8 Thai martial arts you didn’t know existed

Finn Mitoma
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muay thai martial arts

Thai martial arts are a centuries-old tradition of combat training exercised by people of all ages and levels of physical ability. These ancient forms of combat have developed over time, incorporating elements of both self-defense and competition. Thai martial arts involve a wide range of techniques, from stand-up striking to ground grappling, but all forms share a core set of principles that emphasize physical and mental training. Practitioners of Thai martial arts strive for harmony between body and mind, ultimately seeking to gain control over the self.

This blog post will provide a comprehensive overview of the different types of Thai martial arts, their history, development, modern applications, and techniques. It will explore how traditional martial arts principles and practices have been adopted and adapted by modern fighters to create a unique and popular style of martial arts. The blog post will also discuss the importance of martial arts in Thai culture and the various ways it is practiced. Finally, it will offer insight.

1. Muay Thai

One of the most popular Thai martial arts is Muay Thai, also known as Thai kickboxing. This is a form of combat sport that incorporates full-body contact and strikes using fists, elbows, knees, and shins. Muay Thai is known for its powerful strikes and fast-paced footwork and is a popular sport for amateur and professional fighters. Muay Thai is also sometimes practiced as a form of exercise, as it can strengthen and tone the entire body. Muay Thai is a centuries-old martial art and is deeply beloved by the people of Thailand.

2. Muay Boran

Muay Boran is an ancient form of unarmed combat originating from Thailand. It is a form of martial arts that combines techniques from boxing, wrestling, and other martial arts. Muay Boran has a long history in Thailand, having been practiced as a military martial art for centuries. It is often seen as a way to practice physical discipline, honor, and respect for one’s opponents. Muay Boran is still practiced today, though it is now more commonly taught as a sport or for health and fitness. It is a great way to stay in shape, and its unique combination of martial arts, boxing, and wrestling makes it a great form of self-defense.

3. Krabi Krabong

Krabi Krabong is a weapons-based martial art from Thailand that dates back to the Ayutthaya period. It combines hand-to-hand combat and weapons fighting and is considered one of the core martial arts of Thai culture. It is traditionally practiced with wooden weapons such as swords, staffs, and spears and is known for its fast and agile attacks. Krabi Krabong also integrates strategy and tactics from ancient Thai military arts and is used for self-defense and competition.

4. Lethwei

Lethwei is a Burmese form of kickboxing that has been around for centuries. This form of martial arts is known for its aggressive style and full-contact fights. Combatants usually wear traditional Burmese sarongs, arm guards, and headbands in Lethwei matches. This type of kickboxing emphasizes the use of elbows and knees, as well as stand-up grappling. Lethwei is one of the few martial arts that allows headbutting, one of its most distinguishing features. Fighters rely on their strength, skill, and determination to win a match.

5. Pradal Serey

Pradal Serey is a form of Cambodian kickboxing, also known as Kun Khmer, that has been practiced in Cambodia for thousands of years. It is considered one of the most popular and accessible forms of Thai martial arts. Pradal Serey is a full-contact sport focusing on stand-up solid striking. It is a blend of traditional Cambodian martial arts, such as Bokator and Yutakhun Khom, combined with western boxing and Muay Thai. Like Muay Thai, Pradal Serey fighters use their fists, elbows, shins, and feet to strike their opponents. The main difference between Pradal Serey and Muay Thai is that Pradal Serey fighters use more low kicks.

6. Tomoi

The Tomoi is a traditional style of wrestling native to Thailand and is often considered an ancestor of Muay Thai. Tomoi dates back to at least the 16th century and is thought to have been developed by the Thai people to prepare for battles with their neighboring countries. It is based on grappling techniques and takedowns rather than strikes and kicks. In Tomoi, the wrestlers wear unique wraps on their hands and feet, which are used to grab and hold onto their opponent. The goal of Tomoi is to bring the opponent to the ground and pin them with a specific hold. Tomoi is a popular form of wrestling among Thai people and is still practiced today.

7. Silat

Silat is a Southeast Asian martial art originated in Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Southern Philippines. It is said to have been developed as a defense against invading forces. Silat incorporates armed and unarmed combat techniques, focusing on quick and agile movements. It emphasizes using the hands and feet to attack, defend, and counterattack. Silat is a full-body martial art that requires practitioners to combine physical strength, agility, and strategy to defeat opponents effectively.

8. Muay Lopburi

Muay Lopburi is a form of Muay Thai martial art that originated in the Lopburi Province of Thailand. This form of hand-to-hand combat is characterized by its powerful kicks and elbow and knee techniques. Muay Lopburi is known for its “circle of defense” technique, in which practitioners use their arms and legs to surround and protect their opponents. Training in this martial art involves physical and mental conditioning and is overseen by a master who teaches proper technique and strategy. Muay Lopburi is a powerful and effective form of self-defense and is highly valued in Thailand as a symbol of strength and courage.

In conclusion, Thai martial arts are an ancient and respected form of combat with a rich and diverse history. They have evolved over centuries to become a comprehensive system of self-defense and physical fitness, with practitioners learning to use body and mind together in harmony. With its combination of strikes, blocks, throws, and ground fighting, it is one of the most effective martial arts available today. Whether taken up as a hobby or practiced seriously, Thai martial arts will benefit anyone interested in its teachings.

Finn Mitoma

Founder @ The Combative

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