Muay Thai is the modern form (codified in the middle of the sixteenth century) of muay-boran itself from the Pradal Serey (formerly Khmer free boxing codified at the same time called from Kun Khmer), as well as certain martial practices. traditional (some of which are inspired by animal behavior). Some of the best known styles include:
muay-chaiya or “muay-giow” (southern style), this nineteenth-century style emphasizes quick thinking to find effective strategies. The posture is angular, the defense is privileged and the techniques of elbow and knee are particularly marked. Techniques from animals (including the tiger) are used.
the “muay-korat” (East and North-East), favors work in force, such as buffalo techniques.
the “muay-lopburi” (central region), the accent is put on intelligent gestures (work on the variations of trajectory and the feints of weapon).
the “muay-thasao” (North), the techniques consist in taking the opponent
and thematic styles such as the techniques of the white monkey (called Hanuman).
A formula summarizes the main styles of muay-boran: “The powerful fist of Korat, the spirit of Lopburi, the posture of Chaiya and the speed of Thasao. (Thai: หมัด หนัก โคราช ลพบุรี ดี ดี ไชยา เร็ว เร็ว ท่า ท่า เสา เสา). These non-competitive practices of Thai fighting art are grouped together (in Thailand) in the term “mae-mai muay-thai”.
The practice of Thai boxing is considered as national sport in Thailand. Many small training clubs (called “camps”) dot the country and welcome young people from the age of seven. Major fights are regularly broadcast every Saturday and Sunday by regional and national television channels.
For professionals, the fight takes place in five rounds of three minutes. It is preceded by a ritual “dance”: the Wai Khru Ram Muay during which the nak-muay (boxer) wears the mongkon (band of cloth around his head to mark the tradition of the Thai people and, among others, show respect to his coach as well as to optimize his mental perception). This dance is composed of codified gestures executed by the two adversaries individually and which can be specific to each school or style of muay-thai.
A small orchestra composed of a drum, a cymbal and a nasal oboe (pi), rhythm the different rounds of the fight.
The allowed shots are as follows: punches, elbow, knee and foot. The melee can be quite long, and are often the occasion of knee and can end with a projection or even be interrupted by the referee. The circular kick at different heights (head, trunk and thighs) is often delivered with the shin. The circular kick seems the most used and is often considered the “base shot” of the competition fighter. It is also possible to perform a broom in order to knock down and destabilize the opponent.
TVs around the world are relaying the great muay-thai fights in Thailand and Japan, especially the spectacular K-1 tournament (Japanese kick-boxing) with its 20,000 spectators and over $ 200,000 purses. This largely Muay Thai and Japanese karate style (kyokushinkai style) has also been influenced by many Southeast Asian practices, including Burmese boxing (lethwei) and Khmer boxing (kun-khmer).