There are an abundance of combat sports from all corners of the world, all of which are shrouded in ancient culture and practised by people from all walks of life. Combat sports are artful displays of power and control and they unite all of those who are enthralled by them.
So if this is the case for all combat sports- what makes Muay Thai so special?
Muay Thai originated in Thailand around the 16th century and is considered one of the most effective stand-up striking fighting sports of all time. The true effectiveness of this sport was demonstrated by the legendary Nak Muay (Muay Thai fighter) Nai Khanom Tom after he defeated nine Burmese boxing champions with no breaks in-between opponents. Muay Thai has stood the test of time as it has consistently exhibited its success through many different situations. These include ancient wars between Thailand and its neighbouring countries and thousands of displays within the competition ring.
Apart from the brutal effectiveness of Muay Thai, it also has many wholesome attributes which characterise this sport as one of the most soul-satisfying journeys any person is capable of undertaking.
One of the major lessons Muay Thai teaches you is respect. Students are expected to show a great deal of respect to their kru and to their fellow peers, which builds a trusting and comfortable environment to conduct training in. An example of the respect displayed in the sport is a ritual carried out before a fight. Before anyone commences their fight in the ring, it is customary to complete the “Wai Kru Ram Muay”. This translates to “war dance to salute your trainer”.
This dance is done to pay respect, as a student, to your kru who has invested themselves in teaching you, and to your gym. The entire dance is a way of showing respect, and is unique to Muay Thai. Not only does Muay Thai teach you to respect your trainers and your peers, it also equips you with a deeper reverence for people outside of your gym environment.
Muay Thai is not only a physical journey but also one which immensely strengthens your mentality. Let’s face it, you’re going to reach a point in training where your arms feel like they’re too heavy to throw a punch or your legs will feel like you most definitely cannot smash out ten kicks on each side but your kru will push you to carry out these strikes. Muay Thai takes a great deal of commitment- it means attending training even though you’re still tired and sore from last night’s class! This commitment and stoic attitude will foster discipline.
Confidence is something many people struggle with through life. Muay Thai, however, is brilliant for building up someone’s self-confidence. This does not necessarily mean that someone will develop a poisonous ego, but they will become more sure of themselves. Superficially, Muay Thai training will give you a stunning physique, improve your fitness and your overall health. Also, training Muay Thai will give you the confidence to be able to defend yourself if you become threatened violently.
Muay Thai is a beautifully effective and deeply cultural sport which allows all practitioners to gain outstanding benefits- physically, mentally and spiritually.