The complete origin of this devastating Muay Thai martial art, and now respected athletic competition, is unclear.
It is safe to say however, Muay Thai, or "Thai Boxing", was developed in Thailand as a hand-to-hand combat method to protect individual communities. At the time, only short-range weapons like knives, clubs and spears were used during armed combat. Loss of a weapon during a battle was not uncommon. This is where Muay Thai combat techniques proved their worth. This art, as opposed to other hand-to-hand combat arts, utilizes, not only fists and feet, but the head, elbows, knees, and shins, for debilitating strikes during the fight. During combat you would likely see a warrior incorporating crushing headbutts, violent punches, and crippling kicks to the legs, head and groin. It is one of the only unarmed combative styles that has been considered just as brutal as the armed combat techniques it replaced. However, more recently, Thai Boxing has become a regulated sport recognized around the world that uses safety equipment such as mouth guards, gloves and groin protection. And just like boxing, wrestling and MMA, Muay Thai competitions have weight classes for the competitors. When Muay Thai competitions first began there were no weight classes. Competitors simply needed to display the will to fight.
Furthermore, Sport Muay Thai no longer allows the kind of strikes and attacks that other modern combat sports have made illegal, such as headbutts or strikes to the groin.
Modern competitive Thai Boxing, an exciting and fascinating sport on its own, has also been an integral part of mixed martial arts (MMA) events such as the UFC and now is considered a necessary component to a mixed martial artist's arsenal. The Chute Boxe Team from Curitiba, Brazil, is famous for their punishing and aggressive style of Muay Thai. One team member and expert at the art, Anderson "The Spider" Silva, has received a frenzy of media attention after competing and winning easily against some of the best MMA fighters in the world.
The main techniques in mixed martial arts training that are taken from Muay Thai are from the clinch, a position in which fighters are in close contact and attempting to control their opponent's body, especially the head.
From the clinch, some Thai Boxing techniques include, knees to the body and head and elbow strikes. The clinch is also used in mixed martial arts training to control the opponent in the ring and against the cage for, not only striking techniques, but also to set-up takedowns and throws to bring the fight to the ground.
As previously noted, although Muay Thai originated in Southeast Asia, Muay Thai training has been recognized around the world as an important component of the martial arts community.
With the popularity of mixed martial arts growing in the United States, martial arts schools in many major cities across the country host not only mixed martial arts training, but also Muay Thai St Louis, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, and New York included. If you are interested in mixed martial arts training or simply Muay Thai training, the Internet is a great resource for finding information about the schools and instructors in your area.