offensive techniques. In Muay Thai, the entire body is used as one unit to imitate the weapons used in warfare. This makes it a very exciting and dynamic ring sport.
The hands are used as the sword and dagger, while the forearms and the shins act as armour, hardened in training to withstand blows by the enemy. The elbow is used like a heave mace or hammer, and the legs and knees act as the axe and staff. In Muay Thai, each strike and movement is meant to deliver a debilitating and crushing blow to an opponent.Over the past two centuries, Muay Thai has gained international recognition. Click To Tweet
Muay Thai Today
Over the past two centuries, Muay Thai has gained international recognition. It has become very popular globally. In fact, it is now in contention to be part of the Summer Olympics.