Muay Thai Traditions

Muay Thai is a martial art originating under the name of Muay Boran in the kingdom of Siam, modern-day Thailand. Muay Thai traditions are rooted in Thai history, military conquests, and also in Theravada Buddhism.
Let's take a look at some of the most famous traditions related to Muay Thai.

Mongkol [Mongkhon]: a traditional headband

Mongkol is a headband worn by Muay Thai fighters. It is believed that it cannot touch the ground at any time or it will lose its spiritual power.

Mongkol is given to a Muay Thai adept by his Khru but only when his teacher decides that he is worthy of it.
It is one of the most important Muay Thai traditions.

Muay Thai traditions: Muay Boran, Wai Kru, Mongkol

Wai Khru ram muay

Wai Khru is a ritual dance performed by Thai kickboxers before a fight. It is a way of greeting his a Khru by each fighter participating in a Muay Thai competition. The dance movement resembles fighting techniques known as Hanuman, the monkey god.

Wai Khru literally means: "war dance saluting the teacher"

Wai Khru: Muay Thai dance

Sak Yant tattoo

Thai tattoo symbols called Sak Yant [Yantra] are protective emblems rooted in traditions of Buddhism and, to a certain level, also on Hinduism. Those symbols are deeply rooted in Muay Thai traditions and grant the bearer attributes such as power, strength, fearlessness, charisma, health, good fortune, and confidence.

The most popular symbol among Muay Thai fighters is Twin Tigers. Tiger Yant stands for strength, power, and fearlessness.

Twin Tigers Thai tattoo symbol

Armband [Pra Jiad]

Same as with Mongkol, it cannot touch the ground or be stepped over because it will lose its mystical power. Pra Jiad is given to Muay Thai fighters to boost their confidence in the ring.

Prajiad: Muay Thai armband

Muay Boran

Muay Boran is a traditional Thai hand-to-hand military combat system, a predecessor of modern Muay Thai. It was mostly replaced by Muay Thai when new fighting rules and modern training equipment were introduced in the 1930s.

Muay Boran was developed for self-defense and, as opposed to the sport Muay Thai, had grappling and ground fighting techniques. Muay Boran consisted of traditional fighting styles such as:

    ⦁ Muay Chaiya, a defensive style that allows throws and some grappling techniques
    ⦁ Muay Thasao, which promotes fast kicks and fast, versatile movement during a fight
    ⦁ Muay Lopburi, a style that teaches quick and evasive footwork
    ⦁ Muay Korat, which puts pressure on powerful kicks and punches

Read more about the traditional fighting styles of Muay Thai (Muay Boran).

Muay Boran martial art

Banana Bag

The legend has it that Muay Boran practitioners kicked banana trees in order to condition their shinbones for fighting. The name of the banana bag comes from those ancient traditions and not from its shape which rather resembles a cucumber.

Muay Thai banana bag, due to its hardness, is mostly used for training kicks and especially for shin conditioning. This type of punch bag serves multiple purposes: from practicing push kicks [theeps], head kicks, side kicks, punches, and more advanced combinations.

Krabi Krabong

Krabi Krabong was a weapon-based combat system originating from Siam [Thailand]. It literally means sword [krabi] + staff [krabong]. Krabi Krabong was developed for the battlefield and a disarmed warrior could continue fighting with just his bare hands using Muay Boran.

Demonstration of Krabi Krabong:

Krabi Krabong Thai weapon-based martial art

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