History of Muay Thai
Muay Thai has long been part of Thailand’s history and heritage, with most of its traditions dating back to ancient times. And, just like many other centuries old traditions, there exists different versions of the history of Muay Thai. However, one thing that all these versions have in common is that all agree that Muay Thai was the preferred method of self-defense by Thai warriors on the battlefields during the many wars and conflicts that raged on throughout the century.
Proof of this is how the warfare manual “Chupasart” emphasizes the use of every body part of the body as a form of weapon. The underlying philosophy of the manual implied that fighting involved not only the use of weapons, but also more importantly, the total commitment from a soldier’s mind, body and soul.
The Evolution of Muay Thai
From a form of self-defense, Muay Thai eventually became a sport, with the first known practice being during the reign of King Prachao Sua from 1697 to 1709 A.D.
Because of his great love for Muay Thai, he’d often go incognito into local village contests and more often than not, would win against the local champions. Once the nation was finally at peace, he’d keep the army busy by ordering them to train in Muay Thai. Later on, loosely organized competitions would slowly start sprouting up around Thailand.
Many years later in 1779, the legendary Nai Khanom Dtom, while a prisoner of war in Burma, used Muay Thai in his fight against a group of Murmese. According to legend, he defeated ten of the best boxers Burma had to offer by taking them out one by one through a series of blows. By doing so, he illustrated one of the most recognizable phrases in Muay Thai, and that is, “nothing can stand against you except yourself”.
As for the military, they long have used Muay Thai techniques in combat. They consider Muay Thai as the martial art of the battlefield. This means that when a Thai soldier fights hand to hand, he’ll use Muay Thai. But then again, so would probably every other Thai civilian, male or female. The sport, after all, has long been part of Thai culture and has become the nation’s favorite sporting past time, with Thailand being famous for the number of training camps established all over the country.
How It Became a Sport
Muay Thai officially became a sport in the early 1930s and at the same time, it was officially codified, complete with its own set of rules and regulations. This all made sure that Muay Thai became a sift ring sport, and a true international sport. This also saw the introduction of round contests and eight divisions, both based on international boxing.
With a long history rooted in Thai culture, the journey of how Muay Thai has become a recognized combat sport all over the world is amazing. The sport has simply swept the world like wildfire and have even become a premier ring sport. The sport has also become a popular form of self-defense and a part of plenty of fitness enthusiast’s routine and programs. More importantly, though, the combat sport has become one that’s widely considered with no equal in terms of unarmed combat and spectator appeal.