8 Essential Facts About Muay Thai
Facts You Should Know About Muay Thai
These days Muay Thai is widely known as one of the most efficient striking martial arts because of its use and popularity in MMA, yet sometimes we forget the deep heritage and traditions that it comes from and some of the reasons it exists.
Here are 8 essential facts about Muay Thai that makes it such an amazing and unique martial art. While you’re at it, take a look at these 8 troubleshooting drills for your Muay Thai.
Fact #1 – The Eight Points of Contact
It is also referred to as the art of eight limbs or the science of eight limbs, because it makes use of punches, kicks, elbows, and knee strikes.
So, using 8 points of contact as opposed to 2 points, fists in boxing, and 4 points hands and feet, using other more regular combat sports such as kickboxing and Savate.
Fact #2 – Muay Thai in the Military
The Thai were in constant guard against attack from neighboring countries, including Burma and Cambodia. needing an efficient way to protect themselves, Muay Thai became a primary part not only of the Thai culture, but also a mandatory training part of the Thai military.
So, Muay Thai evolved in the midst of war as the military continued to train soldiers for centuries in the art of Muay Thai, refining the skills tactics and techniques with the wars against the invaders.
Fact #3 – Muay Thai Mimics Weapons of War
Being partially a product of constant battles, 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, the legs and knees became the axe staff and the elbows to bring down opponents as with a heavy maze or hammer.
The desired end result was having the body operating as one unit.
Fact #4 – The Sport of Kings
Muay Thai with its rich history and culture is full of honor, respect, and dignity. Sometimes it is called the sport of kings, as the Thai monarchy has always played a prominent role in the development of the art and sport.
Here the same values applied. One of the kings winning a fair fight, was known as the tiger king, who was infamous for disguising himself in a tiger mask while competing in tournaments to hide his royal heritage since if the other Thai fighters would have known it was their king, they would have bowed before him and pleaded not to fight out of deep love and respect. But the king hid his identity to have a fair and hard-fought match with each of his opponents. As a result being a great example of the values of this martial art.
Fact #5 – Muay Thai Fighters Must Pay Homage
While in many dojos and martial arts these days, a new practitioner can feel that he deserves respect and full attention just because they paid the monthly fee. Yet when young men want to enter into a traditional Muay Thai gym in Thailand to become a fighter, they must first pay respect to their teacher and give respect another to the gym where they will train.
There may also be a significant initiation where the prospective student must spend time in meditation at the temple or perform some ritualistic tasks. Students are also usually expected to give some form of gift or offering, such as a white linen cloth, flowers, or incense alongside a small monetary offering.
Fact #6 – The Wai Kru Ram Muay Dance
One of the oldest traditions of Muay Thai is a dance called Wai Kru Ram Muay, which every fighter performed before a fight.
Before every fight the boxer seals the ring by circling it three times, after which they perform the ritualistic dance, showing respect to their opponents and opposing camps as well as parents teachers and whatever religion they may believe in.
Many boxers will also display their techniques in this warm-up, giving the perfect opportunity for their opponents to study them.
For some boxers, the Wai Kru represents deep spiritual beliefs, while for others it’s the perfect warm-up before a fight to get the mind and body ready for competition.
Fact #7 – Muay Thai Tattoo Inscriptions
The Thai people are known for being superstitious in their belief of evil spirits and ghosts.
Muay Thai is also influenced by this culture. Fighters have for centuries used special tattoos, wards, amulets, and ceremonies to increase their good fortune and ward of bad luck and evil spirits that might follow them into the ring.
Some fighters will often go to the temple, a witch doctor, or high-ranking priest to have tattoo inscriptions etched into their skin. The powerful inscriptions are supposed to provide special protection, grant strength, courage, long life, or even sexual previous.
Fact #8 – Fighters Train Muay Thai at an Early Age
Muay Thai fighters often begin training when they’re six to eight years old. They will begin fighting between eight to ten years of age and may have as many as 120 to 150 fights, which is three times as many as a very active boxer before they’re 24 years old.
The typical Muay Thai fighter in Thailand trains many hours every day, yet most of them do not because of a good life, many fighters will fight every three to four weeks just to be able to support their family. Unlike boxing in the west, regular Muay Thai fighters in Thailand make very little money from each fight, bringing home about $100 to $150 every month, which is barely enough to support one person, much less a family.