In the late eighteenth century, during one of the many wars between the Kingdom of Burma and the Siamese kingdom of Ayutthaya(in modern-day *Thailand), a famed Thai boxer named Nai Khanomtom and several of his comrades were captured and held in Burma. After seven years of captivity, the Burmese king organized a festival. He wanted to see his Burmese boxers fared against the Thai boxers. Nai Khanomtom was chosen to represent the Thais against the Burmese champion. As is custom, Khanomtom opened the fight with his Wai Kru dance—this mystified the Burmese, who had never seen one before. He then brutally knocked out the Burmese champion. The Burmese thought the Wai Kru was some sort of black magic which had aided him, and the king ordered that he face more Burmese boxers. Man after man fell. The tenth Burmese boxer to face Khanomtom was a champion, but was mangled by Khanomtom's kicks and was knocked out just as the previous nine had been. After seeing this, no Burmese fighter dared step into the ring with him. The Burmese king was impressed with Nai Khanomtom, and is believed to have said, "Every part of the Siamese is blessed with venom. Even with his bare hands, he can fell nine or ten opponents.But his Lord was incompetent and lost the country to the enemy. If he had been any good, there was no way the City of Ayutthaya would ever have fallen." The Burmese king granted Nai Khanomtom his freedom along with the choice of two beautiful Burmese women or a large sum of gold (Khanomtom took the wives, saying that money was much easier to find) and his triumph is celebrated every year on March 17 in Thailand as National Muay Thai Day. However, the martial art that Khanomtom used was not called "Muay Boran." There are several old styles that were developed in various regions of Thailand that are now lumped into the term Muay Boran (literally "Ancient Boxing"), such as "Muay Chaiya," "Mae Mai Muay Thai," "Muay Lopburi," and "Muay Korat." But regardless on which regional variant it was, both have been driven to near-extinction due to the popularity of the ring sport we now know as "Muay Thai" (or, "Thai Boxing").
Muay boran was originally developed for self-defense and also taught to the Thai military for use in warfare. Matches between exponents of the art then began to be held. These soon became an integral part of Thai culture with fights being held at festivals and fighters from the different areas of Thailand testing their styles against each other. Fighters began to wrap their hands and forearms in hemp rope which not only protected their fists from injury but also made their strikes more likely to cut an opponent. Muay boran fighters were highly respected and the best were enlisted into the King's royal guard. During the 1920s-30s King Rama VII modernized the Thai martial arts competitions, introducing referees, boxing gloves, rounds and western boxing rings. Many of the traditional muay boran techniques were banned or were not practical with the addition of the new rules, and so muay boran went into decline.
|Cross||หมัดตรง||Mat trong||[màt troŋ]|
|Hook||หมัดเหวี่ยงสั้น||Mat wiang san||[màt wìəŋ sân]|
|Swing||หมัดเหวี่ยงยาว||Mat wiang yao||[màt wìəŋ jaːw]|
|Spinning Backfist||หมัดเหวี่ยงกลับ||Mat wiang klap||[màt wìəŋ klàp]|
|Uppercut||หมัดเสย/หมัดสอยดาว||Mat soei/Mat soi dao||[màt sɤ̌j], [màt sɔ̌j daːw]|
|Cobra Punch*||กระโดดชก||Kradot chok||[kradòːt tɕʰók]|
The punch techniques in Muay Thai were originally quite limited being crosses and a long (or lazy) circular strike made with a straight (but not locked) arm and landing with the heel of the palm. Cross-fertilization with Western boxing and western martial arts means the full range of western boxing punches are now used: lead jab, straight/cross, hook, uppercut, shovel and corkscrew punches and overhands as well as hammer fists and back fists.
As a tactic, body punching is used less in muay Thai than most other striking combat sports to avoid exposing the attacker's head to counter strikes from knees or elbows. To utilize the range of targeting points, in keeping with the center line theory, the fighter can use either the Western or Thai stance which allows for either long range or short range attacks to be undertaken effectively without compromising the guard.
The elbow can be used in several ways as a striking weapon: horizontal, diagonal upwards, diagonal downwards, uppercut, downward, backward spinning and flying. From the side it can be used as either a finishing move or as a way to cut the opponent's eyebrow so that blood might block his vision. The diagonal elbows are faster than the other forms, but are less powerful.
|Elbow Slash||ศอกตี||Sok ti||[sɔ̀ːk tiː]|
|Horizontal Elbow||ศอกตัด||Sok tat||[sɔ̀ːk tàt]|
|Uppercut Elbow||ศอกงัด||Sok ngat||[sɔ̀ːk ŋát]|
|Forward Elbow Thrust||ศอกพุ่ง||Sok phung||[sɔ̀ːk pʰûŋ]|
|Reverse Horizontal Elbow||ศอกเหวี่ยงกลับ||Sok wiang klap||[sɔ̀ːk wìəŋ klàp]|
|Spinning Elbow||ศอกกลับ||Sok klap||[sɔ̀ːk klàp]|
|Elbow Chop||ศอกสับ||Sok sap||[sɔ̀ːk sàp]|
|Double Elbow Chop||ศอกกลับคู่||Sok klap khu||[sɔ̀ːk klàp kʰûː]|
|Mid-Air Elbow Strike||กระโดดศอก||Kradot sok||[kradòːt sɔ̀ːk]|
There is also a distinct difference between a single elbow and a follow-up elbow. The single elbow is an elbow move independent of any other move, whereas a follow-up elbow is the second strike from the same arm, being a hook or straight punch first with an elbow follow-up. Such elbows, and most other elbow strikes, are used when the distance between fighters becomes too small and there is too little space to throw a hook at the opponent's head. Elbows can also be utilized to great effect as blocks or defenses against, for example, spring knees, side body knees, body kicks or punches.
|Straight Kick||เตะตรง||Te trong||[tèʔ troŋ]|
|Roundhouse Kick||เตะตัด||Te tat||[tèʔ tàt]|
|Diagonal Kick||เตะเฉียง||Te chiang||[tèʔ tɕʰǐəŋ]|
|Half-Shin, Half-Knee Kick||เตะ ครึ่งแข้ง ครึ่งขา||Te khrueng khaeng khrueng khao||[tèʔ kʰrɯ̂ŋ kʰɛ̂ŋ kʰrɯ̂ŋ kʰàw]|
|Spinning Heel Kick||เตะกลับหลัง||Te klap lang||[tèʔ klàp lǎŋ]|
|Down Roundhouse Kick||เตะกด||Te kot||[tèʔ kòt]|
|Axe Heel Kick||เตะเข่า||Te khao||[tèʔ kʰàw]|
|Jump Kick||กระโดดเตะ||Kradot te||[kradòːt tèʔ]|
|Step-Up Kick||เขยิบเตะ||Khayoep te||[kʰa.jɤ̀p tèʔ]|
The two most common kicks in Muay Thai are known as the thip (literally "foot jab") and the te chiang (kicking upwards in the shape of a triangle cutting under the arm and ribs) or roundhouse kick. The Thai roundhouse kick uses a rotational movement of the entire body and has been widely adopted by the practitioners of other combat sports.
|Straight Knee Strike||เข่าตรง||Khao trong||[kʰàw troŋ]|
|Diagonal Knee Strike||เข่าเฉียง||Khao chiang||[kʰàw tɕʰǐəŋ]|
|Curving Knee Strike||เข่าโค้ง||Khao khong||[kʰàw kʰóːŋ]|
|Horizontal Knee Strike||เข่าตัด||Khao tat||[kʰàw tàt]|
|Knee Slap||เข่าตบ||Khao top||[kʰàw tòp]|
|Knee Bomb||เข่ายาว||Khao yao||[kʰàw jaːw]|
|Flying Knee||เข่าลอย||Khao loi||[kʰàw lɔːj]|
|Step-Up Knee Strike||เข่าเหยียบ||Khao yiap||[kʰàw jìəp]|