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Muay Thai Boxing Tips

The first time I saw Muay Thai Thai Kick Boxing was years ago when I watched a television travel documentary. The passenger, cruise liner Queen Elizabeth 2 had put in to Phuket as one of its ports of call. A few of the crew members, possibly from the vessel's engine room, were ashore and enjoying some of the local hospitality. No doubt fortified by quantities of Singha Beer, and encouraged by the television camera crew, they accepted a challenge, from some of the puny locals, to participate in a boxing contest. Looking at the size of the heavyweights from the ship and the size of the Thai boxers some mere boys the outcome appeared a foregone conclusion. And so it was but not the way the QE2 lads, and their supporters, anticipated. Each and every one of the farang contestants were soundly trounced much to their chagrin and shame!

I shall not forget the expression of disbelief on the faces of the engine-room crew as they fell victim to blows and high flying kicks from the youthful Thai opponents. It was a look of not only disbelief but, well, "it's not British to kick". That was the philosophy of the Marquis of Queensbury when, years ago, he laid down a set of rules, which had to be followed, if boxing was ever to be regarded as a sport. Too many bare knuckle pugilists and fairground brawlers were being maimed as they tried to earn a few pence for themselves while satisfying the bloodlust urges of the enthusiasts.

Some people think of boxing including Muay Thai Kick Boxing as an art form. The Noble Art of Self Defense! Without doubt it is an acquired skill but I will leave others to debate whether it is art. Within the framework of skill, there is no boxing which is more skillful than Muay Thai. The skill was founded in necessity, centuries ago, and has been developed, honed, taught and practiced ever since.
Back in the times when hand to hand combat was a norm in warfare it made good sense to be able to acquit oneself well one's life could depend upon it. Kings, nobles and military commanders recognized this so created techniques and training schedules for their troops. Different techniques and training schedules for their troops. Different techniques from Roman and Greek schools to Samurai in Japan to Siamese Boxing evolved. Perhaps them today. King Naresuen the Great was enthusiastic about training his foot soldiers in Siamese boxing and, indeed, King Seesunpetch (nicknamed the "Tiger King") was an exponent and often boxed incognito at rural temple fairs.

Today, Muay Thai is regulated by the Thai Boxing Commission but the training is still long and hard. Many young Thai
boys see boxing as a means to economic success so are keen as mustard to join a recognized training camp with a good trainer and manager. Most are unsuccessful. Managers many are retired boxers usually have the knack to access a boy and guesstimate if he will make a good boxer. Slim, tall boys with good body tone are favored not because they have a good reach but because they have long legs. Around 80% of all blows delivered in a Muay Thai bout are delivered by the knee and, especially, the foot. The X-factor in selecting a boy is knowing if he is "Jai Sing" lionhearted enough to withstand the punishment of training and pain of fighting. It is not enough to be physically in prime condition; it is essential to have that inner strength, the spirit, which separates a true winner from the many who don't quite make it. Managers are always hopeful of finding that X-factor in their boxers because it will make a lot of money for the manager. If the manager is a decent and honest type, it will also make some reasonable money for the boxer.

Ratchadamnoen Stadium in Bangkok is the main venue for Muay Thai Kick Boxing and the arena to which every boxer aspires. This is Big Time when all of his hard work and training may bring success. Each fight consists of five, three minute rounds (with 2-minute breaks) which is preceded by a ritual of prayer and display. In front of an excited, noisy, boisterous crowd, many weighing up the odds and placing their bets, the boxer prays before entering the ring. Around his head may be a "monkol" for luck and amulets circle the biceps. Off ring, a group of musicians on drums and shrill flutes will beat out an energizing rhythm. The boxer, as will his opponent, will perform a "wai kru" dance to pay respect to his trainer. He may circle the ropes pawing and stamping on the canvas to intimidate his adversary. And then the fight is on; the boxers destiny will be in his feet and hands and the judgement of the referee. Failing a knockout, the referee (and two judges) award points to decide the winner but the referee's decision is final and cannot be overturned by the judges.

Boxers will win and boxers will lose in the furious, fierce and fast ring of Muay Thai Kick Boxing. Likewise, gamblers will win and lose. While its description as an art form may be debatable, there is no doubt as to the skill of Muay Thai Kick Boxers and to the popularity Muay Thai enjoys in Thailand

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