Muay Thai (Thai Boxing)
WHAT IS MUAY THAI?
Muay Thai is the national sport of Thailand. The art includes various punches, elbows, knees, and shin kicks in its arsenal. It has sometimes been referred to as "the science of the eight limbs." One of the signature Muay Thai techniques is called “the prum.” The prum is a type of clinch where the Muay Thai practitioner cradles his/her opponent’s head in his/her hands. While holding an opponent in the prum, the Muay Thai practitioner is able to execute knee strikes, elbow strikes, and takedowns.
Though there are many legends about the art's creation, much is speculation, it is believed that Muay Thai was developed over a thousand years ago, and it was practiced by warriors from Siam. The earliest account of Muay Thai actually comes from Burma, and it describes a devastating form of hand to hand fighting employed by the Thais.
Modern Thai Boxing (Muay Thai) originated from Krabi Krabong (a Thai weapons art roughly meaning "stick and sword"). When the Thais lost their weapons or fought close quarters with weapons they used knees, elbows, feet, fists and headbutting. They became famous for their toughness on the battle field with constant wars with their Burmese rivals. King Ramkamheng (1275 - 1317) wrote the "Tamrab-Pichei-Songkram" - the Book of War Learning, about the Thai war art, the basis of which was weaponless fighting.
The biggest Thaiboxing hero of Thailand is the 'Black Prince' Nai Khanom Dtom, who was camtured by the Burmese and had to fight against 12 of the best Burmese fighters before he was released (in 1560). The Thais are still having annual Muay Thai tournaments in order to salute him.
In the old days the fights lasted until one of the fighters was dead or seriously injured. There were no rounds and the fights could have lasted for several hours. No protective gear was used and sometimes they wore rope over their knuckles and glued some broken glass on top of it.
Before the 1940's, Thai fighters fought bare-knuckled. After World War II, the Thai government became concerned, due to the high number of fatalities in the ring, and forced some rules to be used: they gave up groin shots, eye pokes, started using weight classes and boxing gloves, and rounds. The Thais felt that this watered down their sport. As a result, Thais place more emphasis on kicks, particularly to the legs; knee strikes; and grappling. These skills score higher points than hand strikes in Thai matches.
During a competition, the participants perform a lengthy ritual and ceremony before the fight (wai khru ram muay). The ritual is both for religious reasons and as a stretching warm-up. Some use this ritual to attempt to scare their opponents, commonly by stomping around the opponent.
HOW TO COMPETE
The complete boxer must always remember that the winner of a Muay Thai bout is decided according to rules. He must know and strictly follow the rules of the Muay Thai competition.
To produce a good score, the technique should have a visible effect on the opponent. It is not the number or variety of Muay Thai techniques, but their effectiveness that the judges are looking for, so it is possible to win using one Muay Thai technique exclusively. Judges are looking to award the fight to the strongest fighter. They are looking for evidence of the effect of Muay Thai techniques. And they are looking for mental and physical strength, and technical ability.
A panel of three judges decide at the end of each round if the round resulted in a draw (scores 10:10), a win by significant margin (score 10:9) or a win by undisputed margin (10:8). At the end of the match the score judges add up the points scored and nominate a winner to the referee. If there are three different votes (win, defeat, draw) at the end of the match the verdict is a draw.
Contestants must wear no shirt or shoes. The sacred headband (Mongkon) must be removed on completion of Ram Muay ritual dance, before the start of the bout. The application of any ointment or herb that may be repugnant to your opponent is prohibited. Hands should be wrapped with soft tape not longer than 12 yards and not wider than 2 inches. This can be taped into place.
Why Train Muay Thai?