Muay Thai is one of the oldest and most popular martial arts to have emerged out of ancient Asia. It is believed to have originated in Thailand, where it was created by tribes migrating down from China, first in order to assist in the fierce warfare required for the conquest of land, and then later used to protect that very land from invaders. Through centuries of warfare and training it was eventually refined into the modern day combat sport it is known as today. In Thailand it is elevated to almost religious levels, being practiced in numerous gyms and dojos across the country. It has become known as the sport of kings, and one of the greatest honors of the sport is the opportunity to fight before the King of Thailand. It is also a corner stone of the modern day sport of mixed martial arts, commonly referred to as MMA.
Muay Thai has been a part of Thai culture from its earliest days. equipement muay thai The watershed moment for the sport came in 1584 with the ascension of King Naresuan in what is now referred to as the Ayuddhaya period. The king stipulated that every soldier in his army had to be trained in Muay Thai just as he had been, which greatly helped to popularize the martial art.
As the sport has evolved to a higher degree of sophistication, so has the equipment used, both in fighting and in training. Early Muay Thai came from humble and brutal beginnings and the equipment reflected that. Fighters fought with bare knuckles and with very little protection. All of the equipment necessary for training was found in nature. One of the most legendary pieces of equipment, used historically and still favored by today’s hardcore purists, was also among the most simple and abundantly found in Ancient Thailand-the banana tree. This ancient staple of Thai culture was found by the forerunners of today’s fighters to be particularly suitable for punching and kicking practice. The legends tell us that the ancient fighters would kick the trunk of a banana tree hundreds of times a day to toughen limbs, to deaden nerves and to make themselves inured to pain. The smooth, slightly spongy texture of the banana tree trunk was found to be ideally suited to this purpose and the tree was so abundant in Thailand that a suitable training environment could be found almost anywhere. The banana tree helped fighters to develop their techniques, to develop toughness and pursue the hard-body training for which Muay Thai fighters are known.
Ancient practitioners also made use of other natural resources around them. Natural pools of water were used to increase endurance. Kicking and punching against water resistance was an ideal way to build strength and maximize the power on impact. Fighters rapidly and repeatedly climbed in and out of pools in order to increase endurance. Chopping the sea in front of the face was done to develop focus. These fighters also used suspended or floating coconuts for target practice in order to work on the accuracy of their strikes against moving targets.
Fighters wore little or no protection. Often their only protection was tree bark or seashells strapped around the groin. This was important because up until the 1930s groin strikes were perfectly legal in Muay Thai.