Introduction to Thai Boxing - Muay Thai
Muay Thai is considered the national sport of Thailand. It’s usually described as the art of 8 limbs because it utilizes the fists, elbows, knees, and shins. Also known as Thai Boxing, Muay Thai is both a martial art and a combat sport. It has been around for hundreds of years and had its origins on the battlefield. It was used in actual combat by soldiers that lost their weapons and therefore had to fight their enemies hand-to-hand.
One thing that makes Thai boxing distinct is that it is loosely interwoven into the culture of the Thai people. The fact that it’s been around for several hundred years is probably one of the biggest reasons. And we can’t discount the fact that Thai Boxing has also played a part in some of the notable moments in Thailand’s history. So it shouldn’t seem like such a big surprise that Muay Thai has found its place in the very heart and culture of the Thais.
Another reason for Thai Boxing’s recent prominence is due to the fact that it’s both a practical and straightforward martial art. There aren’t that many fancy moves that would turn off a beginner or practitioner. The practicality of Thai boxing is that it allows you to use different parts of your body to defend and protect yourself. They also say that it is relatively easy to learn but difficult to master. In that sense, one can easily start learning the art and become somewhat effective at using it as a means of self-defense.
Today, Muay Thai is also known for being one of the premier combat sports in the world. Thai boxing is certainly more popular than ever and the various tournaments and competitions help prove that point. And it’s even incorporated into other company sports, such as kickboxing. The art has even been the primary striking base for a lot of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighters and practitioners.
What is Muay Thai or Thai Boxing?
Muay Thai is unique in that it’s a traditional martial art and a modern combat sport at once. In addition to that, it’s also effective for self-defense. However, some see it as a brutal sport that can inflict a ton of damage on fighters and practitioners. That’s mainly the view of those who haven’t even tried a single session of training in Thai Boxing. But those who have tried it and regularly train, know that Thai Boxing is as much an art as an action-packed sport.
Since Muay Thai makes use of the 8 limbs, it’s certainly one of the martial arts that offers the most weapons. Each of those weapons, the fists, elbows, knees, and shins, each have its own techniques, which makes for a very comprehensive and complete striking system. Then there’s the clinch, which along with elbows, makes Thai Boxing quite unique among the other striking arts.
Thai Boxing is often compared to kickboxing, and that’s understandable given their similarities. After all, they both make use of punches, kicks, and knee strikes, although kickboxing lacks elbows as well as the clinch. However, it must be noted that there are significant differences given how fighters use the strikes and how the fights are scored. It could be argued that Thai Boxing is a more complex system and the more practical one.
Muay Thai History & Origin
As we mentioned earlier, Muay Thai had its origins several centuries ago. It evolved as a means for soldiers to continue fighting even though they had lost their weapons and also as a self-defense system. As a consequence, the limbs served as substitutes for the weapons that the soldiers lost while in the heat of battle. In Muay Thai, the fists served as the substitute for swords and daggers, the elbows are considered the substitutes for heavy hammers, the knees served as staff and spear, and the forearms and shins serve as the armor against various blows. Muay Thai origin is thus closely tied to the battlefield and the need for Thai warriors to defend their people and their homeland.
The forerunner of Muay Thai, known as Muay Boran, is more of a collective term for several different styles that originated in different areas in Thailand. Those various styles include Muay Chaiya, Muay Korat, Muay Lopburi, and Muay Thasao. These styles were named based on the area or region where they originated. The presence of the different Muay Thai fighting styles gave the art a level of diversity that few other martial arts have. Over time, the need to use art for defending their homeland and against each other waned. This paved for Thai Boxing to become more of a competitive sport.
The 20th century saw the development of Thai Boxing become fast-tracked. A major influence that pushed Muay Thai towards modernization is the introduction of Western Boxing into Thailand. Other elements of modern combat sports were included, such as the use of a boxing ring and gloves, set rounds, and a scoring system. They helped shape the modern version of Thai Boxing that we all know today and is becoming more popular all over the world. The Muay Thai fighting style that is practiced today has definitely evolved over the years. And anyone who is interested in the art should study Muay Thai origin and history to have a better understanding of it moving forward.
The Golden Age of Muay Thai
Throughout the history of Muay Thai, there have been many notable eras. One of the greatest and well fondly remembered by many even today because it was quite recent, is known as the Golden Age of Muay Thai. Many followers of the art of 8 limbs and more importantly those who are in the industry themselves consider the Golden Age of Muay Thai to have lasted from 1980 to 1995.
Why is that specific time period considered to be such a golden era for art? It’s likely because there were just too many great fighters who were active during that span of time. They were far more skilled and talented, and also had the charisma to command huge fanbases in Thailand. The fights that were held during that period were also exciting and fought at a level that is likely unsurpassed in history. Simply put, the level of Muay Thai fighting has never been better than during the Golden Age of the sport. Muay Thai was definitely at its peak as far as the abilities of the fighters as well as fight quality.
Another thing is that it was also probably the best era of the legendary Thai Boxing stadiums in Bangkok, namely Lumpinee and Rajadamnern. Those two arenas are like the hallowed ground for Muay Thai practitioners and followers, and that holds true even to this day. Who were some of the great Thai Boxing champions of the Golden Age? Names such as Samart, Dieselnoi, Sakmongkol, and others were among the ones that dominated the sport of Thai Boxing at the time and helped define that legendary area. Muay Thai fighting was considered to be at its finest during this time. Many believe that it will never again be equaled.
Traditional Muay Thai & Modern Muay Thai
Take a look at traditional Muay Thai and modern Muay Thai. It’s important to see the major differences, whatever they might be. Why is this important, you might ask? Is it really worth knowing the difference between Muay Thai fighting then and now? Knowing the difference or differences could help you decide the kind of style that you might want to pursue. Do you want to go for the traditional Muay Thai style or are you keener on learning the modern Muay Thai style?
If you favor the traditional Thai Boxing style, you’ll have a more upright stance with a high guard. Most of your weight will be on the back leg with your lad leg light to make it easy to check incoming kicks. You’ll also use the long guard a lot as one of your main defenses. With modern Thai Boxing, you can opt for a stance that’s a little lower. You also have the option of distributing your weight more evenly between your two feet. And you can also use your footwork, especially when defending.
Another reason why you might want to take a closer look at the two is that it could affect your training methods. The two styles are very much different when it comes to their training methods. In the traditional Muay Thai style, the emphasis is on volume. They train hard for about 4 to 5 hours a day, with training sessions in the morning and another in the later afternoons or early evenings. Needless to say, traditional Muay Thai training is very hard and not for everyone.
With modern Muay Thai, the emphasis is on training smarter, not harder. But the new Muay Thai training routine is still designed to get excellent results. As a result, their Muay Thai fighting style and performance improves significantly. The fighters, trainers, and practitioners incorporate the latest strength and conditioning techniques to ensure they’re ready for competition. They also utilize the latest fitness and nutrition practices to prepare themselves for their Thai Boxing match and emerge on top.
Early Muay Thai Style Training Methods
It’s interesting to also look back at some of the early Muay Thai style training methods. They offer a glimpse of how the fighters of the old days prepare themselves for their fights. A fighter today might not use those same old training methods, but knowing about them will surely give a better appreciation of the Nak Muays of long ago.
The one thing that defined Muay Thai practitioners in the past is their resourcefulness. Obviously, they didn’t have access to all of the training gear and equipment that are available today. Yet they were still able to train and excel as fighters despite the limitations that they faced. So what did those early practitioners of Thai Boxing use if they didn’t have boxing gloves, heavy bags, kick pads, and other training essentials?
Muay Thai fighters of old had to rely on what nature had to offer in order to get better and prepare themselves for Muay Thai fighting. They used the things that were available to them at the time such as banana and coconut trees. The banana trees were used for training kicks as the fighters kicked them repeatedly with their shins to help harden them. On the other hand, the coconut trees are climbed by the fighters to help strengthen their legs.
As for punching, the fighters would simply hang a piece of coconut from a vine and practices their punches there. Not only that, but they also used it to sharpen their elbow and knee strikes. There are many more examples of old-time fighters using nature and what’s around them to improve their skills. Even though they’re far from what’s used today, they still aided in producing top Thai Boxing participants back then. It only shows how effective those Muay Thai training methods are.
Muay Thai Techniques
So far, we’ve talked about a lot of things in Muay Thai. We’ve managed to cover several of its aspects, from its origin and history to some of its notable periods. And now we are going to discuss some of the basic Muay Thai techniques for a bit. This is an essential part of knowing the art of 8 limbs, especially for those who want to start training it. Whether you want to start training to eventually compete or you simply want to train for fitness, knowing the basic techniques is crucial.
The following basic Muay Thai techniques are important for all levels, from beginners to accomplished fighters:
Everything starts with the proper fighting stance. Once you get your stance, all the Muay Thai techniques will be easier to execute. You could easily go on the offensive and at the same time, defending your opponent’s attacks wouldn’t be that hard.
The Muay Thai stance has your hips facing forward and one of your legs slightly ahead. You’ll be more upright than you would be in a Western Boxing stance. Your hands will reach up to your eyebrows while your elbows are slightly away from your body than they would be in Western Boxing.
Several punches are used in Muay Thai. Some of the most basic are the same ones used in Western Boxing, such as the jab, straight, left hook, right hook, left uppercut, right uppercut, and overhand right or left, among others.
Elbows are among the signature weapons of Muay Thai. They are devastating, especially at close range. There are various elbow strikes and some of them are horizontal. Slashing, uppercut, and spinning back elbows. These strikes can also be thrown in the clinch.
Knees are also among the signature Muay Thai techniques that Nak Muays use either when training or competing. Like elbows, knees are also close-range weapons that can be thrown at the body, especially when clinching. It can also be thrown to the head, although that can be a little more difficult to execute.
Kicks are probably the most recognizable weapons in Thai Boxing. The two most prominent kicks used in the art are the Teeps or Push Kick and the Roundhouse Kick, which can be thrown at the legs, body, or head.
Clinching is a practical Muay Thai technique that can be likened to wrestling while on the feet. The two fighters have their arms locked while grabbing the neck or arms and they struggle to attain control of one another. Elbows and knees can be thrown while engaged in the clinch.
What are the Benefits of Muay Thai?
After talking about the different techniques in Muay Thai, we now move on to something different. Let’s now talk about the different benefits of training Muay Thai. There are actually several, but let’s highlight some of the most important ones.
Here are Some Benefits of Muay Thai
Improves Physical Fitness
Obviously, Muay Thai is a very physical martial art and combat sport. Muay Thai’s demands on the body can be so daunting for some that they give up fairly soon or don’t even try the art at all.
But for those who do try it and persevere to train, whether it’s for fitness or competition, they’re bound to improve their physical fitness. The training regimen that Muay Thai practitioners have to go through is truly grueling and that’s true even for non-fighters that just want to get healthier. And they will definitely improve their stamina, become stronger, and even leaner as a result of training in Muay Thai.
Muay Thai is considered one of the premier combat sports in the world. Why? Because it’s effective and practical, which makes it perfect for self-defense. The art offers you plenty of weapons that you could use in a self-defense scenario. Imagine having not just your fists, but also your elbows, knees, and shins at your disposal. Muay Thai is definitely going to arm you or anyone else who wants some means of protecting themselves in any kind of dangerous situation.
Builds Mental Toughness
Thai Boxing also helps build mental toughness. The hard training is enough to push others away as they could simply choose to give them rather than endure all the difficulties. But others will relish all the hardships and will learn how to push themselves beyond their limits. And it all starts in their minds and if they are mentally tough, they’ll survive and eventually thrive as Thai Boxing practitioners.
Makes You Happy
Training in Thai Boxing can certainly make you feel happy. If you’re stressed out or feeling a bit anxious, you can simply choose to go to the gym to train. Even though the training is hard, you’ll get that fulfilling feeling as you notice that your skills are getting better and you’re becoming an improved version of yourself. And the happy hormones that make you feel awesome after training is more than enough reason to start with Muay Thai.
Muay Thai Boxing Rules & Regulations
So far, we’ve covered a lot about Muay Thai. Its origin and history, its many benefits, and the various techniques used by the practitioners. We have also talked about the various Muay Thai moves and techniques that are available to every practitioner. But what about the rules and regulations that govern it? After all, aside from being a traditional martial, Muay Thai is also a combat sport that is widely practiced not just in Thailand but in the rest of the world.
In Muay Thai training, there are several methods that fighters need to follow in order to help them prepare for fights. And in actual competition, there are rules and regulations that should be followed by every participant. Every fighter needs to know about them and not just the Muay Thai moves that are part of their game plan.
So let’s take a close look at the Muay Thai rules and regulations that participants need to follow in every fight or competition. These are the full rules Muay Thai practitioners and fighters need to know by heart
The Basic Thai Boxing Rules
- A Muay Thai fight consists of 5 x 3-minute rounds and a rest period of 2 minutes in between rounds.
- The fighter that is thought to have won the round is given 10 points. However, the fight is judged according to the entire fight rather than just by the result of each round.
- Gloves should weigh no less than 6 ounces.
- To score points, fighters need to land clean strikes and sweeps and show dominance in the clinch.
- A clean strike needs to be countered right away. If not, the point will be awarded to the fighter that made the initial strike and wasn’t countered.
- If the fighters score sweeps at the same time, the one that lands on top will be given the benefit of the doubt by the judges.
- Dropping and sweeping opponents score points for a fighter.
- A Muay Thai fight can be won in several ways - when a fighter knocks out his opponent; when the referee stops the fight because one of the fighters is deemed unfit to continue; or when the fight goes the distance and a winner is declared through points. A draw is declared when the points total of both fighters is the same.
Importance of the Muay Thai Basics
Muay Thai or Thai Boxing is a highly effective combat sport. It’s also quite practical as a means of self-defense since it’s very straightforward and allows you to use your 8 limbs as your weapons. You can use Muay Thai when someone attacks you and of course, it’s also a great combat sport that spectators appreciate throughout the world.
But before you could use Thai Boxing in competition or in self-defense situations, you need to know the basics of the sport first. The Muay Thai basic techniques are essential if you want to be able to use the art of 8 limbs properly and effectively in any given situation. Those who are Muay Thai beginners certainly need to start with the basics.
As you start on your Muay Thai journey, you need to be patient. You can’t rush things because it will only lead to bad results. When you start to learn the basics of the art, you need to look at it as setting a foundation for the future. Trying to hurry things up isn’t advisable. You’re not going to get the results that you want. So better just start with the basics because it’s the best approach. If you have a strong and stable foundation, then you’ll be much better off as far as your skills and techniques are concerned.
Muay Thai for beginners lets you develop not just your skills and techniques, but also your movement and sense of distance. Your footwork will gradually get better as you get more into the flow of the different strikes and defensive moves and counters. You’ll find that growing and developing in the art is going to come easier to you because you started off with the basics. Nothing will feel forced and you’ll enjoy the rhythm of your strikes. They’ll come to you naturally and fluidly.
How to Get Started in Muay Thai?
You want to get into Muay Thai. It caught your attention since it has a reputation for being the most effective striking art in the world. After all, it’s known as the art of 8 limbs since it teaches you to use your fists, elbows, knees, and shins for attacking and defending. It seems one of the best self-defense techniques out there and also prepares you for competition if ever you’re interested to fight.
However, as interesting as Muay Thai is to you, it also seems a little daunting. The brutal nature of the art is also holding you back a little from just jumping into it. You’re hesitant because of the sheer physicality of Thai Boxing, based on what you’ve seen of it. Are you capable of handling such a physical sport? Will you be able to hold your own in training sessions? Those are questions that are keeping you from getting started.
So how to get started in Muay Thai? Do you want to get into it slowly and do a bit of research first before you even attend Muay Thai classes? Or are you willing to throw yourself right in and just learn everything about Thai Boxing along the way? The former seems to be the proper way to get into the sport, so you wouldn’t be too shocked or surprised when you start training.
Research about Muay Thai itself. Learn its history and origin, how and why it came into being. That way, you’ll have a deeper appreciation for Thai Boxing and why it’s so tied to Thai culture. Then you ought to know about the various techniques used and how they flow into one another and just as individual strikes. It would also help if you get to learn about the different types of Muay Thai styles as there are several of them.
An important part of getting into Muay Thai is choosing the right gym for you. This will largely depend on your personal goals. Before you even start taking Muay Thai classes, it has to be clear whether you’re goal is to improve your fitness or learn proper self-defense. If your eventual goal is to become a fighter, you’ll need to find a Muay Thai gym that’s known for training and developing fighters. So you see, getting started in Muay Thai is all about making that first crucial step to conquer your fear and hesitation and go to your first class.
Muay Thai Training
At last, you’re finally about to start your Muay Thai journey. You’re excited, but also a little nervous because you know the intensity of the training sessions. Even though you think you’re in relatively good shape, you’re still unsure of how your body will react to the kind of training that you’ll go through. After all, you haven’t done anything that can remotely compare to Muay Thai.
With that being said, what are some useful Muay Thai training tips? What are some valuable pointers that could at least help you survive your initial training? Keep in mind that the tips should be about Muay Thai for beginners. It shouldn’t be for intermediate and definitely not for advanced practitioners. The training tips need to be for those who are just starting out in the art of 8 limbs.
The following Muay Thai training tips will make your start a little easier.
Knowing them will help you hit the ground running, so to speak. Keep in mind though that you always need to be focused and have the right mindset. That mindset is to learn as much as you can while enjoying your Thai Boxing training:
Running is Essential
Running is an important part of Muay Thai training. It helps condition you for the tough training ahead. So make sure that you take the time to run, whether it’s in the mornings, afternoons, or evenings. Mix long-distance running with sprints for best results.
The Right Fuel
You need the right fuel so you can last throughout your training. Bad eating habits can get in the way and you’re not going to make progress. It’s best to eat carbs about two hours before training starts. You can also take supplements an hour or half an hour before you start to help with your performance.
Proper Form & Techniques
Once you start training, it’s important to have the proper form when executing various techniques. You need to be conscious of this so you know when you’re making a mistake and you can correct it right away. This is one way of building good habits that will help with your muscle memory. In time, you can do the techniques properly without even thinking about them.
Always hydrate when you’re in training. Muay Thai is one of the most intense workouts and training sessions could leave you dehydrated if you don’t drink enough water. And that could lead to cramps, headaches, nausea, and other side effects.
Ask for Advice
Don’t hesitate to ask for advice and additional training tips from other people in the gym. Sure, you could always ask your trainer or coach, but it’s also good to ask your training partners, especially those who have been training longer than you. They could give you valuable advice on how to make progress and enjoy your training more.
Rest & Recovery
Rest and recovery are just as important as the training sessions themselves. You can’t get away with training hard every day or for most of the week without resting properly. Your body needs to heal and repair itself after every hard training day. You’ll find that you’ll be able to come back stronger after you’ve had enough rest.
How Do You Prepare for Your First Muay Thai Lesson?
After deciding to take up Muay Thai, what’s the next step for you? The next step is when you will officially start your Muay Thai journey. And that’s to go into your very first Muay Thai lesson. Now just what do you need to get yourself ready? How do you prepare for your first Muay Thai lesson?
One of the first things to know is that Muay Thai classes are intense. You need to keep that in mind before you even go to your first class. It would be nice if you could condition yourself even for just a bit before that initial lesson.
Of course, there is no real way to prepare for what you are going to go through. But at least, your body will have some level of conditioning and you can get through your first Muay Thai classes without giving up.
Could you use any type of Muay Thai equipment to prepare your body? You can definitely use some key types of Muay Thai equipment in order to prepare your body for rigorous training. Use the heavy bag for hard or even light training so you could sharpen up your combinations and techniques. Other pieces of equipment to use include the jump rope, and wrecking ball bag, among others.
Another thing that could help you is getting the right Muay Thai gear to use for your lessons. There are various types of Muay Thai gear as well and the foremost ones that come to mind are gloves, punch mitts, and kick pads, as they can help in fine-tuning your moves and techniques.
All the equipment and gear used in Muay Thai are meant to prepare you for the kind of training that you will go through. They will help you get tough enough to withstand the initial phase of the training and continue to train after that.
What to Wear for Muay Thai Training?
As you prepare to attend your very first Muay Thai class, you also need to worry about other things. One of those is what to wear for Muay Thai training sessions. This is important because you need to make sure that what you wear is comfortable and will not get in the way of your training routine. You can consider them to be part of your Muay Thai gear and essential for proper training.
The first thing you need to have are Muay Thai shorts. Traditional Muay Thai shorts have their own unique look that gives room for kicks and knees. That is why the shorts are very short and have slits on the sides. However, some designs can be a bit too much and over the top for some, although there are also shorts with more plain designs. If that is the case for you, you could opt for compression shorts as alternatives instead.
Compression shirts or rash guards can also be part of your list of what to wear for Muay Thai training. If you’re not comfortable training without a shirt on, then these are the best options for you. Dry-fit training shirts could also be used for training as an alternative to compression shirts and rash guards. They are comfortable enough for use in your regular Muay Thai training sessions.
Groin guards should also be worn, particularly by male Muay Thai practitioners. It offers protection to private parts that are sensitive and could be prone to accidental strikes. Other items that you can wear for your Muay Thai training include ankle supports, knee and elbow pads, and shin guards, among others. These could be considered as part of the Muay Thai gear that you will need to train properly.
Muay Thai Training in Thailand
Muay Thai training is a great experience for anyone. It can be enjoyed by most people, although you need to have a certain level of fitness before you start training. But once you do start to train, you will find that Muay Thai offers plenty of benefits for everyone.
Whatever your goals are, it is great to start training in the art of 8 limbs. Whether you want to be a fighter or simply want to know some effective means of self-defense, it is for you. Or even if your is to upgrade your fitness level, Muay Thai is also for you.
But what about where you train? Does it matter if you train at your local gym or if you actually get a chance for some Muay Thai training in Thailand? To start with, every Muay Thai enthusiast has dreams. And one of their dreams is to train in Thailand. I mean, who wouldn’t want to have the chance to train where the art originated?
Now if you are only training for fitness, you could probably get away with not going to Thailand to train. So, it would just be fine if you cannot train in Thailand. You can still get some quality training, although you need to be careful about your choice of gym.
If you are trying to train Muay Thai for self-defense, you could still get by with not going to Thailand. You can find a local gym and just train there. This is especially true for those who do not have the time or the budget to head over to Thailand for a specific amount of time. Again, just be sure that the gym that you choose provides the kind of training that you are looking for.
However, for those who are serious about fighting in Muay Thai and making a career out of it, Muay Thai training in Thailand is a must. The experience and knowledge that you can get from the gyms there, and specifically from the trainers and former fighters, are invaluable. You simply cannot get that anywhere else.
Best Thai Boxing Players or Who Are the Best Muay Thai Fighters?
Muay Thai has been around for a long time. It might have evolved over time, but the basics remain the same. The core principle of the art is to make sure that a Thai Boxer makes use of the 8 limbs for combat or self-defense. That has remained the same after so long.
In the time that it has been around, Muay Thai has had no shortage of great fighters. In fact, there have been so many throughout its storied history. So who have been the best Muay Thai fighters of all time? The answer is potentially long, given the extensive history of the art. But we must narrow it down to a list of the top Muay Thai fighters ever. Here are a few of them, in no particular order:
Saenchai is considered by many to be the GOAT or greatest of all time in Muay Thai and they have good reason to do so. He remains very popular and still active despite nearing the age of 40, which is considered quite advanced for any Thai boxer and even for the top ones. Saenchai is different though, and he is known for his unparalleled skills, lightning-quick speed, and reflexes, and his playful antics. He is the supreme example of the Muay Femur, who is skilled in all aspects of Muay Thai.
Samart Payakaroon also has a good claim to being one of the greatest, if not the greatest, Muay Thai fighters ever. As the top Thai boxer in the 80s, he is often described as the Muhammad Ali of Muay Thai, which is probably the supreme accolade that any Thai boxer could get. Proof of his prowess as a striker is his equally great success at Western boxing. Samart didn’t just compete in that sport, but even won a major title when he claimed the WBC Junior Featherweight title. As one of the greatest Muay Thai fighters, Samart is also a Muay Femur as he is skilled in all aspects of the art, exhibiting beautiful technique in all his fights.
Somrak Khamsing enjoys the distinction of being the very first Thai to win a gold medal in the Olympics. He did so in amateur boxing when he claimed the gold medal in the Featherweight division at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. Somrak will forever be revered as one of the greatest Thai boxers for that achievement alone. But he is also supremely skilled and uses a very elusive style that few other legendary Nak Muay could match. His defensive wizardry is a joy to watch for fans and so frustrating to deal with for his opponents.
Like his contemporary Saenchai, Buakaw remains an active fighter, although most of his recent fights have been exhibitions than actual fights. Still, Buakaw remains of the most popular figures in Muay Thai, and for good reason. He cemented his legend by emerging victorious in the prestigious K-1 Tournament in Japan in the early 2000s. Even though that was a kickboxing tournament, Buakaw was able to expose Muay Thai to a worldwide audience. It can be said that Buakaw was a major reason for Muay Thai becoming introduced and popularized throughout the world. Such a major feat is Buakaw’s lasting legacy.
World Muay Thai Championship
The pinnacle of success in Muay Thai is winning a world title. Claiming a world Muay Thai championship is the claim to being one of the best, if not the best, in the sport. To win a world championship is the goal of every Muay Thai fighter and even ordinary practitioners dream of becoming world champions. And there is no better way to measure the level of your Muay Thai fighting skills than to compete and win a title fight.
Unlike other traditional martial arts, Muay Thai does not have a ranking system. There are no black, red, blue, or any other belt color to denote one’s rank or level of expertise. In Muay Thai, that can only be proven by winning a world championship. There are no controversies there, if you win it then you are clearly the best in that promotion or tournament.
If we are going to talk about the most prestigious Muay Thai title in Thailand, there is no doubt that it is the Lumpinee Stadium title. It might not carry the word or term world championship, but everyone who follows or participates in Muay Thai knows that it is the most prestigious title in Thailand. The second most prestigious title is the Rajadamner Stadium title, which a lot of fighters also aspire to win.
There are other significant Muay Thai world championships that are for professional fighters. Among them are the World Muay Thai (WMC) and the ONE Championship Muay Thai titles. The WMC is one of the oldest and largest professional sanctioning bodies for the sport while one is very high profile and fast-rising, not just in Muay Thai but other combat sports.
In the amateur ranks, there are world titles sanctioned and recognized by the International Federation of Muay Thai Amateur, or IFMA, the world governing body for amateur Muay Thai.
Questions & Answers for Thai Boxing
Question 1: How Dangerous is Thai Boxing?
So how dangerous is Muay Thai? This is a question that is most often asked by those who have not yet tried the sport or those who are curious and just about to try it.
As a full-contact sport, it cannot be denied that Muay Thai can be quite violent and therefore seen as dangerous. Fights and even hard sparring could lead to bruises, cuts, and broken noses and lips, among others.
However, it is also a regulated sport. Actual fights are officiated by referees and they enforce the rules to ensure that the fighters are protected. If the referee feels that the fight should be stopped, they would immediately stop it.
For practitioners who do Muay Thai for fitness and health, the danger is almost non-existent. There are only the usual bruises, etc, that could result from hard training.
Question 2: Is Muay Thai Effective in a Street Fight?
Another question that a lot of people ask - is whether Muay Thai effective in a street fight? The answer is a definite yes, although it will often depend on the individual.
If he is able to utilize all of the tools of the art of 8 limbs properly and execute them with proper technique, then there is no question that he will be successful in doing so. It might be more difficult to achieve it against an opponent who is also skilled, but at least you will give yourself a fighting chance when you find yourself in a dangerous or threatening situation in the street.
Question 3: Can I Train in Thai Boxing at Home?
Can I train in Muay Thai at home? That is another question that is usually asked by beginners in the sport. Of course, one can train in Muay Thai at home, especially if you have a few pieces of essential equipment with you. If you have a heavy bag, gloves, pads, etc, then you are good to go.
But even if you do not have any of the basic gear and equipment, you can still train in Muay Thai at home. You can do shadowboxing and simply practice the basic techniques and drills that you have learned while in class at the gym. It might not be the same as using the right equipment or training in the gym, but at least you are still making progress. So if you are going to ask yourself, can I train in Muay Thai at home, the answer is a resounding yes.
Question 4: How Popular is Muay Thai?
You might be wondering about the popularity of Muay Thai. Especially when you compare it to other martial arts. How popular is Muay Thai, then?
Muay Thai might not be as popular as boxing or Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), but it is gaining more recognition worldwide. More and more people becoming aware of it and the number of practitioners is also increasing.
It is not even about using it for fighting or competition, but as a way to become healthier and fitter. The popularity of Muay Thai as an effective fitness routine is definitely on the rise.
Question 5: Is Muay Thai Safe?
The safety of safety will regularly come up when talking about a combat sport like Muay Thai. So is Muay Thai safe?
If you train in a good gym, the chances are high that safety would be one of the main priorities. To those who are training Muay Thai solely for fitness, it is relatively safe. Even when the intensity of the training levels up a bit, it is still safe and the worst you could get is a few bruises, aching muscles, and shins.
It changes a little when you make the jump to competing or fighting, the risk of injuries also goes up. But as long as the trainers and coaches make sure that everyone is safe, then there should not be any problem.
Question 6: Can You Train Muay Thai Without Fighting?
An interesting question to answer is if you could train Muay Thai without having to fight. You can certainly train Muay Thai without fighting. There are other reasons why people want to train in Muay Thai.
First of all, there are those who only got into Muay Thai to improve their level of fitness. They might have wanted to become healthier and have been looking for a fun and exciting way to get fit and they then found Muay Thai.
Due to the intense physical demands of Muay Thai training, you will be in much better shape in no time. You definitely do not need to fight just to get into peak physical shape.
Question 7: Is Muay Thai Good for Self-Defense?
It has a lot of great attributes as a martial art and combat sport, but is Muay Thai good for self-defense? Muay Thai is one of the best martial arts to learn for self-defense. The knowledge and ability to utilize multiple weapons give any Muay Thai practitioner a real edge.
In Muay Thai, you can use your fists, elbows, knees, and shins to strike your attacker or opponent. There is also the clinch, which is like stand-up grappling and allows you to control and manipulate the movements of your attacker once you grab them.
Utilizing the many weapons given to you by Muay Thai will give you the chance to defend yourself against any attack and escape. It is a potentially life-saving skill that should be learned by most people.
Question 8: How Long Does it Take to Get Good at Muay Thai?
How long does it take to get good at Muay Thai? This seems like a tricky question because no two people are alike so the results of their training and their rate of development will be different for every individual.
There are a few factors involved. One is the frequency of training. Those who train almost every day and for about a couple of hours a day would improve faster than those who only train two or three times a week.
The other factor is the natural ability of the individual. Someone who is more naturally gifted will get better at the sport quicker than someone who is not as athletic. It might not seem fair, but that is just the way it is. Of course, it does not mean that the person who is not as naturally gifted would never be as good as the one who is. It could happen, although it would take a lot of hard work, patience, and determination.
Question 9: Will Muay Thai Get You Fit?
We already know that Muay Thai training is hard and very demanding on the body. But will Muay Thai get you fit?
The answer is that if you do it regularly enough and you dedicate yourself to training, it definitely will. Your Muay Thai skills and techniques will become better and your strength and overall physical fitness will improve as well. So Muay Thai will surely get you fit, especially if you train often enough.
Question 10: Is Kickboxing and Muay Thai the Same?
A question that has often been by beginners or those unfamiliar with the sport is this - is kickboxing and Muay Thai the same?
The answer is actually both if that makes sense. To explain further, Muay Thai is indeed one of the different types of kickboxing sports out there. That is when you use kickboxing as an umbrella term that refers to similar types of striking arts.
On the other hand, Muay Thai is different from Kickboxing as a sport because of a few reasons. The use of elbows and the clinch are probably the major ones. And kickboxing is also more oriented to use long punch combinations whereas Muay Thai favors single shots that are more loaded with power.
Question 11: Is Muay Thai the Deadliest Martial Art?
After all that you have learned, is Muay Thai the deadliest martial art? Is that even a question that should be asked seriously?
The truth is that this question could only lead to subjective answers and insights. For sure, those who are into Muay Thai would say that it is indeed the deadliest martial art. While others who are into other martial arts, like boxing, karate, or Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu would say that theirs is the one.
Perhaps the right answer is that Muay Thai is definitely one of the deadliest martial arts. And while that is true, it is truly up to the practitioner to make it deadly or effective. Art could only take you so far but it is what is inside you that will determine the outcome.