The definition of Thai boxing is an exchange of blows. It is a form of combat practiced by people everywhere, by children and adults, male and female. It is a trail of strength using various parts of the body or even its entire frame as weapons in the struggle. The combatants may bite, kick punch or head butt: all of are considered part of Muay Thai. It is an all-fighting style in which the weapons a human being is naturally endowed with are utilized.
Thai boxing has been a national sport since ancient times and has been an essential part of the Thai culture since time immemorial. Thai boxing is a martial art and a method of self-defence, with rules different from those of international boxing. In Thai Boxing, no part of the body remains inactive. Physical strength as well as will power and intellect are among the necessary qualities every boxer must possess. All boxers must also be agile in single combat and with out the use of weapons must be able to fight with ferocity.
In former times, Thai Boxers had to fight without the use of modern day equipment available today. Boxers in those days used to bind their hands with raw cotton threads loosely woven into a chain-mail-type configuration knotted at the fingers in a whorl (like a sea-shell). Then, to give the hard hand a hard and abrasive surface, it was dipped in glue and sprinkled with finely ground glass or grit. The use of glue and glass gradually stopped, but the cotton binding continued to be in use long after the glue was dispensed with. They were used in fact, until 1929, when a switch was made to the type of gloves used in international boxing.
However, Thai boxers did not abandon their traditional form of boxing, namely, that making use of feet and elbows in a fight. Whenever a quarrel arose, the contenders would still only use their bodily strength in combat, with out having resources to weapons. Therefore it is fitting that this art should be preserved as a weapon to be passed on by mothers and fathers from generation to generation, a weapon to be kept at the ready whenever one may travel.
The Origins of Thai Boxing:
To fight for survival for mother, father, wife and clan. To fight with canes and clubs as weapons, extending finally to the use of the mouths, feet and hands to strike and bite, because it is in the nature of humans and animals to attack and defend themselves regardless of whether the enemy is human or animal. From the deep-seated feeling for the necessity of self-protection at all times, natural weapons came to be developed as offensive and defensive tools.
This is the beginning of the story of how humans started to use their feet, knees, elbows and fists. It is a known fact that humans are basically inclined to live in communities rather than live as individuals apart. As the population of a community grew a leader was chosen to the position of what we would now all king. The person chosen as king had to possess in great measure the qualities of physical strength, will power, and skill in the martial arts and tactics of self defense. He also had to have the ability to amass and unify a population and train them in his methods of combat, both those using weapons and boxing.
In the days when Thailand was in the process of forming and gathering strength, wars were perpetually being waged with neighboring countries. It could be said that the Thai national profession at the time was to prepare for conflict.
Attacks and invasions took place regularly. Combat methods different from those used today primarily in that the weapons used were the shortage ones: spears and javelins, large curved bladed pikes called Khaw-ngao, and even short wooden clubs, all of which it should be remembered, could only be used in hand-to hand combat. Thus the earliest weapons, including natural ones such as the fist, elbow and foot came into use in fighting enemies, and the systematized use of these natural weapons came to be called classic Thai boxing.
Thai boxing is an art loved by people in all stratum
of society, including the nobility and royalty, who were not satisfied
merely to watch but enjoyed participating n the sport. Thai boxing has
been studied regularly by Thai soldiers since early times. Whether in
times of war, when it was necessary to confront enemies, or in peaceful
times, when emphasis was placed on preparation, self-defence techniques
have always been of great importance to military leaders and to the
monarchy. This is because, down through the ages, fighting wars has
often come down to hand to hand combat in which weapons and methods
of combat change rapidly and unexpectedly until a winner and loser emerge