Muay Thai, or Thai Boxing has been described as the world’s toughest ring sport and is one the most lethal forms of martial art. Also known as “The Science of Eight Limbs”, it’s a hard-style of martial art that also employs the use of the head, elbows, knees and shins as weapons. Although most of the world knows it to be exclusively from Thailand, it comes from the term Muay Boran and is also practiced in other countries in the region of South East Asia and has different names depending on the country. Malaysians call it Tomoi, Muay Lao in Laos, Lethwei to Burmese and Pradal Serey in Cambodia.
Muay Thai has its roots in the Siamese Army in ancient times and bouts during those times had no time limit and few rules. Only in the late part of the 20th century were gloves, ring times and a clear set of rules were adopted.
Target points for Muay Thai punches include the area above the ear, the jaw, the area covered by the upper lip (philtrum), the clavicle, floating ribs and the solar plexus. Punching techniques or Chok are similar to Western boxing: the straight punch (Mud Trong), Mud Wiang San or hook, the swing- Mud Wiang Yao, the uppercut Mud Seuy, Cobra Punch or Kra-dod Chok, and the undercut or Mud Hook. One Muay Thai punching technique absent in Western boxing is the spinning backfist or Mud Wiang Glub and can be a very effective surprise attack.
Teh, or kicking techniques are an essential part of Muay Thai combat. It consists of the straight kick Teh Trong, the roundhouse Teh Tud, diagonal kick Teh Chiang, the shin-knee kick Teh Krueng Kheng Krueng Kao, the down roundhouse kick Teh Kod, the axe heel kick Teh Kao, jump kick Gra-dodeh Teh, step-up kick Kha Yiep The, and the spectacular spinning heel kick Teh Glub Lang. The dangerous Neb or pecking kick is an often executed Muay Thai kick and is very similar to the straight kick. The tip of the foot or ball is used to dig into the target area which can include the outer part of the thigh, the shins and the knee. It’s mostly used to stop and opponent’s forward moves.
Clinching in Muay Thai involves putting one’s hands behind the head of the opponent and pulling it downwards. It is during these clinches that Tee Kao or knee techniques are used to strike the torso or more devastatingly, the jaw. The different knee strikes are the Kao Trong or straight knee strike, the Kao Chiang or diagonal knee strike, Kao Kong curving knee strike, Kao Tud horizontal knee strike, Kao Tod knee slap, Kao Youwn knee bomb, Kao Yiep step-up knee strike and the Kao Loi or flying knee strike.
Traditional Muay Thai training methods were grueling and literally took blood,sweat and tears to endure. It involved extreme conditioning of the legs by with repeated kicks against a banana tree. This toughens the shin area making it invulnerable to abuse in the ring.
Allen Owen has been practicing martial arts of one form or another since he was in grammar school. Check out his eBay store at: http://stores.ebay.com/The-Sublime-Tao-Martial-Arts-Supply