Muay Thai is a 2000-year-old art form and is recognized as the national sport of Thailand. Tracing the origins of modern day Muay Thai is difficult due to highly embellished oral tradition and a lack of written documentation.
According to Kat Prayukvong and Lesely D. Junlakan, the term Muay, originated as a practical fighting skill using the head, fists, elbows, knees and feet with or without additional weaponry. It was used on the battlefield at a time when hand-to-hand combat was primarily used. In the 2nd and 3rd century Muay, in conjunction with Buddhism, was initially used as a combat skill. Over time, Muay was used:
As a means of personal
As training for Royalty and the elite sport
For military training
For exercise and recreation
In fitness programs
Today, Muay Thai uses only four of the natural weapons—hands, elbows, knees and shins. Muay Thai’s popularity has grown rapidly and is now practiced in over 100 countries. It will also be presented for the first time as a demonstration sport in the upcoming summer Olympics.
Many people use Muay Thai not only as improving one’s physical ability, but also as a form of meditation and spiritual fulfillment. The sport itself embraces the Thai culture and Religion (Buddhism) as fighters perform a traditional dance known as the “Wai Kru” or “Ram Muay” before each fight paying respect to their teacher, their parents and their camp/gym. Amateur Muay Thai fighting has been sanctioned in several Canadian provinces including Ontario.
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