Muay Thai has a long history of traditions. These Muay Thai traditions are usually related to showing respect and paying homage to those who helped you along the way. The art of Muay Thai, although powerful and very combative, comes out of humility. With my personal training Ajarn Chai Sirisute, who has been the largest influence on my Muay Thai practice, has always pushed the importance of respect and being grateful to your family, teachers, friends and training partners. With this attitude succeeding in Muay Thai as either a fighter or teacher are possible. Ajarn always says “anyone can be a teacher or a fighter, but you need to have the right intentions to be good”. This advice has always helped with choices I have made along the way, as well as helped me to guide my students down the correct path.
Some of the Muay Thai traditions we will address are Wai Khru, Ram Muay, Mong Kon, and the Pra Jiad. The Wai Khru and the Ram Muay are traditional ceremonies performed by the fighters before a Muay Thai contest. The Thais hold high value in these traditional ceremonies which have been handed down for centuries.
When performing the Wai Khru the athlete kneels on the floor and offers respect to his teacher, family, friends and sometimes religion by three bows. During the last bow the fighter will often focus on someone who is important to him.Then the Ram Muay begins. The Ram Muay is like a ritual dance where the fighter will honor his/her trainer and gym. The fighter will concentrate on their skill , strategies and the advice they have received. The Ram Muay is helpful with calming the fighter and mentally preparing them for the fight. Many gyms or trainers will have their own version of the Ram Muay, so sometimes you will know where a fighter is from by their performance of the Ram Muay.
Muay Thai Traditional Garb
The Mong Kon is worn around the head of the fighter when entering the ring and while performing the Wai Khru and Ram Muay.The Mong Kon is given to the fighter by his trainer. It is worn to bring good luck and to protect against danger and injuries. Historically, the Mong Kon was given to the fighter only when he had proven that his character and convinced his teacher that he would honor and respect the art. The Mong Kon is made of soft white and red fabric.
The Pra Jiad is a piece of cloth worn around the upper arm during the fight. It can be worn on one or both arms. Under the Pra Jiad the fighter may carry an object of personal importance giving him/her power and confidence for the fight.
These are some of the admired traditions followed in the art of Muay Thai. Muay Thai is not the brutal, barbaric sport that it is often made out to be. Some of the best fighters in the world are also the most respectful and considerate people you will ever meet.If you are interested in the practice of Muay Thai it can also be a great stress relief and a fun way to stay in shape. A Muay Thai workout can be intense or more geared towards technique, learning how to flow and stay relaxed. I have trained students from 4 ½ – 76, anyone can do the practice you just need to adjust the training to your abilities.
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