Things You Didn’t and Should Know about the Art of Muay Thai

Since the turn of the millennium, Muay Thai has gained popularity in several parts of the world. The primary reason behind this acceptance is that the sport improves overall wellness by exercising your muscles and the brain.

Muay Thai, also known as Thai boxing, is a martial arts and national sport in its native country. Its referred to as the ‘art of eight limbs’ because players use their fists, elbows, knees, and shins when fighting. Thailand has several training camps to sharpen your skills and become a proficient fighter.

Like other martial arts, Muay Thai is beneficial, though it can be dangerous at times. If you intend to become a pro, be ready to incur injuries when you get into the ring. That said, learning the sport improves your fitness and sharpens your self-defence ability.

Here are 4 things you should know about the art of Muay Thai

You Should Not Use Your Feet

Many westerners aren’t aware that hitting your opponent with your feet in a Muay Thai fight doesn’t bode well with locals. Why? Thai people regard feet, especially the sole, as profane and impure. It’s the same reason you aren’t allowed to enter a house without removing your shoes.

Contrarily, Thai people believe that the soul resides in the head and consider it holy and spiritual. Thus, hitting your opponent’s head using your feet is an insult to Thailand and its people.

Don’t get surprised if a Thai barber apologises for touching your head, as this is a show of respect. You should also avoid pointing your soles at people, especially when relaxing on a sofa. The worst thing you can do is step on a note, coin, or anything with an image of the King or Buddha.

It Used to be the ‘Art of Nine Limbs’

As mentioned earlier, Muay Thai is also called the ‘art of eight limbs.’ Well, you will be surprised to learn that the sport previously used nine limbs.

In its previous iteration, Muay Boran, you could headbutt your opponent, hence the name ‘nine limbs.’ However, the use of the head in Thai boxing is no longer permitted, as is the case in other combat sports.

Players can only use their heads to strike during Bama Lethwei, a tournament that pits Thais against the Burmese.

Know When to Wai

Before fights, players usually bow, a practice known as the Wai. Although it’s a show of respect, it’s worth noting that the Wai isn’t mandatory.

The Wai has three levels, and the one to use depends on your relationship with the other party. The best times to bow are when you’re being introduced to a group of people, when someone has done it to you and when you meet somebody who deserves your respect. Never expect a monk to Wai at you, as they’re representatives of Buddha.

There’s More to a Name

Buakaw Por. Pramuk is undoubtedly the most famous Muay Thai fighter, renowned for his unmatched fighting prowess. Interestingly, that’s not his real name. His parents named him Buakaw Banchamek. Por. Pramuk is the gym’s name where he learned the sport.

The majority of Muay Thai fighters use the name of the gym where they train as their ring name. This is done to show respect to the academy that honed their skills.

Wrapping Up

Muay Thai is one of the most exciting martial arts that combines fast-paced kicking and boxing. Even better, fighters are encouraged to stand throughout the game, as taking the game to the ground is prohibited. Hopefully, the insights above have deepened your understanding of the sport.