Muay Thai History

Throughout the 19th century in Thailand, Muay Thai was a popular form of martial arts that was developed for the military soldiers of the country. It became nicknamed “The Art of Eight Limbs” because it utilized eight points of contact instead of two points like in boxing and four points like in kickboxing. Muay Thai uses punches, kicks, knees and elbows, which make up the eight points of contact. Military generals found these eight points of contact essential when it came to hand-to-hand combat, especially in a war type situation. They found that most enemy soldiers stuck to the traditional means of fighting with just their fists, which was only two points of contact. By utilizing eight points, Thai soldiers were able to stun and immobilize their enemies within seconds and win every fight. In the 20th century, the world began to learn about Muay Thai because it got developed into a sport instead of merely a technique for self defense. Even though Muay Thai is still used by the Thai military in physical combat situations, it is also used for sport and fitness as well. You might have heard about Thai Cockfights, which are basically underground competitions where two fighters will fight in an arena called the “cockpit.” The martial art used by the fighters is traditionally Muay Thai, unless there are foreign fighters who bring other forms of martial arts to the arena. These cockpit fights are mainly fought for money. The way to win is by knocking out the other person and making them unconscious. However, it is not uncommon for opponents to actually die in these competitions because there is no referee and no rules whatsoever. In the public sector there are mixed martial arts competitions, or MMA, that have referees and regulations. Many Thai fighters you see in the MMA will use Muay Thai as their form of martial arts. In fact, fighters from all over the world are now aware of Muay Thai and many of them come to Thailand to learn this martial art that was once strictly taught to Thai natives only. Between the MMA and social media gossip on the internet, Muay Thai is now as commonly talked about as Karate or Tae Kwan Do. This spawned international Muay Thai training camps to be established in various western countries, like the United States and Canada. Some of these schools are taught by Thai natives and others are taught by students from the Thai schools.