History of Muay Thai

Muay Thai fighter preparing to fight Bangkok

Muay Thai or known among the foreigners is Thai Kick Boxing is an original martial art of Thailand with its notable technic with wrap around the neck fighting. Muay Thai is a mixture in both body and mind. A physical fight which uses the body as a weapon – fist, elbow, knee, and feet. If a fighter well prepared the body so it will be a powerful weapon. Muay Thai is very famous in international during the last 20 years when the Thai kickboxers have won over other fighters in lots of matches. And the professional Thai Kick Boxing is under the administration of World Boxing Council Muaythai.

History of Muay Thai

Muay Thai has a long history which emerged from the old time. Muay Thai used for battle in the past which is different from the one today of which is one kind of sports. Muay Thai currently has to wear the boxing gloves to prevent from any accidence may occur during the game. However, Muay Thai is still the martial art with the eight attacks – 2 hands, 2 feet, 2 elbows, and 2 knees and some may include head and bottom, as well.

Muay Thai inherited from the ancient boxing which categorised follow to the region. The primary Thai boxing line, for example, Muay Tha Sao (north), Muay Korat (Isan), Muay Chaya (south), Muay Lopburi, and Muay Phra Nakorn (central mainland). 

Muay Thai History-In the old day

In the old day, there was the boxing school that is different from the boxing camp in the present. The boxing school has the head of school or boxing master that is skilful and well-known in general. The master with the purpose to carry on this martial art by focusing to inherit to the suitable students. Whereas, the boxing camp is a centre for any boxing fans meet up and exchange the knowledge and technique to the competition and fighting game purpose. The boxing school is divided to the royal school and private school, and some instruct the boxing together with fence, swordplay, club, spear, halberd, and knife or any other martial arts to protection and battle. Most of the Thai male in the past from monarchy, nobleman, commander, and ordinary people took the boxing lesson. The competition often took place in the temple fair and any festive events with the participation of the boxing schools and camps that sent their boxers and boxing masters to join in the tournament.

Sometimes, there were some stories or legends of the king or the nobleman with boxing skill cover themselves to join in the tournament, for example, King Phra Chao Suea (the Tiger King) or Khun Luang Sorasak, King Taksin the Great, Phraya Pichai Dab Hak, etc. And the second loss of Siam to Burma, the name of “Mister Khanom Tom”, an Ayutthaya boxing master that was captured and herded to Burma fought with the Burmese and got lots of victories that become the reputation for Thai Boxing very much. In late of Ayutthaya era, the establishment of Department of Royal Guard and Royal Police to protect the monarchy and the member of royal family.

There are the training of many martial arts included Thai boxing and Persian wrestling resulted in lots of proficient boxing masters and boxers served under the crown and had the opportunities to perform their skill in the royal court and front of the throne-halls in any events abidingly. Apparently, the liberal arm force of king Taksin consists of numerous renowned boxers and boxing masters at that time. Consequently, it was the establishment of the 3 units of the special force which are the royal guard force, the master force, and Kaew Chinda force that performed the specific duty to eliminate the fearfulness of Thai toward Burma at the battlefield “Ban Nang Kaew” in Ratchaburi province. So, it could say that this fighting is so-called “the boxing of the national liberation”.

Muay Thai in the Rattanakosin Era

chaiya art fight boxing and combat rope tied hand

Thai boxing sport has been favourite very much at the beginning of the Rattanakosin Dynasty. And the most flourish period is in the reign of King Chulalongkorn or Rama 5. The king studied and trained in Thai boxing, and he also bestowed to organised the boxing tournament in front of the throne-hall by qualifying the skilful boxers’ representative from each region. And he graciously appointed the title for them. Additionally, he assigned the Department of Education, at that time to add the Thai boxing as one of the core subjects in the curriculum of the Institute of the Physical Education.

The boxing competition often organised upfront of the throne-hall until the period of King Rama 6, the competition between the boxer and master both among the Thai and foreigners were set up at Suan Kulab Palace. There was the tournament, in the Rama 6’s age between Gung Fu by the overseas Chinese named Ji Chang and Thai boxer, Yong Harntalay the top disciple of Prince Abhakara Kiartivongse or well-known in general as Prince of Chumphon. This Thai boxer uses the Muay Korat technique in the fight. And then, it became a pattern of the boxing training in most of Institute of the physical educations. In the reign of King Rama 7, in the early period, Thai boxer had to wrap the hands with the robe until a fighter from Tha Sao, Uttaradit called “Pae Liangprasert” punched a Khmer boxer “Jia” with a massive punch to dead. After that, the boxing gloves included in the match since then followed by the rules and regulations of Thai Boxing. And finally, the first standard boxing venue in Thailand established which is Lumpini Boxing Stadium and Ratchadumnoen Boxing Stadium. Both of them has been the boxing venues for the Thai boxing since then.

The word “Muay Thai” was used after the politic revolution in 1932 to be compatible with the nationalist policy. During the time that lieutenant commander Luang Suphachasai was the director-general of the Department of the Physical Education, there was the legislation of Muay Thai Act of which used to call in various name – Muay Korat, Muay Chaiya, Muay Tha Sao, etc. included to the construction of the standard boxing stadium which is Lumpini and Ratchadumnoen Boxing Stadium.

Presently, the International Federation of Muaythai Amateur: IFMA plans to enhance this sport into the Olympic Games. And in 2014, the United Nations: UN recognised Muay Thai as the international sport and also signing the memorandum of agreement with the World Boxing Council Muaythai: WBC and the International Federation of Muaythai Amateur: IFMA.

The Principle of Muay Thai

The vital principle of the Thai boxing is defence by stand stably, influential, and eminent and also, boxing guard

Mae Mai Muay Thai (the Basic Posture of Thai Boxing)

Mae Mai Muay Thai is the set of fundamental postures that are the most important of the Thai Boxing. Following to the cabinet resolution referred to King Sanphet 8 or Phra Chao Suea (the Tiger King) the second monarch under the house of Ban Plu Luang of the Ayutthaya era as the creator of the Thai boxing postures and then it developed to be the Muay Thai manual that inheriting to the next generation from time to time.

The oldest Muay Thai manual composed in the reign of King Nang Klao, the third king under the house of Chakri between 1824-1851 A.D. this textbook describes the fundamental method of Muay Thai which is “fling-press-hold-break”.

The first Muay Thai textbook published on November 24, 1928, by the three brothers of “Nirasawat” family. Signally, the book contains the more description content and less in the illustration. These illustrations are uncaptioned and presented in black and white chrome that set up for specific publishing purpose. Instead, there is a promise of the next edition that will be more illustration of the significant postures of Thai boxing.  

The latter boxing textbook is so-called the first edition of Thai boxing manual with the illustration all through the book. And also, it is the first publishing that printed in Thailand. The content of the book edited based on the traditional Thai boxing manual. The author collaborated with a Thai boxing master named Chit Niwaswat and the top-class Thai boxer at that time, Suwan Niwaswat to adapt and edit the content of the book from the fundamental of Thai boxing to the advanced postures of Thai boxing.    

In 2011, the Ministry of Culture concluded to determine on the 6 of February in every year starts from the year 2012 upwards is “Thai Boxing Day” followed to the accession to the throne day of King Phra Chao Suea. However, there are some Thai historians noted that Muay Thai originated before the period of King Phra Chao Suea for a long time. And to recognise to one who proficient and acknowledged in general either honour or ability, it supposed to be Phraya Pichai (Thongdee Funkhao) with clear evidence and history about Thai boxing learning. And Mister Khanom Tom, a boxing master in Ayutthaya era that was herd to Burma in the collapse of Ayutthaya is also the remarkable reputation of Thai boxing, indeed. Notwithstanding, all to the good to honour the monarchy, another king that is apparently in his talent regarding the Thai boxing skill is King Taksin the great who retrieves the independence of Siam.              

The Benefits of Muay Thai

Thai traditional martial arts Thailand

Thai Boxing had lots of benefit as by following;

  • Healthy body, lean and high immunity. 
  • Be Strong mind, cautious, and diligence.
  • Be able to self-defence in daily life and society.
  • Be confident, self-discipline, and brave.
  • To maintain the national martial art of Thailand and expand it over the region.
  • Be ingenious and wisdom to solve any at hand. 
  • Be the gentleman and be ashamed to do anything that is unacceptable in the society.
  • To be occupation to live the life.

Where to see Muay Thai

Boxing Fighting in Bangkok, Thailand

Muay Thai is a national sport which is famous in the worldwide because it is not only the self-defense martial art but also it is an elegant fighting sport. Presently, Muay Thai is renowned in many countries, and Thai boxing courses are providing for any interesting people to take both domestic and overseas. Apart from that, there is a vast number of foreign boxers who become the professional Thai boxers. And any tourist who would like to experience the Thai boxing match closely. We brought you the venues of Thai boxing stadium in Bangkok that you must not miss visiting.  

1. Rajadamnern Boxing Stadium:

The boxing match is on every Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday at 6.00-9.00pm and Sunday at 5.00-9.00pm.

Location: 1 Rajadamnern Road, Khwaeng Pom Prap, Pom Prap Sattru Phai district, Bangkok 10200. Tel. +66 2281 4205.

2. Lumpini Ram-Indra Boxing Stadium:

The boxing match is on every Tuesday, Friday at 6.00-9.00pm and on Saturday at 5.00pm-12.30am.

 Location: Khwaeng Anusawari, Bang Khen district, Bangkok 10220. Tel. +66 2252 8765.

3. Bangkok Broadcasting Television Channel 7 Boxing Stadium:

This boxing stadium is close to the BTS Mo Chit Station. The match is on every Sunday at 2.30pm.

LocationL 998/1 Ruam Sirimitr Alley (Phaholyothin 18/1), Phaholyothin Road, Khwaeng Chom Phon, Chatuchak district, Bangkok 10900. Tel. +66 2495 7777.


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