Muay Thai is a combat sport having origins in Thailand as the name itself implies. It is one of the various martial art forms that are popular in Asian countries such as Karate and Kung Fu. At first glance it is closer to kickboxing which is known by different names in different countries such as tomoi in Malaysia, pradal serey in Cambodia, and Muay Lao in Laos. What many do not know about Muay Thai is that it is the national sport of Thailand. Muay Thai is also called the art of eight limbs because in addition to hands, as in boxing, and hands and feet as in some other forms of kickboxing, proponents of Muay Thai make use of hands, feet, elbows and knees thus taking the count up to eight.
South East Asia is known for being home to many types of Kick Boxing. It owes its origin to kick boxing that was practiced by Siamese soldiers when they accidentally lost their weapons and had to defend themselves or to hurt their enemies. Originally called simply Muay, this martial art was originally meant for actual warfare but in recent times it has emerged as a very popular form of sport. Though there are many other types of martial arts, Muay Thai has become exceedingly popular in many parts of the world of late.
Today, the sport is conducted between opponents inside an arena watched by shouting spectators which is an exciting prospect for many. Earlier it was used by Kings for their entertainment and was even organised in temples and festivals as a form of pure entertainment for the crowds. But whereas earlier the opponents were bare handed, today they wear protective gear such as helmets and gloves to prevent any serious injury. The gore and violence that was an integral part of Muay Thai has considerably gone down with introduction of rules and regulations, and today it is played more for fun despite it providing many exciting skills of self defence to any practitioner.
There are a number of reasons for why Muay Thai has become so popular in recent times. If you are a martial art lover, you will also like this form of combat sport. This is a very systematic sport and there is a very special relationship between a boxer and his trainer. A boxer shows respect to his trainer before entering the ring which is very appealing indeed.
The Actual Fight
The actual fight involves 5 rounds of 3 minutes each, and an added attraction is the music that is played in the background. The boxers can use 4 limb sets to hit the opponent anywhere on his body except his head which is forbidden in Muay Thai. Using elbows and knees, a boxer can make very complex moves which are not seen in traditional boxing or other forms of kickboxing. This is what makes Muay Thai very appealing for those who come to watch it in large numbers. Though it gives the appearance of a very violent sport, there are very few incidents of actual serious injuries to boxers.