Muay thai is the National sport of Thailand and was first developed in the 1500CE. In its most traditional form it is known as Muay thai. Since its rise Muay thai techniques have quickly established themselves at the top of the full contact world. There are other traditional styles that are also practiced such as krabi Krabon which in addition to the weapons of the body also use sword based weapons and does not compete or utilise techniques for inside the ring.
However few people know about this Art form and it can be difficult finding teachers in Europe. Thus they simply study the more popular and commonly taught Muay thai.
It is often referred to as the art of 8 limbs, using the fists, elbows, knees and feet in powerful combinations to defeat your opponents.
Modern Muay thai or Thai boxing as it is also know is one of the most popular forms of Martial Arts and is known for its hardcore training and full contact fighting techniques. It is also one of the leading fighting arts that compete in full contact competitions all around the world.
Mixed Martial Arts has emerged as a full contact form of fighting that combines the various styles together. However regarding the striking arts, Muay thai techniques and boxing have been maximised by most modern day competitors as the main and most effective form of stand up striking.
Of course this is a topic that will always be up for debate in the world of Martial Arts and combat.
In the world of MMA and more specifically UFC their have been some high level practitioners of the Thai Art, such as Anderson Silva, Jose Aldo and Donald Cerrone. Most of the fighters that I have named are still actively fighting today.
Such is its proven effectiveness in the full contact arena, that in various parts of the world it is now being taught to the military, the police force and bodyguards.
Let us now look at what truly makes Muay thai techniques some of the most feared and effective full contact skills in Martial Arts today.
The mind set and approach is a simple one, seek and destroy. As you watch a Thai boxers approach towards their opponent it uses a very calculated, progressive, rhythmic and aggressive motion. These powerful movements are used to overcome the enemy.
Muay Thai Training
Due to the fact that Muay thai techniques are so powerful and aggressive, the practitioners focus on full body conditioning in their training. This includes Specifically the shins, feet, thighs, knees, elbows, forearms and the torso.
This high level of conditioning allows most Thaiboxers to have an advantage in full contact exchanges where hard clashes or contact is made from a strike or simply from bones and muscles coliding.
One of the major weapons used in Muay thai training is the roundhouse kick which they apply using their shins to the opponents various target, this is often the thigh, calf, ribs and of course the head.
Due to the extreme conditioning of the shin, a Muay thai roundhouse kick can feel like a baseball bat smashing into your body. Thus, it is extremely important for any other style of Martial Arts competing against or in a real fight with a Thai boxer to also have a high level of conditioning. If not then you better have a very high level in evasive movements and great footwork.
Another area that Muay thai training utilises is the clinch, which is a technique where you use your hands to grab your opponents neck and this allows you to have a lot of control over your enemy. Thai fighters are also renowned for using their elbows and knees in the clinch and close quarters in general. These weapons are often used to cut the opponent or knock them out.
For the people of Thailand, this is their national sport but more than that it is a way of life.
Just like Boxers, MMA fighters or sports competitors, reaching the top of your field can change your life in every way, especially financially.
Thai fighters see it as a way to better their life also but ultimately it is their art and they are proud of it. Looking back at the history of some of the biggest Muay thai or full contact competitions in the world, you will see that it is often dominated by the Thai fighters. The current and most decorated modern Thai champion is Buakaw Por Pramuk with over 200 fights under his belt.
However with the popularity of the Art, there are now many great fighters and champions, such as Peter Aerts, Ernesto Hoost, Badr Hari and Remey Bonyaski aka ‘the flying Dutch man’, to name a few.
Muay thai techniques are clearly effective and extremely powerful, however it may not be for everyone.
Based on that point, it is important to choose a Style that works for you.
This is why it is such a great thing having so many different styles of Martial Arts to choose from, ultimately choose a style that suits you as an individual. Take into account your mind set, your physical strengths and finally what you specifically need it for.
Effectiveness in the cage or ring is one aspect but to defend yourself on the street and potentially against an armed attacker is a completely different thing. Some styles can cross over and be effective in both scenarios but other styles are purely sports based and their effectiveness is only in a competition with rules.
Choose wisely and ultimately what works for you however, incorporating Muay thai techniques into your arsenal can be a highly valued asset.