Muay Boran means ‘ancient boxing’ and refers to the various styles of Thai martial arts that existed up to the early 20th Century. Each area of Thailand has its particular style of Muay Boran. For example, Southern Thailand has Muay Chaiya and Krabi krabong (weapons-based martial art). Similarly, Central Thailand has Muay Lopburi. Eastern Thailand has Muay Korat which can trace its origins to the Angkor Wat area in Cambodia. And finally, Uttaradit province, in the Northern Thailand, has Muay Tha Sao.
The First Nak Muay
Nak Muay means fighter in Thai. The most famous ancient fighter was Nai Khanomtom. Legend has it that in 1774, while a prisoner in Burma, he fought 10 Burmese fighters, one after the other, and beat them all. The Burmese King was very impressed. For this reason he freed Nai Khanomtom and allowed him to return to his home in Thailand where he quickly became famous and spread his new fighting style which spread like wildfire all across Thailand.
Subsequently, in the early 20th century, Thais introduced rules to modernize Muay Boran. People built gyms with boxing rings and training equipment to practice this martial art. In time ancient boxing morphed into the current Muay Thai sport that we see today in boxing stadiums in Thailand and around the world.
Boxers practicing Muay Boran do not use gloves. They use ropes around their fists and arms. They also use arm amulets and Mongkol, head amulets, for luck and to show respect to their teachers. Although these ancient techniques persist to this day, they are simplified to be most effective in fights.
Muay Boran Class
Unfortunately few teachers are left who can pass on this ancient martial art. Luckily Rawai Muay Thai is one of only a few gyms in Thailand that offers Muay Boran classes. Our trainers Tuk, Chanchai, Soleh and Padu are certified in this ancient style. You can take private lessons with them to learn some aspects of this beautiful martial art. You can book classes in the gym office. Each private lesson costs 700 baht.