Friday July 10, 2015– Originating in Thailand, Muay Thai is also known as the art of eight limbs due to eight points of contact, the fists, elbows, shins and knees. Said to be one of, if not the, most brutal fighting form on earth Muay Thai integrates clinch fighting and striking to help the practitioner to gain and keep control of the opponent while using his whole body as a weapon. Fighters of the sport are known to simply trade kick for kick and punch for punch meaning their whole body is to be conditioned like no other sport requires. The web is full of videos in which Thai boxers are kicking and snapping thick wooden sticks, small trees and in some cases, even bone which shows the extent of the conditioning required.
The sport of Muay Thai spread worldwide during the twentieth century after practitioners travelled far and wide to beat Practioners of other martial arts, yet Muay Thai can be traced as far back as the sixteenth century when the Burmese was in battle against the Siamese. After the Burmese captured a soldier named Nai Khanomtom they offered him freedom if he could win a hand to hand combat match. He fought using Muay Thai and after winning he was released and returned to Siam as a hero.
Unlike many of today’s martial arts, Muay Thai is not only useful in its own sport as well as in mixed martial arts but is also useful in a real life hand to hand combat situation. Being the countries national sport, Muay Thai can bring fame and fortune to a champion. This has led to the sport have many people train from being young children. In Thailand however it is illegal for children to fight in the ring unless on a big show and the promoter has gained special permission, due to the rising interest in the sport by youngsters, Thailand has also seen a rise in the number of people suffering dementia and brain trauma due to constant head strikes.
Thai folklore tells a tale of two French brothers who traveled the south East Asia in a bid to compete against and defeat practitioners of all martial arts. When the brothers got to Thailand they was being loud and very arrogant, bragging of their victories over martial artists they had previously fought. The king ordered the captain of his palace guard to fight in honor of Thailand and of the sport itself. When the fight had begun the Frenchman found himself outclassed by the Thai boxer who bounced in and out of reach time and time again and kept at a distance by using kicks to the stomach and legs. Taking hit after hit while not being able to strike his opponent angered the Frenchman so as a cheap and desperate move the Frenchman’s brother decided to cheat and push the Thai boxer within reach of his opponent.
Believing this as a violation to the spirit of Muay Thai the fighters and audience attacked the French brothers and tackled them to the ground until they was too exhausted to get back up. The next day they left Thailand feeling humiliated whilst the sport of Muay Thai carried on growing. Today Muay Thai is seen as a cornerstone of mixed martial arts. It is probably the world’s number one sport for striking and is also the art of choice adopted by the Thai army.
Thanks for reading. AM.M.A