In case you haven’t heard, Muay Thai, otherwise known as Thai Boxing, is the beloved national sport of Thailand. This martial art was developed several hundred years ago as a form of close-combat fighting, and it’s all about using your entire body as a weapon. You become the weapon, you become pure dopeness. Unfortunately, many tomes of handwritten Muay Thai history was lost to the world when the Burmese ransacked Ayudhaya Kingdom, which was the capital of Thailand in the 14th century. Thus, its definitive origins are debated by scholars to this day, but the volumes that were saved are now national treasures, preserved and protected pieces of Thai culture and heritage.
Read on for more interesting facts on Muay Thai:
Muay Thai is called the “Art of Eight Limbs” because fighters always have eight different methods of striking, including punches, elbows, kicks, and knees.
Even though they win honor, respect, and title belts, Muay Thai fighters don’t make much money. Often, professional fighters earn only $100 per bout, or much less in the lower professional or semi-pro ranks. So it’s no wonder they fight every 3-4 weeks.
Muay Thai is a sport that requires serious training, many children in Thailand start at 6-8 years old, and have their first fight by 8-10 years old. Training centers often take on poor children, teaching them to fight while taking care of them. If the kids grow up to be accomplished fighters, their school and their family gets a share of the spoils.
In Thailand, Muay Thai fighters and practitioners are known as “nak muay”, while Western fighters are called “nak muay farang” or “foreign boxer”.
Muay Thai is still the national sport and pride of Thailand, with plenty of small matches being held all over the country – including in Koh Samui, as well as in bigger stadiums in Bangkok and other cities.
One of the most famous Lumpinee Champions was a fighter named Dieselnoi Chor Thanasukarn who reigned without defeat in the early 1980s. Holding the Lightweight Title for 4 years, he was eventually forced to retire because he was simply running out of opponents.