I have been training for close to 15 years in the ancient art of Muay thai or Siamese Style Boxing as it was called back in the day. Siamese Style Boxing has its origins in the 16th century. During a war between the Burmese Konbaung Dynasty and Siam, a renowned Siam warrior by the name of Non Khanomtom was captured by the Burmese. The Burmese were well aware of the Khanomtom’s hand to hand fighting skills and decided to give him the opportunity to fight for his freedom. Khanomtom defeated all his opponents in a series of hand to hand combat matches and was eventually granted his freedom as promised. On his return to Siam, he was honoured as a hero as his style of fighting became known as Siamese Style Boxing, which later grew into the Sport of Muay Thai.
Today Muay Thai is the national sport of Thailand. Like other traditional martial arts, there are many different styles of Muay Thai fighting. Most commonly, it know as “the art of eight limbs”, because fighters are allowed to strike with eight different body parts, including the forearms, fists, elbows, knees, legs, shins, and feet.
In Muay Thai fighters use the clinch instead while standing as a form of grappling and controlling their opponent as opposed to other forms of grappling on the floor. The clinch is an extremely effective technique, where fighters can land devastating blows with their elbows (including spinning elbows or ”Sok klap”) and knees to the head, stomach and ribs.
Another effective technique in Thai boxing is the foot thrust or foot jab, called the “theep”. Unlike other offensive techniques, the “theep” is a defensive kick that is used to maintain distance, block attacks and knock opponents off balance.
Like most other forms of fighting, Muay thai too has a focus on body conditioning and physical fitness. However, where Muay Thai is unique, is in the level of conditioning that is required of fighters. Apart from the regular body weight training regimens, which include medicine balls, weight training, running etc, Thai fighters regularly strike a dense heavy bag with their shins to harden the bone through a process called cortical remodelling.
Although, Muay Thai is extremely popular in Thailand as well as other South East Asian countries, its popularity has grown and expanded to many western countries as well. The WTBA or the World Thai Boxing Association is the largest Muay Thai organisation in the United States with many internationally renowned fighters, trainers and coaches.
In Thailand, Muay Thai is taught to nearly every child, even girls are taught basic moves to defend themselves from an early age. The art of thai boxing is recognised as a supreme art of self discipline, mental toughness and personal advancement. From my own journey and experience with it, I can say with confidence that I have certainly found strength, toughness, discipline but above all else it has made me humble and peaceful. .