Brief History of Muay Thai

This old Thai Boxing text, written on traditional Khoi paper, may be the oldest extant example of such a book.

It illustrates both defensive and offensive techniques and postures used in old style Thai Boxing.

It was compiled at least 170 years ago during the reign of King Rama III It can be seen that Thai boxers of this time dressed very differently than todays boxers do.

Ayuttaya period
One of the most famous person from this time was King Nareusan in 1584, a time know as the Ayuttaya period.
During this period, every soldier train in Muay Thai and could use it, as the King himself did. In this time this fighting style name was “ Chupasart ”. Slowly Muay Thai moved away from this root and new fighting techniques were evolving. King Prachao Sua was a very famous person from this time.

Hi was the Tiger King. He loved Muay Thai so much that he often fought incognito in village contest, beating the local champions.
During the reign of the Tiger King the nation was at peace.

The King, to keep the army busy, ordered it to train in Muay Thai. The interest in sport was already high but now it took off yet again.

Thai Kings, of course, have been powerful forces in the development of the sport. One such prime mover was King Prachao Sua, or the Tiger King. He not only influenced fighting styles, but also the equipment that was used. At the beginning of his reign, the hands and forearms of fighters were bound with strips of horse hair. This both protected the fighter and inflicted more damage on the opponent. Horse hair strips were later replaced by hemp ropes or starched strips of cotton. For particular challenge matches, and with the fighters’ agreement, ground glass was mixed with glue and spread on the strips.

Muay Thai became the favourite sport and pastime of the people, the army and the King. Historical sources show that people from all walks of life flocked to training camps. Rich, poor, young and old all wanted some of the action. Every village staged its prize fights and had its champions. Every bout became a betting contest as well as a contest of local pride. The betting tradition has remained with the sport and today large sums are wagered the outcome of fights.

Traditions of Muay Thai – A Royal Sport

Thai boxing has always been popular but most sports, there have been times when it was more in fashion.

In the reign of King Rama V, many Muay Thai matches were Royal command fights. These boxers were rewarded with military titles from the king.

The matches then were not fought in a ring as we know it today-for Muay Thai that is a recent innovation. Any available space of the right size was used, a courtyard, a village clearing.

It was not till the reign of King Rama VI that the standard ring surrounded by ropes came into use, as did time keeping by the clock. Before this period, time keeping was done by floating a pierced coconut shell on a boat of water. When the coconut piece sank, a drum signalled the end of the round.Muay Thai has always been a sport for the people as well as a military fighting skill. In all its golden ages, the people have trained and practiced the sport whether they were King or commoner.

It was a part of the school curriculum right up to the 1920`s when it was withdrawn because it was felt that the injury rate was too high. The people however, continued to study it in gyms and clubs just as they do today. At that time the fights were very cruel. There were no weight categories and rounds.

Fighters were barefoot with their fists wrapped in hemp or cotton bandage. Genital protectors were made of coconut shells. All kind of kicks and punches were allowed, with few limitations. Among other things, training included punching a lemon hitched on string on focus, kicking and punching palm trees in order to strengthen feet and fists, long distance running, training in water, etc…

Roots Of Muay Thai Traditions of Thai Boxing
A special diet, mainly vegetarian was obligation. Some techniques from that period remain unchanged until today and they are known as “King Tiger techniques”. After World War II, Thai Boxing changed a lot. Rule modifications transformed it into an attractive fighting sport, and many practice it as self defence or recreation.

After the World War II the Muay Thai Boxing has developed a lot. Developed the size of the ring, the ring equipment, gloves, weight classes, hand bandage, and other rules, for the more safety fight. But with rules still the Muay Thai is the, the one of the most dangerous martial arts on the world. A lot of challenger tried the defeat the Muay Thai boxers from other martial arts but they wasn’t lucky.