With origins in Thailand, Muay Thai is a popular sport in many Eastern countries. Surprisingly, it began as a martial art known as Krabi Krabong (a Siamese martial art) in which weapons were used. This is quite unique, considering that in modern Muay Thai, weapons are not used at all. Krabi Krabong students will, however, use similar hand to hand combat techniques after they or their opponents have lost their weapons. This can be considered the true origins of Muay Thai.
Of course, with all martial arts, time and different generations have an effect on a particular art and it will often evolve or change with the world around them. Krabi Krabong soon morphed into the ancient Muay Boran, a martial art very close to the Muay Thai as it is known today. Again, with time, Muay Boran evolved yet again and was divided into four different art forms for different regions North, Northeast, Center Region and South and were called Muay ThaSao, Korat, Lobburee, and Chaiya.
Each of these different forms placed emphasis on a particular philosophy or technique the Center region (Muay Lobburee) took intelligent and quick movements to heart while the South (Muay Chaiya) preferred to emphasize a student's defense techniques and proper posture. The North (Muay ThaSao) placed much more importance on kicking speed and although each of these groupings symbolize and utilize different teachings, movements and philosophies, modern Muay Thai encompasses almost all of them as one.
Also in its roots, Muay Thai was considered a form of entertainment to be performed by players in the homes and kingdoms of Thailand royalty. The most famous of stories belonging to the history of Muay Thai involves a Master by the name of Nai Khanomtom. During a match with a Burmese martial artist, Nai Khanomtom performed his best for the king during that time King Mangra. He began the match by doing a strange war-like dance that bewildered and confused the Burmese opponent allowing Nai Khanomtom to defeat him fairly quickly.
Unfortunately, the mediator of the match decided that the dance diverted the Burmese fighter's concentration and the move was considered out of bounds and therefore did not count at all. King Mangra, however, was impressed and asked that Nai Khanomtom fight nine more Burmese opponents to prove himself. Of course, Nai Khanomtom fought and won against every single one of the Burmese opponents, impressing King Mangra and in turn, buying his own freedom.
Nai Khanomtom also received a National Boxer's Day (March 17th) in which his actions were to be remembered by the Thailand community. It is rare that a martial art would have such an enchanting history. It is a shame that Muay Thai is not more popular among other countries, however, it may quickly gain International popularity and recognition before too long. Although it is true that Muay Thai has had its hand in contributions to many martial arts that are, in fact, well known in other countries, such as kickboxing and Mixed Martial Arts.
The History of Muay Thai
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23 June 2009
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