The Origins of Muay Thai Kickboxing

From Muay Thai History, to Learning Traditional Values and Advancing into Stand-up Striking, Florida Kickboxing Academy Provides Students with a Comprehensive Muay Thai Training Experience

What Is Muay Thai?

What is Muay Thai? Muay Thai boxing is known as “the art of the eight limbs.” These eight limbs are your two hands, two fists, two knees, and two feet - your weapons in the ring. It is a form of close-combat fighting developed centuries ago that uses the entire body as a weapon. (Ready to join the fight with Muay Thai classes at Florida Kickboxing Academy? Register here.)

Muay Thai History

Muay Thai’s history begins centuries ago in Thailand, and today it is the country’s national sport. Muay Thai’s definitive origins are debated by modern scholars because much of Muay Thai history was lost when the Burmese army ransacked the Siamese capital, Ayudhaya, in the 14th century. 

In 695 C.E., the Siamese created their very first army in the northern city of Sukhothai in order to defend themselves from the attacks of neighboring tribes and kingdoms. Soldiers were taught how to use their entire bodies as a weapon. This Muay Thai training evolved from Krabi Krabong, literally translated as “long and short weapons,” the previous weapons tactics of the Thai army. 

To practice, different companies within the Siamese army went up against each other in unarmed combat (Muay Boran) with few rules, no weight divisions, and no time limits. The rudimentary elements slowly turned into precise techniques - such as stand-up striking - through the experiences of training, military exercises, combat, and loss of life. The goal of each strike and movement is to deliver a debilitating blow that enables the fighter to quickly overcome his opponent while never himself becoming vulnerable. Veteran soldiers taught novices offensive and defensive tactics, proper posture and positioning, and methods for enhancing awareness, and the lessons continued on throughout the generations of Thai fighters.

Evolution of Muay Thai Training

Learning the traditional values that Muay Thai training instilled in young men became a staple of early Siamese culture. The first Muay Thai training camps sprung up all over the country in order to prepare citizens for war. Some Buddhist monks even taught Muay Thai at Buddhist temples. Muay Thai eventually became a martial art associated with royalty and the aristocracy as well. The two sons of King Phokhun Sri In Tharatit, the first King of Sukhothai, were sent to learn Muay Thai, with the idea that good warriors made brave leaders and that it would prepare them as future rulers.

The “Golden Age of Muay Thai” came in the 1880s. King Rama V enthusiastically promoted Muay Thai training as a way to stay physically fit and learn traditional values. He promoted tournaments and “Muay Luang,” or royally-appointed boxing centers, throughout the kingdom. It served as a way for him to scout men who would make good bodyguards or royal military officers. Many times the top fighters at these royal centers would receive personal invitations from the King to fight at tournaments, festivals, and important international events. And when The Thai Department of Education was created in 1887, Muay Thai became part of the Military Cadet teachers' school curriculum.

Muay Thai Comes to Europe and Beyond

Muay Thai was introduced to Europe and the rest of the world during World War I. Thai commanders would organize Muay Thai bouts for their troops stationed in France to boost morale, and French soldiers would try to compete against the Thai fighters. The first permanent Thai boxing stadium was built at the Suan Khoolab School after the war. It was during the time after the war that time limits, boxing gloves, and a uniform set of rules were introduced to Muay Thai. 
The oldest and largest Muay Thai organization in the world, The World Thai Boxing Association (WTBA), was founded in 1968 by Ajarn Surachai “Chai” Sirisute. (Ajarn is Thai for head instructor.) Ajarn Chai came to the United States intending to spread the art of Muay Thai throughout the world. He was the first-ever Thai boxing instructor to teach Americans Muay Thai. But it didn’t stop with him. His training brought more and more teachers and masters in the United States. Schools and federations began popping up all over the country, carrying the tradition with them. Today, Muay Thai is a very popular martial art all over the United States, and Florida Kickboxing Academy is pleased to list Muay Thai on its roster of excellent classes.

Today’s Muay Thai Training: From Ancient Tradition to Modern Martial Artistry

Muay Thai has evolved over the years, but what makes it so unique as a martial art is its rich history and tradition. With the proper instruction, the invaluable skills of Muay Thai fighting can be passed down as new trained fighters learn. Florida Kickboxing Academy is an ideal place to start or continue your training in the art of Muay Thai kickboxing. We’re equipped to train all levels, from beginners up to professional ranks. We blend traditional values and techniques with modern methods to provide an immersive and high-quality Muay Thai training experience. Interested in trying class at our West Palm Beach kickboxing academy and starting your own Muay Thai journey? Enroll today!

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