Eye on: Muay Thai

Different country, different national sport. In Italy is soccer, in Australia.. well I don’t want to get involved in the discussion of wheter is cricket or footie or rugby, but still it should be one of those.
However, all of this was only to introduce Thailand National Sport: Muay Thai มวยไทย.


I have to admit that I love this sport and that I have been practicing it for quite a long time now. I found that it is, in my personal opinion, the most effective martial art out there. Trainings are hard and exhausting, and it is quite easy to get punched in the face, but no pain no gain, what do you reckon?!
Muay Thai is believed to originate two thousands years ago, somewhere in Indocina, from some Chinese and Indian martial arts techniques. It is also called “Art of Eight Limbs” because it uses punches, knees, elbows and kicks. Accordingly, one needs to train every of these ( this is called “conditioning”) as well as the whole body. Conditioning consists in hitting harder and harder things, such as dense sandbags all the way up to car tyres and flexible trees, in order to strengthen one’s shinbones, elbows and knees, considerated real weapons in this sport.
Modern Muay Thai evolved from Muay Boran (ancient boxing), a martial art that is believed to be taught to Siamese soldiers in order to be used if they lose their weapons in battle.


Muay Thai fighters in Thailand usually start training at a very young age (9 or 10 years old) and finish their career as early as 20 because of the intensive training that this sport needs. It is usually a good way to earn some money for their families; as a matter of fact, it is quite hard to see middle-class Thai fighters competing in Muay Thai.
Thai fighters usually win over foreigners (socalled farang in  Thai), because of their major experience, but there are some exceptions, such as the Dutch Ramon Dekkers (in the video below).

Muay Thai, being a martial art, involves rituals. The most important one is the Wai Kru, performed just before the match begins. This ritual is altogether practical and spiritual: the fighter imitates the moves of a soldier, a hunter, and a fighter as well, with the intention of scaring the opponent, albeit showing humility and gratitude. Nonetheless, it is also a great exercise to stretch and warm up before the fighting. The Wai Kru is usually accompanied by traditional music. The video below shows the first part of the ritual.

The last video I present today is one I have recorded in my gym, here in Melbourne. The gym is called Sityodtong and is situated in Brunswick. Everyone is welcome to come and watch, or to have a free trial if you ‘d like to.

“If it looks pretty it isn’t Muay Thai, it has to be exact and punishing 100% of the time” Samart Payakroon, Muay Thai fighter
Word of the Day(Thai)> ศอกตี (pron. Sok Tee): elbow slash

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