Muay Thai's Culture
Muay Thai is known as a distinctive and stunning martial art around the globe, but those in Thailand truly understand the culture of Muay Thai. Ask any student (students are called Nak Muay), in any of the Muay Thai camps, and you will learn the history of this sport and why the culture is so truly important in understanding what this martial art is all about.
Muay Thai is much more than just boxing, fighting, a workout, a weight loss program or self-defense, it involves ceremonial dances (known as the wai kru ram muay), history, pre-fight rituals and traditions. The culture of Muay Thai is part of the history and tradition and flows through all the training.
The principals of Muay Thai start with displaying respect inside and outside the ring. This principal is part of the culture and the tradition of Muay Thai, and is taught to be reachable by anyone with an uncluttered mind. Each trainer or Muay Thai camp will convey this principal in their own manner, but have one common goal in mind
- this culture, these traditions, are meant to make a lasting impression on you - if you are willing to pledge to the art of the eight limbs.
Understanding the Muay Thai culture will help you in understanding this incredible sport. Some aspects to consider are below:
- Muay Thai Dance - also known as the Wai Kru Ram Muay. This traditional dance is what you will see a majority of the traditional fighters perform before a fight. This ritual is taught when training in Thailand at a Muay Thai camp and includes the wearing of traditional garments.
- Muay Thai Music - also known as Sarama. This traditional music is played in the background at all Thailand fights. It helps to focus you and put you at ease when in the ring competing. Many will admit that when they hear the music, their blood starts pumping and they become entranced and ready to fight.
- Muay Thai apparel- also known as Mongkol/Mongkon and Prajioud/Prajed. Headbands and armbands are traditional garments of Muay Thai in Thailand. A mongkol or mongkon is a Muay Thai headdress that every fighter will wear and is said to give good luck and protection. The prajioud or prajed (armbands) are worn with the headdress and is said to provide the ultimate protection from evil spirts and ghosts.
- Muay Thai tattoos - also known as Sak Yant. Traditionally, these tattoos were done by Buddhist monks with bamboo needles and were said to give you good luck, protection from evil spirits, success in the ring and several other spiritual powers. Many people today practicing Muay Thai still get these tattoos.
There are a variety of rituals and traditions that make up the Muay Thai culture and are interesting even for those just watching the sport. However, if you want to truly learn the ancient sport of Muay Thai, you must learn their traditions and culture. Muay Thai camps in Thailand are proud to share this history with you.