2 Muay Thai Accepted Origins By Masters
The Beginning Of Muay Thai
This combat sport is a martial art that is over 2,000 years old. The origin of Muay Thai is confused with the origin of the Thai people.
There are several versions about its origins, but none exact like the historical documents about the origin of its people. Also its origins were destroyed when the Burmese army razed and sacked the capital Ayuddhaya taking it to ruins and thereby destroying a lot about the history of the people.
The two most accepted by most Muay Thai Masters (Ajarns) and also by several Thai historians are the following:
The First Theory
According to the first version, the origin of the Thai people is the province of Yunnam, on the banks of the Yangtze River in Central China. Many generations ago they migrated from China to what is now Thailand in search of freedom and fertile land for agriculture.
According to this theory, from their place of origin, China, to their destination, Siam, the Thais were constantly harassed and suffered many attacks from bandits, warlords, animals, and were also afflicted with many diseases. To protect themselves and maintain their health, they created a fighting method called “Chupasart”, which according to historians descends directly from Chinese Boxing (Kung Fu) and was developed in the journey of the Thai people from China to their lands. This method of fighting and self-defense made use of various weapons such as swords, knives, spears, clubs, shields, axes, bow and arrow, etc.
In the training of “Chupasart”, accidents often occurred that sometimes caused serious injuries to the practitioners. So that they could train without hurting themselves, the Thais created a method of fighting without weapons, the precursor of the current Muay Thai. So they could exercise and train even in times of peace and without the risk of injury.
The Second Theory
The second theory says that Muay Thai was developed when the Thais were already in their homeland, Siam (present-day Thailand). This second theory has considerable academic support and undeniable archaeological evidence.
Muay Thai vs Chinese Kung Fu
In the beginning, Muay Thai was very similar to Chinese Kung Fu. A normal fact considering the origin of the Thai people. Ancient Muay Thai used palm strikes, fingertip attacks, immobilizations and clawed hands to hold the opponent. Over time, it changed and became the fighting style it is today.
In many periods of Thai history, Muay Thai was very popular among Thais. Mainly in the period of Rei Pra Chao Sua or “Tiger King”, as he was better known. He was one of the greatest Muay Thai fighters in history. During his reign Muay Thai was part of military training and was taught in all schools.
Another great Muay Thai fighter was a fighter named Nhai Khon Tom. According to legends, he was captured by the Burmese during one of the numerous conflicts between the Burmese and the Thais. When captured, he was offered freedom if he could defeat some Burmese fighters. The result was that he was released after beating 12 Burmese fighters in a row.
Until around 1920, fighters did not wear gloves or any other type of protection. Fighters simply wore strips of cotton, hemp or horsehair strips wrapped around their hands. Some old trainers say that in some old fights, the fighters used glue and ground glass in the bandages to cause more damage to the opponent. But, this is not fully confirmed by most historians. Sometimes coconut shells were also used as a genital protector.
The fights were not divided by weights and there were also no breaks during the fights, the fighters fought until one of the fighters was knocked out, suffered a serious injury or even the death of one of them.
After 1920, some English boxing rules were adapted for Muay Thai due to the high degree of injuries and deaths that were occurring among the fighters. Among them the divisions by weight, the use of gloves, the inclusion of the rounds and also the inclusion of the central referee along with the side judges.
But, many things remain from the old fights, like the use of a musical ensemble with old instruments and that serves to give the rhythm of the fight. As the fight is very tied up with no action, the musicians increase the tempo of their music to increase the fight rhythm of the fighters. This set is made up of the following instruments: three different types of drums, cymbals and “Java” flutes.
Another tradition maintained is the use of Wai Kru and Ram Muay. Which is a ritual dance that serves to honor the coach, his parents, his Muay Thai school, the old fighters of his gym, his teachers at school, etc. Another tradition that is maintained in Muay Thai is the use of “Mongkon” and “Praciat/Kruang” (either name is valid).
The “Mongkon” is a band which is placed on the head of fighters to protect them before the fight and which is removed after the Wai Kru and Ram Muay. The “Praciat/Kruang” is a braided rope that is placed on one or both of the fighter’s arms also with the aim of protection and not as a graduation as many people think (which is totally wrong), its colors are related to preferences. of the fighter’s or trainer’s colors and not with the fighter’s rank.
The “Praciat/Kruang” is not withdrawn after the Wai Kru and Ram Muay, like the “Mongkon”, it remains with the fighter for the entire fight.
Fields And Stadiums
In Thailand gyms and gyms are called “camps”. That is why it is very common to read in international Martial Arts books and magazines citations to the name of some Muay Thai “fields”. In fact, these are Muay Thai gyms. In Thailand the routine in a gym is very different from the routine in the West. Wrestlers usually start their training at the age of 6 or 7 years. They almost always move into the gym, living in barracks along with other fighters.
The trainer’s part is to provide: food, clothing, medical care, and study for the fighter. In exchange for this, the fighter must simply train hard and also take care of cleaning the gym. But, the biggest commitment of this fighter is to strive to be the best fighter, a true champion. When the fighter goes to fight, usually once a month, he competes for a cash prize, this prize is divided between the fighter and his trainer.
Most of the money goes to the coach. In Thailand it is also allowed to bet on fights, and the coach usually also bets on his own fighter, thus getting some extra money. All over Thailand there are thousands of training camps, each camp is run by a head coach, who also has the help of his assistants and the management of a promoter, who promotes the fighters of this camp. But often the coach is also the promoter of the gym.
In Bangkok there are two big stadiums where you can see Muay Thai fights, they are Lumpini and Rajadamnerm. Each of them has fights on different days. Some days a week, mainly on Sundays, Muay Thai fights are also shown on television, which are the championships on Thai-TV.
In the list of countries where Muay Thai is more developed, the classification is more or less as follows: First comes Thailand, as it should be, then comes several countries where it is difficult to specify an order, because abroad the Muay Thai has developed a lot. The countries where Muay Thai is well known are: Australia, England, Holland, France, Japan, Korea, United States, Germany, Brazil, etc.
Thailand is one of the strongest Buddhist countries in the world. The national religion is Therevada Buddhism, a branch of Hinayana Buddhism, practiced by 90% of all Thais.
The rest of the population adheres to Islam, Christianity, Hinduism and other faiths – in Thailand complete freedom of religious expression is allowed. Buddhism continues to exert a strong influence on the daily life of Thais. Senior monks are highly venerated. So in cities and villages, the temple (Wat) is the heart of social and religious life. There are parties, meetings, celebrations, etc.
Meditation, one of the most popular aspects of Buddhism, is regularly practiced by many Thais as a means of promoting inner peace and happiness. Also, visitors can learn the basics of this practice at various meditation centers in Bangkok and elsewhere in the country.
Everyone traveling to Thailand is recommended to visit a Buddhist time. In addition to the temples being extremely beautiful places with many beautiful designs and statues, they are places of extreme peace. They are places where you can spend moments of deep reflection without being disturbed by anything or anyone. Most of the time it is open to tourist visits.