A Brief History of Thai Boxing

Muay Thai is a highly sophisticated martial art born out of conflict and war. The first historical account of Muay Thai dates back to 1767 with the legendary Nai Khanom Dtom.  While a captive of the Burmese, he was ordered to fight ten consecutive matches against the best Burmese boxers. Dtom defeated them all, and was commended by the Burmese king for his bravery and skill. His extraordinary exploit is recorded in school textbooks and is known to every Thai child today.

Muay Thai is an adaptation of the Thai military arts. In peacetime the weapons of the battlefield were laid down and the soldiers would fight empty handed to keep their edge. At that time there were few rules, no rounds, and no weight classes. Also, boxers fought barefooted, their fists and forearms wrapped in hemp rope and combat was extremely brutal. Training methods were vast and varied.

Thai Boxing also found much of its roots in Buddhism. The ceremony called the "Ram Muay," is a spiritual ceremony which seals off the ring from outside influences, pays homage to gods, parents, teachers, loved ones, king and country. The Ram Muay and the fight itself are accompanied by music from a four-piece ensemble.

U.S. and Thai Forces train in Thai Boxing
The modern form of Muay Thai was born in 1930 when leather gloves, rounds per bout, and weight classes became standard. In the past 50 years the Thais have adopted various western boxing techniques, training methods and strategies. Today, the Thai military, U.S. Navy Seal teams, various North American police forces and the CIA continue to use its effective striking techniques.

Due to its practical and heavy emphasis on conditioning and striking, Thai boxers are some of the toughest and most highly respected martial artists throughout the world.