Muay Thai – known as the “Art of Eight Limbs” – is a beautiful martial art that pushes its practitioners to their physical and mental limits. The martial art is practiced around the world but it is most popular in Thailand, the place where it originated.
Many of the world’s most prominent MMA fighters incorporate elements of Muay Thai into their move set, using its dynamism and power to better their foes. Look, for example, to world-renowned practitioners like Darren Till and Anderson Silva.
Are you looking to get involved with the sport? Here’s a closer look at five things that you didn’t know about Muay Thai.
Muay Thai Is Great for Toning Arms and Shoulders
Muay Thai is incredibly tough and it offers an amazing cardio workout. It’s little wonder that many dedicated Muay Thai practitioners have very low body fat percentages and ripped physiques. Even if you don’t want to compete, Muay Thai can be very useful to pick up and enjoy.
Muay Thai fighters are incredibly strong and their arms and shoulders benefit a lot. The unique Muay Thai stance demands strength in those areas and quickly builds muscle to help fighters unleash more power and improve their endurance.
Not only does the martial art offer an amazing physical workout, but it also helps to keep fighters mentally sharp. With so many options and dangers present at any one time, fighters have to really prepare carefully and dedicate themselves to the moment.
Each of the Eight Weapons Mimic a Weapon of War
Not many people know that each of the eight weapons used in Muay Thai represents many of the most popular weapons of war. Here’s a closer look:
- Punches are swords
- Elbows are hammers
- Kicks are spears
- The knees are sharp daggers
- The blocks with arms and shins represent armor.
If you understand where each weapon comes from, the martial art begins to make more sense and you can really see how each technique emulates a weapon.
Muay Thai Is Similar to Muay Boran
Muay Boran is not as popular as Muay Thai, but it is a term that refers to martial arts in Thailand before the introduction of modern rules and equipment in the 1930’s.
Some people still practice Muay Boran. In fact, March 17 is National Muay Thai Day in Thailand because of a famous story about a captive Thai boxer who earned his freedom from the Burmese after impressing with his skills.
The martial art differs primarily in that the use of headbutts is legal, adding a new dimension to the sport.
Muay Thai Is Recognized by the International Olympic Committee
Muay Thai is not an Olympic sport, but it is recognized by the IOC and it is a sport included in the World Games. Its growing popularity means that one day, it may indeed be included in the Olympics!
Professionals Have Hundreds of Fights
Life as a professional Muay Thai boxer is pretty brutal. Most fighters in Thailand begin training from a very early age and by the time they reach 24, they will already have taken part in around 140 fights.
This incredible amount of activity means that the boxers are tough and their skills are honed, but it can really take a physical toll on many of the fighters – this is why it’s so important to understand the dangers of Muay Thai.
We hope that this closer look at Muay Thai has helped you!