History of Muay Thai

by | Aug 17, 2020

Muay ThaI History

Muay Thai was born of blood and war.

The origins can be traced back approximately 2000 years. When southern Chinese tribes migrated south to the central plains of what is now the Kingdom of Thailand.

Thai boxing developed from Muay Boran (ancient boxing). Muay Boran enabled the fearless and forward-thinking soldiers of old Thailand to continue the fight against foreign aggressors with unarmed combat; if they lost their weaponry in battle.

Fight for Freedom

Fast-track to the middle of the 16th century. Conflict between the Burmes of the Konbaung Dynasty and Siam, resulted in capture of the famous Siamese fighter, Nai Khanom Tom. Aware of his precise skills in hand-to-hand combat, the Burmese  allowed him a seemingly-impossible window to fight for freedom. Challenged to fight against 10 of the best Burmese Bando boxers, Nai Khanom Tom defeated them all, one after the other. The Burmese granted him freedom.

Victorious and granted freedom, Nai Khanom Tom returned to Siam. Now a hero in his homeland and given royal treatment, his fearless fighting style became known as Siamese-Style boxing. Now called Muay Thai. 

Deaden Nerves

The smooth, slightly spongy texture of the banana tree trunk is perfect for striking and hardening limbs. And the legends tell us that the ancient fighters would kick the trunk countless times a day to toughen shins, deaden nerves and to make themselves inured to pain. The banana tree, a forerunner to punching and kicking bags, was instrumental in enabling fighters develop their techniques and facilitated hard body training.

Import Tradition

An important part of the tradition of boxing in Thailand is the practicing of the Wai Kru; a pre-bout dance ritual that pays respect to the combatant’s trainer. Wai is a term used to bow the head in respect (derived from Buddhist tradition) and Kru means teacher.

True to its Roots

Medieval no longer, Muay Thai is now a modern day martial art. Western boxing may have influenced Muay Thai with the adoption of boxing gloves and a roped square ring but Muay Thai training still remains true to its roots. And is an essential part of Thai culture. A culture that fiercely believes in the lethal effectiveness of a fighting art that continues to prove itself in the UFC octagon.

Happy training!

Yours in Muay Thai,