Muay Thai (known to some outside of Thailand as Muay Thai kickboxing) is a national sport of Thailand as well as a national passion.
It is a fighting technique borne out of combat reality. Known as the science of eight limbs
Muay Thai kickboxing uses the knees and elbows as well as kicks and punches.
Almost any part of the body is considered a fair target and any part of the body, except the head, may be used to strike an opponent.
It is considered by many to be the ultimate in hand-to-hand fighting.
Muay Thai kickboxing is a professional and amateur sport, a martial art, aerobic fitness programme and a useful form of self-defence.
But Muay Thai kickboxing is more than just learning how to fight.Muay Thai kickboxing is a strong and vigorous martial art art that teaches self-discipline and self-awareness. It has been passed down through generations for the last 2000 years.
An important part of Muay Thai is the pre-fight ritual dance "RAM MUAY", a slow motion,
ballet-like set of steps and motions performed to traditional Thai music.
The RAM MUAY can be performed in many different ways, each camp having its own style.
The RAM MUAY also serves as pre-fight warm-up exercise and it can last up to five minutes.
During the pre-fight ritual fighters also wear the "MONGKON" or crown, a cord about a finger thick and worn around the head.
The MONGKON belongs to the Instructor and it is considered sacred.
After the completion of the RAM MUAY and before the first round starts, the instructor and fighter come together and bow while saying a short prayer; the Instructor lifts the MONGKON off the fighters' head blowing on his hair for good luck.
We can also often see fighters wearing a string or piece of cloth around one or both biceps.
This is called the "KRUANG RANG" and may be worn throughout the fight.
The KRUANG RANG contains protective charms, a small picture of Buddha or a saint,
or an herb, which is said to have magic powers.
There are a number of further traditions to which the fighting community adheres, though they are not necessary particular to Muay Thai but rather part of the Thai's life-style and the Buddhist religion.