Muay Thai (Thai Boxing)

History of Muay Thai
The origins of this martial art and sport are claimed to stretch back to the wars with the Burmese during the 15th century. Thailand's first famous boxer was one, ‘Nai Khanom Tom' who was said to have single-handedly defeated nine Burmese fighters in a wager for freedom. A Thai king, Phra Chao Seua (The Tiger King) is said to have been an incognito participant in many boxing matches in the early part of his reign.

The sport has changed a lot from the days when boxers would wrap their fists in thick horsehide trimmed with cotton soaked in glue and broken glass for maximum impact with minimum knuckle damage. Many changes initiated to make the sport safer have reduced the incidence of death and injury. But Thai boxing is still a violent contact sport and considered by many as the ultimate in unarmed combat. Demonstrations of Muay Thai are held in many of the tourist areas but they are mostly for show.
Muay Thai Traditions and Ceremonies

Muay Thai Traditions and Ceremonies
The training of a Thai boxer and particularly the relationship between the boxer and teacher is highly ritualized. As the boxers enter the ring, they perform a special pre-fight dance known as the 'ram muay'. During the dance, the fighters wear a headband given by their trainer.

It is a sacred talisman earned after many years of dedication to the art. The dance starts with 'wai khru' -- each boxer kneeling and bowing three times, a show of respect to his teacher. With the ceremonies complete, the fight begins.

Travel Resources
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