Today, I want to write something about the sports of Muay
It holds a special fascination for me. The Muay Thai or tomoi is a sports full of tradition and discipline. It enunciates the following principles.
People fight and show their martial prowess in the ring. The ring symbolises a permanent structure with boundaries. If one fights, do it in the ring, subject yourself to the rules and regulations. You don’t fight outside the ring. You fight using the moves and techniques sanctioned by Muay
For politicians, the art of Muay Thai imparts important lessons. You fight your opponents in the ring. Don’t spill your fight into unsanctioned territory. You don’t defile fathers, father in laws, one’s private lives etc. you fight using sanctioned moves and legal techniques. You are not allowed to hurt your opponent when he is down.
Here is a short history of Muay
Muay Korat (Northeast) emphasized strength. A technique like "Throwing Buffalo Punch" was used. It could supposedly defeat a buffalo in one blow.
Muay Lopburi (Center region) emphasized movements. Its strong points were straight and counter punches.
Muay Chaiya (South) emphasized posture and defense, as well as elbows and knees.
There is a phrase about Muay Boran that states, "Punch Korat, Wit Lopburi, Posture Chaiya, Faster Thasao. (หมัดหนักโคราช ฉลาดลพบุรี ท่าดีไชยา ไวกว่าท่าเสา)".
Perhaps the most interesting ritual associated with Muay Thai /Tomoi is the Wai Khru Ram Muay. This is essentially a pre-fight ritual dance paying homage to your Muay Thai teachers. I have inserted a short video clip above to show what Wai Khru Ram Muay is.
Wai Khru Muay Thai is a tradition which goes back to ancient times, it is not an optional ritual or reserved for special occasions: the official Muay Thai regulations specify that both fighters must perform the Wai Khru Ram Muay before each and every bout. It's a tradition in which fighters pay respect to their teachers, parents and things they hold sacred and pray for their safety and victory. The ritual has been developed in different ways, in different regions, even under different teachers and therefore it is theoretically impossible for two fighters to perform identical Wai Khru.
The Wai Khru is graceful and aesthetic ritual, both practical and spiritual. In a practical sense, it functions as a final pre-fight warm-up and gives the fighter some time alone before the fight to collect his thoughts. It can be divided into three main sections:
- The Royal Homage Sequence
This was originally intended to show devotion to the King, going back to the days when fighters were selected to display their skills in front of him. It has three subsections: Prostration, Outstretched Arms and Act of Homage.
- The Kneeling Sequence
This section is performed in a kneeling posture, one knee on the ground and the other leg out in front. the fighter pivots around on the spot to repeat the same sequence facing all four sides of the ring, a tradition which comes from Krabi Krabong.
- The Standing Sequence
In this section, the fighters go out from the center of the ring in one direction, to perform the Dramatic Interlude. Some fighters imitate the motions of "Rama Shooting an Arrow" from the Ramakien, a hunter, a soldier, or an executioner. Some fighters use this ritual to attempt to scare their opponents, commonly by stomping around them. But in a deeper sense, the fighter is expressing religious devotion, humility, and gratitude. Transcending both physical and temporal limitations, he opens himself to the divine presence and allows it to infuse his heart.
My personal favourite is the King Rama Pheang Sorn. The fighter simulates shooting an arrow into the opponent. It is both graceful and ominous for the opponent. .
The Wai Khru (Paying respect to teachers) is one of the most sacred traditions of Muay