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Combat 101: The Modern Age of Muay Thai

AJ Hoffman
16 January 2010
Combat 101: The Modern Age of Muay Thai
Continuing with our previous series, I shall take a gander into modern Muay Thai and what has changed for the better or the worst since the martial arts conception. With the rise of King Chulalongkom in 1868 the country of Thailand began to develop very rapidly in many positive ways. Most Thai people and historians credit the King for helping Thailand progress towards becoming a modern country. Under his reign, the Thailand was at peace with most countries and started to construct roads, which made travel to the capitol of Bangkok easier than in the past. Since Muay Thai was slowly becoming more organized, the best fighters were invited to fight in the capitol for all to see.

The first Muay Thai was thrown in the capitol by King Chulalongkom which featured foreign fighters being brought in to defeat the Muay Thai practitioners. The ring they used to fight in had a surface made of wooden planks and rushes (a type of plant) were laid across the top. The fights were timed and for the first time, a referee was present. All of the proceeds from these fights went to the country’s defense funds to help purchase new weapons(horizonmuaythai).

Muay Thai continued to develop into the violent and brilliant style that we know today. With its progression came learning by trial and error, which is common among most sports and professions today. For instance, in the late 1920’s to Thai warriors went to battle in the ring and unfortunately for one of the fighting parties, it was a very one sided battle. But with true Thai heart and spirithelping him to keep going on, the fighter refused to quit. The fighter continually was knocked down and the only way he could get to his feet again was pulling himself up by the ropes. This brutal battle went on until the final knock down of the fight was made except this time the prideful Thai would not ever get back up. After his death in the ring a new rule was made stating that all fighters must wear gloves.

Moving right along, Muay Thai began to be influence from other cultures as well. Title fights were introduced in 1928 and western boxing elements were introduced as well(horizonmuaythai). After 1928, to do further ado, groin protectors were introduced as well. I’m sure this was much to the relief of the fighters, but with hienz site being 20/20, if a fighter is willing to die inside the ring, what’s a groin shot or two anyway. By 195, there was a fully developed ranking system with 8 weight divisions as well(horizonmuaythai).

Modern training methods we all recognize and still use today were being implemented for the first time, such as punching bags or training gloves. Muay Thai quickly became a favorite sport and pastime. People from all walks of life started to train.

The 1970’s were definitely a golden age for Muay Thai Boxing. Many great fighters began to emerge. Oriental martial arts in general exploded due to the movies of Kung Fu Legend, Bruce Lee. Muay Thai gyms began popping up like weeds, appearing all over the U.S.A., Germany, and Holland. Men and Women of all ages can now enjoy regular training sessions.

As we leap towards today, Muay Thai has a strong influence within almost all martial arts. The Thai people still hold a strong belief in the lethal effectiveness of Muay Thai and it has been proven time and time again. Muay Thai boozing is still an essential part of the Thai culture and will always continue to be.Make sure you look for the third and final part of this series as I give a slightly more opinionated version of how Muay Thai has affected the sport we all love called MMA.

References: Copyright 2006
Last Modified:
12 November 2010

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