In the old days, Muay Thai was a dangerous sport, with no safety gear of any kind for the fighters, and only lengths of cords to wrap around the fists in place of gloves. Over the years rules have been written along the line of international boxing regulations. In recent years the sport has attracted a wide following outside of the country, and training facilities have been set up in countries as far as the U.S. and the former Soviet states. In 1995 the World Muay Thai Council was set up by cabinet resolution in 1995 to promote this national heritage at national and international levels. At a conference held that same year, 78 member countries voted for the establishment of a training school where all elements of Muay Thai would be taught. The Muay Thai Institute was founded in 1997 and is now the only training school accredited by the Ministry of Education.
Muay Thai is fought in five three-minute rounds with two-minute breaks in between. The fight is preceded by a wai khru dance, in which each contestant pays homage to his teachers. Besides the symbolic meaning, the dance is a good warm-up exercise. You will notice that each boxer wears a headband and armbands. The headband, called mongkhol, is believed to bestow luck to the wearer since it has been blessed by a monk or the boxer’s own teacher. Since Buddhism and the teacher play important roles in the life of Thais, the headband is both a lucky charm and a spiritual object. It will be removed after the wai khru dance, and only by the boxer’s trainer. The armbands, meanwhile, are believed to offer protection and are only removed when the fight has ended.
A match is decided by a knockout or by points. Three judges decide who carries the round and the one who wins the most rounds, win the fight. The referee plays a very important role, since the boxers safety depends on his decision.
To one side of the ring is the band section, comprising a Javanese clarinet, drums and cymbals. They accompany the fight from the homage dance to the conclusion. The tempo goes up as the action inside the ring intensifies. The musicians are mostly old-timers who have seen just about anything, yet their music always makes the heart race faster. It is said that the tune is a siren song that the true Muay Thai devotee can never resist.
hotels or travel agents.On fight nights at major stadiums, especially at Lumpini and Ratchadamnoen, tourists fill up a sizable portion of the seats, and the number is growing. Most opt to sit at ringside, to see the action up close. On nights of major events, usually advertised days in advance, it can be hard to get tickets. You might want to book through your
Equipment that is necessary for Muay Thai matches must be provided by the stadium. There are a stopwatch, a signal gong, a warning bell, boxing gloves of various sizes according to the rules, equipment to provide water for boxers, and other additional personal accessories for boxers who have not prepared their own such as boxing shorts in red or blue, jock straps, surgical tape, or sacred cords. Thai boxing can be classified into two major types, the first is muay lak which puts the emphasis on caution and patience, and is very rare nowadays. Theo- ther is muay kiew which is full of tricks and feints performed to catch the opponent off guard.
Basic rules of
Thai boxing matches
A Muay Thai match formally have no more than 5 rounds, each round take 3 minutes to last, with a two-minute rest period in between. No additional rounds is allowed. Boxers must regularly wear gloves, each weighing not less than 6 ounces (172 Gramm).
The gloves must not be squeezed, kneaded or crushed to change its original shape.
Rules on contestants' boxing costumes.
- Contestants must wear only trunks (red or blue according to their corners) appropriately fit their bodies.
- Contestants must wear standard supporters or sturdy athletic cups to protect their groin, Gum shield may be used.
- Wear no shirts nor shoes, but ankle cap is permitted.
- A sacred cord known as Mongkol can be worn around the head only during the pre-fight ritual of paying homage to ancestral teachers of Muay Thai, to be removed before the start of the fight.
Rama IV Road, Bangkok
Tel: (02) 252-8765, 251-4303, 253-7702, 253-7940
Fight Schedule: Tuesdays and Fridays from 18.30 - 23.00 , Saturday afternoons 16.30 - 20.00, Saturday nights from 20.30 - 24.00
Tickets : 500 - 1,500 Baht
Ratchadamnoen Nok Avenue
Tel: (02) 281-4205, 280-1684-6
Fight Schedule: Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 18.30 - 23.00, Sundays starting at 16.00 - 20.00 and 20.30 - 12.00
Tickets: rang from 1,000 - 2,000 Bath
Behind the old Northern Bus Terminal (Mo-chit), opp. Chatuchak Park,
Tel: (02) 272-0201
Fight Schedule: Sundays, from 01.45 pm., third Wednesday of each month starting at 12.00 noon.
Tickets: Free admission
Bangkok Domestic Airport, offers accredited training courses for boxers, instructors and referees. Opened in 1997, the Institute is run by a professional team of Muay Thai instructors, promoters and officials. Its staff instructors are all former champions, hold at least a bachelor’s degree in physical education, and speak English. Graduates will received a certificate recognized by the Thai Ministry of Education and the World Muay Thai Council. Since its opening, the school has trained hundreds of amateurs and professionals. Students have come from Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Spain, Sweden, the U.K., and other parts of the world. Thai students, many of them girls and young women, also come for recreational and professional courses.The Muay Thai Institute was established with the goal of preserving and promoting the art of Muay Thai and making it accessible to all. The Institute, which is located in Rangsit, just north of
Muay Thai for Instructors is ideal for those who want to become Muay Thai instructors or to run training schools. The program comprises three 15-day courses.
The Muay Thai Institute occupies a complex next door to Rangsit Stadium. Classes take place in the classroom and in the well-equipped gym. Students have access to the in-house fitness facilities and Muay Thai library. Dormitory-style accommodation, with five bunkbeds to a room, TV, and fridge, and meals are available. The Institute can arrange visa and paperwork for applicants to any of the courses.
-- Fundamental Muay Thai 1-3: 6,400 Bath per course
-- Fundamental Muay Thai 4 (Professional): 48,000 Bath per course
-- Muay Thai Instructors 1 & 2: 11,520 Bath per course
-- Muay Thai Instructors 3: 12,800 Bath per course
-- Amature Muay Thai Referees & Judges 1 & 2 (Local & National Level): 11,520 Bath per course
-- Amature Muay Thai Referees & Judges 3 (International Level): 12,800 Bath per course
-- Professional Muay Thai Referees & Judges 1 & 2 (Local & National Level): 12,800 Bath per course
The Muay Thai Institute, 336/932, Prahonyothin 118 Vipravadee Road Prachathipat, Thanyaburi, Pathum Thani Rungsit Thailand 12130, Tel: (02) 992-0096-99 (Auto), (02) 992-0095 Ext.0