It was created as a way of unarmed struggle to protect itself from bandits and invaders and aimed at the quick finish with strokes like strangulation, twists, attacks on vital points and blows that could lead to instant death.
Muay Thai is the adapted muay boran and many elements of muay boran cannot be used in sports precisely because of the aggressiveness and danger they cause.
Muay Thay in modern times
Muay Thay has grown a lot in recent years, evolving to become Thailand’s national sport. Until 1930, Thais fought championships on any type of ground, often barefoot, with ropes instead of gloves and sometimes some tournaments used swords and sticks.
In the 1930s the Thai government used the boxing model for the ring, with a platform, ropes, a judge and points and time markings, in addition to making athletes wear gloves at official championships, transforming the fight into the sport it is today .
What are the benefits of Muay Thai?
Like any physical exercise, Muay Thai is good for the body through activity. You can check out some of the main benefits of the practice here:
Muay Thai training is ideal for developing muscle strength. Much of the muscles are worked, such as arms, legs, back, chest and abdomen, helping in muscle development.
Exercises done with a focus on strength usually use the body’s own weight, without the use of apparatus. This is the case with jumping jacks, push-ups and sit-ups, the latter two also fitting into localized muscle resistance exercises.
The practice of Muay Thai is able to improve the speed of the body through exercises related to specific movements. In the case of speed training in Muay Thai, the so-called sparing is used. Sparing is the practice of training the fight with a partner.
Stretches are part of Muay Thai training, and several strokes of the practice require flexibility to be correctly performed. Training Muay Thai improves the flexibility of the body, allowing you to reach more appropriate positions, both for fighting and for everyday life.
Like any martial art, discipline is extremely important for Muay Thai. Frequent and correct training ensures that the technique will be learned in the right way, as well as exercising discipline.
Discipline in the martial arts also involves respecting one’s own body and the opponent’s body.
A Muay Thai workout takes a lot of energy. On average, 60 minutes of practice can eliminate 500 to 750 calories, ensuring fat burning and, consequently, weight loss.
Although losing weight has more to do with eating habits than with physical exercise, practice is an important aid for weight loss.
If you decide to practice Muay Thai for fat loss, you will quickly notice the difference in your body.
Any sports practice, especially fights, improves motor coordination. Muay Thai requires movement of legs in coordination with arms so that there is mobility in the ring at the same time that attack and defense alternate.
It may seem difficult at first, but with practice, motor coordination evolves remarkably.
The focus on the fight is extremely important. Being distracted during combat or even a simple workout can make all the difference in performance. Even if you don’t plan to use Muay Thai as a form of combat, training requires concentration, which means that your ability to focus is exercised and also improves.
Fighting, like any sport that requires agility and quick thinking, improves reflexes. Reactions are extremely important for Muay Thai, both in attack and defense, and they tend to improve with frequent practice.
Physical and mental balance
The sum of discipline, focus, exercise and concentration helps to develop physical balance, with the strengthening of muscles and the health benefits of the sport. The mind is favored through sports and the adoption of healthy habits.
Because it is a very aerobic activity and also expends enormous amounts of energy, Muay Thai improves body metabolism. The body becomes more efficient in its expenditure of energy.
Like any martial art, Muay Thai can be used as a form of self-defense. The ability to fight, in addition to improving the confidence caused by it, are great allies when it comes to defending yourself.
Interaction and well-being
Muay Thai classes can be done in groups that encourage personal interaction, which is healthy for the mind and causes well-being. In classes, you can meet people and make new friends.
Who can do Muay Thai?
Anyone can do Muay Thai. Seriously, anyone. You may never have imagined yourself practicing a fight, you may be afraid that the practice is too strong for you or too violent, but it is true: anyone can practice.
Children as young as five years old train Muay Thai, as well as several people over 50 years old.
The physical exercise provided by the martial art has benefits for all age groups and all body types. You can be super thin or chubby, very young or old, but you can still practice.
If you don’t feel confident, thinking that you will “look silly”, for example, don’t worry. Everyone needs to learn from the beginning and in a class it is already possible to learn a lot from the basis of Muay Thai. With practice, everyone gets better.
Muay Thai for women
Muay Thai has grown among the female audience. In recent years, it has been realized that the practice of fighting is an activity that does enormous aesthetic good, in addition to being a great self-defense tool. The immense caloric expenditure is welcome for the definition of the body and the loss of fat.
In addition, the practice is pleasant. Every physical exercise releases endorphins in the body. Endorphins are hormones released into the body when we exercise, causing that feeling of pleasure after a run or a Muay Thai class.
In addition, there is the learning of something that most of the time is not part of the practitioner’s world, which is also extremely pleasurable.
Finally, the benefits of Muay Thai, listed above, are for all genders and ages.
Children’s Muay Thai
Children are welcome on the mat too! It is possible to practice Muay Thai from the age of five and there are places that offer classes even for children as young as three years old. In the case of younger children – between 3 and 6 years of age – it is more frequent that the activity is aimed at making them spend the energy that seems to be infinite at that age.
When they get a little older, the most focused techniques of Muay Thai can be applied, always taking into account the children’s age group, development and safety.
How to begin?
You can start practicing Muay Thai at any time. It is recommended to consult your doctor if there are conditions to be careful with, such as heart problems. Medical evaluation ensures that the sport can be practiced safely. After that, just sign up for a gym.
Muay Thai gyms provide most equipment, from punching bags to gloves. However, it may be a good idea to get some of the personal equipment for yourself. For example:
The training gloves can be the same as those used for boxing. They serve to protect the practitioner’s hands during training or fights and you can find them at any sports store.
Having your own gloves is an advantage as your hands sweat a lot and if you have to use the ones that the gym provides, you will probably have to share them with many sweaty hands, including yours.
The bandages are wrapped around the hands under the gloves and also serve as protection, ensuring that tendons, bones and joints suffer less impact.
You can use bandages suitable for the practice, which can be purchased in sports stores, or those in pharmacies, which are also efficient. Like gloves, gyms offer shared bandages and, like gloves, they are very sweaty.
The mouthguard serves to protect the practitioner from impacts on the face, preventing the mucosa from coming into direct contact with the teeth when being punched or kicked.
As this protector is inside the practitioner’s mouth, it is not available for sharing in gyms and must be purchased for personal use. Gyms can have the material for sale.
Finding a Muay Thai gym is essential to start practicing, as it is there that you will learn the necessary techniques for the sport. With the support of an instructor, you will learn to do the correct movements, efficiently and, especially, with less risk of getting hurt.
Fights are high-intensity sports and if the technique is not well applied, the risk of injury is great. Therefore, training with a qualified teacher is essential.
Basic Muay Thai moves
Muay Thai is known as the fight of the eight arms or eight limbs for using two parts of each of the four limbs that we have: arms (wrists, elbows) and legs (shins and knees).
Shins count as feet here. (If we are going to play with the technical part, we could call Muay Thai a fight for as many-members-as-you-want.)
The basic strokes of the sport involve these members and can be separated as follows:
The punches are an almost universal blow to the fights. They consist of impacts with a closed fist against the opponent. Within the classification of punches, there are several variations.
The jab is a weak but quick punch. Normally, the base guard position of Muay Thai places your dominant hand (the one you usually use for writing) close to your face and the other close to your opponent. This is not a rule and there are those who adapt better by positioning themselves the other way around.
At first, the jab uses its non-dominant hand (the one closest to the opponent) for a quick punch that can serve both to keep distance and to apply pressure or make an impact.
The straight is the punch that uses the hand closest to the face. This blow is slower when compared to the jab, since as the hand is further away from the opponent, it takes longer to reach him. However, also because of the distance and the way the muscles act, it has more force on impact.
There is also the crusader , a punch that, unlike jab and straight, is applied laterally and can use any of the hands.
The hook is usually applied at a short distance as it does not have much reach, but when properly applied, it can lead to the knockout easily. It aims to hit the side of the head and gets its name because the arm is hooked, usually coming from the bottom up.
The uppercut is a hook that comes directly from the bottom up, aiming to hit the opponent’s chin. Like the standard hook, it is a close-up shot and can also lead to a knockout.
The elbows are the strongest weapon of the upper limbs in Muay Thai. Some competitions even ban them, as it is common to cause tremendous damage and can break facial bones. The elbows are extremely hard, so they can hurt a lot.
They can be diagonal , fast but less powerful, overhead , which gives more strength, and upwards , which also have a lot of impact.
Kicks use feet and shins to strike. In side kicks, shins are often used because the bone is bigger and harder than the small bones of the feet.
However, there are frontal kicks, which usually use the heel to strike.
Front kicks can come from the bottom up and are known to lead to a knockout when they hit an opponent in the jaw.
The knee is one of the hardest parts of the body and the legs are the strongest members. It is no surprise that a knee can be extremely powerful in a fight.
Knee blows are applied to make a big impact and often to bring the fight to an end with a knockout.
A knee to the head – often applied through the so-called “flying knee”, a jump followed by a knee – is more than enough to disagree with someone.
The clinch is not a stroke in itself, but a technique. In a Muay Thai fight, fighters often appear to be stuck with each other, which is followed by several elbows and side knees.
Despite being a fight very focused on the offense, the defense techniques are extremely important.
The arms and legs are used to block blows. Shins are the main shields of Muay Thai, used to block low and medium kicks, and even those that reach the trunk when possible. The shoulders and arms also serve to defend high kicks, punches and elbows.
Graduation in Muay Thai
Originally, Muay Thai does not have a degree and in Thailand it is not used. However, with the popularization of the sport in the West, Muay Thai confederations began to graduate. The divisions, made by colors, are as follows:
- White (Beginner);
- White with red tip (Beginner);
- Red (Beginner);
- Red with light blue tip (Intermediate);
- Light blue (Intermediate);
- Light blue with dark blue tip (Intermediate);
- Dark blue (auxiliary instructor);
- Dark blue with black tip (Instructor);
- Preta (Teacher);
- Black and white with black tip (Mestre);
- Black and white with red tip (Grandmaster).
The criterion for graduation is the practitioner’s experience and is marked by the Kruang , a stripe placed on the practitioner’s biceps with the color of his graduation. With constant practice, a band change is expected every 3 months.
What is the difference between Muay Thai and kickboxing?
Lay people often confuse Muay Thai with kickboxing, as both use both upper and lower limbs, but there are differences.
The first difference is the historical one. Muay Thai was created in Thailand and has more than 2000 years of history, having accompanied the Thai people since its inception. It was created as a method of defense against invasions of territory and developed over the centuries, becoming the martial art that it is today.
Kickboxing was created in the United States, in the 1960s, by karate practitioners looking for a more focused practice in exchange for blows.
The main technical difference is that Muay Thai gives more focus to the knees and elbows than kickboxing, in addition to allowing kicks below the knee.
Kickboxing also has different modalities in addition to full contact in your competitions . They are the modalities of light contact , semi-contact ( semi contact ) and musical form.
Light contact does not use as much force, giving more value to the technique of strokes. Semicontact only allows blows above the waist, also using weaker blows. A musical form is a musical presentation with choreographed strokes with aesthetic intentions.
Muay Thai has only the full contact combat mode, also called full contact.
Muay Thai lose weight?
-Yeah . Muay Thai is a sport that uses up a lot of calories. It is a high intensity sport, requiring movements and the whole body in ways that can be exhausting.
The amount of calories expended during the practice varies from person to person, but it is estimated that the average in an hour and a half of training is between 800 and 1500 calories.
So, yes, it is possible to say that, combined with adequate food, the practice of Muay Thai can be a great help to lose weight.
You learned about the practice and history of Muay Thai, the eight-member struggle. Sport can have several benefits for the body, self-confidence and self-defense. Share this text with your friends so that they learn more about Muay Thai!