Muay Thai is a striking based form of Martial Arts, which also incorporates a variety of clinch techniques, as well as shin and general body conditioning –
it has proven to be a highly effective striking base for a martial artist to know, and within this article i will highlight some of the best Muay Thai based fighters in MMA today.
Muay Thai is based on the principle of the “art of eight limbs” because it utilises punches, kicks, elbows and knee strikes, thus using eights points of contact, as apposed to two points in boxing, or 4 points in kickboxing for instance.
It became widespread globally in the twentieth century, when it began to become common in the world to find Muay Thai fighters defeating high level practitioners of other martial arts – But when we take a closer deeper look, like all Martial Arts it becomes clear that Muay Thai has a long venerated story.
The roots of Muay Thai can be traced to the middle of the 16th Century, in amongst battles between the Burmese of the Knbuang Dynasty and Siam. There is actually evidence to suggest that Muay Thai was used to train armies and defend homelands since around the 12th century, but much of the Muay Thai history was destroyed when the Burmese invaded and destroyed many artefacts, written history and temples in Siam in around the 14th century.
During the 16h Century after years of conflict between Burma and Siam, one of the most influnetial characters on the emergence of this martial art, was a man called Nai Khanomtom.
This legendary Siamese fighter was captured in 1767 by the Burmese, they had heard of his expertise in hand to hand combat, and after 7 years in capitivity, he was given an opportunity to fight for his freedom. The Burmese king at the time Hysinbyushin was interested to see how Burmese boxers fared against the Thai fighters.
Nai Khanomtom utilised the traditional Wai Kroo, which involves a ritualistic dance before combat to show respect to his opponent, teacher and the spirits. He fought in traditional Mongkhon and Pra Jiad, which are head and armbands that many Muay Thai fighters wear before contests even today. It originated from when Siam and Burma were in constant war, where young Muay Thai fighters would tear off pieces of loved ones clothing for good luck and the belief of warding off evil spirits.
As soon as Khanomtom had finished his Wai kroo ritual and the the bouts started, Nai Khanomtom brutally knocked out 10 of Burmas best boxers, back to back with no breaks in between the bouts.
He was granted his freedom, was hailed as a hero by the Thai people, and his fighting style came to be known as Siamese-Style boxing, later to become Muay Thai which soon after became a national sport, and regular celebratory events would be accompanied by Muay Thai bouts for entertainment.
However it wasn’t until WW2 that the effectiveness of Muay Thai became clear to the globe, as French, American and British soldiers were stationed in Thailand, and commanders would put fights together as morale boosting entertainment for the army.
Then in the years to come after this more leagues, sanctions, rules and Muay Thai fighters from various countries around the world emerged. The professional Muay Thai Leagues are governed by The Professional Boxing Association Of Thailand (P.A.T) sanctioned by The Sport Authority Of Thailand (S.A.T), and World Professional Muaythai Federation (WPMF) overseas.
Some of the best Muay Thai based fighters in MMA are the likes of: Anderson Silva, Joanna Jedrzejczyk, Edson Barboza, Valentina Shevchenko, Rafael Dos Anjos, Chris Weidman, Fabricio Werdum, Alistair Overeem, Donald Cerrone and many others.
A few Muay Thai techniques to familiarise yourself with is: Spinning backfist, Superman punch, Spinning Elbow, Uppercut Elbow, Horizontal Elbow, Reverse Horizontal Elbow, Elbow Slash, Double Elbow Chop, Roundhouse Kick, Axe Heel Kick, Push Kick, Reverse Roundhouse, Jump Kick, Reverse foot thrust, Jumping foot thrust, Step Up Knee Strike, Straight Knee, Curving Knee Flying knee.
Here is a video to understand the basics if you are interested in learning the martial art of Muay Thai –
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