Thai Sport - Muay Thai

by Pauline Go
The most well known sport in Thailand is the Thai boxing or Muay Thai. It is a sport which needs a lot of strength, stamina and adaptability. It has a spiritual element too which is normally not linked with sports.

It is a form of combat between two fighters. Records show that this sport existed as early 1411, but it is possible that Muay Thai was in existence even before that. In 1920, Muay Thai was banned as it had become extremely violent and dangerous for the fighters. However, in 1937, the sport was revived and the fighters had to wear protective gear as the new rules and regulations that were laid down.

The spiritual aspect in Muay Thai can be seen before the sport starts. The fighters kneel down to pray to their wai kru or teacher before the event begins and they also perform a dance which is a bit of warm up besides being a ritual. This dance form is called Ram Muay. Ram Muay differs according to individual training camps. The dance is accompanied by music played by the band. The music is also known as phipat music.

The participant wears a tennis racket-like hoop on the head during the dance ceremony and then the coach removes it to indicate the start of the fight. Fighters wear bands containing a Buddha amulet and / or some kind of herb to bring good luck to them.

The actual boxing has five rounds and each round is for 3 minutes. There are three judges, who are seated in three different boxes on three different sides of the boxing ring. Points are given for each punch that lands on the opponent. In between the rounds, fighters can rest. Trainers use the rest as an opportunity to soak the fighters with water and advice them.

Muay Thai is considered to be a difficult sport and requires the fighters to be in peak physical condition.

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