Muay Thai F.A.Q

Discussion in 'Thai Boxing' started by Ikken Hisatsu, Jun 24, 2005.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Ikken Hisatsu

    Ikken Hisatsu New Member

    The Muay Thai F.A.Q

    Stealing from Norms idea in the kickboxing forum I figure that the thai boxing forum also needs a FAQ in order to help out anyone who is new to the art. if anyone wants to add something feel free, I am far from knowing everything about muay thai so any corrections or extra bits are welcome :)

    Basic History

    The history of muay thai is long, kind of hard to get your head around, and also fairly contentious. No one is entirely sure when Muay Thai started, but from wars with neighbouring nations, especially Burma, the martial arts of Thailand were honed and perfected, making thai warriors some of the best soldiers around.

    The use of muay thai as an unarmed competition is also very old, and was used not only for entertainment and sport but also to keep the soldiers fit and focused. up until the 1900s, the fighters would fight in an arena more like a modern day sumo pit than a boxing ring. headbutts were legal as well as groin shots, and instead of gloves fighters would wrap their hands with hemp rope. However during the late 1920s this was viewed as simply too brutal, and thailand, seeking acceptance from the west, changed the rules of Muay Thai to what we see today (with the exception of groin shots which were allowed up until the 1980s)

    Muay Thai now, in Thailand, is very much an art motivated by national pride and money. For most fighters, it was either join a camp or live life as a dirt farmer or a street urchin. Its popularity has spread to Europe, especially Holland and the eastern european countries, as well as Australia and New Zealand, and more recently America.


    The rules of Muay Thai are pretty loose. Any kind of punching technique is allowed as well as using the elbows. kicks and knees of any kind are allowed to any part of the body except the groin and front of the knee. Clinching, or stand up grappling, is also a big part of muay thai. in thailand fighters are allowed to fight in the clinch for quite a while before it will be broken up, so long as they are active. throws are allowed so long as you do not throw the opponent over any part of your body except the leg (for example, judo throws using the hip are not allowed)

    Muay Thai as a ring sport is stand up only- once a fighter hits the ground, he is stood back up and either given a count or allowed to continue fighting, depending on whether it was a knockdown or a slip.

    Fights take place in a boxing style ring, and depending on whether its amateur or pro, rounds are 2 or 3 minutes long. The number of rounds can vary but usually set at 5 rounds.


    Ever wondered what all those things you see adorning a fighter actually are? well hopefully this will shed some light.

    Gloves- obviously, gloves go on the hands and are for punching. duh. the size of the gloves is dictated by the weight of the fighters and the organisation they are fighting under. Usually between 10-14oz. its important to note that gloves used for sparring and bagwork are not the same. gloves used for sparring are usually a lot more expensive and are designed for hitting people, not bags. and vice versa for bag gloves, except they tend to be quite a bit cheaper.

    For the rest of the equipment we will refer to this happy looking fellow-

    Going from the top-
    The Mongkon is the headband worn around the head of a fighter. It does however not belong to the fighter- in fact he is never supposed to touch it, only his Kru (teacher) does that. I have heard that fighters used to wear it during the bout as well, but I dont know if thats true or not, because I can imagine it would fall off quite often.

    Pong Malai- the wreath of flowers worn around the neck. Not strictly a muay thai thing, they are worn by people outside the ring as well, and are usually a gift from friends or fans.

    Armbands (Prajit) are worn by the fighter as symbols of good fortune and protection, usually made by the fighters friends or family or coach. they are tied around the bicep and are worn for the entire fight.

    Shorts- Probably one of the more noticable things about muay thai fighters are the dashing and sexy shorts they wear, in an attempt to show off their legs to any ladies in the audience ;) They also have a functional purpose, they are much easier to kick in than pants, and can act to give an idea of the fighters personality. they also usually show the fighters name and his gym.


    The nitty gritty of muay thai- what techniques are used? I am not going to list all of them in detail or I would be here forever, so a basic description will suffice-

    Jab- The basic "can opener" which is pretty much the same as you will see in a boxing match. a fast snappy punch with the lead hand, used to hide other attacks and set up for a cross. Unless you are Muhammad Ali dont expect any knockouts from this.

    Cross- Same deal as the jab but with your rear hand. this means you can get more twist in your hips when you throw it, and because in muay thai you usually have your dominant hand at the rear, it can make it a knockout blow if you land it cleanly.

    Hook- This is kind of hard to describe, so instead, how about a lovely gif image?

    Uppercut- Again, kind of hard to describe, so I will leave it up to Masato to show us how its done-

    Elbows- Elbows are thrown in a similar way to punches, i.e. using the torque of the body to put force behind the swing. however for an elbow you are of course hitting with that spiky thing on your arm and not the glove, and they are also much more of a close range weapon, specifically for use in the clinch.

    Knees- Along with elbows, knees are the "trademark" of muay thai. And for good reason, having been on the recieving end of some very hefty knee strikes, I can say they are easily capable of ending a fight with one shot. the mechanics of a knee are, like most techniques in Muay Thai, quite simply- you throw your hips forward while pushing your knee outwards at the same time, with your foot pointed towards the ground. You dont have to be in a clinch, but it usually helps, in order to keep the other guy in one place while you beat on him.

    Roundhouse kicks- Another staple of muay thai, the roundhouse kick. basically, the foot is lifted off the ground and the shin is "thrown" at the opponent. there is no chambering, snappiness, or anything pretty here- simply body destroying power.

    Of course there are more techniques in Muay Thai, but these are the basics.


    A lot of people will look at Muay Thai and see nothing but a brutal ring sport. The spiritual side of Muay Thai is something close to my hear and of a lot of people who train in it- go to any gym and you will hear the stories of how people who were formerly thugs, criminals, and junkies found themselves reborn through Muay Thai. Thai boxing is a very physically demanding sport, and people without dedication and discipline simply will not be able to hack it.This kind of hard training is very good for your soul as well as making you fit. It gives you willpower, mental endurance, and confidence. In fact, these are the reasons why the ancient kings of Thailand were keen for their soldiers to participate in the sport. Anyone who tells you that Muay Thai is not a traditional art, or not spiritual, is a fool. So, first an explanation of the ceremonies that happen before a fight-

    Wai Kru- The Wai Kru is the three bows that are performed to show respect to the fighters coach and ask for protection from the gods.

    Ram Muay- The Ram Muay is an intricate dance, that varies from gym to gym and fighter to fighter. It was probably originally a stretching exercise, and still is, but also can mean many other things- a taunt to your opponent, respect to your Kru, a request for protection from harm. It also gives the fighter time to collect his thoughts before a fight.

    Common Myths and misconceptions

    Hollywood has a lot to answer for when it comes to Muay Thai. I was working out in the boxing studio at the gym the other day, when a fellow approached me and wanted to ask me some questions. Some of them seemed ridiculous to me, but unfortunately, are what the general public think of kickboxing and Muay Thai. Some of these myths are-

    -Kicking trees. this is probably the biggest misconception in relation to Muay Thai, something that Jean Claude Van Damme can be proud of. Yes, in ancient times before the heavy bag was around, fighters in thailand would kick young banana trees. Banana trees are, however, quite soft and give easily. the oak tree down at the local park, does not. And also, you will not find gyms in thailand that still use this method- so why on earth would anyone else?

    -Hitting your legs/rolling things on your legs. This is related to the above. While it is a method that can be used, and it will work, it can also cause major damage to your legs. If you are the kind of person who would use this method as a "shortcut" to conditioning, you are in the wrong sport. conditioning for every fighter I know involves kicking the heavy bag. lots.

    - Muay Thai is all about who has the strongest chin. This is not true at all. Muay Thai has MANY defensive maneuvers, including parries, slipping, the shield, "hollowing" and swaying backwards from high kicks. Look at Kozo Takeda, who is ranked 9th for his weight at Lumpinee stadium, the most highly contested stadium in thailand- and he was dropped by a jab from Buakaw. he may not have a strong chin but this hasn't stopped him becoming one of the best fighters in the world.

    -They make you fight on the first day. This is one thing that my friend in the gym was scared of- he thought that on your first day, you would be fighting full contact! This is very untrue, no respectable Muay Thai coach would let you spar until both you and he thought you were ready. at both the gyms I train at, people are expected to have been training for a couple of months before they start sparring.

    What to expect

    Muay Thai is a very physically demanding martial art. so whats the best way of getting fit enough to do it? by joining up of course! When I started I was a 58kg drug abuser- hardly prime fighting material, and I often couldnt walk after class, but after a couple of months my level of fitness was FAR greater than when I started. Most classes will look something like this-

    Skipping or maybe a run to warm up, then stretching.
    Shadow boxing
    Padwork- this is usually the biggest aspect of the class, where you will learn to throw combinations, defend and counter attack, and practice drills
    bagwork- bagwork is essential to adding power to your techniques as well as conditioning. in our gym, we are often expected to do bagwork in our own time if we can, but also occasionally alternate nights with sparring to focus on bagwork.
    Sparring- Sparring, as a rule, involves hitting people. hard. the rules used can vary from gym to gym- many gyms will use larger gloves than you would fight with, and shin guards and headgear, for the reason that people have to go to work the next day without being covered in bruises :D. Also while there is regular sparring there is also clinch sparring, where you do not punch but instead "wrestle" standing up, throwing knees and attempting to unbalance the opponent. this is an essential and often underpracticed (outside of thailand) part of training.

    Links - A great site for information on muay thai, games, and the forums have a large amount of muay thai multimedia. - A less active site with a slightly confusing layout, but mostly populated by New Zealanders such as my scummy self, my coach, and other trainers and fighters including John Wayne Parr. These guys REALLY know their stuff.

    Thanks to:

    Norm for giving me the idea
    Khun Khao for his awesome E-book, it has taught me a lot about muay thai. If I can find a link to it I will post it here.
    my coaches for showing me how to do the stuff here in the first place :D
  2. Bruce Irving

    Bruce Irving New Member

    thanks for this post i was wondering what "Pong Malai" were actually called, and what there referance to the sport was. nice post in my eyes.
  3. YODA

    YODA The Woofing Admin Supporter

    Excellent post Ikken!

  4. LJoll

    LJoll Valued Member

    Wow. Definalty the best thing I've seen on this site. Must have been hard work.
  5. |MT|omar

    |MT|omar Thai Boxer

    Great post Ikken, good work
  6. Artice

    Artice New Member

    nice post, ive always wondered what those things they have on their head
  7. Korpy

    Korpy Whatever Works

    Excellent, I'm reading this right now, it's wonderful.

    *Clap* *Clap* *Clap*

    Ikken you're awesome.

    All thanks Ikken and Norm for taking the time to make these threads.

    They are great! :cool: :)
  8. Korpy - I wondered how long it would be before you found this thread, too :rolleyes:

    I'm only too glad to help - it's fun. Dunno about him.
  9. Korpy

    Korpy Whatever Works

    I know I found it quick.

    Hey Norm could you put video clips of Kickboxing on yours too?
  10. Ophqui

    Ophqui Valued Member

    ^Just a quick point about this, it was my understanding that the armbands were called kruang ruang, although i have heard the term prajit before, and i thought it meant a good luck charm in general, not specific to the armband. Am i right or are you?

    Other than that, great thread, well informed and well written.
  11. Ular Sawa

    Ular Sawa Valued Member

    Excellent post Ikken, one of your best. Very thoughtful. However I also did like your "If you were going to die, how would you?" post. That showed a lot of imagination.
  12. nForce

    nForce Banned Banned

    Yep theyre called Krung Rangs but i have heard Prajit used before, both used to describe same thing.

    Great post
  13. Khun Kao

    Khun Kao Valued Member

    Here are the links to the e-book. I was not the real author. Someone, who remains unnamed, compiled this collection of instructional articles from off the web and created the book. He 'borrowed' from me and a few other authors. It would be fair to say that at least 1/3 of the written stuff (NOT the photo tutorial parts) was my stuff.
  14. Khun Kao

    Khun Kao Valued Member

    Kruang Ruang is an armband. Paprachiat (or Prachiat) is a good luck symbol or talisman. The two terms are used interchangeably.
  15. Ikken Hisatsu

    Ikken Hisatsu New Member

    thanks for that Khun Khao, I was hoping you would contribute since you know a lot more about it than I do. if theres anything else you want me to add send me a PM or post it here
  16. sportmuaythai

    sportmuaythai Valued Member

    Just a little spelling correction so the pronounciation will not be confusing.
    Pa-prajiat ( Pa=cloth)
    Incidentally, Krueng-rang is simply a charm or object that has been blessed. Kruengrang may be wraped around by Pa-prajiat.
  17. MuayKiDo

    MuayKiDo Che!

    To add on the prajiat/krueng rang subject, the pahayuth textbook states:

    Or protective Charms

    The Thai people have believed in the magic arts since ancient times. Few people can compare to the Thai in this respect. In groups and circles all over the country, people still believe wholeheartedly in these arts.

    The study and practice of Pahuyuth, or Thai Boxing (Muay Thai), has a well known reputation regarding magical powers, which have been studied by many. It goes without saying that students in all vocational areas are created by teachers, and one cultural heritage buried deep in the hearts and minds of the Thai people is that the student is always respectful, polite and forever grateful to the teacher.

    The Thai Boxing (Muay Thai) teacher instructs the fighter over and over in magical formulae and incantations and when the fighter is entering the ring gives him protective charms to ensure that he keeps his strength, resilience and determination. These elements of the magic arts proved their powers for all to see in the old days.
    This custom is illustrated by old drawings of Thai warriors in battle sometimes wearing shirts with magical letters and symbols or sashes with magical designs and numbers, as well as having tattoos all over their bodies--all of which provided miraculous protective powers during battle. Whether struck by a sword, stabbed with a knife, or hit by and arrow or bullet, there was never even the slightest sign of a wound--merely a burn mark.

    However, faith and belief in these magical powers have been very much weakened because persons with evil designs have used them in unacceptable ways. This has been a bad development for the practice of the magic arts.
    The protective charms that will be described are those found at the present time.


    None of the powers of the magic arts has an effect on the highest part of the human body, the head, so practitioners of the art of Muay Thai devised the Mongkon. The Mongkon consists of a narrow strip of cloth containing magical letters or symbols, that has been rolled up tightly, so that it resembles a finger-thick cord, and then tied with sewing thread or sacred protective thread "sai sin". Next it has been wrapped with a second strip of cloth that has been blessed by a master of the magic arts. And finally, it has been twisted into a coil and the ends tied together so as to form a tail which, when the Mongkon is placed on the boxers head, extends away from the back of the head.

    The Mongkon is worn during the pre-fight rituals of "Wai Kruu", or paying obeisance to the Muay Thai teacher, in which the boxer performs "ram muay" or boxing dance. After completion of the "ram muay", it is removed by the trainer or handler before the first round commences.
    In some locals the "mongkon" may be made by twisting strands of sacred protective thread into a cord somewhat larger than the thumb and long enough to be formed into an oval coil that will fit on the boxers head. The cord is then secured by wrapping it with a piece of cloth containing magical numbers or designs. The ends of this "mongkon" stick out from the back of the boxers head like the wick of a candle.

    Whether one of the types listed above, or in some cases just a coil of plain rope, the "mongkon" is a protective charm that is believed to give auspiciousness to the fight and protection to the fighter against various dangers. It is favored by fighters of every region of the country and it is of note that in the old days if one wished to know from which region a fighter hailed, one only had to observe the fighter's "ram muay" to pay obeisance to his boxing teacher and the "mongkon" he was wearing, since the identifying characteristics of these were known to all and nobody had to ask.

    At present, though, strict observances regarding the "mongkon" have become blurred to the point that identifying characteristics of each region or locality are no longer distinguishable; only a hodge podge remains. Moreover, nowadays it is not even possible to identify the "mongkon" or "praciat" of a particular training camp or an individual boxer.


    The praciat is another protective charm. It is worn around one or both of the boxers biceps throughout the fight and consists of thin, high-quality white cloth called "pha salu". It is sometimes red, however, depending on the preferences of the boxing teacher or the specifications of the protective charm itself. In general, the "praciat" contains numbers or symbols called "maha amnart" or "chatri mahayanta" infused with magical powers by a teacher or a master of the magic arts. The writing of these numbers or symbols on the "praciat" is accompanied by a ceremony in which magical formulae and incantations are recited. Old drawings show that in the past, Thai warriors often wore the "praciat" around their arms or head when they went into battle for it could mysteriously protect against and ward off dangers. Back then it was a piece of cloth containing magical letters and designs rolled into a coil and worn around or over the head while fighting. In relatively more recent times, during the reign of King Rama 1, for example, we find the abbot Chaem of Chalong Monestary in Phuket pre-pared "praciat" for his followers to wear around their heads when fighting the Chinese secret societies.
    Nowadays, the Muay-Thai fighters wear the "praciat" around his upper arms and if he is a strict believer, it will both impart power and strength and provide protection during a fight.
  18. Nuk_Muay

    Nuk_Muay New Member

    I've always been taught that Kruan Ruang was the armband. In our organisation S.T.B.A Nai Khanom Tom (Scottish Thai Boxing Assosciation) they also double as our grade. I'm assuming this is status quo in other UK gyms?
  19. Lexr

    Lexr New Member

    I've had limited experience with muay thai fights, but I have never seen a Thai boxer perform rear leg twisting kicks (back kick, spinning hook kick etc.) and take advantage of the backward tungeon twisting motion to deliver a devastating back kick. Are these kinds of strike illegal in Muay Thai sparring? Whenever I watch Thai boxing I see open opportunities to spin around and knock the opponent off the line, but they seem to prefer to counterattack with low roundhouse kicks, punches, and clinching knee strikes. I'm a noob when it comes to Muay Thai, so forgive me it this is completely ignorant.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page