Muay Thai the national martial art of Thailand

August 08, 2018

Muay Thai, better known as Thai boxing, is the cultural martial art of Thailand. This combat sport is a physical and mental discipline referred to as "The art of eight limbs", because it is characterized by the combined use of fists, elbows, knees and shins. The origins of Muay Thai dates back several hundred years and was essentially developed as a form of close-combat that uses the entire body as a weapon. The hands become the sword and dagger, the shins and forearms act as armors against blows, the elbows are used to shoot down like a hammer and the legs and knees are the axe and staff. The body operated as one perfect unit.               


As the Siamese tribes, migrated south from the steppes of China, eventually settling in the currently known Thailand, they had to fight fiercely other tribes. Through random training, loss of life and sharpening combat techniques, the roots of Muay Thai fighting began to shape. Veteran soldiers and fathers taught the younger inexperienced about offensive and defensive tactics, proper posture and position, so essential in hand to hand combat. The evolution of this martial combat evolved in a rather Darwin-like manner, demanding survival of the fittest. Those who fought well lived to teach others before falling themselves.               



The Siamese were on constant guard against attacks from neighboring Burma and Cambodia. Enemies for centuries, the Burmese and Siamese fought several wars wreaking destruction on both countries. During the battles between the Burmese of the Konbaung dynasty and Siam, in the 18th century, the famous Siamese fighter, Nai Khanom Tom was captured. Mangra king of Burma, knew about his expertise in hand to hand combat and challenged him to fight for his freedom. The Burmese had their own martial art called Parma. Arrogantly king Mangra wanted to prove Parma superior over Muay Thai. However, Nai Khanom Tom was a great fighter and defeated without a pause, ten of Burma's best warriors. After winning his freedom he returned to Siam as a hero, raising the people's morale after the war's crushing defeat.                                                                                                                                                           



For the Thai people the narrative of Nai Khanom Tom is a source of pride, and he is an inspiration for every child. In his honor every 17th of March the Thai people celebrate a boxer's night dedicated to him and his valor.  Muay Thai as a combat martial has gradually shaped up into Thailand's national sport. Thai fighters often begin their professional sport lives at ages as young as five or six. By the time veteran Thai fighters conclude their careers, they have several hundred fights under their belt. Nowadays thousands of sport halls are scattered across the country, attracting fans and tourists almost every night, to enjoy real un-staged fights.