History of Muay Thai

Muay Thai Boran gear
Muay Thai head band and arm bands
Authentic Muay Thai equipment from Thailand

Muay from Muay Thai derives from the Sanskrit Mavya which means “to bind together”. It also comes from different writing of Burmese, Cambodia and from the Lanna Kingdom or Chiangmai.

Muay Thai is a sport from the muay martial arts of Thailand that uses stand-up striking with clinching techniques. It include combat on foot that also known as “art of eight limbs” or “science of Eight Limbs” because it makes use of punches, kicks, elbows and knee strikes it also combined use of fists, elbows, knees, shins and feet. Muay Thai became famous all around the world in the 20th century.

It was originally called by more historical names such as; pahuyut which come from Sanskrit yuddha which means unarmed combat. Muay Thai is a practical fighting technique that is use in an actual warfare; it became a sport in which the opponents fought in front of spectators who went to watch for entertainment. The Muay contests became a part of local festivals and celebrations and it held at temples. The first fist fighters were started wearing lengths of hemp rope around their hands and forearms and it this match is called “muay khat chueak”.

A practitioner of Muay Thai is known as a nak muay while western are sometimes called Nak Muay Farang which means “foreign boxer”.

In the 19th century Muay progressed greatly during the ascension of King Chulalongkorn (Rama V) as his personal interest in the sport. Thailand has its peace and Muay operated as a physical exercise, self-defense, recreation and personal advancement.

All the masters of the arts are began teaching Muay in training camps where their students are provided with their needs and shelter, and they treated as one family and it was traditionally for students to adopt the camp’s name as their surname where the royal family sent scouts to organize matches between the different camps.

In modern years, King Rama VII made rules for muay and put it into place. Thailand’s first boxing ring was built in Suan Kularp. By then Referees were introduced and rounds were timed by kick. Fighters began to wear modern gloves as well as hard groin protectors during their training or when they are fighting at the kickboxing stadium of Lumpinee.

After so many years have passed, Muay Thai has changed. Unlike before Muay fighters use traditional equipments such as; rope binding or kaad chuek which hardens the hands and dangerous striking tool which has less prevention for a fighter’s hand, those equipments were not being used when the death of a fighter occurred in the ring. Since then they decided to wear equipments that has high protection to lower the risk of injuries for a fighter.

In the year 1990’s the International Federation of Muaythai Amateur was inaugurated and it became the governing body of amateur muay thai where it has 128 members around the world and it is recognized by Olympic Council of Asia. World Muaythai Council is the oldest and largest professional organizations were set up by the Royal Thai government and by the Sports Authority of Thailand.