Muay Thai is an ancient martial art that originated in the Kingdom of Siam, known today as Thailand. Originally developed for use by the Siamese military during close-quarter combat, Muay Thai is often referred to as the Art of Eight Limbs for its ability to strike a person using eight points of contact mimicking weapons of war. The hands are the sword or dagger, the elbows are like a heave mace or hammer, the legs and knees are the axe and staff, and the shins and forearms are hardened to become the shield and armor to protect against blows. Utilizing the whole body as a weapon, the Muay Thai warrior would grapple while standing (what is known as “clinching”), gifting his enemy with elbow and knee strikes before spinning them to the ground for the final blows.
Today, Muay Thai continues as Thailand’s national sport that has rules and uses equipment similar to Western boxing. Muay Thai is now internationally recognized by fighters from all spectrums of martial arts as an essential style to master in order to become an all-around multifaceted fighter, as well as recently being accepted as an Olympic sport.
Since Muay Thai has become so popular on a global scale, new training camps and gyms continue to open around the world. While Muay Thai has its roots in combat and has developed into tough careers in the ring, modern practitioners can scale the way they wish to practice from having a great workout and a fun hobby or learning self-defense, all the way up to competing in the ring.