Muay Thai: Thailand's Form of Kickboxing
Though Muay Thai originated in Thailand hundreds of years ago, the martial art form remains the national sport of the nation. The 20th century has seen its spread across the globe and many cultures have adopted the fighting style.
Muay Thai is a form of close-contact which requires the use of the full body and demands rigorous personal, mental and physical discipline from its practitioners. Though this fighting style requires no weapons, its central moves are designed to transform the body into weapon-like formations. It is for this reason that practice is sometimes known as “The Art of Eight Limbs.”
Weapons of War Mimicked by Muay Thai
- Armor. Muay Thai fighters train themselves to use their shins and forearms as armor. In combat, these areas of the body protect the fighter against blows.
- Swords & Daggers. The hands are a critical offensive weapon and enable the fighter to strike at and slash toward his or her opponent.
- Hammers. Each elbow is trained to deliver hammer-like blows; when the hands aren’t acting as the sword or dagger, the elbows swing with crushing downward force.
- Ax & Staff. Through disciplined study, the fighter trains his legs and knees to work as the ax and staff.
Muay Thai developed in a tribal context during a period of mass migration southward; as tribes traveled from China through Vietnam, Laos and other regions, they perfected the practice during hostile encounters as they moved through unfriendly territory. Like many fighting styles, the original practitioners were male; however, the past century has seen a surge in female fighters throughout the world.
Some speculate that particular moves and attributes of the fighting style arose through an evolution-like mechanism, wherein successful fighting traits secured the survival of the fighter who favored those traits, and thus led to the traits being preserved within the overall fighting style.
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