Muay Thai boxing is a sport that has been around for thousands of years, and is still practiced today as a professional sport as well as a hobby. It is the national sport of Thailand, and is practiced by millions of Thai men. It is often compared to Thailand in the way that soccer is compared to Ecuador, or hockey to Canada.
If you've ever watched a match on television, you know that it is an extremely brutal sport. If you're interested in martial arts at all, it is important to become familiar with Muay Thai, since it is a very popular form. Here are some of the basics of the sport.
A Muay Thai match focuses as much on ceremony as it does on beating the spit out of the opponent. Before each match, the two fighters do their opening rituals, which usually reflect the training of their masters, or the schools at which they learned their fighting technique.
Since Muay Thai is often a deeply religious sport, some of the fighers will pray by themselves or with their coaches before getting started, in an effort to increase their ability. Next is the Wai Kru ritual, in which the fighters circle each other around the ring, which signifies sealing it off for the fight.
These are the hands, shins, elbows and knees. Most martial arts use fists and feet primarily, so this alone sets Muay Thai apart. You often see the fighters grapple immediately, locking their heads with each other. Then, they trade blows with their knees, striking each other in the stomach and chest. Sometimes they will trade blows for the entire match, leaving their chests bloody and tender, beaten to a pulp.
Besides keeping the entire Muay Thai world captivated with matches and tournaments, Muay boxing has also provided a good deal of entertainment for the western world.
Many matches are broadcasted on channels in the USA, and the movies Ong Bak and The Protector have brought about even more heightened interest in the sport, with the Muay Thai master Tony Jaa.
Like most martial arts, you can find training almost anywhere. But if you want to truly learn the sport and become the next great Muay Thai fighter, you might need to go to Thailand and find an authentic trainer to teach you the fine art!
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