|Thai Boxing, Inc.
(A non-profit organization)
History of Muay Thai
Muay Thai is the Thai Art of self-defense. By practicing this martial art, Thais
have been able to defend their motherland from incursions by enemy states
in the past.
In considering the history and development of Muay Thai, there is evidence
that the art has been steadily handed down by tradition from one generation
to the next. In the olden days it was mandatory for all (able bodied) males to
participate in this martial art. As this practice spread throughout the
Kingdom, even females were persuaded to take an active role to ensure its
Muay Thai is not only confined to males alone. Female participation is also
permitted. They either participate as combatants or ring supporters. Females
also play an important role in helping to promote and to conserve this
traditional form of martial arts in the defense of the nation.
Muay Thai is the most ancient form of Thai Martial arts
symbolizing the uniqueness of the Thais. Art and culture
represent an important source of a nation's heritage (and
history) and they play an important role in the history,
sovereignty, and development of a nation. Considered in
this light, it is therefore incumbent upon the Thai people
not only to preserve but also to perpetuate its cultural and
national heritage in the nation's interest and, more
importantly, to uphold Thailand's international standing or
This highly-skilled form of martial arts comes in various
styles or techniques, developed and refined and handed
down by tradition throughout the ages (in Thai history).
In Muay Thai performances, there is an important
ceremonial ritual which the boxers or combatants must go
through before the commencement of each bout. Such a
ritual indicates the great extent to which Muay Thai boxers
hold their masters in high reverence. This ritual represents
a significant requirement of Muay Thai and is regarded as a
holy symbolism handed down throughout the ages during
which Muay Thai was in existence.
A unique feature of Muay Thai is that all the outward
anatomical or body parts such as the fists, elbows, knees,
shins, legs, the back of the feet, head, and even ankles and
wrists can be effectively utilized to deliver an instant
Muay Thai represents one of the branches of martial arts used
in combination with an assortment of weapons of war in
fighting off enemy attacks and ensuring battle readiness. The
weaponry included the following: sword, shields, lances, twin
spears, bows/arrows, daggers, axes, long-handed curved
swords, cross bars, shields attached to arms, and many other
instruments of battle.
Physical weapons included fists, feet, knees, elbows, and
mouths. All these involve grabbing, throwing, pounding (with
fists), falling on top of the opponent, breaking, thrashing,
head-butting, frontal and side kicking, and even biting, which
are regarded as weapons used in hand-to-hand combat as the
occasion may dictate.
Every step and movement of the body pertains to the art of
self-defense which is typically Thai, and other nations find it
difficult to copy or imitate. This art has been developed and
refined in the past wars with neighboring nations or states and
represents one of the factors which helped Thailand retain its
independent status or sovereignty.
At the beginning of the Ayuthya era, boxers fought with bare fists in a roped-off arena and staged at the
bottom was placed a coconut shell in a container of water used as a sort of timing device. The floating
(of the shell) is called UNLOY and UNCHOM which determines the end of a round. Although Muay Thai
conforms to the rules of international boxing, the basic principles of Muay Thai are still being adhered
or clung to. These have been preserved and maintained to the present time: the use of bare fists,
feet, knees, and elbows, which signify the uniqueness of Muay Thai.
Currently, Muay Thai, or The Art of Thai Boxing, has attracted international attention or interest - as can
be seen in the large numbers of foreigners who have shown such keenness in this form of sports.
Muay Thai experts or masters have been invited by many countries to teach this noble art of
self-defense. At the same time, boxers from many foreign countries are converging on Thailand to try
their hand in Muay Thai. However, for all their achievements or high standards of skills, they take a
back seat when compared with their Thai counterparts.