Muay Thai is the martial art of fighting with one’s bare fists, utilizing elbows, knees, feet and fists as weapons. No one knows when Muay Thai first began, it is assumed that Muay Thai had been practiced since the beginning of Thai history.
In the old days, Asian men of Mongolian descent from China down to the Malaya peninsular fought their wars face to face, fist to fist, unlike their Caucasian counterparts in Europe, who concentrated on developing weapons with which to fight. For this reason personal capabilities played a major role in the art of fighting and an efficient martial art was extremely important. Muay Thai is one of the most efficient martial arts.
Since modern technology did not exist in ancient times, Thai children did not have mechanical toys to play with. Instead, they used their bodies to play games. Those simple games served as basic exercises for Muay Thai. They made parts of the bodies ready.
Muay Thai involves all parts of the body. The students of Muay Thai learn about the body’s weak points and understood how to exercise one’s physical parts.
‘Nawa-attawut’ or the 9 principal weapons in Muay Thai include head, two fists, two elbows, two knees, and two feet. In addition, there are combination weapons which are two shoulders, arms, bottom and the outer parts of the ankles: The practice of using both the principal weapons and the combination weapons in Muay Thai requires not only hard work, but the proper steps and great endurance.
The training involves rigorous physical training, similar to that practiced by Western boxers. It includes running, shadow-boxing, and heavy bag work. Much emphasis is also placed on various drills with the so-called “Thai pads”. These pads weigh five to ten pounds, and cover the wearers forearms. In use, the trainer wears the pads, and may hold them to receive kicks, punches, and knee and elbow strikes, and may also use them to punch at the trainee. This training is vaguely similar to the way boxing trainers use focus mitts. The characteristic Muay Thai round kick is delivered with the shin, therefore, shin conditioning is also done.
Little or no free-sparring is done in training, due to the devastating nature of the techniques employed. Thai boxers may box, hands only, with ordinary boxing gloves. Another training drill is for two fighters to clinch, and practice a form of stand-up grappling, the goal of which is to try to land a knee strike. However, full-contact kicks, knees, and elbows are typically not used in training.