Modern Muay Thai is derived from the many forms of Muay Boran, which translates to 'Ancient Boxing'
Once used by warriors in Thailand centuries ago to defend their borders from marauders, this historically mystical, brutal and bloody martial art, is now strong and kicking as a mainstream, global sport. Known as Muay Thai or as is translates, 'Thai Boxing.' Traditionally a brutal sport that included head butts as well as groin kicks, fighters were originally bare fisted before the use of hemp wraps 'Kaad Chuek' came into practice. The tightly bound wraps served to protect a fighter's knuckles, enabling harder punches with less hand injuries.
Unlike traditional Boxing (punching), or Kick Boxing (punching and kicking), Muay Thai utilises 'The Art of Eight Limbs' or 'The Science of Eight Limbs.'
Punches, elbows, knees and legs are used to strike the opponent. Boxing gloves were introduced to the sport along with stricter rules and regulation following the death of Jia Kaegkhmen in the ring of the Lak Muang Arena in 1926. This made the sport a lot safer, however Muay Thai is a full contact sport which means fighters do risk injury, or in extremely rare incidences; death. For many people, this provides the adrenalin rush that draws them to what many people believe is one of the best martial arts for striking and stand up fighting.
Men, women and children of all ages are learning Muay Thai Techniques for fun, fitness and fighting.
As long as they are educated regarding the risks, have respect for their fellow trainees, Kru's and the sport itself, they will have a rewarding experience. Whether you are sparring at your local gym or dojo, fighting as an amateur or competing in the professional ranks, do it at a level appropriate for your ability. Have respect for your Kru, people you train with, the sport and use the correct Muay Thai training equipment. Ensure that people overseeing your activities are fully trained and accredited, can provide immediate first aid and have safety procedures should further medical treatment be required.
While Thailand is the ultimate destination to learn Muay Thai Techniques, dojos, gyms and fitness centres across the world are adding Muay Thai or Thai Boxing to their training timetables.
Many western training gyms are also associated with, or recommend specific training gyms in Thailand and travel companies can assist budding enthusiasts who are not associated with a training gym or dojo. It is a good idea to do your own research on forums that discuss the various training gyms in Thailand and get some information from people who have been there before you plan a trip. Muay Thai training gear and dvds can be bought online or at most training dojos and gyms. What are you waiting for? You got this far, now it's time to get out there in the real world and start learning.