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Combat 101: The Begining's of Muay Thai

AJ Hoffman
12 January 2010
Combat 101: The Begining's of Muay Thai
In this three part series, I will examine the origins of the aggressive and physical fighting style that is Muay Thai from the beginning of the sport, to its growth and recognition in society and how it affects the sport of MMA that we all love today. Muay Thai is also known as Muay Thai Kickboxing and is referred to by many Thai’s as the art of combat reality. The martial art uses knees, elbows, kicks and punches to devastate any opponent in your path. It isn’t just all about fighting though, it teaches many sacred traditions and teaches its students self-discipline.

Although there are not very many written records that date back past the 20th century, most knowledge of Muay Thai has been handed down orally. Tradition surrounds and engulfs Muay Thai (horizonmuaythai).

Thai Boxing was originally used as a self defense when Thailand was first forming as a country. Invasions from other countries were almost inevitable and the people of Thailand needed a way to defend themselves. Since most of the weapons used were all short range, hand to hand combat skills were a necessity.

As time passed and Thailand was becoming more established, Muay Thai became viewed as a way to advance yourself in the Thai Hierarchy. Nobility often was hand in hand with skilful practitioners of the new and developing Martial Art (horizonmuaythai).

As competitions in Muay Thai became more and more frequent it slowly gained organization as well. However, there were many big differences from what we know today. Opponents fought bare fisted and there were no weight classes. Opponents simply needed to state their willingness to fight and they were prepared to go to battle! The head was able to be used in a fight and the groin was not off limits. Fighters that got on a hot streak may be forced to fight several opponents one after the other until they lost or truly proved their dominance.

The first Muay Thai arena was constructed in 1920 in Suam Gularb which was in Bangkok (horizonmuaythai). The men of Thailand lived and breathed the honored fighting style and developed some of the most brutal training techniques I have ever heard of. The somewhat spongy base of the banana tree was used to practice your kicks. Submerging yourself under water and jumping out as high as you can worked the legs even more. Chopping at the sea waves coming at you trained the fighters never to blink or lose focus once an object came at your face. Limes or coconuts were often suspended in the air to help with punching or avoidance drills as well (horizonmuaythai).

Established with a purpose to enhance your physical and moral well-being, Muay Thai taught all of its practitioners qualities to carry with them for the rest of their lives. They took away knowledge, endurance, compassion, patience, courage, and gratitude.

But, as Muay Thai continued with its rich heritage, it would evolve into so much more. Be sure to catch the next article as I explore Modern Muay Thai and what the martial art has evolved into today!


www.horizonmuaythai.com/history. Copyright 2006.
Last Modified:
12 November 2010

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