The History of Muay Thai

The history of Muay Thai was lost when the Burmese army sacked and razed Ayuddhaya to the ground. With them, much of the early Muay Thai history also went. The little we do know about Muay Thai comes from the writings of the Burmese, Cambodian, early European visitors and some of the chronicles of the Lanna Kingdom - Chiangmai.

What all sources agree on is that Muay Thai began as a close combat battlefield fighting skill. More deadly than the weapons it replaced. The sources aren't clear and often contradict each other. But there are two main theories. One says that the art developed as the Thai people moved down from China; honed in the struggle for land. The other theory of the history of Muay Thai says that the Thai people were already here and that Muay Thai developed to defend the land and people from constant invasion threats.

The history of Muay Thai second theory, while controversial, has considerable academic backing and archaeological evidence. The first is, however, possible as the area opened up to the early pioneers. What is known is that the history of Muay Thai was an essential part of Thai culture right from its dawn. And in Thailand, it's the sport of kings.

 

 

 

Muay Thai Equipment History

The people have always followed the sport and have been instrumental in moving it from the battlefield to the ring. They have been as much a part of making it a sport as have the Kings. One of the prime movers in transforming the sport was the Tiger King, who not only influenced fighting styles but also the equipment.

During the reign of the Tiger King, the hands and forearms began being bound with strips of horse hair. This was to serve a dual purpose - protect the fighter and inflict more damage on the opponent. Later, these were 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.

The changes that the sport has undergone have been changes to equipment used rather than radical change. For example, Thai fighters have always worn groin guards. A kick or knee to the groin was a perfectly legal move up until the 1930's. In the early days, the protection was made from tree bark or sea shells held in place with a piece of cloth tied between the legs and around the waist

The groin guard later became a triangular shaped pillow, red or blue, tied around the waist with a through strap between the legs. The pillow went, after a boxer on a trip to Malaysia saw a groin box. He came back with the idea, which is close to the original idea of the sea shell and since then, Muay Thai fighters have used them.

The 1930's saw the most radical change in the sport. It was then that it was codified and today's rules and regulations were introduced. Rope bindings of the arms and hands were abandoned and gloves took their place.