Muay Thai is a martial art originating under the name of Muay Boran in the kingdom of Siam, modern day Thailand.
It has rich traditions rooted in Thai history, military conquests and also in Theravada Buddhism.
Let's take a look at some of the most famous traditions related to Muay Thai.
Mongkol is a headband worn by Muay Thai fighters. It is believed that it cannot touch the ground at any time or it will loose its spiritual power. Mongkol is given to a Muay Thai adept by his Khru but only when his teacher decides that he is worthy of it.
Wai Khru is a ritual dance performed by Thai kickboxers before a fight. It is a way of greeting his a khru by each fighter participating in a Muay Thai competition. The dance movement resembles a fighting techniques known as Hanuman, the monkey God.
Wai Khru literally means: "war-dance saluting the teacher"
Thai tattoo symbols called Sak Yant [Yantra] are a protective emblems rooted in traditions of Buddhism and, to a certain level, also on Hinduism.
Those symbols grant the bearer attributes such as power, strength, fearlessness, charisma, health, good fortune and confidence.
The most popular symbol among Muay Thai fighters are Twin Tigers. Tiger Yant stands for strength, power and fearlessness.
Same as with Mongkol, it cannot touch the ground or being stepped over because it will loose its mystical power. Pra Jiad is given to Muay Thai fighters to boost their confidence in the ring.
Muay Boran is a traditional Thai hand-to-hand military combat system, a predecessor of modern Muay Thai. It was mostly replaced by Muay Thai when new fighting rules and modern training equipment were introduced in 1930's.
Muay Boran was developed for self-defense and, as opposed to sport Muay Thai, had grappling and ground fighting techniques. Muay Boran consisted of traditional fighting styles such as:
⦁ Muay Chaiya, a defensive style which allows throws and some grappling techniques
The legend has it that Muay Boran practitioners kicked banana trees in order to condition their shinbones for fighting.
The name of banana bag comes from those ancient traditions and not from its shape which rather resembles a cucumber :-)
Muay Thai banana bag, due to its hardness, it is mostly used for training kicks and especially for shin conditioning. This type of punch bag serves multiple purposes: from practising push kicks [theeps], head kicks, side kicks and punches and more advanced combinations.
Krabi Krabong was a weapon-based combat system originating from Siam [Thailand]. It literally means sword [krabi] + staff [krabong].
Krabi Krabong was developed for the battlefield and disarmed warrior could continue fighting with just his bare hands using Muay Boran.