Muay Thai is what the Thai people call their own martial art. The word "Muay" (pronounce "moo-ai") mean boixng. In the ancitent times, since any kind of advanced weapons had not been invented yet, what to be used in a war were only swords, staffs, lances. Thailand had to encounter and fight with many of marauders to protect the communities. The Krabi (swords)-Krabong (staffs) arts was specially taught to soldiers to be able to fight. Muay Thai is a self-defense art which will be also taught together with Krabi-Krabong to be used when soldiers have to fight without weapons because sometime they might fall into trouble such as lost their weapons and they had to do a hand-to-hand fighting.

Muay Thai literally Thai Boxing and also known as The Art of the Eight Limbs is the Thai name for a form of hard martial art practiced in several Southeast Asian countries including Thailand. It is known as Pradal Serey in Cambodia, Tomoi in Malaysia, Muay Lao in Laos and as a similar style called Lethwei in Myanmar. The different styles of kickboxing in Southeast Asia are analogous to the different types of Kung Fu in China or Silat in the Malay peninsula. The Thai military uses a modified form of Muay Thai called Lerdrit.
Muay Thai has a long history in Thailand and is the country’s national sport. Traditional Muay Thai practiced today varies slightly from the ancient art Muay Boran and uses kicks and punches in a ring with gloves similar to those used in Western boxing. Muay Boran was divided to:

  • Muay Korat (Northeast) emphasized strength. A technique like "Throwing Buffalo Punch" was used. It could supposedly defeat a buffalo in one blow.
  • Muay Lopburi (Center region) emphasized movements. Its strong points were straight and counter punches.
  • Muay Chaiya (South) emphasized posture and defense, as well as elbows and knees.
  • Muay Pra Nakorn (North) emphasized speed, particularly in kicking. Because of its faster speed, it was called as well "Ling Lom" (windy monkey or Loris).

Muay Thai is referred to as "The Science of Eight Limbs", as the hands, shins, elbows, and knees are all used extensively in this art. A master practitioner of Muay Thai thus has the ability to execute strikes using eight "points of contact," as opposed to "two points" (fists) in Western boxing and "four points" (fists, feet) used in the primarily sport-oriented forms of martial arts. Muay Thai just like the other kind of martial arts that everyone can practice and become an expert. In the perspective of learning martial art, you just have to be strong "enough" to practice, because it’s all about the "arts" of using head, fists, elbows, knees and feet to attack the weakest point of the rival’s body.

Muay Thai is the art of using human’s toughest organics such as head, fists, elbows, knees and feet as weapons to hurt enemies. Some people said that Muay Thai is the one of many martial arts, which is the most powerful and deadly!. At preset time, as the was time has gone. Muay Thai has been developped as a kind of self-defense, fitness programmes and professional sports, which using gloves and fight within standard regulations. Muay Thai is well known not only for Thais, but also for everyone in the world. Men and women at any age can learn and practice Muay Thai for their recreation, sport or even in the real competition.

You might be a bit wrong if you think Muay Thai is only suitable for gentle men who are very strong and has very big muscles. It might be true that in the perspective of being a kind of professional sport, you have to be strong and skillful in order to overcome the opponents. But in terms of learning self-defense art, everyone can learn Muay Thai.

Today, Muay Thai is well known and famous as a kind of professional sport. Most people learn Muay Thai mainly for entering competitions and being a champion, so most of Mauy Thai gyms or training camps need to adjust their lessons. Many of deadly techniques, or we called in Thai "Mae Mai Muay Thai" are not allowed in the competition even in the real practice they are also rarely used.

Therefore, start to learn Muay Thai nowdays is only about to prepare yourself strong "enough" to get further training, it is necessary to apply for a trainng gym or training centre, because learn Muay Thai is not only about learning art of fight, you need to learn its "cultures and norms", which is really important. There is also concerning about its "ritual" and "superstition" of Muay Thai. You can not be a good Muay Thai boxer without knowing its culture, and the culture of Muay Thai is only taught only by Thai qualified teacher, the cultures could not be taught and learnt by only read books or watching videos.

Muay Thai, along with savate, karate, and taekwondo heavily influenced the development of kickboxing in Japan, Europe, and North America. However, unlike Muay Thai, many kickboxing competitions do not allow elbow strikes, knee strikes, or kicks below the waist (especially to the testicles). These rule changes have led some martial artists to consider kickboxing a ‘watered down’ version of Muay Thai, if even that.

Starting in the 1990s, Muay Thai has enjoyed a boost in popularity worldwide as it has been very effective in mixed martial arts fights, such as those held by the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and PRIDE Fighting Championships. Mixed martial artists such as Marco Ruas (of Ruas Vale Tudo), Wanderlei Silva, Anderson Silva and Mauricio "Shogun" Rua (of the Chute Boxe Academy) have combined many striking elements of Muay Thai with grappling, submission, and choking elements from Judo, Wrestling, or Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu into a hybrid synthesis that has been highly effective in defeating practitioners of "pure" martial arts, at least in a sports-centered context. Other fighters that have used Muay Thai as their primary style in mixed martial arts include Duane "Bang" Ludwig, Kit Cope, and Spencer Cooper. Shoot-fighters and professional wrestlers who have trained and been influenced by Muay Thai include Satoru Sayama (the original Tiger Mask and founder of shooto), and Yoshiaki Fujiwara.

Filed under: Martial Arts Styles

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