Thursday, January 18, 2007

Muay Thai


Muay Thai Highlights...muay thai


Muaythai ("Thai Boxing") is the Thai name for a form of hard martial art practiced in several Southeast Asian countries including Thailand, Cambodia (where it is known as Pradal Serey), Malaysia (where it is known as Tomoi) and as a similar style in Myanmar (called Lethwei)and in Laos (Muay Lao) . The different styles of fighting in mainland South East Asia are analogous to the different types of Kung Fu in China or Silat in the South East Asian islands or Malay World. It is the national sport of Thailand, and is also known as Thai Boxing or Art of the Eight Limbs.

Muay Thai has a long history in Thailand. Today, the Thai military uses a modified form of Muay Thai called Lerdrit. Traditional Muay Thai, as it is practiced today, varies slightly from the original art and uses kicks and punches in a ring with gloves similar to those used in Western boxing. Muay Thai is referred to as "The Science of Eight Limbs", as the hands, shins, elbows, and knees are all used extensively in this art. A master practitioner of Muay Thai thus has the ability to execute strikes using eight "points of contact," as opposed to "two points" (fists) in Western boxing and "four points" (fists, feet) used in the primarily sport-oriented forms of martial arts. Muay Thai is an especially versatile, brutal, straightforward martial art.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

History


Muay Thai is considered by some to be a 2000-year old derivation of a general indigenous martial art style native to Southeast Asia. Muay Thai was the first of these styles to be popularized outside of Southeast Asia.

Muay Thai is thought to have been originally based on techniques brought from India and China. Indian boxing arts, such as adithada are remarkably similar to South-East Asian forms of kickboxing and almost every move found in Muay Thai has a similar equivalent in Chinese styles like Shaolin kung fu. Developing through time and natural evolution of the art, this gave birth to Muay Boran, ancient style Muay Thai. Muay Boran, coupled with the weapon-based style of Krabi Krabong , became part of the Siamese military training. As the basis of battlefield warfare evolved technologically, hand-to-hand combat was no longer required within the military. Muay Boran was divided to Muay Thasao (North), Muay Korat (Esarn or Northeast),
Muay Lopburee (Center region) and Muay Chaiya (South).

There is a phrase about Muay Boran that states, "Punch Korat, Wit Lopburee, Posture Chaiya, Faster Thasao.

Muay Korat emphasizes strength. There is one technique called "Throwing Buffalo Punch", called this because it can supposedly defeat a buffalo in one blow. Muay Lopburee emphasizes clever movements. Its strong points are the straight and turned punches. Muay Chaiya emphasizes posture and defense, as well as elbows and knees. Muay Thasao emphasizes in speed, particularly in kicking. Because of their faster speed, this Muay Boran was called "Ling Lom" (windy monkey or Loris).

Muay Boran became a popular pastime and way of life for peasants and commoners as well which is how it developed into the form of Muay Thai which we know today.

Pre-fight rituals


Even before entering the ring many fighters perform rituals. Some may kneel before the ring, others might pray with their coach or by themselves or perform a series of repetitive movements, such as touching the ring ropes 3 times. Thai boxers always climb over the top rope when entering the ring, because in Thai culture the head is considered to be more important than the feet, which are thought to be dirty. It is therefore important to always have the head above the feet while entering the ring. Once in the ring, a fighter might go to the center and bow to each side.

Now begins the Wai Kru ritual or (Wai khru ram muay). The Wai Kru usually starts with the fighter walking around the ring, counter-clockwise. This could be described as "sealing the ring", showing that the match is between only these two combatants. The ritual is both practical and spiritual. In a practical sense, it prepares the body for combat. During the Wai Kru there are many different movements and steps that a fighter might perform before the match, along with stretches. Some motions imitate, for example, a swallow, a hunter, a soldier or an executioner. Some fighters use this ritual to attempt to scare their opponents, commonly by stomping around them. But in a deeper sense, the fighter is expressing religious devotion, humility and gratitude. Transcending both physical and temporal limitations, he opens himself to the divine presence and allows it to infuse his heart and soul. In ancient times, the ritual was intended to show devotion to the King and the fighter's mentor. Today, that devotion is given to the organizer of the match and the fighter's trainer.[1] The ritual also gives the fighter some time alone before the fight to collect his thoughts and concentrate on the task ahead.

After this dance, the fighter walks over to his coach who removes the Mongkon and the Pong Malai. The match begins after a review of the rules by the judge and a glove shake.