Thai boxing and Sepak Takro - schools, history and modernity

Thai boxing, or Muay Thai, is an ancient martial art. Over many centuries, it has been formed into a single whole from several teachings of the Laotian, Burmese, Cambodian and Thai martial schools. This type of martial art is also known as the art of 8 parts of the body. In general, the spectacle is very similar to kickboxing, differing from it only in additional blows, which are not prohibited in this sport.

The battle usually consists of five rounds, lasting about three minutes each. It is noteworthy that an exotic ritual dance is an integral part of any fight. The Wai Kru prayer always precedes the main fight. This action takes place in the very corner of the marketplace with traditional music creating the rhythm of the fight.

It is believed that these sounds allow you to distract yourself from unnecessary thoughts and concentrate on the fight. Muay, compared to conventional boxing, is much more dynamic, and tougher.

Thai boxing

© Muay Thai is known as the most brutal sport.

In almost every province you can find wrestling rings, but at the same time, the main stadiums are still located in Bangkok, the capital of Thailand. Also places for professional battles can be found in Phuket, Koh Samui and Pattaya. The fights taking place there attract the attention of many tourists.

History of Thai Boxing

Muay Thai has been around since ancient times. In general, this term means not only the modern name of boxing, but combines all the ancient types of Thai martial arts. It is believed that Thai boxing came to Siam from Angkor, one of the oldest Khmer empires. However, there is no exact data on this, since the historical records existing in ancient times were destroyed by the Burmese.

But on the other hand, rock bas-reliefs depicting an ancient martial art known as “Kbakh Kun Boran Khmer” have been preserved. This famous fighting system was a simple bare-handed fight. In those days, fisticuffs were taught not in any schools, but in communities, by monks.

Muay Thai history

© Rock bas-relief.

Muay Boran was not only a method of self-defense, but also a special kind of entertainment. Fights were staged in front of crowds of admiring spectators, and the simple system of fist fighting gradually became more complicated. At a certain stage in the development of the martial art, fighters began to use hemp ropes to rewind their fists. This protected them and sometimes increased their chances of victory.

Many doubted the fairness of this method, as there were rumors that fighters wrapped their ropes in glue and then in broken glass or seashells. Thus, the hands of the combatants became a truly dangerous weapon.

But even if something like this was practiced, it was extremely rare, and most often not in sports fights, but in real battles.

Thai fighter

© A Muay Thai warrior uses every part of his body as a weapon.

While initially popular mainly among the common people, it eventually spread to the upper classes as well. The royal palaces began to invite fighters who trained not only royal guards but also nobles. The royal boxers who served at the court in Thailand began to wear the titles Muay Luangand the royal garrison was named "Krom Nak Muay".

The next stage in the development of this martial art was during the reign of Khun Luang Sorask. The martial arts of the Mughal dynasty were developed during the period of Khun Luang Sorask's reign, and he was very supportive of the sport and was known to take part in fights, disguising himself to avoid being recognized at fairs and competitions.

The development of Thai boxing reached its peak during the reign of King Rama the Fifth in Thailand. Like his predecessor, he was interested in martial arts. Since there were no wars or rebellions during Rama's reign, Muay Thai developed as an art.

According to Thai tradition, women were forbidden to be in the ring. It was believed that their presence took away a fighter's strength, making him vulnerable.

At the beginning of the twentieth century, the Thais were introduced to the classic modern type of boxing. At this time the rules of Thai boxing were adjusted. The rules were adapted, several techniques that were no longer applicable in practice after the change in the rules disappeared, and, most importantly, four main styles of modern Thai boxing were finally identified:

  1. Korat (a type of boxing, in which special emphasis is placed on blows with his hands);
  2. Muay Tasao (with a fast fight system);
  3. Chaya (the main difference, which is a special stand);
  4. Lopburi (with improved movement techniques).

There are two main styles of boxing techniques: hard fight "Muay Lak" and a dandy fight "Muay Kieu". The first type of fighting is characterized by a firm stance, solid defense and strong punches that knock the opponent down. The second technique is characterized by sharp movements and the use of side blows.

Over time, some knowledge of fighting has been lost, but still there are a large number of techniques that beginners in Thailand are taught in special clubs and schools by experienced masters.

Where do they teach Thai boxing

You can start practicing Thai boxing with any physical condition. Training camps accepting athletes from all over the world can be found all over Thailand. The main argument in choosing a camp should not be the availability of a large amount of equipment, but the experience and abilities of the coach, who is usually a Thai fighter who is no longer involved in competitions.

Thai boxing is practiced not only by men, but also by the fairer sex, whose fighting technique is not inferior in terms of entertainment to men.

One of the popular northern Thai training camps is the Chai Yai school. There, for more than 30 years, true masters of this art have been brought up. Another time-tested center is Tim Quest. Along with Golden Glory (a center located in Pattaya), the hall in Thailand is positioned not only as a place for training beginners, but also as a school for training professional K-1 and MMA fighters from America and Europe.

Another camp in Phuket - "Dragon". Also on the outskirts of Chalong, which is also in Phuket, is the Tiger - the famous camp of MMA and Thai boxing.


© "Tiger" - the famous camp of MMA and Thai boxing.

But the best place to really learn Muay Thai is Bangkok. In the camps there they take the fight seriously, so even the tourists are trained on the same level as the Thais. Among Russian-speaking tourists quite popular are schools located near the beaches, in tourist cities such as Pattaya or Phuket.

Training Camps in Thailand

But, otherwise, in all cities of Thailand, Muay Thai schools are similar to each other. Groups of fighters gather by level: beginners, more experienced athletes, masters and, in a separate group, those who compete for the camp in professional competitions.

Workouts usually begin with a warm-up, which includes running. This is followed by the development of technique, then - the development of strikes already on bags or pads. The process ends with a few more minutes of jogging, push-ups and a workout for the press. Three days a week - on Wednesday, Friday and Monday, you can also participate in sparring. You can also organize individual training for additional money.

Cost of classes

Prices for Thai boxing classes in the schools of the kingdom range from very low (and sometimes even free) to expensive ones, costing several tens of thousands of baht per month. The national average price is 10 thousand baht. Free boxing can only be done by those who are allowed by the level - they represent the school in which they train, and part of their earnings goes to the camp. But for foreigners, this option is usually not suitable.

A workout at a regular gym with a good range of services and accommodation costs around 30,000 baht. But tourists usually prefer to pay by the week or by the day, only for the classes they attend.


© It all starts with training.

Today in Thailand there are more than 10 thousand people who practice boxing professionally and more than 120 thousand who do it at the amateur level.

Sepak Takro.

Another equally popular Thai sport is Takro. The game is very similar in its rules to volleyball, however, in Tacro the ball can only be touched by the head, chest, knees and feet. The ball for the game is also used not ordinary, but woven from rattan. The name of the game literally translates as "kicking a woven ball."

sepak takro

© Sepak tacro ball.

The players involved in the process are not so much about winning as they are about showing off their skills by performing various pirouettes. Spectators are always surprised by the acrobatic movements and quick reactions of the players. The game between the teams is played on a field the size of a badminton court. Each team consists of five people: three on the court and two in reserve.


© Sepak takro is a popular sport in Southeast Asia.

The history of this game is perhaps even older than the history of Thai boxing. In the Temple of the Emerald Buddha in Thailand you can even find murals that depict a pack of monkeys playing sepaktaktoro along with one of the Hindu gods. The game was founded in the ninth century, in Thailand and Malaysia.

In order not to compete for the right to be called the founders of this game, the Thais were the first to play tacro, and the Malays were the first to turn this game into a professional sport.

Originally, takro did not use a net stretched in the middle of the field. This rule appeared only closer to the 19th century. That's when official takro competitions began to be held. In the next century, the game gradually spread throughout Southeast Asia. A World Tournament was organized in Thailand, where teams have been fighting for the King's Cup every year since then.

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