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Wai Khru in the West - How is it Perceived, Taught, Appreciated?

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Before I started getting to know the Thai culture, more specifically the Muay Thai culture I never knew why the Wai Khru was performed and what it even was. I even though it was a bit funny.

After learning a LOT (mostly thanks to Sylvie's insightful posts on her blog about Thai culture) I know and understand the meaning of the Wai Khru.

So this is a topic for those of you who train/had started training Muay Thai in the "West".

I'd like to know when and where did you learn your Wai Khru in the Western gyms? Is it as important as in Thailand to perform it? Who taught you the Wai Khru and who initiated it (in other words: did someone said "now you will learn the Wai Khru" or was is you asking to learn it?)

Who do you learn the Wai Khru from if your trainer doesn't want to teach you? Is it wrong to learn a Wai Khru from youtube?

How long does a Wai Khru has to be in the West?

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I train in a gym in the West with 5 Thai trainers. Not surprisingly we all do the Wai Kru from our first novice bout - our trainers will come up with unique Wai Krus for each student, which has elements of their trainer's style, as well as the fighter's personality. (Yes, we are spoiled rotten).

For someone like me, who gets stage fright badly, I am allowed to do a basic Wai Kru, which has served me relatively well for my last 13 fights.  This is a basic 2-minute version. Our pro fighters who enjoy doing the Wai Kru tend to do longer and more elaborate Wai Krus (up to six minutes), while the novice fighters tend to do a basic quick one similar to mine.

We understand that in the West, not every fighter will do the Wai Kru. We had 13 fighters compete in a show last year, and none of their opponents wished to do the Wai Kru. To save time, our Thai head trainer suggested we do the Wai Kru in batches of 4 or 5 prior to one of the fights. This worked really well. 

We have had students from other gyms approach us to ask about purchasing monkols and prajads, and saying that while they wished to learn more about the culture behind their sport, their Western trainers did not really encourage it. In that case, if you wished to learn the Wai Kru from a different source and to do it for yourself, your opponent, and the cultural aspects, then why not - even if your teacher is YouTube.

If your trainer can't respect this, perhaps you should reconsider whether your gym's beliefs align with your own.

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our trainers will come up with unique Wai Krus for each student, which has elements of their trainer's style, as well as the fighter's personality. (Yes, we are spoiled rotten).

That sounds very sweet. Master Toddy taught me my wai kru ram muay before my first fight, but it's not unique to me - he just has his own style that he teaches all of the fighters. 

Thanks to Micc for raising this topic, I'm interested to hear how different Western gyms use and teach the wai kru!

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I like the idea of a personal one its more special to you.

 

Our gym back home really only the full thai rules fighters do it and that's how it should be everyone else just seals the ring! If you ask our trainer will happily teach you but it's not compulsory.

Lots of shows in my country are no wai kru except the main or full rule fights. I know people need to learn but if I go to a show with like 20 fights and there's amateurs in full protective gear doing a 6 min wai kru I wanna scratch my eyes out! Lol

 

I don't always do it here depends on my mood. :)

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At my gym in Seattle, all of our fighters learn our short Wai Kru before their first fight. We have a longer Ram Muay as well, but rarely ever see/perform it. I asked to learn the full routine, and my kru smiled and said yes. There are not a lot of pure Muay Thai promotions out here in my part of the US (YET!), so a lot of the time you will fight on a kickboxing or mma promotion. In most cases, they don't let you perform anything pre-fight. You get in the ring/cage, touch gloves, bang it out, and leave. There isn't much more to it than that, sadly. Even for the bigger, televised Muay Thai events, they won't usually do a Wai Kru. We had a fighter on Lion Fight 21, and they didn't want to spend the television time on anything besides the walkout and fight. 

There are some good Muay Thai promotions, and I love those shows. Wai Kru, mongkon, music...everything is on point. We just need more of them! 

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In most cases, they don't let you perform anything pre-fight. You get in the ring/cage, touch gloves, bang it out, and leave. There isn't much more to it than that, sadly. Even for the bigger, televised Muay Thai events, they won't usually do a Wai Kru. We had a fighter on Lion Fight 21, and they didn't want to spend the television time on anything besides the walkout and fight. 

There are some good Muay Thai promotions, and I love those shows. Wai Kru, mongkon, music...everything is on point. We just need more of them! 

I was able to perform my Ram Muay for a handful of fights in the US before the promotion basically said that only pro's could perform one due to time constraints. And nobody else on the shows performed one,including pro's, so it wasn't really saving so much time as just omitting the tradition all together. In Thailand they'll sometimes tell you to hurry it up if the event is televised.

I can see how in the west, if there's no context given to the performance, it can be tedious or misunderstood. But informing the audience rather than simply omitting it feels better. I do laugh and sympathize with Kelly's comment as well though, that a 6 min Ram Muay for a 3 round fight in full gear feels a bit silly, but only because so much of Muay Thai is already missing from the modified, amateur rules. That said, you shouldn't have to be pro to pay respect to the traditions. There should be some kind of compromise.

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I first learned the Wai Kru/Ram Muay from Master K because I specifically asked (begged) him to teach me.  At the time, he wasn't teaching it to anyone, but I saw him practicing it on his own and started trying to mimic what he was doing.  I asked him to show me the whole thing, and he was hesitant at first, but I persisted and it became a regular part of everyone's training.  Since Master K taught me his version of the Wai Kru/Ram Muay, I've actually learned 4 additional ones, including the fully traditional version of the Wai Kru/Ram Muay that Master K's was based upon.

At the time, I didn't understand why he was hesitant to teach it, but now I think I do.  While the Wai Kru/Ram Muay can be "adapted" to suit anyones beliefs, lets not fool ourselves.  This is totally a cultural/religious ritual.  It goes beyond the Western mindset of simply paying homage...  there's a real "magic" to it.

I wanted to learn the Wai Kru/Ram Muay because my love of Muay Thai and the love I developed for Thai culture through Muay Thai.  I wanted to pay proper honor and respect.  Even so, not being Thai and not being immersed in Thai culture where I live, my performance of the Wai Kru/Ram Muay is really just a superficial thing...

I don't teach the Wai Kru/Ram Muay to my students normally.  In the past, I've tried.  What I've found is that when I try to teach these things, my students really take no real interest in them.  I see the glassy-eyed, far-off stare...  they're simply going through the motions because I'm telling them to do these things, but they don't FEEL it.  There's no PASSION there.  Hell, 2 of my private students are Thais who were actually raised in Thailand!  I thought that if any of my students would want to learn the Wai Kru/Ram Muay, they would!  Nope.  Not even remotely interested.....

It was hard to accept that my students weren't as passionate about the traditions as I was/am, but I've come to realize and accept the fact that *most* of my students aren't actually Thai or of a Southeast Asian culture.  They're not Buddhist.  We're not IN Thailand either where these rituals are expected.  We're Americans.  We're in the U.S.  Even if I were to teach them what I know, my understanding of these things only goes so far anyway....

So I've stopped teaching these things until the day a student approaches me as I approached Master K with a genuine desire to learn.  Otherwise I realize I'm just wasting my breath and their time.

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Further, I've also been a promoter since 2006.  When I promoted my own event series, I did my best to provide the opportunity for fighters to compete in a traditional Thai format.  We encouraged the performance of the Ram Muay, we played the traditional Thai music, we offered Full Rules fights for amateurs....

Now that I work with other promoters, we only kept the "full rules" choice.  Our event, like others mentioned above, frequently features 15-25 matches.  We only allow title fights to opportunity to perform the Ram Muay and have traditional music.  

When I first started working with these other promoters, we originally tried to do things traditionally, but we received COMPLAINTS not only from the audience, but from many of the PARTICIPANTS!  Granted, the complaining participants weren't from gyms with truly traditional Muay Thai programs, but those gyms make up the bulk of our participants.  We'd never fill a fight card if we only stuck with the traditional teams.  

Funny enough, even when given the option to perform the Wai Kru/Ram Muay and have the traditional music played, the gyms with traditional Muay Thai programs choose to forego the opportunity.

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This is totally a cultural/religious ritual.  It goes beyond the Western mindset of simply paying homage...  there's a real "magic" to it.

 

This is one of the most interesting things about the Ram Muay. It IS magic, or at the very least derived from magic. It's incantational. It isn't just "Thai", but it is Thai from the old world. Most of the beliefs surrounding the Ram Muay aren't even believed anymore. I'm pretty sure Master K does not actively believe them - he felt ashamed, he told us, about his sak yant for instance, done in sesame oil in his youth. But as with all matters of faith and a people's past you don't have to believe to BELIEVE. We were astonished to find that many Thais don't perform a Ram Muay, especially at festival fights, but sometimes at stadia too. These were often very experienced fighters who were foregoing a fancy formality and just were ready to fight. They had a distancing towards the heritage, and perhaps were even bemused at Sylvie's foreign respect paid to their own Thai past. It's so compelling to me that foreigners often are in the position of preserving or respecting aspects of Muay Thai that the Thai people themselves have an almost nostalgic connection to.

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Further, I've also been a promoter since 2006...When I first started working with these other promoters, we originally tried to do things traditionally, but we received COMPLAINTS not only from the audience, but from many of the PARTICIPANTS!  Granted, the complaining participants weren't from gyms with truly traditional Muay Thai programs, but those gyms make up the bulk of our participants.  We'd never fill a fight card if we only stuck with the traditional teams. 

 

Sylvie may have performed one of the last amateur Ram Muay's in NY, if I recall. She went ahead and did it after the main promotion decided to bar them...maybe Sylvie can correct me. I think this is something of a marketing mistake, though I certainly understand it and it is probably irreversible now. If Muay Thai only is marketed and understood as "stand up MMA" it will gradually just become K-1 (Glory, etc). Muay Thai, in my opinion as a marketer, needed to take both routes, the exotic Ram Muay "unique marital art" route and the brutal K-1 route. The reason why the Ram Muay is/was boring is because audience members (and fighters often) didn't understand what it was, what was happening. An informed audience - it wouldn't take much - would find Muay Thai more special, more unique. If Muay Thai is to be saved it can't just be stand up MMA.

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They had a distancing towards the heritage, and perhaps were even bemused at Sylvie's foreign respect paid to their own Thai past. It's so compelling to me that foreigners often are in the position of preserving or respecting aspects of Muay Thai that the Thai people themselves have an almost nostalgic connection to.

Isn't this happening in every culture that tends to be "westernized"? I see that in Poland a lot, hell I'm one of the people who hates Polish religious traditions and even though I'm open-minded to the world I don't like cultivating the religious traditions of my homeland. Some foreigners that I know are fascinated by it though...It's just so much going on that the foreign eye can't grasp and I won't go into details here, coz it's not on-topic. Let's just say, I can't accept that people are being easily manipulated - by the church and politcs the same. This is the reason I take a stand by not following them (even if noone notices my stand-up against it ;)).

I generally like secular traditions a lot more than religious that's why the Wai Khru doesn't sit well with me - maybe because I don't understand the culture just yet or maybe because I'm careful of cultivating a tradition I don't understand.

Thank you  ขุนเข่า for the great input!

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Further, I've also been a promoter since 2006.  When I promoted my own event series, I did my best to provide the opportunity for fighters to compete in a traditional Thai format.  We encouraged the performance of the Ram Muay, we played the traditional Thai music, we offered Full Rules fights for amateurs....

Now that I work with other promoters, we only kept the "full rules" choice.  Our event, like others mentioned above, frequently features 15-25 matches.  We only allow title fights to opportunity to perform the Ram Muay and have traditional music.  

When I first started working with these other promoters, we originally tried to do things traditionally, but we received COMPLAINTS not only from the audience, but from many of the PARTICIPANTS!  Granted, the complaining participants weren't from gyms with truly traditional Muay Thai programs, but those gyms make up the bulk of our participants.  We'd never fill a fight card if we only stuck with the traditional teams.  

Funny enough, even when given the option to perform the Wai Kru/Ram Muay and have the traditional music played, the gyms with traditional Muay Thai programs choose to forego the opportunity.

Thanks for this! It's interesting to hear a promoter's point of view on this subject. 

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Isn't this happening in every culture that tends to be "westernized"? I see that in Poland a lot, hell I'm one of the people who hates Polish religious traditions and even though I'm open-minded to the world I don't like cultivating the religious traditions of my homeland.

 

It's funny, it isn't even just western cultures that do this. One of Sylvie and my favorite Japanese animes is called Blue Exorcist. See the trailer below:

It completely exotifies the Catholic traditions of the west. Japanese kids go to "exorcist" school to learn how to cast out/destroy demons. Catholicism basically stands in the place of exotic Other in Japan (in this show) as Buddhism can in the west. It's the religion that is not "ours". So it isn't even what the west does, so much as any appropriation. I wrote about this a little in my Slow Cook vs the Hack guest post though, in terms of the west. The west, probably because it does so much appropriating, does exotify what it takes from a great deal. Really, really good point about Poland and Catholicism, something I would never think of or imagine. I'm sure that Thais feel the same way about westerners who are drawn to the traditional elements of Thai society and do not see their use as ideological at all. I am convinced that the show "Thai Fight" is ideological, but western eyes don't see it, the coded messages aren't for them. Another example is that Sylvie and I both have a very strong instinctual feelings of respect towards the King of Thailand, even though this is a hot-button political issue in Thailand.

But it isn't just that the foreigner is clueless, and the people in society see clearly. A foreign gaze for instance can also restore innocence and purity to something that has lost it's glow. Thais are not only bemused by Sylvie's Ram Muay (she fights before Thai only crowds mostly), many of them are excited and perhaps even moved by it. To use an analogy, I remember how Ying (who is a big filmmaker in Thailand, and a friend) talked about New York City where she lives part time, about how free artists were there to express themselves, not at all like Bangkok she felt. There was a radical freedom. A another filmmaker friend of mine from Denmark felt the same. To me NYC was an extremely jaded, at times soulless place filled with competition, but these foreigners saw through the "reality" of NYC to something pure, something real. I think that in misunderstanding a tradition (or a city, or a way of life) just as we do when we try to grasp the traditions of Thailand, we can also renew the tradition somehow. And this is probably something that has happened to traditions over the centuries in cultures everywhere. A tradition becomes old, unused, or even misused, but then it become exotified by outsiders and can be reborn. This isn't without dangers of course. There are all sorts of fantasies about the Other that go into this kind of exotification, and many of them are not about the liberty of those we are drawn to. It's a careful line to walk.

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Very interesting thread. As others touched on, tradition can reach a point of almost unconscious momentum where its meaning becomes either diminished or removed from understanding and consciousness. People do things more because they've always done them, without even knowing why, or they are abandoned altogether. I haven't don't much time in Thailand, but I spent almost seven years in Japan, and this is definitely the case. When you decide to spend time there and "become part of the culture," you pursue what that means in terms of language, tradition, and habits. Eventually you reach a point where the "authenticity" you presupposed feels hollow, because even the people and place practicing that authenticity seem to do so either unknowingly or unconsciously. Tradition isn't a conscious action as much as cultural inertia, a rock rolling down a hill that nobody really knows who pushed. That can leave you feeling jaded or contemptuous, particularly if you feel you have made an even better effort as a foreigner to understand the "native" culture than the natives, and also because you'll never be accepted as part of that culture even if you do. There was a release eventually when I just let that go and enjoyed the things I liked about the culture because I liked them, returning to the mindset I started with. I've taken that experience and mindset and applied it to my approach to Muay Thai. I'll do it in a way that I enjoy it, whatever that means, be it fighting, training, doing the Ram Muay, or learning about Thai culture or language to the extent that it interests me, but I have no desire to fall down the "authenticity trap" again, as I think it only leads to frustration. I do think that exotificatiin and Orientalism are actually useful tools in sparking interest, even strangely filtered interest, in elements of culture foreign to the observer and diminishing to the practitioner, and can lead them to being reborn/reinvented, and I also think traditionalism is in some way a fool's errand. I'm generally familiar with why the Ram Muay is done, learned a simple one of Coban's which I performed, felt it allowed me to visualize the fight prior and "see" better during it, and ultimately improved the overall quality of the show and technique of the participants, who all had to perform it. It was this both very "authentic" and positive to me, insofar as my own experience and meaning.

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Tradition isn't a conscious action as much as cultural inertia, a rock rolling down a hill that nobody really knows who pushed. That can leave you feeling jaded or contemptuous, particularly if you feel you have made an even better effort as a foreigner to understand the "native" culture than the natives, and also because you'll never be accepted as part of that culture even if you do. There was a release eventually when I just let that go and enjoyed the things I liked about the culture because I liked them, returning to the mindset I started with. I've taken that experience and mindset and applied it to my approach to Muay Thai. I'll do it in a way that I enjoy it, whatever that means, be it fighting, training, doing the Ram Muay, or learning about Thai culture or language to the extent that it interests me, but I have no desire to fall down the "authenticity trap" again, as I think it only leads to frustration.

 

Such a good post James. What exactly is the 'authenticity trap'? The idea that you will be accepted if you get close enough to authentic traditions? Or, the belief that there even are authentic performances of traditions?

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I think a bit of both. Westerners can be integrated and functioning at high levels in East Asian cultures, and still always remain "other," and that can be a trap in my mind, that you'll never be really accepted no matter how hard you try. But maybe more the latter, in that I don't think authenticity can be as singular or monolithic as we fantasize it to be. Culture and traditions are usually amalgams. For example, the idea that there might be one practitioner, or camp, whose Muay Thai is the "most authentic" I think might be a red herring. People have different ideas of what "Muay Thai" is, reflected in their stylistic differences, and do it equally well but differently. I've learned from a small handful of teachers who have been world and stadium champions who have done things differently, so who is the most authentic, and to what? Authentic to how "Muay Thai" has always been done? Authentic to winning in the ring, or to passing what they know on too others? I think ultimately we can only create our own authenticity to the meaning we both take from others and create for ourselves.

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People have different ideas of what "Muay Thai" is, reflected in their stylistic differences, and do it equally well but differently. I've learned from a small handful of teachers who have been world and stadium champions who have done things differently, so who is the most authentic, and to what?

 

With this I'll whole-heartedly agree. But I'm still exploring the value of the measure: authentic. "Most authentic" doesn't seem very useful at all, but there are experiences of authenticity (and inauthenticity) that seem informing. I've seen Muay Thai gyms in the west where people bow at the waist (something people do not do in Thailand), and use a host of other Japanese style dojo behaviors in order to, I assume, be more authentically Thai. Is it really just a free-for-all where pursuit of authenticity has no grounding? No compass point? It's just whatever ideas and practices we make up?

Pursuit of authenticity I think really comes down to affects, ways of feeling. We believe that if we hold similar ideas, and physically follow similar rites we connect ourselves to others, contemporary others, but also especially others of the past. If you are practicing a very old Wai Kru/Ram Muay for instance, this has promises of experience which are very different than one you just made up yourself. And if you come to think about the forms you are invoking in each of your actions, this too would have promises of experiences that are different from a made up ceremony, even if there are Thais that may do similar actions without really understanding or thinking about them much -- there have been Thais who did perform and think of them, it is those you are attempting to draw closer to, I think.

Of course these promises of experiences that connect you to others and to those in the past may be impotent - just fantasy we make up in our head, but it does seem like the continuity is important, that it creates something of that momentum that you talked about. The unconscious momentum of a culture doesn't just seem like empty action, but rather the rich, very condensed transport of beliefs and affects, even if they occur below the threshold of awareness. "That's just how it is done" does imply "That's just not how it is done" too.

A small example may be how to wai in Thailand. I'm not sure that asking who has the most authentic wai is meaningful at all. But for those who want to wai "how it is done" would want to be authentic about it, in the sense of having the right movements, but also the right (or more appropriate) states of mind that align their actions with the millions of wais going on in Thailand all the time, because you are trying to connect to those people. You want to communicate authentic feelings through your wai. You don't want to accidentally communicate things you didn't realize - I remember when Sylvie was scolded by a Thai woman that she did not wai like a woman - it was because she had copied the extremely informal, and even ugly wai of her male trainers of the camp, basically a nose-blow of a wai, like a dude. When you grasp what the wai is, and why it is the way it is (a foreigner has to sometimes think about concepts because they were not raised in a thing), you then can start communicating and expressing yourself through it. Though they are different, I think that the Ram Muay is a little like this for the westerner. It's the desire to connect to a state of being, and to be able to express yourself through that state of being. Really the same ambition that many have for Muay Thai itself.

Thailand-wai-Childhood-kid-wai-e14324527

Somehow this 9 month old from the gym, Nadt, upon just learning the wai can wai more authentically than I can after 3 years here. I find this fascinating. Sylvie has performed her Wai Kru/Ram Muay over 100 times in the ring, and there are still parts of it that she is trying to make more "authentic" in the sense of "true to the form" of what Ram Muay is, the state you want your body, mind and spirit to be in. Ram Muay as a process.

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I'm realizing we're probably biasing ourselves by saying that only conscious action is meaningful. Particularly if the actions center around psychological affects, connecting to spirits of the past...at some level, belief and feeling must come into play. I guess that's a quality of all rites and rituals, that they connect to some timeless archetype. Maybe "timeless" is a better word than "old," and I know that's how these things are spoken about by people like Joseph Campbell or Mircea Eliade...that ritual connects to the timeless, the eternal. Speaking again just from my own personal experience, I could certainly "feel" the authenticity on a spiritual level from Coban, in his Muay Thai, his Ram Muay, refereeing, and way he conducted himself. I think I could also empiricize, list, quantify those things, but I think that also missed the point. There is some element of "knowing it when you see (feel) it" that should probably be validated.

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There is something about the "authenticity trap" that jumped out to me that kind of falls in line with the concept of "passing" in the trans vernacular. I've often said that my struggle is being respectful in a culture that isn't respectful to me. That's a hard line; it's a bitter pill to swallow. But in the same way that in art you have to know the rules first and then break them on purpose, there's something about the parameters of authenticity that are more limiting to the "other," or the foreigner who is imitating it.

For example the wai as Kevin mentioned. When I was chided by this woman for "wai-ing like a dude," it was because it's not beautiful. I was coming off as impolite and potentially disrespectful, while performing a gesture that very literally means "to give respect." As a foreigner, I do have a slight buffer in that it's assumed I just don't know what I'm doing. These trainers at my gym could use this nose-blow wai all day long and 1) I'm not picking up the nuances as to why they wai to one person that way and absolutely wouldn't dare do it that way to someone of higher rank; and 2) it's their culture so they can be more loose in it. They can improvise.

It's like a kathoey, or the "ladyboy" of Thailand. Every movement is hyper-feminine, every piece of clothing and makeup is constructing the message of being a woman. As a Cis woman, I have more freedom; I'm not trying to "pass," so I can burp or wear a T-shirt that's soaked in sweat without true fear of being mistaken for a man. But for someone who is constructing the female (which Cis women are, too, just to a much less fine-tuned degree), a slip up is like letting the curtains fall. As an outsider to the culture, my lazy wai is "inauthentic." The exact same lazy wai by a Thai dude to a younger, lower-status kid from the gym is hyper-authentic. It's "street."

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Just to build off on the conversation about the Thai "wai"- most people don't actually realize there are different levels of wai-ing that indicate varying levels of respect depending on the depth of the bow and the hand position you use. The higher your hands are in relation to your body- ie. against your face vs. down at your chest, indicates greater levels of respect and/or worship. The highest level of wai-ing, where your hands are right at the top of your head tend to be reserved for occasions such as religious ceremonies.

I think its wonderful when people want to learn as much about the culture as possible and want to sort of be authentic, but it can be easy to unintentionally offend people by missing all the nuances.

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In our gym and about 85% of the other gyms across the country there is no attention or interest  in Wai Kru/Ram Muay, this is being caused by events often only having fights on K-1 rules and allso by not having knowledge about meaning and origine of Wai Kru. My opinion is that here we practice Thaiboxing (the european version) and not traditional Muay Thai. I'll do my Wai Kru if I have a fight on muay thai rules and if the organisation alowes it... Our headtrainer doesnt teach the Wai Kru,if students are realy willing to learn(what rarely happens) I will teach them with pleasure,I like to keep as much as possible original aspects of our sport , I allso enjoy sharing the true aspects of muay thai when are performing on Thai events across the country by showing the Ram Muay. I think it's part of evolution here  where people just come to events to see fighters walk to the ring and fight ,no time for tradition ,they often don't respect and /or understand. 
I'd rather see it otherwise but in this society "its all about money..."

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In our gym and about 85% of the other gyms across the country there is no attention or interest  in Wai Kru/Ram Muay, this is being caused by events often only having fights on K-1 rules and allso by not having knowledge about meaning and origine of Wai Kru. My opinion is that here we practice Thaiboxing (the european version) and not traditional Muay Thai. I'll do my Wai Kru if I have a fight on muay thai rules and if the organisation alowes it... Our headtrainer doesnt teach the Wai Kru,if students are realy willing to learn(what rarely happens) I will teach them with pleasure,I like to keep as much as possible original aspects of our sport , I allso enjoy sharing the true aspects of muay thai when are performing on Thai events across the country by showing the Ram Muay. I think it's part of evolution here  where people just come to events to see fighters walk to the ring and fight ,no time for tradition ,they often don't respect and /or understand. 

I'd rather see it otherwise but in this society "its all about money..."

I like that there's a "if you show interest, I will teach you" thing going on with your head trainer. In some cases in the west, I think people learn it without actually learning anything about it - same goes for in Thailand. But Thai people recognize elements that we as outsiders don't - we just don't have context for it - so it requires less explanation. Even if there's no "time" or allowance for a Ram Muay in the west, I think there should be some (even if it's very short) ceremonial homage to one's teacher upon entering the ring. That's a part of the tradition I feel is non-negotiable.

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In our gym and about 85% of the other gyms across the country there is no attention or interest  in Wai Kru/Ram Muay, this is being caused by events often only having fights on K-1 rules and allso by not having knowledge about meaning and origine of Wai Kru. My opinion is that here we practice Thaiboxing (the european version) and not traditional Muay Thai. I'll do my Wai Kru if I have a fight on muay thai rules and if the organisation alowes it... Our headtrainer doesnt teach the Wai Kru,if students are realy willing to learn(what rarely happens) I will teach them with pleasure,I like to keep as much as possible original aspects of our sport , I allso enjoy sharing the true aspects of muay thai when are performing on Thai events across the country by showing the Ram Muay. I think it's part of evolution here  where people just come to events to see fighters walk to the ring and fight ,no time for tradition ,they often don't respect and /or understand. 

I'd rather see it otherwise but in this society "its all about money..."

 

You are totally right!! That's how it goes in almost all gym's in Belgium... (not teaching  the Way Kru/Ram Muay to their members). The same for me, I never saw it or learnt it here.

 

Almost no one is interested in it and they almost all dislike it if they see it on an event, unfortunately.

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You are totally right!! That's how it goes in almost all gym's in Belgium... (not teaching  the Way Kru/Ram Muay to their members). The same for me, I never saw it or learnt it here.

 

Almost no one is interested in it and they almost all dislike it if they see it on an event, unfortunately.

In America people get very impatient or laugh at the Wai Kru when they don't know what it is. But I think that's a big part of it. If there was some kind of introduction or explanation provided by the announcer or the show, people might know what the hell they're looking at.

There's a stadium in Chiang Mai that has a westerner (German) guy on the microphone to talk about the fights and explain some things to the western audience while the fights are going. How the fight is being scored or whatever. But he explains the Ram Muay while it's happening in the first few fights. Even the Thai announcers will make comments about my Ram Muay when I fight - it's unusual, which they always comment about. I think this is good for the audience to have a chance to appreciate it, rather than just getting rid of it.

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