History of Muay Thai

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Muay Thai, Thai boxing, may share its name with the Western sport but there are some very important differences between the two. For one thing, Muay Thai is considered the ‘art of eight limbs’ since elbows, shins, and knees are all allowed alongside fists. Although a part of the World Games today, where was the sport first developed and how did it grow originally? 


Early Days of Muay Thai 

muay thai in tucson arizonaAlthough many records of Muay Thai have been lost or destroyed over the centuries, it’s thought that the fighting style developed as certain tribes journeyed south from China to Laos, Burma, Cambodia, and Vietnam. For survival, the Siamese tribe would have to fight fiercely and techniques began to take shape through training and hand-to-hand combat styles like boxing

As fathers grew older, they taught their kids striking techniques while also teaching awareness, posture, and positioning. Soon enough, the core of Muay Thai had formed and the art involved striking each opponent as hard and fast as possible. Therefore, the attacker could move onto the next opponent and minimize the risk of getting hit themselves. Much like evolution in general, those who were successful in combat were able to teach techniques to their children while those who weren’t died. Eventually, only the best techniques and strategies survived. 

Thai Conflicts and a Resemblance to Sport

As Burma and Thailand went through several wars, the latter continued to hone the art and even included it as part of Thai military training (martial arts). As young Thai men would end their tours and return home, it seemed the combat technique was starting to be used for fun and sport. All over the country, towns and provinces would have talented fighters and those who had survived the battles became Kroo Muay (teachers)

Over the next few centuries, the techniques continued to be crafted and the sport continued to gain relevance in the country. As we reached the Great War in the early 20th century, Thai soldiers were often stationed in France and this led to Muay Thai fights in an attempt to increase morale among the troops. Whichever French boxers fancied their chances could attempt to fight Thai specialists. As the war went on, this allowed Muay Thai to spread throughout Europe. Now we see Muay Thai striking used heavily by competitors in MMA and other combat sports. 

Muay Thai in the Modern Day 

In the 1940s, the first set of formal rules were brought into Muay Thai and this meant five rounds were to be fought. Throughout Thailand, the sport continued to grow and many major stadiums were built in Chiang Mai, Bangkok, and various other cities. Eventually, championships were organized along with more rules and weight classes and this leads us into 21st-century Muay Thai. 

Compared to boxing in the US and Europe, Muay Thai isn’t so much a commercial exercise which means the money fighters earn isn’t enough for lavish lifestyles. However, many experts believe this could be about to change with the acceptance of Muay Thai as an Olympic sport and with increased recognition all around the world. As well as the sport itself, many dedicated gyms and camps are opening which is allowing the style of boxing to reach greater audiences. 

In Thailand, the career of an average fighter actually ends relatively early since they begin at the age of six or eight. By their mid-20s, most Thai boxers have had hundreds of fights (through which they experienced hundreds of injuries). In fact, Muay Thai fighters have a reputation for ignoring pain, ignoring the injury, and doing all they can to get the victory. Muay Thai does not consist of any of the grappling arts like jiu-jitsu or wrestling. 

Muay Thai Gyms In Tucson Arizona

If you live in Tucson, Arizona and are interested in Muay Thai you can stop by Boxing Inc for a trial class. Our team of dedicated personal trainers is here at the gym every day training professional athletes and everyday people to help them reach their competition or weight loss goals. We are all family here, and most of our members train many of the disciplines we have to offer. In addition to Muay Thai, we offer Boxing, JiuJitsu, Crossfit, MMA, Personal Training, and Kickboxing.


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