You might have heard about it, or even seen it on TV—the furious punches, crushing elbow strikes, lethal kicks,
powerful grappling and artful feints. But nothing compares to seeing them executed to loud cheers and heart-racing
tune of an accompanying wind-and-percussion ensemble. Welcome to the exciting world of Muay Thai, a martial art
like no others, and a proud heritage of a nation
The history of Muay Thai is interwoven with the history of the Thai people. A gentle, peace-loving people,
for centuries Thais had to defend themselves and their land from aggressive powers. They developed a form of close,
hand-to-hand combat best suited for the kind of rough-terrain battle they were fighting. Over time it became a
rite of passage for Thai men to take up training in this martial art. King Naresuan the Great (1555-1605),
one of the country’s most celebrated warrior-heroes, is believed to have been an excellent boxer himself,
and it was he who made Muay Thai a required part of military training. Another milestone in the history of
Muay Thai was the triumph of Nai Khanom Tom over 10 Burmese boxers in 1774. Taken captive after the Thai
capital fell in 1767, Nai Khanom Tom was picked to fight before the Burmese king. After defeating ten of
them in a row, he was freed and returned home a hero.
In the old days, Muay Thai was a dangerous sport, with no safety gear of any kind for the fighters,
and only lengths of cords to wrap around the fists in place of gloves. Over the years rules have been
written along the line of international boxing regulations. In recent years the sport has attracted
a wide following outside of the country, and training facilities have been set up in countries
as far as the U.S. and the former Soviet states. In 1995 the World Muay Thai Council was set up by cabinet
resolution in 1995 to promote this national heritage at national and international levels. At a conference held
that same year, 78 member countries voted for the establishment of a training school where all elements
of Muay Thai would be taught. The Muay Thai Institute was founded in 1997 and is now the only training
school accredited by the Ministry of Education.
An International Passion
Muay Thai, along with soccer, is certainly the most passionately followed sport in the country.
Television networks broadcast fights five days a week, and the fight results at major stadiums are
reported in all major newspapers. International boxing is also very popular, and the country has produced dozens
of world champions, but they all started out as Muay Thai fighters. So it is not surprising that a boy as young as
seven or eight would start training to become one—and many do, at stables across the country. Most provincial
capitals have a boxing ring, but the ultimate dream of young boxers is to fight at Lumpini or Ratchadamnoen,
the biggest and most famous stadiums in the country. Lumpini and Ratchadamnoen alternate, so there is a fight
program every night. Tickets on an average evening are 500, 1,000 and 1,500 Baht, but on big nights prices of
ringside seats may go up to 2,000 Baht. Ratchadamnoen’s Sunday Special rates are good bargains, with ringside
tickets going for 500 Baht each. Fights usually begins around 6:30 p.m., with preliminary bouts featuring younger,
less experienced boxers, and build up towards the main event, usually around nine o’clock.
An International Passion
Muay Thai is fought in five three-minute rounds with two-minute breaks in between. The fight is preceded
by awai 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 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 boxers’ 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.
It is said that the tune is a siren song that the true Muay Thai devotee can never resist.
On fight nights at major stadiums, especially at Lumpini and Ratchadamnoen, tourists fill up a sizable
portion of the seats, and the number is growing. Most opt to sit at ringside, to see the action up close.
On nights of major events, usually advertised days in advance, it can be hard to get tickets. You might
want to book through your hotels or travel agents.
Equipment used in Thai Boxing Match
Equipment used in Thai Boxing Match
Equipment that is necessary for Muay Thai matches must be provided by the stadium. There are a stopwatch,
a signal gong, a warning bell, 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. 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. Theo- ther is muay kiew which is full of tricks and feints performed to catch the opponent off guard.
Basic rules of Thai Boxing Matches
Basic rules of Thai boxing matches
A 'Muay Thai
' match formally have no more than 5 rounds, each round take 3 minutes to last, with a two-minute
rest period in between. No additional rounds is allowed. Boxers must regularly wear gloves, each weighing not less than 6 ounces (172 gramm).
The gloves must not be squeezed, kneaded or crushed to change its original shape.
Rules on contestants' boxing costumes.
- Contestants must wear only trunks (red or blue according to their corners) appropriately fit their bodies.
- Contestants must wear standard supporters or sturdy athletic cups to protect their groin, Gum shield may be used.
- Wear no shirts nor shoes, but ankle cap is permitted.
- A sacred cord known as Mongkol can be worn around the head only during the pre-fight ritual
of paying homage to ancestral teachers of Muay Thai, to be removed before the start of the fight.
- Metal or other equipments that will be harmful to the opponent is prohibited.
Muay Thai Stadium
Location : Rama IV Rd., Bangkok
Lumpinee box stadium was established on the eighth of December, 1956. It ‘s one of Thailand ‘s seven
standard boxing stadiums. It’s famous not only creating and producing leading Thai boxers but also
promoting the arts of Thai boxing both domestically and internationally. Lumpinee Boxing stadium also
produces many western boxers to become world Championship holders. For domestic activities,
it encourages to produce career to the boxers, the promoters including presents entertainment to all
who are interesting in this particular sports.
Mission or Goal
- Lumpinee boxing stadium is the Royal Thai Army affairs in order to give services to the Royal
Thai army officials and support various departments of the Royal Thai Army.
- Protect and promote the arts of Thai boxing to be the individual arts of the Thai people as U-DO
of Japan and TEKWANDO of the Republic of South Korea.
- Upgrade careen for Thai and western boxers to be the permanent and firm one.
- Create the champion of the western boxers in order to promote the renown of the Thai nation.
- Co-operate with various Institutions which aim to the same goal.
Location : Rajadamnoen Nok Rd., Bangkok
Former Prime Minister Field Marshal P. Pibulsongkram gave orders a national boxing stadium
to be built on Rajadamnern Avenue in 1941. The order came two years after the government issued an expropriation
Act to land owners to sirremder their properties along Fajadamnern Avenue so that government could
build its office buildings in accordance with the city plan.
The office of the Crown Property was assigned to carry out the project. The initial idea was to build the stadium
at Misakawan Garden area, on the corner between Pitsanoloke Road and Rajadamnern Nok Avenue. Later,
the formerly-selected site was switched to the present one because the land was too small for the size of the stadium.
The stadium, now still standing on the same site, is situated on Rajadamnern Nok avenue, at the corner of Panieng Road,
opposite Chullachomklao Military Academy.
The Rajadamnern Co Ltd has since organised boxing matches at Rajadamnern boxing stadium,expanded its inrra structure
and gradually deveroped it so that it has now become one of the world-renowned boxing stadium and an institution of Muay Thai in Thailand.
Rangsit International Boxing Stadium
Location : Amphoe Thayaburee, Pathumthani
Rangsit International Boxing Stadium
To encourage the trainees to have good health and learn MUAYTHAI as self-defense art. To promote MUAYTHAI
as an international sport both in amateur and professional levels.
To preserve the excellent art of defendind oneself which is called "MUAYTHAI" to be the property of world art forever.
To promote MUAYTHAI to be international sport by distribution and promotion to public around the world
and teach MUAYTHAI to them and also use MUAYTHAI to be a component of career.
After World MUAYTHAI Council is established by the cabinet, the members from more than 78 countries
in meeting on Sep 25, 1995 ask Thailand to build MUAYTHAI school under registered permission from ministry
of education and prepared curriculum of MUAYTHAI the same as the standard curriculum of any technology
to promote MUAYTHAI to be in international standard and can be recognizedaround The world.
The MUAYTHAI INSTITUTE recived the register permission from the ministry of education. The curriculum
of MuayThai in class have newly created in the consistency for the system of international education with helping
of teacher from the official institution, Physical education College, the department of physical education,
and the department of national sport, also the office of committee of national tradition under the patronage
of World MUAYTHAI Council. The curriculum of MUAYTHAI consist of basic, medium,
high and professional level which take 120 days for study. Then, MUAYTHAI INSTITUTE consists
of 2 pratice states which can be use in competition, exercise room, theoretical room and lab room.
In additio, there are exhibition hall which show the competition of ancient MUAYTHAI
and show the pictures of old MUAYTHAI Champions.
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See in Muay Thai Program.
Learning Muay Thai
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. Some hire former Muay Thai champions as instructors,
others have trainers who studied with Thai teachers. These schools may teach all the right moves and maneuvers,
but Muay Thai isn’t just about punches and kicks.
To learn Muay Thai is to learn about its roots and its purpose, and there’s nowhere better to do that than
in its homeland. In the past, foreigners wanting “the real thing” would go to one of the stables, where training
focuses on professional competition. For those not so inclined, there wasn’t much choice, and language was sometimes
a problem. Not anymore, since Thailand now has a school for total Muay Thai education for both professionals and
Muay Thai Institute
Muay Thai Institute
The Muay Thai Institute was established with the goal of preserving and promoting the art of Muay Thai and
making it accessible to all. The Institute, which is located in Rangsit, just north of Bangkok International
Airport, offers accredited training courses for boxers, instructors and referees. Opened in 1997, the Institute
is run by a professional team of Muay Thai instructors, promoters and officials. Its staff instructors are all
former champions, hold at least a bachelor’s degree in physical education, and speak English. Graduates will
received a certificate recognized by the Thai Ministry of Education and the World Muay Thai Council. Since
its opening, the school has trained hundreds of amateurs and professionals. Students have come from Australia,
France, Germany, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Spain, Sweden, the U.K., and other parts of the world. Thai students,
many of them girls and young women, also come for recreational and professional courses.
The Fundamental Mu ay Thai Program consists of Basic, Intermediate, Advanced and Professional levels and
takes 120 day to complete. The program was designed to provide students with the historical and cultural background
to Muay Thai as well as the physical skills and fitness training. The course includes a study tour to Bangkok’s major
stadiums, so students can experience the real thing live.
Muay Thai for Instructors is ideal for those who want to become Muay Thai instructors or to run training schools.
The program comprises three 15-day courses.
Muay Thai for Referees and Judges is divided into three levels of proficiency: local, national and international,
each taking 15 days.
The Muay Thai Institute occupies a complex next door to Rangsit Stadium. Classes take place in the classroom and
in the well-equipped gym. Students have access to the in-house fitness facilities and Muay Thai library. Dormitory-style
accommodation, with five bunkbeds to a room, TV, and fridge, and meals are available. The Institute can arrange visa
and paperwork for applicants to any of the courses.