Conservation; Thai and World Heritage
- Special thanks go out to Nirut Onesongchai (www.muaythai.co.th) for the following info:
Conservation: Thai and World heritage
Author: Dr. Sawaeng Vittayapitaks
Translation: Siraphop Ratanasuban and Nirut OneSongchai
Raja Bhat Mu Ban Chombung University
One of the most famous and outstanding martial art in Thailand is Muaythai. Muaythai was invented when
Thai people started building their country. At first, the purpose of this martial art was for war. When the
nation was at peace, Thai people did not stop learning or practicing Muaythai but the purpose no longer
involved war. It has become the national sport - competitions taking place constantly.
In the history of Muaythai, there were two most legendary figures that people always talk about - These two
are Prachao Sue (The Tiger King) and Nai Kanomtom. Prachao Sue was keen on Muaythai. He disguised
himself and used fake names to join street fights around his palace. As for Nai Kanomtom, he was a
prisoner of war taken to Burma in the Ayutthaya period. He fought Burma’s and beat ten of them with his
bare hand. The Burma king was impressed and said that “Muaythai is very useful; one man can beat his ten
opponents with his bare hand”. Besides using fists, feet, and knees as weapons, there are ways to increase
the degree of pain to the opponent using calico or powdered rope wrapping around one’s fist creating sharp
knots. This adapted martial art is called “Muay Kad Chieak”. The slightest touch can easily draw blood from
an opponent. Yet, there are a lot of mixtures in this type of martial art using fists, feet and knees called “Mae
Mai Muay Thai ”. Nothing is written in stone for Muaythai.
There are at least a hundred of combinations created so far. Mostly, one who comes up with the combination
will title it with a name that relates to the famous epic “Ramayana” or the surroundings such as Mon Toe
Nung Taen , Kwang Leaw Lung, etc. There has been a ritual that stood with Muaythai from the beginning
called “ Karn Vai Kru” which is a ritual that students show gratitude and pay respect to their master. The
ritual is believed to be holy and helps the boxer to concentrate. It also scientifically helps the boxers to warm
up their body and reduces the stress before the fight.
Learning the history of Muaythai enables us to know the foundation of it, hence we can help improve it
properly. We can also use it as a case study to find new solutions by using new methods, generate new
ideas, and come up with new approaches to determine the objectives of the preservation and improvement
of Muaythai creatively. All these are to make Muaythai fit our present ways of life properly according to her
royal words of Somdej Prathep Ratna Raj Suda Siam Borom Raj Kumari…. The most important thing in
studying history is we need to know the progress, success and obstacles of each period. Success or
obstacles happening in the past will help us do well in studying this type of subject….The past will teach us
how to solve the problem in the future (Somdej Prathep Ratna Raj Suda Siam Borom Raj Kumari 2003).
Muaythai has become culture, national sport and knowledge that make it both Thai and world heritage. The
whole world admires Muaythai as “The national science and the art of fighter” which invented by Thai
ancestors and kings during the ancient war to protect their homeland keeping their nation free till today.
Muaythai, the science of fighting and martial art, is considered to be a national treasure. The whole world is
interested in it and loves to see Thai people conserve it in all aspects; as cultural heritage, as a sport, as
self-defense and as a career. All these aspects are the foundation of Thai society which based on
generosity, sympathy, courage, patience, bonding Thai people together.
Since Muaythai is the foundation of Thai society, it bonds Thai people together as one giant family enabling
them to live in the nature that becomes a tradition. There are sacred rituals in Muaythai including, offering
one’s services, indoctrinating the art pupils, respecting each other, depending on one another, mercy,
kindness, kindliness and detachment. All these initialize strong relationship among Thai people. Besides all
these, Muaythai has initialized two important prospects in Thai society; firstly, it gives Thai people the
qualifications of being grateful, diligent and merciful and also teaches them how to live in harmony. Secondly,
Muaythai academically gives Thai people the values of Self-Defense; individually it gives Thai people the
value of being Thai and patriotic; societal it gives Thai people discipline and scarification. In order to make all
these happen, teaching is required.
In the old days, Teaching Muaythai to “Thai Youth” was included in both national curriculum and
extracurricular activity. Such teaching is a method to make Thai youth stronger physically and mentally and
make then grateful and be proud of one's own nation. Presently, Thai youths are less interested in Muaythai.
In school, Muaythai has become only an extracurricular activity. Muaythai is a national heritage and should
stay included in national curriculum. Thai youths should be encouraged to learn Muaythai. In order to make
this happen, the former famous Muaythai boxers, who have succeeded in this field, should step up and be a
role model. There for, youths of the nation get encouraged and have Muaythai running in their veins from one
generation the next.
- From muaythai.co.th with a little editing from us (color, etc...)