To the average Westerner, many Asian martial arts look the same. But there are many differences both in history and execution. One of the lesser known but more effective martial arts originates in Thailand and is called Muay Thai.
The history is Muay Thai goes as far back as 1560 when it was made famous when King Nareusan was captured and allowed to fight for his freedom. Since, Muay Thai has become a national sport of Tailand and is popular worldwide. Muay Thai uses the “art of eight limbs” utilizing not only the tradition lims of feet and hands but also the knees and elbows.
Muay Thai is not just a form of sport or combat, it is a way of life and a child growing up in Tailand is taught ealy that being a trained Muay Thai fighter will take the dedication of a lifetime. A Muay Thai novice will train six days a week , four hours a day. They will attend Muay Thai camps, where they are trained by a master, and accepted into a family like atmosphere. In tradition, some Muay Thai trainees took the name of their camp as their surname.
In addition to Thailand, there are Muay Thai camps through out Asia, Europe and North America. Every year, thousands of men and woman from around the world will attend a camp, only a select few will finish. Some leave not because of the physical aspects but because of the mental requirements.
A young man from Anchorage Alaska in the US, named Tim Beard traveled to Thailand attend a Muay Thai training camp. He confesses in spite of this former military training and being in top physical condition, he found the Muay Thai training to be the mist difficult things he has ever chosen to do. But Mr. Beard also says it is the most rewarding things he has done. His new found self esteem has helped him in business and in his marriage. He is no longer angry, he has greater control over his emotions and has a new outlook onlife in general.
Muay Thai training is not just for men,it is a sport that is becoming more popular among women but for the sport and for self defense. Recently, in Bangkok, an area famous for its sex trade, so many innocent women were getting raped that an international w omens empowerment group has set up a Muay Thai Camp. While it is not as intensive as traditional Muay Thar training camps, it gives women the opportunity to learn self defense and more importantly self confidence. According to British spokesperson Emily Waring, “It is a stepping point for women who have been or afraid of becoming victims.”
Whether you enjoy Muay Thai as a serious way of life, a casual sport or just as a spectator, you know that it is one of the most exciting forms of martial arts in the world.