The Art of Eight Limbs
There’s a reason that Muay Thai kickboxing is known as the Art of Eight Limbs. All the moves involved with this discipline can be traced back to eight basic methods of striking. Those methods will involve the hands, knees, legs, and elbows. More advanced methods will used a combination of one or more of these strikes. Combinations are especially effective in protecting the body from strikes, allowing the individual to defend as well as attack.
The Training Begins Early
Traditionally, the training begins early in life. It's not unusual for children as young as six years of age to enroll in classes and participate in their first professional fights by the time they are ten. In some parts of the world, the kids live in training centers and spend as much time on Muay Thai as they do on their schoolwork.
Since the popularity of the discipline has spread to other parts of the world, teenagers and adults who are interested can often find instructors offering classes in muay thai training at schools specializing in mixed martial arts.
The First Modern Ring Was Built Around 100 Years Ago
Muay Thai is an ancient art, but the modern rings used for this form of kickboxing are build along the lines of a design that first appeared in 1921. Constructed at the Suan Khoolab School, the ring is known as the Suan Kulap. The ring is still in use today.
But the Origins Go Back to the 13th Century
Not everyone agrees on when Muay Thai emerged as a separate discipline. Some experts trace if back to the 13th century and hold that it developed out of the training offered to the army of Siam. Legend has it that the art developed as a means of defense for the city of Sukhothai and the regions nearby. The fact that the threat of invasion was more or less constant led to the establishment of the first training centers and instructors who schooled pupils in how to use kickboxing to repel invasions and kill if necessary.
Gloves Were Not Originally Used
Contemporary Muay Thai involves the use of padded gloves and sometimes other light equipment. That was not always the case. In centuries past, hemp ropes would be used to pad the hands. There were times when strips of cloth would be wound around the knuckles and hands while leaving the wrists free of anything that would inhibit movement. At times, the forearms would also be wrapped for protection.
Timed Rounds are Part of Modern Muay Thai
Since Muay Thai was developed as an means of defense and subduing the enemy, it originally was seen as a fight that only ended when one party could no longer stand or chose to conceded. Modern competitions use timed rounds. In the days before timing devices like clocks were developed, one way to time rounds was to drill a small hole in a coconut and place it in water. when the coconut took on enough water to sink to the bottom, the round was considered finished.
Visit a Muay Thai class and see what you think. Talk with an instructor about what the discipline requires and determine it it’s for you. As you take more classes and begin to see how many ways it helps, you will be glad you signed up.
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