Muay Thai Martial Arts

‘The Art of Eight Limbs’ is what the Thai name for Muay Thai Martial Arts means. This refers to the eight points of contact mainly used: hands, feet, elbows and knees. These are used for strikes and punches. A fighter who uses Muay Thai is called a ‘Nak Muay’ and Westerners who use this style of fighting are called ‘Nak Muay Farang’ [‘farang’ meaning ‘foreign’].

Muay Thai records go back 400 years, but it is believed to have been around a lot longer than that. Probably about a thousand years. It is thought to have developed as a self defence for soldiers in warfare who had lost their weapons during the fighting. Gradually the skills refined and were used to entertain the rulers and spectators at festivals, and from there it was a short step to becoming a competitive sport with rules.

The training for this sport includes body conditioning to increase fitness and toughness. It includes body weight and weight training, shadow boxing, skipping rope training, resistance and running. A Thai herbal liniment to reduce inflammation and aid circulation is applied after training. This is called ‘Namman Muay’.

There two forms of the sport. ‘Mae Mai’ is the major technique, and ‘Luk Mai’ the minor technique. In Mae Mai, a blow from one fighter is followed by a blow from his opponent, in turn. This style is no longer in favour in contemporary fighting and today the ‘Luk Mai’ style is more commonly used.

There are rules and specific attack and defence moves allowed with each of the ‘eight limbs’. They are the punch, the elbow, the kick, the knee and the foot jab, as well as the clinches. The ‘wall of attack’ and blocking is as important in Muay Thai as the offensive techniques.

The punch or ‘chok’ includes:

* Jab

* Hook

* Swing

* Spinning backfist

* Upper cut

* Cobra

The Elbow ‘Ti Sok’ includes:

* Elbow Slash

* Horizontal Elbow

* Uppercut Elbow

* Forward Elbow Thrust

* Reverse Horizontal Elbow

* Spinning Elbow

* Elbow Chop

* Double Elbow Chop

* Mid air Elbow Strike

The Kick ‘Te’

* Straight Kick

* Roundhouse Kick

* Diagonal Kick

* Half-Shin Half Knee Kick

* Spinning Heel Kick

* Down Roundhouse Kick

* Axe Heel Kick

* Jump Kick

* Step up Kick

The Knee ‘Ti Khao’

* Straight Knee Strike

* Diagonal Knee Strike

* Curving Knee Strike

* Horizontal Knee Strike

* Knee Slap

* Knee Bomb

* Flying Knee

* Step up Knee Strike

The Foot Jab ‘Thip’

* Straight Foot Thrust

* Sideways Foot Thrust

* Reverse Foot Thrust

* Slapping Foot Thrust

* Jumping Foot Thrust

Unlike boxing, the clinch is allowed, and four types of clinch are frequently used.

* Arm Clinch

* Side Clinch

* Low Clinch

* Swan neck Clinch

In the West, awareness has been created of the sport through several extremely popular martial arts movies and TV.

Many of the Muay Thai moves have been incorporated into modern day Mixed Martial Arts.

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