The art and science of eight limbs uses hands, elbows, knees and feet (shins) to defend and attack. The art is steeped in tradition and has evolved over the years into one of the most effective stand up fighting systems there is.
Muay Thai is a modern integration of traditional regional versions of what we see today. Muay Chaiya, Muay Korat, Muay Tarsao, Muay Jearng all specialised in different fighting methods. They can be collectively called muay boran or “ancient boxing”. Muay Boran was in turn heavily influenced by the Thai weapons system Krabi krabong.
Intially, fighters (nak muay) would fight bare-fisted. They then started to wear lengths of hemp rope around their hands and forearms. This type of match was called muay khat chueak and still takes place to today but to a much lesser degree.
Between 1925-1935, King Rama VII pushed for codified rules for Muay Thai, and they were put into place. Thailand’s first boxing ring was built in 1921 at Suan Kularp. Referees were introduced and rounds were now timed. Fighters at the Lumpinee Kickboxing Stadium began wearing modern gloves during training and in boxing matches against foreigners. This was also around this time that the term Muay Thai became commonly used while the older form of the style came to be known as muay boran.
With the success of Muay Thai in mixed martial arts, it has proved itself as one of the most effective stand-up fighting methods in existence.