wai kruIf you’ve ever had the opportunity to be a spectator for a Muay Thai match, you’ve probably seen fighters perform a unique ritual dance. What is the Wai Kru? Although it might seem strange, or even boring to some, this dance carries a lot of symbolic meaning to the practitioners of the sport.

What’s the Purpose of the Wai Kru?

The primary purpose of this dance is to allow the fighters to pay their respects to their teachers as well help them achieve a victory within the ring. The best part about this is that every single Wai Kru is different depending on where the fighter is training. The dance can be modified and personalized for the fighter, and when done properly, it can demonstrate confidence, intimidation, and in some cases, pose a challenge. Remember that this is very sacred to the Thai culture, so if you’re going to perform it, make sure that you do it right!

What Do You Wear When Performing the Wai Kru?

Whenever they enter the ring, fighters are given specialized accessories known as “Mongkol” for performing their dance. These are essentially believed to bless the fighter, as well as provide them with protection while in the ring.

The Wai Kru Ceremony

The important thing to remember is that these accessories are NOT allowed to touch the ground, or even be near it for that matter. This is why you’ll never see a fighter going under the ropes – they always go over. Once the dance is over, the coach will remove these accessories and the fight can proceed thereafter. Depending on where you’re watching or participating in a Muay Thai fight, these ritual dances may or may not occur.

The Dance

Upon entering the ring, each Muay Thai fighter is going to “seal” the ring by blocking out any negative energy. This is done directly before starting the dance. The fighter will then start to circle the ring in a counterclockwise motion. They’ll be praying throughout this time, visiting each corner and silently repeating a certain mantra that holds meaning to them. In certain cases, these dances can take up to 5 minutes to perform! Nonetheless, they are a big deal in Muay Thai, and should not be disrespected. What is the Wai Kru good for? It’s good for following the culture, and providing you with favorable luck in the ring, so feel free to perform it before your own Muay Thai fight!