Friday, March 17, 2017

National Muay Thai Day

  1. March 17th is better known as Muay Thai day to commemorate the extraordinary accomplishment of Nai Khanom Tom, the Thai Martial Arts Festival and Wai Khru Muay Thai Ceremony is staged annually on March 17. 
  2. Muay Thai is the National sport of Thailand but this celebration is not just about Muay Thai but a celebration of the accomplishment of Nai Khanom Tom and celebrated as Boxer's Day, National Muay Boran Day. Muay Thai Day, or National Muay Thai Day”
  3. Muay boran, and therefore Muay Thai, was originally called by more generic names such as Toi muay or simply muay. 
  4. There are several old styles that were developed in various regions of Thailand that are now lumped into the term Muay Boran (literally "Ancient Boxing"), such as "Muay Chaiya," "Muay Thasao," "Muay Lopburi," and "Muay Korat." But regardless on which regional variant it was, both have been driven to near-extinction due to the popularity of the stand up only ring sport we now know as "Muay Thai" (or, "Thai Boxing").
  5. At the time of the fall of the ancient Siam capital of Ayutthaya in 1767, the invading Burmese troops rounded up a group of Thais and took them as prisoners. Among them were a large number of Thai boxers, including Nai Khanom Tom.
  6. At one point, in 1774, King Hsinbyushin wanted to see how Muay Boran would compare to Burmese Lethwei, or Burmese Boxing. 
  7. Nai Khanom Tom, a famous fighter at the time, was selected to fight against a Burmese champion and while in the ring, Nai Khanom Tom did a traditional Wai Kru pre-fight dance, to pay his respects to his teachers and ancestors, as well as the spectators, dancing around his opponent.
  8. After the ritual of the Wai Kru (the Burmese thought that was some sort of Thai black magic) Nai Khanom Tom fought the Burmese boxing champion and won by Knock Out but the referee claimed the win to be invalid because he was distracted by the music and might be some kind of sorcery. The king then sent other 9 fighters, one by one without time breaks between fights. They were all put on the ground by the hands (and knees and elbows) of Nai Khanom Tom.
  9. Impressed by these abilities, King Mangra said: “Every part of the Siamese is blessed with venom. Even with his bare hands, he can fell nine or ten opponents. But his Lord was incompetent and lost the country to the enemy. If he had been any good, there was no way the City of Ayutthaya would ever have fallen“. Then he granted freedom to Nai Khanom Tom and all Siamese (Thais).
  10. King Mangra granted Nai Khanomtom freedom along with either riches or two beautiful Burmese wives. Nai Khanomtom chose the wives as he said that money was easier to find. He then departed with his wives for Siam. Other variations of this story had him also winning the release of his fellow Thai prisoners. 
  11. Muay Thai is referred to as the "Art of Eight Limbs" or the "Science of Eight Limbs", because it makes use of punches, kicks, elbows and knee strikes, thus using eight "points of contact", as opposed to "two points" (fists) in boxing and "four points" (hands and feet) used in other more regulated combat sports, such as kickboxing and savate. 
  12. Nai Khanom Tom
  13. A practitioner of muay Thai is known as a nak muay. Western practitioners are sometimes called Nak Muay Farang, meaning "foreign boxer."

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