Muay Thai is a stand up striking martial art that uses various clinch techniques throughout the movements. Using only elbows, shins, fists, and knees, Muay Thai is a full frontal contact sport. Both a physical and mental discipline, Muay Thai will develop the student’s agility and strength, and is a great supplement to any fighter or individual looking to get super fit and toned.
Muay Thai is the cultural martial art of Thailand, which was developed as a close-combat fighting technique where the whole body served as a weapon. Muay Thai’s direct origins is difficult to determine, and has been a question of debate, as there is no written account of its creation. Most of Muay Thai’s history was lost in the Burmese invasion of the 14th century, where temples and depositories of knowledge in the capital were looted. Most of Thailand’s written history was lost during this time.
Kombat Group Thailand states, “What is known is that Muay Thai uses the body to mimic the weapons of war. The hands become the sword and dagger; the shins and forearms were hardened in training to act as armor against blows, and the elbow to fell opponents like a heavy mace or hammer; the legs and knees became the axe and staff. The body operated as one unit.
The knees and elbows constantly searching and testing for an opening while grappling and trying to spin an enemy to the ground for the kill,” (2016).
The fighting technique of Muay Thai is thought to have developed through the pass of centuries and the migration of tribes on the areas of modern Vietnam, Laos, Burma, and Cambodia. Conflicts between tribes were inevitable and due to these confrontations, tribes such as the Siamese (Thai) started to develop techniques and strategies of war. Military tactics and hand-on-hand combat developed a fighting style unique to the tribe. Soldiers, who survived in early wars between tribes, taught their sons, and other students, the proper posture, technique, and skills to engage in combat. These sons and students kept on divulging their knowledge to newer generations, making these fighting techniques part of the Thai culture. Due to constant battle between neighboring countries such as Burma and Cambodia, Muay Thai became a mandatory training in Thai militia, where it was constantly developed and refined.
Young Thai men returning from a tour of duty with the military soon engaged in matches for sport and fun in villages and towns. Each province, town, and village would support a local fighter who showed some promise and skill. Older warriors, survivors of many battles and engagements of the enemy, became Muay Thai instructors and teachers (Kroo Muay). The love of the sport, and a need for the defense of the kingdom made Muay Thai a part of the Thai culture for the next 500 years as generation after generation passed the skills on to the next.