The sport of Thai fights is practiced mainly in Thailand and requires great stand up striking at the same time applying various grappling methods. There is a professional league in Thailand run by the World Thai Council for this sport. It is a traditional combat fighting technique that is widely known for the use of all limbs; knees, fists, elbows, and feet.
The technique was used in the past as an actual fighting combat in actual warfare, after which it was later introduced as a sport to entertain spectators. The opponents would meet in the ring where the spectators would gather in the arena to watch them fight as a form of entertainment. As time passed, the fights became a crucial part of the local traditions and customs of the Thai. They were even held in the temples. The sport evolved, and a form of fight called the muay khat chueak was introduced where the fighters were given hemp rope that they used to wrap around their forearms and hands.
Muay grew widely in the 19th century with the advance of King Chulalongkorn (Rama V), during which the country became at peace, such that the technique was only used for leisure, self-defense, recreation, physical exercise and personal advancement. A boxing ring was introduced; the first one in Thailand, in 1921, and referees were brought in. Modern gloves and hard groin protectors were introduced in the sport and given to the fighters.
When knots were tied on the ropes on the knuckles, the strikes became more severe and damaging to the fighters. This was evidenced when an opponent was killed in the ring, prompting the use of gloves and cotton coverlets as replacements. The previous version known as muay boran became extinct, and is modernly used as a presentation form of art.
The modern one is the one popularly known as muay Thai. Thai fighting is grouped into two: major technique (mae mai) and luk mai (minor techniques). In most cases, about all the techniques require the movement of the whole body, and moving the hip when taking all the kicks, punch, elbow and block.
Many techniques are used to prevent attack. The fighter can use blocking, in which the he /she prevents a strike by stopping it before it reaches him/her. Redirection is used where a defender wades off an attack by changing its direction, making it to miss its designation. The defender can decide to use avoidance, in which he/she moves his/her body or part to avoid getting hit, and then finds space to counter attack.
The use of the evasion technique can also be used, whereby the defender moves the whole body away from an attack, but then moves it back to counter. Disruption technique, used by bridging an attack, could be used with anticipation technique. This involves countering an attack such as a roundhouse kick before it lands.
In the old days, when Thailand was at peace, the sport was used to improve body fitness. Training methods used are weight training, running, shadowboxing, abdominal exercises, medicine ball exercises and bodyweight resistance exercises. These are important to the well being of the fighter.
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