When speaking of the combat sport Muay Thai, it comes alongside with Thailand and its history. Muay Thai essentially evolved by the need of the local people to defend themselves from numerous invasions by neighboring countries as early as 1500 years ago. Most indigenous people during these periods employ the aid of common set of weapons like the spears, clubs and pikes to be able to win every battle. Pressing concern on close range fighting, these early warriors would rely on the skills and strength of their hands, feet, head and elbows. Hence, they were able to develop these body parts and improvise weapons out of them.
Early foreign encounters recorded on Thailand’s history noted the Burmese attack on Ayutthaya, then the capital of Siam (Thailand) in the fourteenth century. During these years, Muay Thai boxing has been integrated as part of the training and skills practiced by Thai Military personnel. Muay Thai experts are paid a considerable amount to be able to train them and on the other hand, those who were trained by such skills received greater honor, posted in higher ranks and were considered to be forming the elite set of combatants. This early practice has been present starting from the Sukhothai era from 1238 to 1377 AD. Muay Thai fighters received utmost honors not only from the society but from the government, nobility or rules as well. With such great pride, honor, and popularity, this method of combat has easily spread all throughout the country oftentimes evolving into distinct variations.
It is not so long that Muay Thai becomes not only a skill for combat but a spectacular sporting event as well. An early form of this sport involves competitors fighting with bare hands and that weight class is not a big deal. During the same area, the process of adding power to every hit at the same time adding extra protection through the Muay Kaad Cheuk process begun. This practice is done by wrapping or binding the bands with unrefined hemp. To add strength and a harder blow, the fighters’ bounded hands are dipped in a bucket of water then afterwards letting the hemp wrappings dry solid.
During the time of King Rama V may be considered as the golden years of the Muay Thai sport in 1868. Nearing the turn of the nineteenth century, the modern world is also slowly taking its pace. Early modernization efforts by the king has paved the way to building roads and various infrastructures in Bangkok and the neighboring regions and eventually the putting of numerous Muay Thai arenas where fighters can compete or the crowd can expect undoubtedly furious fights. The first permanent arena constructed to be solely dedicated to Muay Thai was built in Bangkok in 1920 where the king’s successor, Rama VI arranged one of the biggest Muay Thai tournaments during that time. The quick spread of this combat sport has created numerous Muay Thai fighters not only from Thailand but neighboring and other countries as well.
After Thailand’s exposure to foreign culture after the world wars, the practice on Muay Kaad Cheuk started to be replaced by the usage of gloves and most common equipment of boxing from the western world. The official name of the game, Muay Thai was promulgated and the establishment of the rules and the ranking system was made in 1928. After the 1950’s the sport has also been categorized by weight divisions and after the 70’s Muay Thai have grown popular and practiced in almost many North American and European countries. Today, Muay Thai is among one of the prestigious sporting event perhaps, next to boxing.