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History of Muay Thai | An introduction to Muay Thai history

Jan 11, 2023Muay Thai

History of Muay Thai

Muay Thai, also known as Thai boxing, is a martial art that originated in Thailand centuries ago and has become one of the most popular forms of combat sports in recent times. Muay Thai was originally used for combat training where it was then passed down through generations. It is also known as the “Art of 8 limbs” because it uses punches, kicks, elbows and knees. The eight points of contact are two hands, two elbows, two knees and two feet to strike opponents effectively. Muay Thai evolved over the years and in the early 20th century, Muay Thai was formalized as a combat sport. It became more popular with the introduction of international rules which allowed fighters to compete on a global scale. Today, Muay Thai is not only a part of Thai culture, it is also practiced in many countries around the world and is recognized as an official sport by many organizations including the International Olympic Committee.


Origin of Muay Thai


Muay Thai has long been an important part of the history and culture of Thailand. The roots of Muay Thai can be traced back to the ancient Thai history in the 13th century when it was used by Thai warriors for self-defense in the battlefield during wars against the neighboring kingdoms including Burma and Cambodia. Fighters would use their hands, feet, elbows and knees to strike opponents. The techniques of Muay Thai were used to fight off enemies with devastating effectiveness. Muay Thai became a mandatory part of Thai military training. The surviving soldiers became Muay Thai teachers to the young Thai men in many villages and towns. Soon, there were many Muay Thai practitioners and contests were held around the kingdom. Because there were no set of rules and regulations, Thai boxers would fight to their death and the last man standing became the winner of the combat.


Muay Thai Legend


Much of the Muay Thai records are lost during the war. However, legend has it that in 1767, When the Burmese triumphed over Ayutthaya (The second kingdom of Thailand), they took some groups of Thai prisoners away with them. To honor his triumph, the Burmese king decided that Thai fighters would fight against certain distinguished Burmese warriors. One infamous Thai fighter, Nai Khanom Tom was chosen. Before he started the duel, he whirled about the courtyard in a jig which is known as the first ever Wai Kru. This rite of passage is an important part of Muay Thai culture and it is unique to each teacher. The ritual involves paying respect to one’s teachers, ancestors, and gods. The dance includes specific moves and gestures such as touching the corner of the boxing ring to show respect for the ancient martial art. To this day, the Wai Kru remains an integral part of training before any Muay Thai match or competition.

After winning several matches, the Burmese king granted Nai Khanom Tom his freedom and was also rewarded with generous compensation. However, Nai Khanom Tom chose to return to Thailand and ever since, he is regarded as a Muay Thai legend and the Father of Muay Thai. On March 16 and 17th, Thai people held a Muay Thai ceremony called “World Wai Kru Ceremony” in his honor.


Modern Muay Thai


King Chulalongkorn or King Rama V was known for many great accomplishments in his effort on modernizing Thailand, one of which was the promotion of Muay Thai. During a time when the sport was still relatively unknown and had little support, King Rama V saw the potential in Muay Thai and decided to promote it to a larger audience. He made it easier for people to join Muay Thai training and practice the sport, as well as encouraging its spread throughout the kingdom. Tournaments were hosted and winners became parts of the King’s guard.

During World War II, Muay Thai gained international attention as the Thai army sent their soldiers to war. Thai soldiers who were stationed abroad showed off their unique fighting skills. The western soldiers were intrigued by the art of Muay Thai and asked the Thai soldiers to teach them. Muay Thai eventually eventually spread around the world and it became a form of sport. Muay Thai was accepted into international sporting competitions in the late 20th century. The rules began to change to match other governed sports. Instead of fighting in the open year, a boxing ring was set for the fights. Gloves were introduced and a protector was added to add protection from the violence kicks. Since then Muay Thai rules have continued to evolve. Muay Thai fights were set to have 5 rounds and time limits were imposed.


Muay Thai Training

Muay Thai has now become popular in many countries, with different variations of the art being taught all over the world. There are now professional leagues in Thailand, Japan, Canada, Australia, Europe and other parts of Asia where fighters compete for championship titles. In recent years, many MMA fighters have added Muay Thai to their repertoire as it helps them to be more effective in their ground fighting skills due to increased strength, power and stamina gained from training in this martial art. Muay Thai is also known for its spiritual aspects and its ability to build discipline, strength, and endurance among practitioners. As with any martial art, Muay Thai has its own set of rules and etiquette that must be followed in order to practice it safely. Muay Thai fighters began their training from an early age. They undergo rigorous training which involves a variety of techniques and drills that require balance, coordination, agility, speed and strength, hence, injuries are common. At the same time, this kind of training is known to help build self-confidence and discipline and provide mental stimulation.

Muay Thai has seen a big leap forward in 2021. It has been officially recognized as an Olympic sport and is set to make its debut at the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris. This recognition is a major milestone for Muay Thai practitioners around the world who have worked hard for years to gain acceptance on the global stage. It is also a testament to the hard work of Muay Thai promoters and organizations who have tirelessly promoted the sport and advocated for its Olympic status. With this new recognition, Muay Thai will become even more popular as athletes from all over the world are now able to compete in this exciting combat sport.



We at BkkMuayThaiStore supply the best Muay Thai and MMA equipment for students and trainers to enjoy and become highly skilled Muay Thai fighters. From boxing gloves, protection pads, training gear to gym equipment, we’ve got what you’re looking for!

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