May 8, 2015
Things you May Not Know About Muay Thai
1. Not every Thai fighter does a Ram Muay, in fact across the country many do not.
2. Even female infants cannot pass over the top rope of a blessed ring.
3. Broadly speaking, a fight is assumed to be a 100% fight only when there is money on it by both parties.
4. Holding pads for a fighter is generally not a status position, it is that of a worker.
5. A few fighters seal the ring going in the opposite – that is clockwise – direction.
6. It is technically forbidden to fight in Thailand under the age of 15 (Child Protection Act – 2003).
7. Rangsit Stadium opening in 1996 had the first sanctioned (though separate) female ring, and heavily promoted female fights.
8. Due to gender/pedagogy issues female Thai fighters are disproportionately inexperienced in the clinch.
9. Once a mark of rare status, now western men easily can fight at Lumpinee and Rajadamnern. Some westerners have had their first fight ever there.
10. In most Thai gym settings instructors do not call themselves “Kru” or “Arjan”.
11. Female Thai fighters fight a great deal. In Chiang Mai fighting two fights in two stadia in a night is not unheard of.
12. The most exciting and bet on fights in the provinces are often child fights.
13. Starting Muay Thai after age 10 is considered old by some.
14. For many female Thai fighters their athletic/career prime is about age 16.
15. Saenchai fought two top opponents in one bout in 2009, one for three rounds, the other for two. A similar fight was fought in July of 1996 by Namkhabuan against two Frenchmen.
16. Thais do not warm up kicking pads before a fight.
17. One kneels down and rubs dirt in your hair, out of humility, before entering the ring.
18. The Nai Khanomtom legend is factually based on only 8 lines of Burmese verse.
19. In Bangkok you can only legally gamble on fights at Lumpinee and Rajadamnern.
20. The 1st permanent ring in Siam in 1921 featured both British Boxing and Muay Boran fights – western boxing has been in Thailand for over 100 years.
21. The lower status people get in the ring to corner (often youth). The authority figure remains outside the ring.
22. The Tiger King, a father of Muay Thai, was not called the “Tiger King” as a compliment.
23. It is not common to find sak yant on Muay Thai fighters in Thailand – they are not Muay Thai tattoos.
24. Some Muay Thai fighters consider it an advantage not to wear a mouthpiece.
25. Generally there are two main Thai fighting styles: the femur fighter (artful, defensive, countering), and the Muay Buk/Book, Muay Khao fighter (attacking, power, often knee fighter) – the femur fighter is more esteemed.
26. It has not always been that women could not fight at Lumpinee stadium. It is reported that for a period of about 3 years women fought at Lumpinee stadium in a separate ring in the late 1960s.
[edit: 7 once read: “It was illegal for Thai women to fight as recent as 1995” – this was something much repeated to me from many sources, but every time I’ve tried to confirm this have turned up empty. In 1995 the WMC came into existence with both the official backing of the Thai government, and a strong internationally flavored emphasis on female fighting it its mission. This coupled with the opening of Rangsit stadium marks perhaps the beginning of change in tide in recognized Thai female fighting. For more on the Rangsit stadium development, and the promotion of women fighting in Thailand read: Women in Lumpinee]
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