Muay Thai or Thai Boxing is the national sport and cultural martial art of Thailand. It was developed several hundreds of years ago as a form of close-combat that utilizes the entire body as a weapon.
Today its definitive origins are debated by modern scholars, as much of the muay thai history was lost when the Burmese ransacked Ayudhaya, Siam’s capital city in Thailand, during the 14th century.
Most written muya thai history was lost when the Burmese looted the temples and depositories of knowledge held in Ayudhaya, and what volumes were saved are now national treasures that are preserved and protected as documentation for Thai culture and heritage.
Muay Thai is primarily a hard, striking martial art where all “eight limbs” — shins, elbows, knees and hands — are used to strike opponents. Today, the blocks and strikes of Muay Thai are often seen in the kickboxing ring and in modern mixed martial arts, a sport where Muay Thai has become a staple of training.
One of the many things that set Muay Thai apart from other striking styles is the use of the clinch.
Where many other styles such as Japanese kickboxing and western boxing separate fighters when they begin to grab one another inside, Muay Thai welcomes this strategy. Practitioners will sometimes grab the back of their opponents’ necks in such situations and deliver knee strikes to the midsection. Consistent and effective use of elbow strikes also sets Muay Thai apart from many other martial arts styles.