Monday, January 2, 2012

Things to Know About Bangkok Kickboxing

An ancient tradition, Muay Thai kickboxing is more than a famed sport in Bangkok, it is a respected way of life entrenched in the history and culture of Thai people. Muay Thai, the national sport of Thailand, is known as the 'science of the eight limbs' since fighters are able to strike using eight different points of contact, including the hands, shins, elbows and knees. Adaptations of Muay Thai now appear in international arenas, but as one of the oldest martial arts, it remains true to its ancient roots in Bangkok.
History of Thai Kickboxing
Beginning as a lethal form of close combat used by Thai soldiers to ward off invasions, Muay Thai has origins more intriguing than the average spectator sport. In fact, this brutal form of kickboxing was so effective that training became a requirement of the Thai military. After their tours of duty, soldiers often took part in boxing matches for recreation. In the earliest known Muay Thai kickboxing matches, the ring was nothing more than a patch of bare earth and the timing of rounds were measured by placing a coconut shell with a hole bored through the bottom into water. The round was over once the coconut was submerged.
Superstition and Ritual
Paying homage to traditional rituals and superstitions, fighters often wear amulets for good luck and protection, according to, the website of a top-ranking training camp in Phuket, Thailand. "For centuries Muay Thai fighters have used sacred tattoos, wards, amulets and spiritual ceremonies to ensure their good fortune and ward off bad luck and evil entities that may follow them into the ring," the website reports.
A sacred tradition, the Wai Kru is a ritual dance performed in the boxing ring before a match to demonstrate gratitude and respect for the boxers' teachers. Typically brief but powerful, the Wai Kru is always a crowd-pleaser which is accompanied by the musical melody of a Thai oboe and percussion. Some locals even believe that wise observers have the ability to determine the winner simply by watching two fighters perform the dance.
Modern Kickboxing in Bangkok
Recently named an Olympic sport, Muay Thai maintains its demand for superior strength and excellence among its brave athletes. The two famous stadiums in Bangkok where Thai boxers continue to make famous names for themselves are Lumpinee and Rajadamnoen. Household boxing names are typically made up of the fighter's real first name and then the fighter's training camp. Thai fighting champions in Bangkok may achieve fame, but fortune is difficult to come by. The average Muay Thai fighter in Thailand fights every three to four weeks merely to support their family, reports the site, a website devoted to Muay Thai and home of the Pattaya Kombat Muay Thai Camp and Thai Boxing Training School. The site adds, "A typical Muay Thai fighter may bring home 4000-6000 baht -- the equivalent of around $100 to $150 -- every month from fighting which is barely enough to support one person, much less a family."
Training in Bangkok
Bangkok offers many opportunities for training in the art of Muay Thai for men and women from Thailand or from abroad. Retreats offer a chance for foreigners to learn about Thai culture and tradition while mastering the ancient technique and attending local matches. Available courses range from beginner to advanced and many of the schools offer both room and board. For those who cannot make the journey to Bangkok, several worldwide martial arts schools now offer courses on Muay Thai.

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