Muay Thai, with its emphasis on both offense and defense as well as on stamina, is a martial art anyone can learn: men, women, young or old.
With the interest in Muay Thai growing fast, martial-art schools in Europe, America and Asia have added it to their curricula. To learn it well, the player should know some basics of Muay Thai.
Muay Thai is fought in five three-minute rounds with two-minute breaks in between. The fight is preceded by a wai khru dance, in which each contestant pays homage to his teachers. Besides the symbolic meaning, the dance is a good warm-up exercise. You will notice that each boxer wears a headband and armbands. The headband, called mongkhol, is believed to bestow luck to the wearer since it has been blessed by a monk or the boxer's own teacher. Since Buddhism and the teacher play important roles in the life of Thais, the headband is both a lucky charm and a spiritual object. It will be removed after the wai khru dance, and only by the boxer's trainer. The armbands, meanwhile, are believed to offer protection and are only removed when the fight has ended.
A Muay Thai match is decided by a knockout or by points. Three judges decide who carries the round and the one who wins the most rounds, win the fight. The referee plays a very important role, since boxer's safety depends on his decision.
To one side of the ring is the band section, comprising a Javanese clarinet, drums and cymbals. They accompany the fight from the homage dance to the conclusion. The tempo goes up as the action inside the ring intensifies. The musicians are mostly old-timers who have seen just about anything, yet their music always makes the heart race faster.
Equipment that is necessary for Muay Thai matches must be provided by the stadium. There are a stopwatch, a signal gong, a warning bell, and boxing gloves of various sizes according to the rules, equipment to provide water for boxers, and other additional personal accessories for boxers who have not prepared their own such as boxing shorts in red or blue, jock straps, surgical tape, or sacred cords.
Muay Thai boxing can be classified into two major types, the first is muay lak which puts the emphasis on caution and patience, and is very rare nowadays.
The second is muay kiew which is full of tricks and feints performed to catch the opponent off guard.
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